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View Poll Results: Do you support the "Viewable With Any Browser" campaign?

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  • Yes, of course, it's a wonderfull idea!!!

    13 40.63%
  • That's a tough choice, both arguments are very strong...

    8 25.00%
  • No, I don't want to be stuck with HTML4.0!!!

    11 34.38%
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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard dominique's Avatar
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    http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/

    Interesting enough, sounds like a good idea too, but is it really?

    On the one hand to would make it a lot easier to keep your pages working in all browsers.

    But on the other hand we'd be stuck where we are now and the net would never evlove. New technologies would never come about since they would not be backwards compliant...

    Any thoughts, views on the whole idea of a "platform independent, non-browser specific World Wide Web"?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I support this campaign because I want everyone to realize that the Web is about information, not presentation! Each browser displays it how the user wants. I have a feeling the user knows what they want better than you know.

    IMO, all pages should work with all browser versions <= 2.0 or 3.0. Test your site in them and tell me if your site actually works. You can get old browsers at (!! BOOKMARK THIS !!) http://browsers.evolt.org/ . So do it...that's your homework for the summer from Prof. Qslack

  3. #3
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    The web is about information _and_ presentation man. That's why the whole "images" thing worked out.

    Trying to verify a site in every browser is a very naive and pointless thing to do. I test on IE 5.0 and NS 4.7, which equals 95% of my hits, with another 3% using IE 4. It's very basic economics that producing where MR=MC is the most profitable. I could double my development time by ensuring that it works on the other 2%, or I could influence them to upgrade. I have absolutely no sympathy for the people using IE 1.0, NS 2.0, and/or Lynx on 8-bit displays. If you're that anti-technology maybe you shouldn't be messing with these "computers".

    "IMO, all pages should work with all browser versions <= 2.0 or 3.0. Test your site in them and tell me if your site actually works. You can get old browsers at (!! BOOKMARK THIS !!)..."

    That is seriously one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. On my personal site I've had 1 visit from someone with NS 2, and 2 with IE 3 out of 13000 hits. Testing for these 3 users is a big fat waste of my time. It would probably cost me more in electricity to download the browsers than it would ever be worth.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    ncsa mosaic
    Mosaic netscape
    NN1
    IE2
    NS6
    NS4.7
    Opera
    Hotjava

    All displayed that site reasonably well. Very impressive.

    I think this is an argument which will rage forever. Ultimately it depends on the purpose of the site. Intranets can obviously get away with loads more than government information sites. A "graphic design" site would be no good at all on Line-mode browser.

    My biggest gripe with this issue is web-designers who are either ignorant or arrogant when it comes to browsers, to the detriment of their clients. I would happily take on a case where a designer had failed to inform his client that the site wouldn't work in "x" browser. And I would obtain a remedy for them.

    It is important to be aware of the issues and browsers, and let clients know the situation, so that THEY can make an informed choice. Anything short of that and you may as well put on your chaps and stetson.

    H
    ~The Artist Latterly Known as Crazy Hamster~
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  5. #5
    Bimbo With A Brain! silver trophy Saz's Avatar
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    I think H has just about summed up this argument. At the end of the day, if you're designing for somebody else, they should have the final say as to whether that site should be made accessible by all browsers.

    Ok, so it may well double the time it takes to produce the site...but you're getting paid aren't you?!

    Having said that though, it's not at all hard to upgrade your browser, and if users choose not to, either through ignorance or because they just can't be bothered, do they have the right to prevent web developers from doing just that....developing?!
    Saz: Naturally Blonde, Naturally Dizzy!
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    I'm on the fence on this topic. If "all browers" means versions 1 thru 3 of NN & IE, Web TV, Opera, etc., then no, I would not agree.

    Nor would I not leave it to the client to decide this, as they would have no clue and I'd have to educate them on browser versions and user stats for them to make an informed decision. As the developer, I should be informed of the facts to make that decision.

    If "all browers" means "all browsers that the majority of people are using," then yes. Personally, I make sure my sites work in versions 4 & up for NN & IE, Mac & PC. (V3 browsers will still be able to use the site, it just won't look the same due to their lack of support for CSS.) WebTV, Opera, Unix platform... I don't bother with them.

  7. #7
    Gong!
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    Originally posted by johntabita
    be able to use the site, it just won't look the same due to their lack of support for CSS.) WebTV, Opera, Unix platform... I don't bother with them.
    I guess you never haven't even tried Opera then - sure, naturally older versions do lack some support for CSS and other technologies, however, the latest one does support CSS better than IE and it can be considered as a very high level browser along the more known ones such as IE and NS 6.

