Reaching the 100th version of software is a big milestone, whereas most applications only reach ten or twenty in their lifetime. But for browsers that are increasingly becoming the backbone of consumer interactions on the web, this could also be a big deal. With Chrome and Firefox both approaching 100 of their releases (98 and 97 at the moment, respectively), the three-digit jump could cause problems familiar to anyone who was there for New Year’s Eve. 2000.
Firefox developer and maintainer Mozilla has sounded the alarm in a new blog post, spotted by BleepingComputer. The issue arises when a user’s browser reports the user agent string to a site’s server, which helps the server know how to format the content to ensure the user sees it correctly and can interact with it. with. Jumping from two digits for the 99 version to tripling for 100 can have strange effects. Mozilla and Google both performed initial experiments to test triple-digit user agents last year and found that while most sites can handle the transition, a small number will have significant bugs.
We don’t envision a complete Y2K-style situation where almost every piece of software needs a patch. Both Firefox and Chrome have mitigation strategies in place for sites that break with version 100 of their browsers, which are expected to reach full release channels in March and May. Firefox will be able to fix the issue on a site-by-site basis, while Chrome has a backup option that will report an older version 99 user agent if any issues are detected.
Even so, Mozilla encourages web developers to test their compatibility with version 100 browsers before it becomes an issue. You can do this in the Settings menu of the Nightly version of Firefox or by enabling the #force-major-version-to-100 flag in Chrome.
Michael is a former graphic designer who has been building and modifying desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction and salsa verde, in no particular order.