Introducing Amazon Silk (Read: Another New Browser)

Posted: September 28, 2011 Comments(6)

Introducing Amazon Silk | Amazon Silk.

Speaking of way too many browsers, it’s important to note that Amazon’s new tablet/pad/thing uses a brand new in house browser that follows suit with Opera Mini in that requests are processed in the cloud and sent to the device.

I don’t like this trend. As a front end developer, to do my job respectably, I should have appropriate versions of modern Web browsers for testing purposes. That’s all well and good on the software end, browsers are free.

The trouble comes in when you need to buy a piece of hardware for the sake of running a free piece of software.

Emulators and simulators are all well and good, but subtle nuances are the difference between “done” and done. In all reality, to do a mobile job well today, you’d need (at least) a dozen devices. If people start following the Silk path, things will get ugly for us, quick.

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  1. It’s either one way or the other. There seems to be a divided line between technology infrastructure and browser visibility(design). I’d like to see a merger of the two so that we can get back on track and focus on one path. For now, front-end devs will have to wear multiple hats. The continuation of our fate, a paradoxical effect indeed.

  2. I share your frustration if web browsing on Amazon’s new tablet/pad/thing becomes a main feature.

    I’ve always viewed Kindle as a hardcore eBook reader that can browse the web if it wants to, but it’s more of a nice-to-have feature. A while back Bezos framed the Kindle as a reading device rather than an iPad/whatever-Android-tablet competitor.

    If Amazon is changing its focus, then I agree: sh*t, another browser.

    But if web browsing on the new Kindle thing is still a nice-to-have, perhaps it might be more of a “I’ll look at my site on the Kindle but not do back flips to get it looking the same” kind of scenario. Kind like with old IE’s.

  3. Yes, I’m weary of another browser, but I’m confident that amazon knows what they are doing as far as browsers. I’m expecting Silk to actually render valid code according to specs and most likely will support many new features like other current browsers. Although, it really isn’t a competition between others since it’s only available on the Kindle and nothing else is.

  4. I had the same exact thoughts as I read the reports about the new tablet and it definitely tempers my excitement. It’s more important than ever that we continue to elevate web standards and best practices. Seems to be our strongest line of defense against situations like these. But to your point, without actually having the hardware in your hands for testing you can’t be sure it’s really *done*.

  5. It’s not just devices, it’s also that the server side can be updated at any given time. So you may wake up some morning and find your website broken because Amazon changed the way the EC2 processing works. I don’t know if HTTPS would cause issues, but I can already think of dozens of possible compatibility problems especially if content is dynamically loaded.

    I am sure Amazon is quick to confirm that Silk is tested with all the big sites, but the small sites and blogs of bleeding-edge tech enthusiasts that tend to do crazy stuff will be an issue.

    That’s one of the situations where I’m happy that I’m not a commercial external Web Developer, so I can get away with delivering standards-compliant HTML and tell people with problems to get a Web 2.0 compatible web browser.

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