Cross browser compatibility or rather incompatibility is something that webmasters hate. The first thing is to stop worrying because you are never going to get your pages displaying the same way in all browsers.

Looking through the statistics for the browsers that are used by visitors to my website for beginners who want to make their own website, I got some results that surprised me.

I’m glad to see that IE seems to have lost control of the browsers. A few months ago they were used by 80%. Now Mozilla and Firefox together account for 38.9% of visitors, and both are produced by the same open-source people.

Why am I glad? Because IE has rejected the W3C standards. Mozilla, Opera and Firefox are compliant to the standards. So if IE disappears we won’t have problems making our sites browser compatible.

Complete Web browser compatibility will always be impossible.

Why? Because you can’t control your visitors. They can override your settings whenever they want.

You can’t design a website so that it will work perfectly for all the different screen resolutions that are possible. I tried it, using percentages in all my width definitions. In my CSS file I set the maximum width to 8 inches. Then I tried all the browsers on 800 pixel resolution. They all ignored the maximum width setting, and IE again failed to work properly.

So I changed the design so that it no longer attempts to work with low resolution screens. It means that I will probably lose most of my low-resolution visitors, but there aren’t many of them.

Supposing by some miracle you could make a browser compatible template, you still can’t control your visitor. She might put two browsers side by side, each taking up half the screen, then you can stop worrying about web browser compatibility – it won’t look the way you want it, however clever you’ve been.

Suppose your visitor has bad eyesight, so she holds down the Ctrl key and hits the + key eight times to make the print really big. Say goodbye to all your careful design once your visitor starts tinkering.

Web-savvy visitors might have extra tool-bars along the top and sides of their screen. You may as well give up! Just run your pages through a validator to get your code right, then hope for the best.

Important differences

ActiveX or Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) are the virus designers targets. That’s why Firefox refuses to handle them, which is just one of the things that makes Firefox safer. If you want to run scripts on your website, I suggest that you learn to use PHP. That will probably work with all browsers – even non-windows browsers.

There is a gleam of hope.

To make money from your internet pages, you must make your site attractive to visitors. They will be more attracted if you fill it with good interesting content, than if it is pretty and full of boring stuff. They won’t mind if web browser compatibility is hopeless. Just test your pages on the three or four top browsers, and if your pages don’t crash completely, visitors will be happy to dig for your exciting content.

Even the diminishing number of visitors using 800 pixel screen resolution will be used to cursoring sideways to read the bits that are off their screen. You won’t be the only webmaster ignoring them.

I’ve found that if I specify all dimensions in pixels (including font sizes) my simple pages will work for all the browsers for all screen resolutions except 800 pixel. If visitors choose to use strange settings on their browsers, they must become used to strange layouts.

Simple pages are usually better. The more clever you try to be, the more likely you are to drive away your visitors. So I’m prepared to put up with that level of cross browser compatibility…under protest.

By admin

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