Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD)

Back in the mid-aughts, Adam G., a colleague on the IE team, used the email signature “IE Networking Team – Without us, you’d be browsing your hard drive.” And while I’m sure it was meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, it’s really true– without a working network stack, web browsers aren’t nearly as useful. BackgroundContinue reading “Web Proxy Auto Discovery (WPAD)”

A bit of GREASE keeps the web moving

For the first few years of the web, developers pretty much coded whatever they thought was cool and shipped it. Specifications, if written at all, were an afterthought. Then, for the next two decades, spec authors drafted increasingly elaborate specifications with optional features and extensibility points meant to be used to enable future work. Unfortunately,Continue reading “A bit of GREASE keeps the web moving”

META CHARSET

Someone complained that a Japanese page is garbled in Edge/Chrome, but renders with the correct characters in Firefox and IE: The problem is that Chromium is using an unexpected character set to interpret the response in the HTML Parser. That happens because the server doesn’t send a proper character set directive. To avoid problems likeContinue reading “META CHARSET”

Improving Privacy by Limiting Referrers

Updated July 31, 2020 to reflect changes planned to ship in Chrome 85 and Edge 86. As your browser navigates from page to page, servers are informed of the URL from where you’ve come from using the Referer HTTP header1; the document.referrer DOM property reveals the same information to JavaScript. Similarly, as the browser downloads theContinue reading “Improving Privacy by Limiting Referrers”

Surprise: Undead Session Cookies

I’ve been working on browsers professionally for 12 of the last 15 years, and in related areas for 20 of the last 20, and over the years I’ve discovered enough surprises in browser behavior that they’re no longer very surprising. Back in April, I wrote up a quick post explaining how easy it is toContinue reading “Surprise: Undead Session Cookies”

Edge79+ vs. Edge18 vs. Chrome

Note: I expect to update this post over time. Last update: 10/8/2020. Compatibility Deltas As our new Edge Insider builds roll out to the public, we’re starting to triage reports of compatibility issues where Edge79+ (the new Chromium-based Edge, aka Anaheim) behaves differently than the old Edge (Edge18, aka Spartan, aka Edge Legacy) and/or GoogleContinue reading “Edge79+ vs. Edge18 vs. Chrome”

Private Browsing Mode

Note: This blog post was written before the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge was announced. As a consequence, it mostly discusses the behavior of the Legacy Microsoft Edge browser. The new Chromium-based Edge behaves largely the same way as Google Chrome. InPrivate Mode was introduced in Internet Explorer 8 with the goal of helping users improveContinue reading “Private Browsing Mode”

The Sad State of HAR

Spring 2017 Update: Some of these issues have been fixed. The HTTP Archive Format (HAR) was designed to allow tools to exchange network traffic using a standard format; this format is akin to Fiddler’s Session Archive Zip format but is supported natively by browser developer tools. Unlike SAZ files, it is not compressed by default,Continue reading “The Sad State of HAR”