Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Rapid Browser Development Challenges Web Developers

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the commitment-is-too-scary dept.

The Internet 221

Esther Schindler writes "Feeling a little overwhelmed by changing web standards and new browser choices? You aren't the only one. Mozilla is launching development tracks for the next two editions of its Firefox Web browser immediately, with hopes to push both into general release before the end of the year. This while Microsoft previews Internet Explorer 10 on the heels of its IE9 release, and Google projects Chrome 13 just one year after Chrome 7. Meanwhile, HTML5, the next version of the Web's primary language, appears to have entered a permanent gestation phase. Writes Scott Fulton: All the confusion has prompted Web developers to ask this question: What do we develop our sites against now?"

cancel ×

221 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

HTML 3.2 (3, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302050)

HTML 3.2. If you can't do it with HTML 3.2, you don't really need to do it.

Re:HTML 3.2 (3, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302070)

IE7. If you can't do it with IE7, our clients don't want it. :(

Re:HTML 3.2 (2)

ep32g79 (538056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302146)

IE7. If you can't do it with IE7, our clients don't want it. :(

Consider yourself lucky, I'm still stuck with supporting IE6. PNG overlays, forgettaboutit.

Re:HTML 3.2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302384)

pngfix.js?

Re:HTML 3.2 (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302792)

Not if you want translucent PNGs for a background.

morse code, the only programming language you need (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302872)

if you can't do it with a telegraph then you don't need to do it.

Re:HTML 3.2 (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302248)

Really, if your software doesn't work on Lynx...

Re:HTML 3.2 (2)

itchythebear (2198688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302158)

Yeah sure, i'll just file that quote alongside "640k ought to be enough for anybody".

Re:HTML 3.2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302672)

Until you lose all that form data because the page reloaded to tell you that the username you specified was unavailable.

Re:HTML 3.2 (3, Insightful)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302788)

HTML 4.01 Strict. At least until W3C comes back to its senses and drops the "living standard" crap for HTML5.

why, standards, of course (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302074)

What do we develop our sites against now?"

Why, standards, of course. To develop a web site "against" or "for" browsers is having lost the battle before you've even started it.

Re:why, standards, of course (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302106)

You must have not been paying attention over the past 15 years; the battle was already lost, people have been developing against browsers and not standards for a long time.

Hit standards, miss the market (2, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302168)

See comment on "testing" - if we simply targeted standards, we'd never deliver product.

BTW, this happens in other industries too. Life is harder than college - get used to it.

Re:Hit standards, miss the market (4, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302232)

See comment on "testing" - if we simply targeted standards, we'd never deliver product.

You target standards, and test with a validator before it even hits the first browser in test phase 2. That reduces the delivery time.
Especially when a new browser comes out in the middle of the development process, and you won't have to rewrite a single line of code.
Oh, and it will be future proof too, and work just as well in Firefox 7 as in IE 12.

Re:Hit standards, miss the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302464)

You cannot possibly be serious. It is impossible to know how a browser will render certain constructs. Just with tables (i.e. tables within tables with tables with conflicting constraints, horizontal alignment) and once you get to CSS and Javascript it get much worse.

But that has always been the situation, the w3c from the beginning did an abominable job at standardization and interoperability. It's just the way it is and we have to deal with it. But just because it is doesn't mean it's not an abomination.

Re:Hit standards, miss the market (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302648)

You cannot possibly be serious. It is impossible to know how a browser will render certain constructs.

Which is exactly the point. You don't know, so don't make any assumptions about it either. If you have coded for the standards, it will render it readable, and quite likely looking good too.
Even when the users do such unthinkable things as changing the defaults, or downloading a browser that wasn't even out when you made the site.

(Unlike the latest incarnation of this site, I may add, which looks horrid for quite a few users because the clueless designer obviously targeted it at specific browsers, DPI settings and font sizes.)

Re:Hit standards, miss the market (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302514)

LOL, is that something that one of your comp. sci. professors taught you? Or are you the professor preaching that crap to your students?

