Firefox and Chrome century version bug is like Y2K all over again

Chrome and Firefox are each about to show 100, or a minimum of their model numbers are, and that might spell bother for some websites that didn’t put together for such an excessive quantity.

It’s not precisely the fault of the 2 browsers getting older that may trigger bother. The size of the model quantity is at the subject; several builders clarify in a Mozilla blog and an essentially an identical Chrome blog. When customers go to websites, their browser sends a Person-Agent string that features the model quantity to learn and determine the browser. However, there hasn’t been a typical specification for a way browsers current, and websites know that model quantity, so the swap from a two-digit to a three-digit amount will end in errors on some websites.

For those who remember, the year 2000 was a frightening moment for computers. Many people feared that computers would return to the year 1900 and cause huge issues because many computers represented the year with two digits (i.e. 1999 was 99).

That didn’t happen, but Mozilla is now warning about a similar web bug. The world’s top online browsers—Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge—will all hit version 100 at some point in the coming months, which “may damage some websites that rely on identifying the browser version.” According to Mozilla:

Major version 100 is a big milestone for both Chrome and Firefox. It also has the potential to cause breakage on websites as we move from a two-digit to a three-digit version number. Web developers use all kinds of techniques for parsing these strings, from custom code to using User-Agent parsing libraries, which can then be used to determine the corresponding processing logic. The User-Agent and any other version reporting mechanisms will soon report a three-digit version number.

“When browsers first reached model 10 just a little over 12 years in the past, many points have been found with Person-Agent parsing libraries as the key model quantity went from one digit to 2,” the 2 blogs observe. Whereas some websites took that chance to plan forward for the eventuality of three-digit model numbers, points have nonetheless cropped up on Chrome and Firefox. 

These updates to Model 100 aren’t anticipated to have as massive an impression because of the updates to Model 10 or Y2K; however, the builders for Chrome and Firefox try to detect points and damaged websites forward of the launch.

Chrome’s public launch is ready to achieve model quantity 100 on March 29, and Firefox is scheduled to observe it on Could 3. Till then, builders are engaged in mitigation methods. This will contain presenting the precise model quantity another way and let websites suppose the browsers are working Model 99. Customers can even assist in identifying problems and reporting them.

It should be noted that it is the browsers’ rendering of the websites that will malfunction, not the websites themselves. Because Safari is only at version 15, consumers who use Apple’s default browser will not be affected.

When browsers went to double digits, something similar happened, thus the transition to three digits should be less problematic. However, the problem is serious enough that Mozilla is issuing a warning to users. Both Firefox and Chrome have been conducting tests in which current versions of the browser identify possible website breaking and have already discovered several difficulties. Microsoft has not commented on its own mitigations, but it is likely that they will be comparable.

Chrome is currently at version 98.0.4758.102, Firefox is at version 97, and Microsoft Edge is at version 98.0.1108.55, with betas already going beyond that. Chrome version 100 will be released on March 29, while Firefox version 100 will be released on May 3.

If you’re wondering why the browsers can’t just continue with version 99 forever, Mozilla warns that “if the breakage is widespread and individual site interventions become unmanageable,” both Chrome and Firefox will temporarily freeze their versions at 99. Nightly testers of Chrome and Firefox are invited to set the browser to report the version as 100 right now and report any difficulties.

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