Web developers

What frustrates web developers? Web browsers

Developers surveyed by Mozilla in the second half of 2019 about their experiences with the web platform, tools and capabilities were mostly satisfied, but they cited a few shortcomings, especially browser support issues.

Overall, 59.8% said they were satisfied with the web, while 16.3% were very satisfied. Only 6.8% were dissatisfied and 2.2% very dissatisfied. These findings were part of the MDN Web DNA Report (Developer Needs Assessment) 2019, which draws on the contributions of more than 28,000 web developers and designers around the world.

The MDN Web DNA Report 2019 was the first edition of what is expected to be an annual global survey of the needs of web developers and designers, intended to shape the future of the web platform. In addition to assessing overall satisfaction with the web platform, the report identifies developer needs and frustrations. Among the top 10 frustrations, web browsers play a role in four of them:

  1. Must support specific browsers, such as Internet Explorer 11.
  2. Obsolete or inaccurate documentation for frameworks and libraries.
  3. Avoid or remove a feature that does not work on all browsers.
  4. Test on all browsers.
  5. Make a design look and work the same on all browsers.
  6. Search for bugs not found during testing.
  7. Support for multiple frameworks in the same code base.
  8. Keep abreast of a large number of tools or frameworks.
  9. Manage user data to comply with laws and regulations.
  10. Understand and implement security measures.

In an open-ended question, developers were asked what they would like to be able to do on the web but lack the platform features to do so. Here, Mozilla has identified 109 categories of developer wants, with the following seven being the most successful:

  1. Access to hardware, including APIs on devices, 12.4% of respondents.
  2. Browser compatibility, including rendering consistency between browsers, 8.6%.
  3. Access to the file system, 4.7 percent.
  4. Performance, including native mobile app speed in web apps, 3.4%. Poor JavaScript performance and the desire for a Java or Python browser were also cited.
  5. Support for PWAs (Progressive Web Apps), 3.4%.
  6. Debugging, including better tools, 3.3 percent.
  7. Access to native APIs, 3%.

The report also covered pain points specific to the tongue:

  • JavaScript – lack of browser / engine adoption / support for a given language feature, 37.4% of respondents.
  • HTML – No pain points, 35.3 percent.
  • CSS – challenges of creating the specified layout, 44.4%.
  • WebAssembly – Lack of support for debugging tools, 51.4% of 851 people who answered this question. The novelty of the technology was cited as the reason for the limited number of responses.

Finally, when it comes to developer-supported browsers, Chrome and Firefox have led the way:

  • Chrome, with 97.5% of respondents supporting it.
  • Firefox, 88.6 percent.
  • Safari, 59.6 percent.
  • Chrome for Android, 57.8%
  • Edge, 57.3 percent.

Acknowledging the contributions, the report cites the participation of the MDN Product Advisory Board, which, in addition to Mozilla, also includes Google, Microsoft, Samsung, the World Wide Web Consortium and Bocoup.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.