You're spewing bullshit and nonsense theory like only an academic, or somebody who is gullible enough to listen to an academic, can. In the real world, everything you just said is totally false or totally inapplicable.

Re:Hit standards, miss the market (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302720)

You target standards, and test with a validator before it even hits the first browser in test phase 2

Which would be more useful, if browsers met those standards reliably. Even modern browsers have quirks. In IE 9 for example rounded borders suddenly stop working on a fieldset if it has a legend.

I am fortunate enough to only have to deal with vaguely modern browsers (I mostly work on a non public app where we can set reasonable minimum requirements for supported browsers) but there are still nasties and work around we employ now may well bite us and require reworking when a new browser version turns up.

Re:why, standards, of course (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302234)

You must have not been paying attention over the past 15 years; the battle was already lost, people have been developing against browsers and not standards for a long time.

Just because it's the way it has always been done doesn't mean that it is correct. Develop for standards. The browser that best supports the standards will be the one that wins. The browser developers should be the ones aiming for compatibility, not the web developers. Once you make the switch, the only viable browsers are the ones that support standards. Bye bye IE. See you never.

If enough high profile clients complain to microsoft that their browser makes their site look funny, maybe they will actually fix it. I realize this is easier said than done, but it's a case of throw a handful of developers for the browsers at the problem to make it standards compliant, or throw millions of developers at the web programming end to try to keep up with it. On the other hand Woo! Job Security!

Re:why, standards, of course (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302284)

Yes, because the average user can fully differentiate between whether the site was coded improperly or the browser is rendering it improperly.

Re:why, standards, of course (1)

achbed (97139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302920)

The browser that best supports the standards will be the one that wins.

Wrong. The browser that the corporate IT organizations use wins. Period. If some giant corp requires the use of IE6, you will code to that because they will not allow you to dictate the internal "approved" infrastructure because you want something fancy like proper DIV handling or modern security. The larger the company, the more it becomes "the devil you know".

Re:why, standards, of course (1, Insightful)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36303016)

if you think IE is ubiquitous because web developers never took a stand against it, you are hopelessly naive. the microsoft standard wasn't created by developers, it was created by businesses who put millions of IE browsers in front of their workers. IE won't go away simply because some other browser developer will make a better browser -- that's already been done! good lord, you are naive.

your idyllic utopia:

pogue: look boss, this website we developed for the company looks like crap on IE browsers when we follow web standards.
boss: oh that's alright. you did it the right way, despite that the majority of users have IE. i'll just complain to microsoft and they should have their browsers fixed before our launch deadline.

reality:

pogue: look boss, this website we developed for the company looks like crap on IE browsers when we follow web standards.
boss: well make it look good in IE (as well as other browsers that follow web standards to differing degrees), and your deadline still stands. oh, and there's a list of features we'd like to add while you're in there testing. some of them contradict the user stories you've been building for. make it work in IE 5.5 for mac too. because my mom uses that, and when i show it off to her i want it to look perfect.

Re:why, standards, of course (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36303026)

The question is are the standards evolving as fast as the functionality needed on today's web pages? With the proliferation of browsers and each of them trying to out do the others in feature and performance will they let standards get in the way or just support the new functionality even if it breaks the standards. Most web users, both public and business users, could really give a shit whether the browser is standards compliant they just want the functionality to work and the web developers in the business sector in particular are not going to hold up the development just because they might have to violate the standards. This entire issue is really no different than all the other aspects of modern system design. Things change rapidly. From cpu's, OS's, and development models what worked last week might not work this week. As a developer it seems like right when you get proficient on a particular set of technology the technology changes and you have to start over again. It makes for an interesting job but can be a pain in the ass sometimes.

HTML5 (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302934)

That is one of the many reasons why we have HTML5 now, so we don't need to do that.

And the standard is.... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302142)

....IE 6!

Re:And the standard is.... (2)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302228)

We desperately need a "sad but true" mod.

Re:why, standards, of course (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302190)

Yeah, but what standard? That's the problem. For a number of years, ever since we got past the bad old days of Netscape vs. IE, you could point at HTML $NUMBER and say, "that's it, that's the standard." Kind of the point of TFA is that you can't do that anymore, or won't be able to shortly, and it sucks.

