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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » How compatible does a site need to be? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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I've got IE7, and my site is looking decent there (for what it is). (No, not the one that's posted now - the one I'm working on that's only on my machine.)

As I plow through learning HTML, CSS, and so forth, I keep reading that certain things may not be supported in older / newer / non-IE / mobile browsers.

How much do you worry about this?
How much has tweaking to be universal affected your ability to have the site you want?

Ed
ScottRSullivan
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On the one hand, you could look at your Google Analytics and weblogs to check what your clients/prospects are using. For example, if you target market all use IE7, then optimize to IE7.

That said, I think there comes a point where you have to stop supporting older browsers.

Analysts are saying Apple will sell upwards of 6 Million iPads THIS YEAR alone (source). There are already some 70 million iPhones, if I remember correctly. That is the future. If you are NOT optimized for those devices, you don't exist. Just like the hundreds and thousands of restaurant websites designed in Flash. They don't exist to prospective clients.

My personal preference is to steer towards HTML/CSS standards, including the new HTML5 specs. Webkit is the future (in my mind). After all, Hulu, The New York Times, Time Magazin, Wall Street Journal, and YouTube are all redoing their sites to be optimized for the iPhone/iPad (which use Webkit). [ SOURCE ]

Just my opinion.
BradBrown
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Florence, KY, USA
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Your mileage may vary, but here are my stats for the last month:

1. Internet Explorer 74.10%
2. Firefox 16.22%
3. Safari 5.72%
4. Chrome 2.92%
5. Mozilla 0.47%
6. Opera 0.23%
7. Empty 0.12%
8. Konqueror 0.12%
9. SeaMonkey 0.12%

Of the IE visitors, 60% are IE8, 28% are IE7, and the rest are the dreaded IE6.

For a Windows user, I would recommend having IE8, Firefox and Chrome browsers installed. This will allow you to test in all three major rendering engines, Gecko, Webkit and Trident.

Even though IE is probably your biggest segment, I recommend against using it to test while developing your new site. It's counter intuitive, but you'll save yourself a lot of headaches in the long run. First get your site working in a standards compliant browser, then tweak it for IE.

When you are designing, make it work and look good in Firefox first. Firefox is a good, standards compliant browser, so if it looks good there, it probably looks good in most browsers, other than IE, of course.

Next check in Chrome, which uses the Webkit engine. If it looks good there, it is probably good on Mac browsers like Safari.

Finally, make it work in IE. Learn to use methods like conditional comments which allow you to deal with IE's unique "features" without breaking everything else. You can use IE8's compatibility mode to verify things are OK for IE7. Hopefully IE6 will die soon, because some major sites like YouTube are dropping support.

I haven't addressed mobile browsers, but if you're not using flash, and your site looks OK on a narrow screen, there's a good chance your site will work. Of course, it's a good idea to verify that.

-Brad
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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Thanks for the boosts, Scott and Brad. A couple of questions:

-- I currently run Win XP Pro SP2, and I want to upgrade to SP3 as soon as I get a backup drive. Browser is IE7. The machine is an older Dell D600 Latitude laptop.
-- I should also install FireFox and Chrome on this machine? And I should not have conflicts?
-- I should break away from tables and use more HTML and CSS?
-- I've read about using separate CSS style sheets and selecting one depending on the detected browser. Thoughts?

Thanks again! I'm looking towards a business launch of early June, so this is a major push. Along with about a hundred other things .... Smile Smile Smile

Ed
BradBrown
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If you can't run IE8 to test, I'd recommend adding the meta tag to your site that will tell IE8 to display the page the same way IE7 does: <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7" > (More info: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288325(VS.85).aspx )

You can install Firefox and Chrome on the same machine as IE without any conflicts.

Purists say that tables are bad and CSS based layouts are good. I say go with whatever works best for your situation. There are some things that you can do easily with tables that are very difficult to get working properly in all browsers with CSS based layouts. IMHO, either approach is acceptable if done well, and either approach can be a mess if done badly.

As a general rule, I wouldn't have completely separate style sheets. You'd end up with a lot of duplicate information in them that would make updating the site difficult. I'd have a main style sheet where most things go. If necessary, you can have additional style sheets that just the minimum overrides that are required. For example, you could have a print style sheet that just removes the elements like the menu that wouldn't be needed on a printout. One or more IE specific style sheet could deal with whatever is needed for IE's quirks.

In theory, you can have a stylesheet specifically for mobile devices, as well. In reality, it's not so simple. ( http://www.alistapart.com/articles/retur......ylesheet )

-Brad
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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Thanks for the tips, Brad. Soon's I get my machine backed up and SP3 on, I'll go with FF and Chrome. For mobile, I've got an Env3 which hits the mobile web, and a Verizon VX6900 (HTC Vogue, I think) running WinMo 6.1.

That link's got a lot of good info, Brad. Thanks again!
Ed
ScottRSullivan
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Brad, you beat me to it. Very well said. I don't think I could add much more. The CSS info is the secret. By separating the content from the style, you can make site-wide changes very quickly. You can also make changes for adding compatibility for mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.

When you install Firefox, there's a great extension you can install for developing websites:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/60

This has been the single most useful tool for seeing how things come together on a page. And it's free!
MrHyde
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Great thread, thanks for the answers Scott & Brad, (and the question Ed )

My visitor stats (approx )

IE 60%
Firefox 30%
Chrome 5%
Safari 5%
Opera 1%

With the IE 8.0 38% 6.0 33% 7.o 28%


Scott, can you elaborate what that addon is useful for?
I may not have time to look at it for a while, but would like to know.
ScottRSullivan
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Sure. For one, it helps by showing you, visually, where your elements (<div>, <br>, <H1>, etc.) are so you can align things better. It also shows what the hierarchy is for each div, showing parent/child relationships for divs.

The top bar in the capture below are the new options it gives you in FF.
Image


For example, it let's you know in which "class" or "id" an element belongs, so you can more efficiently make changes to your CSS files. Plus it has an entire CSS section.

In the CSS section, you can disable CSS on any page to see the raw tagging structure of the page (H1, H2, etc.) Here's the same page as above with CSS turned off:
Image


Plus, it validates your code (for example, your CSS, or your RSS Feeds). It can also find broken links on a page, and turn off or on various elements, like background images, all images, etc.
MrHyde
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Scott

as always, you over deliver : )

cheers
TheMagicianGuide
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Wheat Ridge Colorado
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Test your site on as many computers (laptops, even phones these days) and browsers as you can . . . there are not really "industry" standards, but best practices that you can use to accomodate what the most people are surfing with . . . just do the footwork yourself though, make sure to check IE7,8 Mozilla (FireFox), and Chrome (as well as Safari) Those 4 will cover 99% of users these days . . .
TheMagicianGuide.com - National Magician Directory.

The Magician Guide is part of Kids Party Resource network of childrens entertainers and event rentals.
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