    And I wouldn't personally abandon all those *nix-users (unless if I would run windows-software site or similar, perhaps not even then ) - just because their amount is growing all the time and soon they are too big group to ignore.

    If the site is done right and the HTML structure is in good shape, then Opera won't have any problems.

    --

    But, let's get to the actual topic here.

    I personally like to support as many browsers/platforms/whatever where ever possible and I do think it's a good idea to do so (instead of limiting your site to IE & NS only). And yes, I like the idea that I can resize the browser window to a size I wish and the text adjusts automatically to it giving me the line width I prefer to read text on
    Last edited by hmahonen; May 3, 2001 at 09:52.
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    Keep it up johntabita

    As long as there are designers with your philosophy around I'm never gonna be short of work

    H
    ~The Artist Latterly Known as Crazy Hamster~
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  9. #9
    You talkin to me? Anarchos's Avatar
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    Eh no.

  10. #10
    will code HTML for food Michel V's Avatar
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    I'm now designing for "any standards-compliant browser".
    Not much javascript, big use of CSS, and soon xhtml (when I get the time to convert all my previous pages).

    I don't believe there are so many princes charming - customers on 3.0 browsers with big wallets. They surely exist, but now you can count them on the hand at the end of the year.

    I suspect dread lord Jakob Nielsen to be behind all this


    EDITED TO ADD:

    Uh this anybrowser campaign dates back to 1999, by the way. Shall I remind you this page was written last century ?
    Last edited by Michel V; May 3, 2001 at 15:58.
    [blogger: zengun] [blogware contributor: wordpress]

  11. #11
    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    So it seams that the answer to this question is you design for the users you wish to view your web site. If the cost/benefit of designing for pre 4 browsers is too great then its not worth your while designing for them. But if you want those people to read your web site - then you need to design for their browsers.

    Mr H raises another point which is what expectation is implied in the contract between your client and yourself? I would think it a good idea to spell this out in the contract:

    "The site will be viewable in browsers that support HTML 4 or greater, etc" (I dunno I'm not a standards expert - someone might suggest what should be covered here).

    There are wider legal implications concerning the accessability of web sites. Last year, locally, a blind man took SOCOG (Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) to court claiming that they breached antidiscrimination laws because their web site was not "accessable" to the blind. SOCOG were ordered to fix the site - however, IBM (who developed the site) claimed that it would cost over $1 million to fix it (I never new alt tags were so expensive). So SOCOG opted to ingore the court order and cop a fine instead.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist thewitt's Avatar
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    The contract will read "...create valid HTML on all pages, as validated by the W3C validator at http://validator.w3.org/..." on any pages that you do for me.

    Anything less is just not professional.

    Designing pages that don't result in valid HTML is one of the biggest reasons that pages fail to display in "Browser X."

    I love the people who say things like "I know it doesn't validate, but it works fine in IE 5 under NT, so I don't care. All my users use IE on NT." Well if this is your position, so be it. At some point Micky$oft will upgrade IE on NT to use the same parser that IE 5 on a Mac uses, and a whole bunch of this stuff will simply break.

    The XML based parsers are not as forgiving of poorly coded pages as the earlier versions are, so if you are spitting out improperly formed HTML, you will be dead meat in the not too distant future.

    -t

  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru
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    I have to admit I'm getting more and more confused by these issues. They used to seem very straightforward, but not any longer. From what I've read, mostly on these forums, the new standards are not entirely supported in some browsers that are still very much in evidence. Someone is always saying that they're having terrible problems with some version of Netscape and the answer is the lack of support for CSS. Then - people talk about the new standards being better for people using disability related software, but sometimes the same people have no problem with Flash sites. I know Macromedia is addressing accessibility but at the same time, most Flash sites out there now are not very accessible.

    Then, there's the issue of HTML 4 deprecating the font tag. That's an interesting thing to do. Now it's not possible to design a site that's going look well in both the old browsers and be totally compliant, plus it's obvious from the discussions that have taken place on this forum that size issues with CSS and fonts have not really been resolved satisfactorily. That just doesn't make sense to me. Every time I think about changing over some sites the complications get overwhelming. The most totally business oriented site I've ever created is for a business whose customers range from small and midsize corporations to churches and Catholic schools. These different organizations will not be using the same technology to view the web. Who am I supposed to be designing this for and who decided that I can't do well by both? And why?

  14. #14
    will code HTML for food Michel V's Avatar
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    This is why it'd be a smart choice to just do a quick server-side browser check at the opening of the site to decide which version of the site you'd be displaying.
    Let's say, a version for 3.0 browsers, one for IE4 & Netscape 4, and one for 5+ browsers.