Re:why, standards, of course (2)

ep32g79 (538056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302348)

Yeah, but what standard?

In most of my web development work it's always been the client that sets the standard. There have been some clients that have said "Support IE6 and beyond" (/cringe) and others that have more reasonable standards, e.g. IE7+, Firefox 3.5+, Chrome 9+

Re:why, standards, of course (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302574)

First develop for modern standards, most of which are implemented on modern browsers. Use feature detection for features that may not be implemented in old browsers that people are still using (*cough* IE6/7/8 *cough*) and find an alternate route for those old browsers, fixing any other quirks you find those browsers create. Otherwise you end up with a website like the US government's FAFSA website (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov), where IE9, FF4, Chr9+, and O11 are not supported (only IE9, through quirks-mode a.k.a. pretending to be IE8, can fill out the FAFSA; otherwise all modern browsers are sent to an incompatible browser page https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/errors?page=incompatibleBrowser). If your develop for browsers, you end up with something stupid like this in the worst-case scenarios. If you develop for standards (which, once they reach last call or recommendation status, tend not to change rapidly), you just have to ask the browser if it supports that part of the standard, and if not, then you rattle your head as to why people are still using things like IE6 and try to figure out a workaround in those odd cases..

Re:why, standards, of course (5, Insightful)

Phyridean (1122061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302224)

Not that I disagree with your philosophy, but this is rather like saying "Don't develop for real-world conditions. Develop for our theories! I don't care that the real world doesn't conform to our theories, it really should." and then being surprised that whatever you're building doesn't actually work.

Re:why, standards, of course (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302344)

Not that I disagree with your philosophy, but this is rather like saying "Don't develop for real-world conditions. Develop for our theories! I don't care that the real world doesn't conform to our theories, it really should." and then being surprised that whatever you're building doesn't actually work.

And that is how you should develop. But, you should, of course test against real world conditions, once you have working code, and not a moment before.
Fix or adjust for the few browser-specific issues that may be left at that point -- they will be far fewer than the issues you create if you code for real world browsers - that's painting yourself into a corner, and pretty much guaranteeing that your product will fail spectacularly when a new browser enters the market.

Resist the temptation to want to see how the web site looks before it's finished. It doesn't buy you anything, and sidetracks you. If you build a building, you build it according to code, and don't build it to fit particular users, or move the windows and resize the doors while building because of how one individual is built.

Re:why, standards, of course (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302680)

LOL, you're so silly. Have you ever done any actual software development? Any at all?

Re:why, standards, of course (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302768)

LOL, you're so silly. Have you ever done any actual software development? Any at all?

Since the days of Mosaic, actually. And as late as, um, today?
More than two million lines of code according to the CMS, both front-end and back-end. Including, most likely, several sites you have been on, and may even have bookmarks to.

For the past decade or so, the only times I have had to modify a site after delivery is when the customer asked for functionality changes, or someone else had messed up the site by adding browser-specific code.

Now what are your qualifications again, Anonymous Coward?

Again: What standards? (1, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302954)

Yeah, we should be writing standards compliant code. Nobody disagrees with that. However, all of the browsers only implement a subset of the standard, and if you implement an important feature using part of the standard that isn't well supported yet, then you fucked up. Last minute tweaking won't fix that; you have to completely redo the code using a different approach.

You need to know what subset of the standard to use before you start coding. This is arguably getting more difficult these days as W3C takes ages to release a standard and WHATWG has decided to abandoned released standards, and instead continually adding to a moving "standard".

The difficulties in trying to determine this subset is the point of the article.

Re:why, standards, of course (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302328)

What do we develop our sites against now?"

Why, standards, of course. To develop a web site "against" or "for" browsers is having lost the battle before you've even started it.

The de facto standard is IE. You probably mean a different standard?

Re:why, standards, of course (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302732)

The de facto standard is IE.

Which version? I know at least a dozen differences in rendering of HTML 4.01/CSS2 between any two major versions of IE out there.

