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When Can I Use Technology X?

Craig Buckler

SitePoint offers a great reference tool. It provides a huge number of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript explanations with the associated level of browser support.

However, I recently discovered When can I use… — a tool which provides a different spin on browser compatibility. It lists a selection of modern web technologies and reports whether they’re supported in IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera. You can configure which browsers you need to support and the historical level of implementation.

when can I useIt’s this last feature which makes the tool unique. It’s best illustrated with a simple example: assume you’re considering PNG alpha transparency for your next web site or application. The tool will happily report that PNGs can be used without problem for all browsers from the (recent) past, present and future. However, when you select “far past”, you’ll be warned that IE6 does not offer full alpha-transparency and you’ll need to wait until that browser expires. In this particular case, the tool also provides a useful link to an article with IE6 PNG workarounds.

As well as PNG, the tool provides categories including HTML5, CSS2, CSS3, DOM, SVG, and Canvas. A summary of all the features you’ve chosen is available at the end of the report.

When can I use… was developed by Alexis Deveria:

I couldn’t find an easy to read, comprehensive and interactive way of seeing which browser supported which upcoming feature … so I made one.

Alexis’s thoroughness is impressive and he is continually updates the tool with the latest browser implementation details. Information about the recently-released Opera 10.5 and even the IE9 preview is already available.

Great stuff — and very useful when your boss demands to know why text shadows aren’t working in IE8, Firefox 3.0 and Safari 3.1!

JavaScript: Novice to Ninja, 2nd Edition