The Y2K bug was supposed to have had a devastating effect on the internet at the turn of the century but didn’t. Still, Microsoft is not taking any chances and is testing a similar scenario because its popular web browser, Edge, is rapidly approaching its 100th version.
All the web browsers have currently adopted a two-digit numbering scheme as none of them have crossed their 100th version. However, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, as well as Microsoft Edge would achieve this milestone within this year. The transition from a two-digit numbering scheme to a three-digit one may have some unexpected, and quite possibly detrimental, impact.
Google had begun preparing for the inevitable scenario way back in September 2021, and now Microsoft is conducting its own tests. Interestingly, Microsoft has adopted a very similar strategy as that of Google. The company has added two experimental flags.
Microsoft is now also testing if version 100 of Edge will cause problems on websites (just like Google has been doing for some time on Chrome): pic.twitter.com/4lCmgE66Fk
— Leopeva64 (@Leopeva64) January 20, 2022
Both the flags essentially force the ‘User-Agent’ identifier to report that Microsoft Edge is on v100. The way websites respond or react to this information is critical. Needless to mention, websites will have to understand and accept a three-digit version and respond by interfacing with the browser correctly.
Every web browser has a User-Agent Identification, which correlates with the version of the same. It helps website developers accommodate a web browser’s special or unique traits, quirks, behavioral patterns, etc. Developers can even add special, browser-specific functions, depending on the User-Agent information.
The stable version of Microsoft Edge is on v97. The Chromium-based web browser’s v99 has already hit Dev Channel. As Microsoft has adopted a four-week update schedule for its browser, users can expect v100 to arrive before the first half of 2022 ends.
While Google started preparing in September, Mozilla conducted a very similar test back in August 2021. The Firefox browser developer indicated that the Internet in general and the majority of websites seemed OK with the User-Agent crossing 100.