Re:why, standards, of course (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302482)

It's funny - HTML5 was a reaction against the W3C and against standards in general. It is basically a long wish list, with the current "spec" defined by the subset of the list that a majority of browsers implement at any given point in time. I'm not even sure the term 'valid html5' is meaningful. Is this the wave of the future, or an anomaly?

Separate content from presentation (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 3 years ago | (#36303102)

To develop a web site "against" or "for" browsers is having lost the battle before you've even started it.

One way to avoid this is not to write content in HTML directly. Write in LaTeX or DocBook or a similar language that separates content from presentation [wikipedia.org] , in order to insulate your content from changing HTML standards. Then have your script publish to the latest HTML standard. When the HTML standard changes, simply update the conversion tool.

Testing (3, Interesting)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302094)

Testing has become a bigger pain then it used to be. Before I could cover everything (except browsers on OS X) in just a handful of virtual machines. Now? The number of parallel installs required and the constant need to add new browser versions is becoming a pain.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe it's simpler just to test against an older version of the browser (ie chrome 6) and the latest (chrome 12) and run with the assumption that nothing is broken in between. Thoughts?

Re:Testing (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302134)

You could always put up a "This site is best viewed in ..." button, for that touch of 90s nostalgia.

Re:Testing (2)

starsky51 (959750) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302246)

Take a look at Spoon [spoon.net] . It's a browser plugin that launches applications in their own virtualised environment. Meaning that different versions of the same browser can run alongside each other, without you having to con Windows into it.

Re:Testing (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302756)

Thanks, I'll give that a shot.

Re:Testing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302370)

Not necessarily a good assumption, but it has been my experience that people either don't update because they have some piece of software holding them back that prevents them from updating, or don't update because they don't know any better. If the latter, they can be told to upgrade fairly easily, and the process is not difficult. If the former, well, they can just use a different browser for everything but the piece of shit software that won't support anything that was released less than 2 years ago. (I'm looking at you *nameless company who makes software a lot of universities use for a whole bunch of stuff*) Quite frankly, we have provided a thinapp internally that runs the old version of firefox because this program doesn't even support IE8 yet and only started supporting IE 7 a few months ago, but feel as though if the companies making these monstrous packages can't be bothered to upgrade their software to work with modern browsers, they should provide their own bloody "browser" and just make the whole thing a proprietary app. It's not like they haven't made it so much of a pain in the ass that it wouldn't matter to their clients if they did. If they did provide their own for this purpose only browser, locked down to a certain set of URLs for internal use, at least their clients wouldn't be courting disaster every time they browsed the internet with their horribly out of date unpatched "multi purpose" browser.

I don't see the point of busting your ass to make things compatible for people (or companies) who are too lazy or uninformed to upgrade, or why companies pay people to bust their asses to do this. If you have a customer who would be alienated by having to spend 3 minutes to update their web browser screw em. They should get off the internet. Many flash apps require you to update to the latest version of flash player to use their content. Why us doing the same thing with websites so horrifying to people?

I would rather web developers were able to find time to make sure their sites were accessible to the visually impaired and the color blind rather than frantically try to make things work for people who don't know how to run windows update or click OK on the update box.

On the other hand, If people want to see the (potentially) degraded content, it should be allowed. The "I don't recognize your browser so I'm not going to let you look at my site" thing was really frustrating when I was experimenting with Opera, OmniWeb and iCab (there's a blast from the past) Yay fake User Agent strings!

Re:Testing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302394)

Since you have to go out of your way to prevent Chrome from automatically updating itself, we've decided we will only support the latest version of Chrome, whatever that happens to be. We would like to use this same policy for all "rapid release" browsers, but it remains to be seen if Firefox will auto-update as painlessly as Chrome. If it doesn't, my personal opinion is to drop support for Firefox out of sheer impracticality.

Re:Testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302750)

My copy of Firefox can't handle updates at all, let alone automatically applying them. I'm running 3.6.15 (yeah, I know, I haven't got round to running the dmg to upgrade to 4 yet) and it can't see any updates when told to check for updates - but there's 3.6.16, 3.6.17 or 4.whatever available. Thunderbird did the exact same thing.

