Browser Wars

Dion Almaer (Set Direction), Ben Galbraith (Google), Douglas Crockford (Author), Brendan Eich (JavaScript), Alex Russell (Google), Rob Mauceri (Microsoft)
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 16 ratings)

The browser wars are still going strong. New entrants are joining all the time. APIs and plugins are expanding the definition of a browser. Even while the browser is gaining new pawers conflicting standards and conventions are causing headaches for developers. This panel will let you address the browser groups directly.

Photo of Dion Almaer

Dion Almaer

Set Direction

Dion Almaer is the founder of a brand new company named Set Direction where he has the pleasure of working with Ben Galbraith. The pair co-founded together and they are now focused on helping developers deliver fantastic experiences and working to set the direction of the software industry as a whole.

Dion has been a technologist and a developer writing Web applications since it took over from Gopher. He has been fortunate enough to speak around the world, has published many articles, a book, and of course covers life the universe and everything on his blog at

He has been called a human aggregator, and you can see that in full force if you follow him on Twitter @dalmaer.

Photo of Ben Galbraith

Ben Galbraith


Ben Galbraith is the head of product and developer relations for Google’s Developer Product group. Prior to Google, Ben has alternated between entrepreneurial and executive roles across companies in many industries, such as Mozilla, Palm/HP, and Walmart. He lives in Palo Alto with his wife and eight children.

Photo of Douglas Crockford

Douglas Crockford


Douglas Crockford is best known for having discovered that there are good parts in JavaScript—an important and unexpected development. He also discovered the JSON data-interchange format, the world’s best-loved data format, and various JavaScript tools, such as JSLint and JSMin. He works at PayPal.

Photo of Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich


Brendan Eich was founder and long-term CTO at Mozilla. He also served as SVP of engineering and briefly as CEO. Brendan is widely recognized for his enduring contributions to the Internet revolution. In 1995, he invented JavaScript (ECMAScript), the Internet’s most widely used programming language. He cofounded the project in 1998, serving as chief architect, and has been a board member of the Mozilla Foundation since its inception in 2003. Brendan helped launch the award-winning Firefox web browser in November 2004 and Thunderbird email client in December 2004.

Brendan holds a BS in math and computer science from Santa Clara University and an MS in computer science from the University of Illinois.

Photo of Alex Russell

Alex Russell


Alex Russell is a Staff Software Engineer on Chrome team at Google where he designs new features for the Web Platform and leads Chrome’s Standards work. He’s a member of ECMA TC39 , the committee standardizing JavaScript, and is an elected member of the W3C’s Technical Architecture Group where he works to improve the state of API design for the web.

His recent projects include Web Components, ES6 features including Classes and Promises, and Service Workers. Previously he helped build Chrome Frame and led the Dojo Toolkit project. Alex plays for Team Web.

Photo of Rob Mauceri

Rob Mauceri


Rob Mauceri is the group program manager for Windows Internet Explorer and led the team responsible for the recently released IE9. For the last 15 years Rob worked on Microsoft’s web services, platform, and tools across Office and Windows. Before coming to Microsoft, Rob was a developer at Vermeer Technologies, creator of FrontPage, and The MathWorks where he helped create the first Windows version of MATLAB and SIMULINK.

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Marco Zarate
05/21/2011 11:05am PDT

Is there a video of this panel discussion available anywhere?

Carol Cressler
04/02/2011 2:29pm PDT

I enjoyed this session a lot, and it had the best discussion of all the sessions I attended. Best meaning lively and engaged. And I am not a developer.

I specifically went to this session because I have to test content on both PC & Mac platforms & use 2-3 browsers on each. And now I can’t wait to try Chrome, I look forward to IE9, & just downloaded Firefox 4 on my Mac.

Thanks to all the panelists.

Picture of Brendan Eich
Brendan Eich
04/01/2011 7:33am PDT

Roger: I held fire, because I’m glad IE9 is out and supporting (some) standards—big improvement from past IEs including even IE8, and mostly due to Chrome on the heels of Firefox, plus Chrome coming from Google making the bull see red (IMHO).

However, much of the attacks were not on IE9, rather they were from the floor during Q&A and they were about IE6-8 being out there still as a hopelessly out of date drag on web developers, with IE8 now becoming the new IE6.

This is a problem Microsoft’s rep Giorgio said that he would try to address when he spoke at the panel last year, by allowing unlicensed Windows systems to update from IE6 to IE8 or better if possible. This year, Rob didn’t know anything about that promise.

The IE6-8 legacy is also entirely a problem of Microsoft’s making, both due to monopoly stagnation in the past (taking IE to skeleton crew status from 2001-2005, then trickling out IE7 and IE8), and now with Windows XP not being supported by IE9.

This topic is totally fair game, IMHO, and Microsoft has no good answer except “buy Windows 7 or a whole new machine”.

The big attack on IE9 on the panel was from Doug, who beat me to the draw, and it was about IE9 not supporting the latest JavaScript standard fully, specifically lack of ES5 strict mode support.

The “we polled some devs, they didn’t care” answer from Rob was particularly bad in light of “We have Standards” as a tee-shirt slogan. Either Microsoft believes in implementing standards such as ES5 (which do not allow subsets), or it does not.

I think Doug was right to flame Rob on this. But I agree a more productive panel discussion could be had, if only we didn’t get the same old selective arguing via contradictions and FUD (the FUD was in reply to the last question, from Tantek about WebM) from Microsoft.

In good sooth, I’m Microsoft’s best friend in this kind of setting because they are implementing and even working jointly on evolving standards, and that is what we at Mozilla wanted all along.

So I am not out to spend panel time beating on them. But they need to speak more openly and honestly, and not use sales pitches, wobbly standards focus or rejection depending on marketing studies, and selective FUD.

I miss Chris Wilson as MS rep on these panels…


Roger Hampton
04/01/2011 4:44am PDT

Great topic, but thought it could have been more productive to not use it as an attack forum on IE9. We all already know it has issues. :-0

Picture of Alex Russell
Alex Russell
03/29/2011 3:19am PDT


Apple has traditionally demurred when asked to send representatives to these sorts of panels as they did at SxSWi just 2 weeks ago. Not sure about Opera’s representation here, however.


Kirk Jorgensen
03/29/2011 3:17am PDT

Crockford’s browser is my favorite….oh wait. Missing two of the major browser vendors here, but don’t let that stop you!

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