    That way the cost of making the page accessible to every browser (forgive me if i don't care about pre-3.0 versions ?) is fair since it doesn't reduce the quality (design-wise) of the 5.0+ version.


    Come on, there are standards, and now there are browsers that follow these standards, it'd be a shame not to use these wonderful tools.
    [blogger: zengun] [blogware contributor: wordpress]

  15. #15
    will code HTML for food Michel V's Avatar
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    On a related note, and this deserved a separate post, I'm wondering why the issue of browser compatibility is so strong when we talk about HTML & CSS, and then why it's eluded when we talk about Flash websites...
    [blogger: zengun] [blogware contributor: wordpress]

  16. #16
    SitePoint Guru
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    And requiring 3 different versions for a simple informational site is an improvment...how? Hey, the tools are lovely. I'd use them maybe in about two or three years, when all the bugs are worked out. And I'd use Flash when every last computer could handle it without crashing, when everyone has a broadband connection and when all accessibilty issues are cleared up...maybe. But I don't think that any..any..tags that were once valid should be ever be obsolete. If deprecated only meant "not preferred" that would be fine. The threat of obsolescence is a bad thing, I sincerely believe, if only because it's just a greater burden on a small business or non-profit organization to get a site redesigned. If they paid to have it done, it should continue to work for as long as they want in all new versions of browsers, especially if it was done with HTML that was valid when it was created. Also, people should have the freedom to design for backwards compatibility if they wish. Sometimes there are good reasons to do so.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    The issue seems to be the "font" tag. For true backwards compatibility (which you seem to desire), it should not be used anyway. Just about all browsers back to version dot will be able to see a site designed in xhtml. The lack of css support simply means that they will not see it as YOU intended, but as the ethos behind html is reader presentation control anyway, you are catering to both the new technology lovers and the hangers on to ancient browsers.

    H
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Guru
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    It's really not that simple. That's fine for sites that are my own. For the sites that I've done for others, I can make them work in old browsers, but I really, really need them to look the way that I, and the people who own them, intend at least back through all the 4x browsers including Netscape versions and preferably back to 3.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    why?
    ~The Artist Latterly Known as Crazy Hamster~
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Guru
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    Because they paid for a site that would make a certain appearance to their customers and potential customers. Judging by who those organizations are, some will have new browsers and some won't, most likely. Some will even be using the kind of hardware that gets donated to organizations when more affluent businesses upgrade. I have no idea what kind of upgrades their computers or connections will handle or what they'll be willing to do.

    Then there's a site that I update, which I didn't create. I'm not responsible for this, but the woman that owns it had it created at considerable cost to her, not that long ago. It was valid then. She can't afford to have the whole thing redone.

    I think standards are a great thing, but I think that they should have incorporated what already existed as well as recommending better ways of doing things. When I hear or read about gleeful anticipation of the next generation of browsers "breaking" sites that were not badly or sloppily coded when they were built it seems really terrible.

    It's always possible that I'm not totally understanding some of this, but switching over sounds problematic if you want your site to disply right in recent, but not the newest, browsers.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    If that is your criteria then the font tag isn't going to help for all those using browsers that existed before it did (presumably they are included in the wide net).
    ~The Artist Latterly Known as Crazy Hamster~
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru
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    That's not what I was really talking about in my last post, but I was wandering off-topic anyway so it serves me right. To get back to the topic, though, when I started learning it was considered a major sin not to have a site work with any browser. It does seem as though eventually, with things like major changes to the way some tags work - such as needing to close tags that had no closing tags at all before this - it's going to be harder to accomplish that even if you want to. Again, I could be misunderstanding - and perhaps even though pages with older versions of valid tags won't be compliant with XML, browsers will continue to support them. If that's the case, there really is no problem.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard westmich's Avatar
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    Perhaps, I missed it, but has anyone commented on this topic here - http://www.webmasterbase.com/article.php/379
    Westmich
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  24. #24
    SitePoint Guru
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    Well, that's more what I was talking about. It's not for me to tell someone that some of his customers are among the 20% that need to be encouraged to upgrade. I think standards are good, but shouldn't trash work that was done and paid for. I think some of the attitudes surrounding them are a bit arrogant, that's all.

  25. #25
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    I find that designing for Netscape 4 will result in a design that is viewable by most other browsers. So that's what I do.

    It helps that my preferred browser is NS 4 also. But alas I am forced to use IE on certain sites (like this and other sites that use extensive layers/CSS) to be able to fully use the sites.

    One of my aspects and selling points with my clients is that sites I do (whether a design or a redesign) will be viewable in any 4 or higher browser. I've even had a job of fixing a site designed by someone else and making it more cross browser compliant (that was tough - the designer used Frontpage).
    Brian Poirier
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