Re:Testing (2)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302504)

I'm starting to wonder if maybe it's simpler just to test against an older version of the browser (ie chrome 6) and the latest (chrome 12) and run with the assumption that nothing is broken in between. Thoughts?

Regarding Chrome specifically, it is very simple. Virtually nobody has an old version of Chrome as it gets updated automatically (and this really works - look at the statistics two weeks after a new version came out). So just test against stable, beta and dev.

Re:Testing (1)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302738)

Fair enough. I originally wrote "firefox 3" and "firefox 4", but figured that though the spread is growing, not everybody may think that 3.5/6 are hiding in there. You are correct, chrome is a silly example. Running it on linux, I wasn't aware of the autoupdate feature on other platforms.
It's more the leap from ie7 -9 that's starting to get me, along with firefox. And mobile testing, bah.

Re:Testing (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302806)

Hardly anyone runs the old version of Chrome [getclicky.com] just a week or two after a new version is released. Why the hell are you testing against many different versions of Chrome? Do you bill by the hour?

I have a challenge for web developers (0, Redundant)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302114)

Stop making links open new tabs. Let me decide when to use a tab and when I want it to just be a back-button away!

( Sorry, I admit I didn't really have anything productive to add to this particular discussion. )

Re:I have a challenge for web developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302486)

You can probably fix that with a browser setting in many situations. Perhaps you have it default to open in a new tab, and default to the new tab having focus.

It's more upsetting to me when they break my middle-click functionality. If I use the "open in a new tab" button, it means I want to open it in a new tab.

Until user agents save data entered in DHTML forms (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302802)

Let me decide when to use a tab and when I want it to just be a back-button away!

Navigating away from a page and then navigating back with the back button tends to lose data entered into a form if the form is created with DHTML (manipulation of the HTML DOM by script). So until user agents* figure out how to preserve data in a DHTML-generated form, we're stuck with opening a document in target="_blank".

* The phrase "until user agents" appears often in the WCAG where it describes workarounds for deployed browsers' failure to implement proposed elements and attributes that improve accessibility.

Easy...Netscape Navigator (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302118)

Just avoid the blink tag and you should be fine.

Side note: A blink tag for /. would come in handy...

Re:Easy...Netscape Navigator (2)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302814)

Just avoid the blink tag and you should be fine.

I saw Marc Andreessen give a talk shortly after the initial public release of the Netscape Navigator code. One of the things he mentioned was that the very first patch they received from outside Netscape was one to make the blink tag work with images!

The little remaining faith I had in humanity died that day. :)

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302130)

Make it functional in IE6 and above. Make it pretty in IE8 and above. If your site generates gazillions of dollars, make it pretty in IE6 and above.

As an end-user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302148)

As an end-user, I'm perfectly happy with Firefox 3.6. I tried FF 4 on another computer just for testing and didn't really see any difference aside from some minor UI changes.

Re:As an end-user... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302548)

You obviously don't run any benchmarks. Try Acid1, 2, and 3 - then try Peacekeeper. The side-by-side results from FF3.6 and FF4.0 aren't overly dramatic, but they do show that FF4 has more capability than 3.6 Then, try FF5b and FF6a to see even more improvements.

Failing to upgrade won't mean that you are left behind overnight - but you may find yourself left behind if you don't pay attention. "Hey, AC, have you seen that cool new shits on wildwhackybling.com?" "Nahhhh, that shits won't load in my browser, so I just closed the tab." "Man, you gotta get with the times!!! Change to blah-blah browser, then go to wildwhackybling!"

Re:As an end-user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302870)

Of course I'm not running benchmarks. I use my browser for viewing web sites, not running benchmarks. FF 3.6 works fine for all of the sites I use and FF 4 didn't show any improvement.

The AllBrowsers service (-1, Troll)

sloshdotter (2218566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302156)

There is a service [tinyurl.com] that renders your webpage in more that 25 different browsers (many versions of all major browsers). Its free, but it you pay them a bit, they prioritize you. As a web developer it really saved me a lot of time.

