john green web developer

Cross browser compatibility

The key to cross browser compatibility is understanding the differences between major browsers and that WC3 code compliance does not guarantee that the client's browser also adheres to the standards or has implemented them in the way you would have liked. You also need to understand that CSS is essentially a fairly new development and as such care needs to be taken when utilizing any of the newer standards that have been set out by the World wide web consortium.

browser images

I use a variety of browsers when developing a site. I have several browsers on my desktop. I have Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google chrome, Opera and an old Netscape v 4.7 browser for seeing the world through browser war pre DOM implemented eyes. It is never a pretty sight. The only way to fix graphics problems with older browsers such as Netscape v 4.7 is to scale and size the images before uploading them to a server. This makes some of the more popular effects such as resizable image viewers and dynamically resizable drop down menu bars redundant.

Firefox has an excellent set of developer tools including a user agent switcher. I also recommend Firebug and the W3C's validation tool as add-ons. Internet Explorer too has some development tools and Microsoft have included a very useful quirks mode. There is also a tool to switch views between Internet Explorer version 7.0 and 8.0.

Text based browsers

lynx logo

I have a Lynx browser too just in case accessibility is an issue when creating a project. Bobby at Watchfire used to have an accessibility checker for websites and it is sorely missed. However there is another tool available online which you can find at ICDRI.

Why should you care about accessibility? In Europe there are now laws in place that are aggressively seeking to enforce accessibility standards. Ignore them at your peril if you have a client base anywhere in Europe. The damages from the lawsuits can run into many hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is something a web developer needs to be aware of even in the U.S.A. Geographical distance from Europe does not protect against international lawsuits. You can also get an idea of how your website might well be perceived by a browser that is text based by going to Delorie. There are many other text based web browsers but Lynx is very well established.

Finally if you are interested in browser compatibility issues and spend time ensuring cross browser compatibility of your website because you think it worth while to attract the business of the 12% of users who do not use either Firefox or Internet explorer, Then why would you ignore the 8% of the population that suffer from vision impairment issues? Especially in light of the fact that only a few small changes can make your website more easily accessible to people with text based web browsers.

This article was written for non-profit educational purposes. Comments? Suggestions? Rants or raves? E-mail me using the form on this website.

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Article by J C Green

This article was written for non-profit educational purposes. Comments? Suggestions? Rants or raves? E-mail me using the form on this website.