When a new browser version becomes available, user adoption is fast. As we saw in an earlier post, due to the automatic update/release processes used by providers, most (nearly 100%) users have the latest and greatest within about four weeks of the new browser version’s release. As the browser versions evolve, it is important that your synthetic website monitoring keeps pace with the user-adoption rates. Because of the high user adoption rates, Uptrends updates the 216+ checkpoint locations as quickly as possible when a new browser version becomes available. We recently upgraded our checkpoints to Chrome 80 and Firefox 72.0.2.
Why is it important to use the most current browser version for your website monitoring?
Using the most current browser for your website monitoring is important because if browser updates create problems for your site or service, you need to know about it right away. If an external monitoring service lags behind on the browser versions for their monitoring (and a lot of them do), you might not be aware of browser-related site problems for hours, days, or weeks.
We aren’t really sure why some other companies don’t keep the browsers up-to-date. They may hesitate out of fear of incompatibility with their system or because every great while, some browser releases get pulled back after the publishers see problems during the early release phase. To avoid problems, Uptrends participates in the beta phase of the releases. Chrome, for example, has three separate release phases:
- Canary, the experimental or sandbox phase,
- Development, where those features that made it through Canary get polished and finalized, and
- Beta, where everyone can use the new browser version for 6 weeks before the release goes live to the general public (phase 4).
Mozilla handles Firefox releases in a similar manner, and any new features spend a minimum of 18 weeks from conception to public release. If a feature isn’t stable enough for release, it goes back to the first development phase for further refinement.
How Uptrends handles a browser upgrade
Once a beta release becomes available, our Dev-Ops team updates our development environment with the beta version. We can observe the beta version on our test servers, and if we experience any problems, we know not to push the version to our checkpoints until the release is stabilized. Once the version goes to public release, we allow the checkpoints to auto-update. So only about ten percent of our checkpoints get the update at first. We keep a close eye, and back the release out if needed.
Which browser version was used for my browser-based website check?
For accurate performance and function checks, you have to use real browsers. There isn’t any way around it. Uptrends uses Chrome for your Web Application Monitoring, and you have the choice between Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer*, and PhantomJS for your Full Page Checks.
Your monitoring reports have the browser information used for each check. From your Monitor Log, open any Check Detail for your web performance or transaction checks to see exactly which browser and version the checkpoint used for your test.
*Internet Explore still gets a 4.5 to 9 percent share of users depending on which statistics provider you reference. At 4.5%, that is still over 205 million users.
What’s new in Firefox 72.0.2?
What’s new in Chrome 80?
The Chrome 80 release included some important updates and features.
- Cookies that don’t specify a SameSite attribute default to SameSite=Lax.
- Pop-ups are no longer allowed on page unload.
- Chrome will block audio and video resources that aren’t delivered securely (HTTPS)
- Tab groups to allow for grouping, naming, and color of related tabs (not currently available to all users).
Of course, the above isn’t an exhaustive list, but as you can see, Chrome 80 introduces some significant security and usability features.
The new browser versions are currently live across our checkpoint network. At Uptrends, we always try to make sure your users have the rewarding experience they expect from your brand. Thank you for using Uptrends, and we will continue to make sure we use the latest and greatest browsers and their current versions for your monitoring.