Re:The AllBrowsers service (4, Insightful)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302200)

I'm not going to click on your link as it's a tinyurl. This isn't Twitter; you can link to proper URLs here, so that people can actually see where they're going before they click.

Re:The AllBrowsers service (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302202)

Goatse link.

Re:The AllBrowsers service (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302256)

Preview of TinyURL.com/5szfvml
This TinyURL redirects to:

        data:text/html;base64,PHRpdGxlPllvdXIgdXJsIGF
udGktc2hvcnRlbmVyIHdvcmtzPzwvdGl0bGU+PGltZyBz
cmM9aHR0cDovL2JpdC5seS9lakdqdEsgaGVpZ2h0PTEwM
CUgLz4K

which is:

<title>Your url anti-shortener works?</title><img src=http://bit.ly/ejGjtK height=100% />

which is a link to goatse.

Re:The AllBrowsers service (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302498)

yup, thanks Chrome! :)

Flash (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302198)

Use HTML4 and Flash. That's good enough for everyone that matters. :-)

Re:Flash (1, Funny)

TarMil (1623915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302356)

So for you, iOS doesn't matter?

Re:Flash (2)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302450)

Nope, I have an Android phone :)

Re:Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302748)

yes. fuck the iPhone and every other iShit device and the idiots who bought them.

What do we develop against? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302210)

IE8. IE6 is dead, IE8 is going to be the biggest common denominator at least until extended support for Windows XP ends.

Listen up, Mozilla: Microsoft still defines the web. If you want to change that, you need to become much more predictable and stop mixing production software and experimental features. Anyone who targets your software learns very quickly that a maintenance nightmare is unavoidable, unless one restricts everything to a stable feature-set, for example that which is also available in IE8.

Re:What do we develop against? (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302492)

I ran into an issue with IE with CSS. (Besides the transparency tag difference for IE vs FF, Chome, Opera, Safari). I have some blank DIV's setup as spacers in a list (think of like a vertical UL).

I had to mimick a pre-existing Flash based site into just HTML, CSS, JavaScript. Only had a short period to do this for a lady in another department (mostly because it's not a department we oversee, so it was more of a when I had free time deal). Anyhow, looks the same in FF, Chrome, Opera, Safari.. but hit it with IE and the DIV heights just go to shit and the list basically goes from the top to the bottom of the screen. Stupid IE.

Re:What do we develop against? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302972)

Blank divs as spacers??? As much as i dislike IE, i don't think you can really blame it for rendering your bodgy web design badly.

IE8 is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302580)

IE8 is dead. If you develop for IE8 you're throwing away 75% of the functionality.
Unless your target audience is noobs, then HAHA.

Re:IE8 is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36303010)

PHBs are a special class of noobs. Ones who have control of a lot of paychecks. So, yes, the target audience is generally noobs.

IE6 (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302238)

with flash if you want to be fancy.

This is why (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302244)

This is why I got out of any type of web design work, and if a friend asks me to make them a site, I just say no. This is just going to keep happening and happening. Just wait till IE20 & FF20 are out.

Re:This is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302424)

So... next year?

Wait until 2014. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302290)

Then HTML5 will be finalized and XP will have its support dropped so no more IE6,7 and 8 to worry about. Until then design for IE7/Firefox 3.6 and if your business still needs IE6 then install another browser, the world isn't going cater to your old browser forever, no matter how persistent your incompetent managers are.

tus sorular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302322)

http://www.tusason.com/tus-sorulari.html

BlueGriffon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302346)

WYSIWYG html editors [bluegriffon.org] will always be used by the large majority of cheap developers, so whatever they spit out is the lowest common denominator.

HTML5 or GTFO (1)

LavosPhoenix (743501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302350)

Simple, just use HTML5. If your POS browser doesn't support it then delegate that browser or user to the ash heap of history.

This article is confused (4, Informative)

roca (43122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302388)

This article is confused in so many ways, it's hard to know where to begin.

