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  1. #1
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    What do you code for?

    I've been wrestling with this for quite some time, and I think I have a solution that works for me, but I hope to spawn some general discussion on the issue, in the hopes of gleaning your insight on this quandry!

    The majority of 'Internet Users' out there are using either Internet Explorer 5.5 or greater, or Netscape 6.0 or greater. These browsers are Very common, and constitute a substantial portion of the browsers used out there. As a web-programmer, It is in my best interests to keep things simple, not only does it make life easier for me, but most importantly, it lowers costs for my client. In my mind, keeping things simple means EXCLUDING off kilter browsers such as Opera, Mozilla, or even the 4.x renditions of Netscape. I can easily code separate pages to maintain true cross browser compatability, but in many cases, this means creating 4, 5, or more iterations of the same page, all coded to render in different browsers, thus costing my client more.

    I agree that ultimately, it depends on the audience, but just where exactly do you all draw the line? How do you handle cross-browser compatibility?

    Thanks, and Warmest Regards,
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: What do you code for?

    When it comes to JavaScript, I am targeting IE5 and higher, and NS6 and higher. I am leery of using CSS2 tags. Do you have other examples of things that are browser-dependent?

    Is it possible to import different stylesheets for different browsers - without a server-side scripting solution (e.g., ASP, SHTML)?

  3. #3
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    Re: What do you code for?

    I would agree with Jefferson - I usually stick to IE5+ and NS6+, depending on my target audience. ALthough, I've been known to code as low as NS4.

    It's nice to see what ASP.NET can do with client-side detection. This prevents having to write multiple pages or use flakey browser-sniffing scripts.

    Also, I'm a big fan of Macromedia Flash content and applications. Flash Player is another browser-independent standard that's efficient, effective, and works in virtually ANY browser that's been on the market less than 7 years!

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    Re: What do you code for?

    Kel, I'm more or less on the same side of the fence as everyone else here. I have my own personal rule of thumb that I use as a general guideline: the age of the browser in question.

    IE is overwhelmingly the browser of choice - since it's foisted upon every Windows based PC out there. Netscape 6.x and its variants make up a much smaller percentage, but good coding will work with both platforms. The off kilter browsers that you speak of don't amount to much more than a percentage point or two, if that, in the server logs that I look at, so I don't consider them for specific pages that will render (provided there's a notice). That said, which iterations do you support? If a browser's core code is no longer supported by the developer, I don't support it either. That means anything earlier than IE 5.5x and Netscape 6 - before NS6 was around, I didn't worry about NS4, because it was extremely long in the tooth. That logic pattern leaves me with two platforms, IE and NS - and the first gets the most attention because it's what I see in server logs. I try to view all of my pages on a system with IE6 and another with NS6, and if all is in working order, I'm happy. I also provide a feedback option in case someone has problems and is compelled to tell me, which seems to be fairly rare. Most people blame Windows instead of their browser. <img src=/S/devil.gif border=0 alt=devil width=15 height=15>

    Even with that logic in place, I still eschew more advanced things such as CSS2, complex scripts and the like because making them work can be a pain even on one platform. Unless there's a specific need by a client for something one of these technologies provides, I try not to use them in publicly targeted websites, because I can always noodle with them on my personal site.
    -Mark

  5. #5
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    Re: What do you code for?

    Interesting!

    I would think that you could simply define the stylesheet source inside of some browser-sniffing JavaScript... shouldn't that work? [img]/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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    Re: What do you code for?

    Flash is DEFINITELY on my list of things to master. I've got Swish down, but I was a programmer first, and find swish to be very limiting.

    I think that sinks it then. With so much content online, much of which being inaccessible at the lower end of the browser totem-pole, I can simply assume that my audience has already upgraded their browser, and if not, give them a device to do it themselves. I will say though, that Dreamweaver MX has a horrible tendency to throw everything into Div's, causing any iteration of netscape to puke all over itself! <img src=/S/puke.gif border=0 alt=puke width=60 height=15>

    The KISS doctrine rules again! (Keep It Simple, Stupid) not only does it make life easier, it also lowers costs, and being the low price leader is good for business! <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15> thanks for the insight!!
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  7. #7
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: What do you code for?

    > I would think that you could simply define the stylesheet source inside of some browser-sniffing JavaScript... shouldn't that work? [img]/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

    The reason I'm not sure about that is I think maybe the CSS is downloaded and parsed before the page is displayed, and I think scripts execute as the page is being displayed (or later), so I'm not sure the timing would work out. Admittedly, haven't tested it, and maybe it would not be hard to test.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: What do you code for?

    Netscape 6 doesn't like DIVs? or it doesn't like to position them where they're supposed to be...

    There was a great link here to a site that explains how to stop using tables for layout, but it depends on DIVs working...

  9. #9
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    Re: What do you code for?

    Javascript, and HTML for that matter, execute code in the order it's 'recieved'... so in theory, you could put a series of if...then statements in javascript (in the header) that would determine the browser, and load a stylesheet accordingly...
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  10. #10
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    Re: What do you code for?

    If I remember correctly, it uses the <div> tag to define things as simple as alignment. NS6 views this as a layered Div, and pukes it onto the page in the most unlikely place... I suppose if I were to define the absolute position of each div, it would render fine, but what a pain!
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    Re: What do you code for?

    <hr>There was a great link here to a site that explains how to stop using tables for layout, but it depends on DIVs working...<hr>

    That would be this article. ..

    http://www.alistapart.com/stories/practicalcss/

    I don't know about Netscape 6, but it works pretty good in IE5+ and Mozilla.

  12. #12
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    Re: What do you code for?

    <img src=/S/hello.gif border=0 alt=hello width=25 height=29>

    I wouldn't categorize Opera and Mozilla as "off kilter" browsers. They follow web standards better than most browsers. BTW, Netscape uses Mozilla's engine. IMO, the best approach is to code to web standards and back off when you need to. Use, XHTML Transitional & CSS1. The major browsers are converging on the standards.(Web Developers have been screaming at them for years!) It's turning into a battle of the extra features. If you code as close as you can to the standards, you won't have to worry about when the next versions of the major browsers come out or if different browsers become the major browsers. Also, it is possible that your users won't be using a traditional browser(PDA's, Cell Phones, VR Googles, R2 units with holographic projectors <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>...). Coding to the standards is supposed to make it easier for these "other" browsers to view your web site, or at least make it easier for you to come up with versions that will work in those formats.

    <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>

  13. #13
    Super Moderator WebGenii's Avatar
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    Re: What do you code for?

    I just did a little Flash animation for a website I'm working on in lieu of the boring picture on their welcome page. I was very pleased when I looked the at file sizes. Original boring picture (poor quality) 13k. New Flash animation 17k. I think that is a reasonable tradeoff!

    Cheers
    [b]Catharine Richardson (WebGenii)
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