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Pointless features add to browser bloat and insecurity

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Felton Woodall
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Or, as El Reg would put it: your browsers and Web servers are bloating with features nobody wants, and contribute nothing but extra lines of code.

It'll surprise nobody that at least some of the non-execution of features is down to site ad-blockers and the like, but the end result is: 83 per cent of available features are executed on less than 1 per cent of the most popular 10,000 websites.

ALS, ambient light events , would let browsers respond to the light level the laptop, phone or desktop is exposed to if anybody used it.

The Encoding standard would let JavaScript code read and convert between different text encodings if anyone used it, but it's even more unloved than ALS.

Iframes fall into a different category: half of the sites use iframes because who doesn't love a popup?

Standard Name

Abbreviation

Features

Sites

Block Rate

CVEs in 3 years

HTML: Canvas

H-C

54

7061

33.1%

15

Scalable Vector Graphics 1.1 2nd Edition

SVG

138

1554

86.8%

14

WebGL

WEBGL

136

913

60.7%

13

HTML: Web Workers

H-WW

2

952

59.9%

11

HTML 5

HTML5

69

7077

26.2%

10

Web Audio API

WEBA

52

157

81.1%

10

WebRTC 1

WRTC

28

30

29.2%

8

XMLHttpRequest

AJAX

13

7957

13.9%

8

DOM

DOM

36

9088

2.0%

4

Indexed Database API

IDB

48

302

56.3%

3

Beacon

BE

1

2373

83.6%

2

Media Capture and Streams

MCS

4

54

49.0%

2

Web Cryptography API

WCR

14

7113

67.8%

2

CSSOM View Module

CSS-VM

28

4833

19.0%

1

Fetch

F

21

77

33.3%

1

Gamepad

GP

1

3

0.0%

1

High Resolution Time, Level 2

HRT

1

5769

50.2%

1

HTML: Web Sockets

H-WS

2

544

64.6%

1

HTML: Plugins

H-P

10

129

29.3%

1

Web Notifications

WN

5

16

0.0%

1

Resource Timing

RT

3

786

57.5%

1

Vibration API

V

1

1

0.0%

1

SVG, for example, has a problem however you look at it: on one hand more than 15 per cent of the sites use it, on the other hand, nearly 87 per cent of blockers block it, but it's had 14 security warnings CVEs, Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures in the last three years.

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Felton Woodall
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