One big thing that it misses is that a lot of "HTML5" is actually writing a detailed spec for existing features that were never properly specified (e.g., HTML parsing). And a lot of the work of implementing HTML5 in a browser is to get those details right so they're the same across browsers. That helps Web authors who aren't even using any of the new features.

The list of HTML5 features has many errors. "contenteditable" is nothing to do with Web Forms and is not new in HTML5; it's been implemented in all browsers for a long time, and HTML5 just provides a (partial) spec for it. Falling back to SVG when canvas isn't available would be a mistake since every browser that supports SVG also supports canvas.

I don't know how Microsoft's "native" sloganeering got mixed up in there, because it's completely irrelevant, but let's point out that it's completely bogus. It's not even clear what they mean by "native"; the best guess is that it means "abstraction layers are bad so a browser that only runs on Windows 7 must be the best", which is complete nonsense.

John Foliot is wrong about the need for frozen spec snapshots. We often find errors in supposedly "stable" parts of the spec; if those parts are frozen in some official snapshot, that just means the snapshot is going to be more wrong than the the up-to-date version.

Web developers should always look at the latest versions of the specs for the features they use. They should decide what features to use by looking at the browser usage of their user community and making their own cost/benefit calculations.

Re:This article is confused (2)

merreborn (853723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302630)

They should decide what features to use by looking at the browser usage of their user community and making their own cost/benefit calculations.

I'm involved with a site that's 44% IE6-8. We've even got a vocal (albeit tiny) set of users running IE6 on Windows 2000 or older, which means they don't even have the full set of IE6 service packs (only XP and newer got anything more recent than IE6 SP1).

It's delightful.

Answer: Discipline, Lists... (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302392)

The obvious answer would be to only implement known-good solutions that work across all major browsers-- something that would be easily implemented by making a list.

Unfortunately, the "web development industry," which ranges from people who couldn't get hired by McDonalds and who are charging less hourly than McDonalds pays, to people charging upwards of $350/hr, is not exactly known for either discipline or standards.

IE always broken. (-1, Redundant)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302398)

The weaken chain is IE. That is broken is always innovating in new ways a browser can be broken. So even if everyone else invent fast than light travel, you still have to code your webpages to support IE, so you have to write the page with elegant code, then convert your code in a braindead and demonic mix of patched to make it work for IE.

IE, all versions, is a piece of shit.

Confusion? Challenge? (1)

BrooksMarlin (141819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302472)

It's is the same it's always been: you develop against the worst browser that has significant penetration. From 2001-2008 this was IE6 and you were stuck with it, now that IE6 has finally dropped below 5% [wikimedia.org] (my arbitrary cutoff) I can simply ignore it, and get mad at IE7 instead. Chrome 6 vs 12? Firefox 3.6 vs 4? Who gives a shit! As long as the IEs lag so far behind everyone else, they are the roadblocks and causes of confusion in web development. Not the minor differences between the actual modern browsers.

The fight goes on and on (3, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302522)

The creators and maintainers of HTML and XHTML have said over and over that the language is a description of content and absolutely not in any manner a design for presentation. Presentation was to be left to the browser and the user.

Well, that lasted all of about five minutes. The first thing that came along was the use of white-space spacing graphics and tables to push things around so they looked consistent across varying screen widths - so that the 800x600 screen looked like the 1024x768 screen. To make the presentation customized as designed by the web developer (and whoever is paying them) and to have a consistent user experience. Not at all what the design of HTML is for.

So today we have web sites developed with the specific intent of circumventing the design of HTML and XHTML. Amazingly, these design hacks are not something that anyone really tests for in browser development - they are interested in developing something that meets the criteria of the design of HTML, not the intent of the web developer. In a few cases there are actually things that have been adopted into the browser design to make the web developer's life easier. Since these things are clearly non-standard and unique to a particular browser they make the web developer's life hell.

So where there were maybe 4 or 5 specific platforms to test against before, now there are far more. 15? 20? More?

The real solution is to have a web presentation language that does define presentation, which is what just about everyone really wants. Except for the maintainers of the HTML standard. Not only is the problem not going to get any better, by definition we have two groups moving in different directions. It is going to get a lot worse and probably at an expotential rate.

