Those Cross-Browser Blues: How To Develop Web Sites For Both Internet Explorer And Firefox - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
News
News
8/24/2007
09:40 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
4 Keys to Improving Security Threat Detection
Dec 15, 2016
In this webinar, Ixia will show how to combine the four keys to improving security threat detectio ...Read More>>

Those Cross-Browser Blues: How To Develop Web Sites For Both Internet Explorer And Firefox

If you're trying to develop sites that will be compatible with IE, Firefox, and Opera, watch out -- there are still a lot of speed bumps out there. We examine six of them and let you in on some solutions.

It's no surprise that most of the cross-browser issues out there center on Microsoft's Internet Explorer and the Mozilla browser family -- mainly Firefox.

Love it or hate it -- and let's face it, most of us probably either hate it or manifest mere tolerance for it -- Internet Explorer is here to stay, the way Windows itself is probably here to stay. According to the most recent W3Schools report, IE in all its incarnations commands about 58% of the browser usage pie, down from its high of 90% or more, but definitely still large enough to matter.

Then there's the question of which version of IE. IE 6 is still the most widely used version of IE (37%), but IE 7 is gaining fast -- up from 13% at the start of 2007 to nearly 20% of the total. For developers, IE 7 can't catch on fast enough, since it fixes many things that have long been broken in IE 6.

But the introduction of IE 7 is still no cure-all. There are many IE issues that remain outstanding; getting the majority of existing IE users to work with IE 7 (or later) is a slow process; and existing Web sites that are dependent on an IE-specific technology, like ActiveX controls (about which I'll have more to say later), may have trouble switching away to something more browser-neutral.

Against all of this, the Mozilla browser family -- first Netscape, now Firefox -- has made serious inroads. Netscape was the first major Web browser on the PC (aside from NCSA Mosaic, of course), but over time it stagnated and lost out to IE's ascendancy. In only a couple of years, Firefox has turned that situation around and carved out a significant niche across multiple platforms -- 34.5% and climbing, according to the aforementioned report. That said, as Firefox caught on it became clear that many existing sites had been written to favor IE's interpretations of things and didn't render correctly in Firefox.

This situation doesn't seem to be quite as dire as when, say, Firefox was still in its 1.x incarnation. Most broadly trafficked sites today do render properly in both browsers, with only relatively minor variations between them. But Web designers still have to accommodate both IE and Firefox as elegantly as possible -- and to accommodate the smattering of other browsers that have grown in popularity as well: Opera, Safari, and Konqueror, among others.

Incidentally, while Opera doesn't command a very large stake of the browser market, it has a fiercely devoted following. It hews most closely to the Mozilla way of doing things as well, so coding for the most broadly accepted set of Web standards out there will work best for Opera, too.

In the following pages, I look at six major issues that developers should keep in mind when trying to create sites that work properly across all browsers, and provide some possible solutions as well:

Keep in mind that (as we all know) there are so many factors operating when you develop a Web site that not every solution may work for every situation. Also, these categories aren't all-inclusive or closed-ended; something that might be in one category may also lapse slightly into another, or there may be other things I haven't explicitly mentioned that could be dropped into any of them.

Previous
1 of 5
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll