"Standard" browsers?

Subject: "Standard" browsers?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 11:54:02 -0400

Missed the start of the thread, but it seems to have been Sean
Brierly who observed: <<We have trouble getting all our customers to
use one approved version of a single browser, so getting them
individually to download and install the patch from Microsoft is
unlikely to succeed. Maybe your customers are better.>>

I'm appalled by the corporate arrogance (not Sean's!) that assumes
everyone will change their computers or software to accomodate the
company's browser preference. It's not rocket science to design Web
pages for compatibility across all browsers -- provided you stick to
the core tools and avoid all the fancy bells and whistles that are
generally not necessary.

Yesterday I was investigating the upgrade eligibility requirements
for Adobe Creative Suite CS3 -- and I couldn't even open that page.
So far as I can tell, that's because the link pointed to a Flash
file, and my browser (Safari) wouldn't load the file. (Yes, I have
the Flash player installed and activated, and I was using the
Macintosh page -- which you'd think Adobe would have tested on a
Mac.) In what world does that make sense?

David Neeley responded: <<I respectfully take issue with this
attitude on the part of so many companies, who seek to dictate what
browser people use.>>

I disrespectfully take issue with this attitude. <g> It's nonsense,
and it's time we stopped standing still and accepting it. I have
occasionally written to a company's Webmaster and explained in words
of two syllables or less <g> that I was taking my business elsewhere
until they created a Web site I could use. If we all did that, every
time, things would change. I'm as guilty as the next person for not
complaining as often as I should.

<<I also have a hearty dislike for folks who produce browser-specific
sites, using non-standard functionality of a browser...usually IE.>>

IE is a particularly poor choice because it's an ongoing security
disaster, and "many"* companies have uninstalled it from their
computers for precisely that reason. And designing based on IE
remains a poor choice because Microsoft will have no incentive to
clean up its act until people refuse to use its nonstandard
functionality and start designing for standards-compliant browsers.
If you're going to standardize, use Firefox. Better still, omit all
nonstandard functionality. If you've got to depart from the
standards, at least use Java so that it will be semi-standard across
all browsers and platforms.

* No hard statistics, just anecdotal evidence, but I'd be curious to
learn the actual numbers.

We rarely have any say in what our own Web designers implement, but
by no means should we remain silent when they make boneheaded
decisions. Someone has to stand up for the poor users of our product,
and by doing so, we may save our employer considerable grief in future.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
Coming soon: _Effective onscreen editing_ (http://www.geoff-hart.com/


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"Standard" browsers; was: RE: Standard WinHelp vs. WinHelp 2000: From: David Neeley

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