James Titcumb edited this page Aug 15, 2013 · 1 revision

Microsoft had a good idea when they created browscap.dll and browscap.ini to use for browser identification in conjunction with their web server products.

In theory, someone at Microsoft would routinely update the browscap.ini file and make it available to its customers. As a result web developers would all have reliable and accurate browser identification in order to know exactly what features the client's browser supports by default, and analytics people would have the data they need to better interpret website usage patterns.

Sadly, Microsoft itself never made any attempt to keep the file up to date. Instead they outsourced the updates to a third-party who charges for them.

During the mid to late 1990s there was a brief wellspring of volunteers who did a good job of maintaining various browscap.ini files for awhile. Over the years though all of those sites have disappeared for various reasons ranging from a lack of time, to a loss of interest, to unaffordable bandwidth fees; even with abuse mitigation procedures in place our monthly bandwidth usage is still measured in terabytes. The Browser Capabilities Project though is still here and continues to see record numbers of downloads of the files.