Sunday, July 23, 2006

Blogs And Your Browser

OK, you've got a kick ass web site. It's attractive, has good content, and it's nicely organised. Then you get email from your friend
Dude, your web site is crap.

How did this happen? You think it looks great.

Frequently, this happens when you design and test your blog for one browser, and your friend uses another. Firefox and Internet Explorer, which use differing code and display standards, are famous for this problem.

Back when the web was young, both Microsoft (developer of Internet Explorer) and Mozilla (developer of Firefox) were members of the WWW Consortium (W3C). One of the tasks of W3C was to develop standards - to say
For this code, this is how it shall be displayed.

Both Microsoft and Mozilla signed off on standards, to make their browsers compatible. Web code (HTML) is supposed to be browser independent. Anything that works in Firefox should work in Internet Explorer, and vice versa.

But Microsoft signed off on the standards, then turned around, wrote Internet Explorer, and ignored those standards. There are significant differences between the way Firefox (standard) and Internet Explorer (non-standard) render HTML. Note that IE V7 appears to be more standards compliant in its rendering.

And that's why blogs (and web sites) written to look good in Internet Explorer may look like crap in Firefox. The bottom line? You have to test your blog, in both browsers, and in all major browser versions, when you make changes. And use common sense. Don't put things (pictures for instance) in places where they don't fit. Check the width of any graphics, before positioning them.

Fortunately, you don't have to have banks of computers, to test all of the possibilities. Free online browser display services, such as AnyBrowser or BrowserShots, will simulate your blog on different browsers. And W3Schools Online Web Tutorials will provide in depth research.

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2 comments:

Statistics to Share said...

Thanks for the links to the free tools!

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

Thanks Nitecruzr for the good advice. This is something that never occured to me.