Re:The fight goes on and on (1)

surveyork (1505897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302848)

+1

Re:The fight goes on and on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302862)

Mod parent +Insightful

Re:The fight goes on and on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302878)

The real solution is to have a web presentation language that does define presentation, which is what just about everyone really wants.

I am not a web developer, and this is the thing I have never understood. Why in the world do the web developers want a page to look consistent on all user agents? That's dumb. As a user, I just want your content: hypertext--text and hyperlinks. I don't care what color, width, or fonts you want stuff to be rendered in. That's my business.

All that matters to me is the information your website gives me, and what it allows me to do. Quit wasting so much of everyone's resources on what it looks like. I have the power to change that at my own whim anyway.

Re:The fight goes on and on (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36303064)

I am not a web developer, and this is the thing I have never understood. Why in the world do the web developers want a page to look consistent on all user agents? That's dumb. As a user, I just want your content: hypertext--text and hyperlinks. I don't care what color, width, or fonts you want stuff to be rendered in.

But then most web page designers would be out of a job. Someone has to decide whether the page should use 36-point Comic Sans or 12-point Times Vogon.

Re:The fight goes on and on (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36303068)

1999 called, it wants its rant back. Where have you been this last decade?

Seriously, with CSS (W3C, not coincidently the same maintainers of HTML) we have that web presentation language and it works pretty well across all major browsers. If you want to give your users a 'consistent user experience', CSS will force it upon them.

Even with differences between CSS versions and DOM implementations we have it much easier than when frames, white 1px images, ActiveX hacks and tables were the way to do "web design". Those 'designed for IE' labels weren't for show: getting that consistent user experience was a beast for a single browser and nearly impossible across multiple browsers.

Nowadays we have 3 major rendering engines: Trident, Gecko and Webkit. You have differences between IE-versions that you should test for, but it's rare that a Firefox or Chrome/Safari update would ruin your site. Between CSS being the norm and having a number of great Javascript libraries to work with, web development is a breeze compared to the old days.

Now get off my lawn!

Why, the same standards as always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302560)

Adobe Flash

Never ending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302562)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNTxr2NJHa0

Just a WebDev's opinion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302606)

I see lots of people who are probably not employed as web dev's attempting to speak as such, I'm employed as one (I do more layout using CSS and heavy JS development [current codebase - all internal and can't be released - 1200 lines handwritten]).

Develop for IE7. That's your lowest. UNLESS you know that your crowd is going to be using better, such as Beta services usually attract users of Chrome and Firefox with iOS and Android coming in, then target those. If you include vendor prefixed, include all of them, even if it is a little bloated (Yes even -o and -ms). Polyfill what you can, and develop against standards and then change based on testing. So first make fully compliant, then test against IE7. Make sure it's what you want. Then check to see if you regressed anything. Regardless of what people say, DO NOT USE hacks, use Conditional statements for IE (stylesheets work best). Never write something that exploits bugs, that's asking for trouble. After IE7 is done, check IE 8 XP, IE8 Windows 7, IE9, Firefox stable, Chrome stable, and that's it. Opera is conformant (mainly) to Webkit, which Chrome stable will be a lower version, and is close enough to Safari that it's not worth the trouble.

That's how I write it, and I've NEVER had layout bugs. I keep 2 OS's (Windows XP and Windows 7) with 6+ browsers (Opera latest, Chrome Canary, Chrome Dev, Chrome Stable, Safari 5, IE7, IE9, Firefox Aurora, Firefox Stable, Lynx) so that I know I can recreate 90%+ of the problems.

Oh, and don't ignore accessibility. It's important to crawlers, screenreaders, and you in the future (if you need to munge the data).

Headline is completely backwards (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302616)

Should be:

"Rapid web copy-pasta challenges browser developers."

And the fact that the "standards" are little more than committee wishlists doesn't help much.

It's a conspiracy to keep us buying books ... (1)

WebManWalking (1225366) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302674)

... so that we'll never actually get rich.

Evolutionary Dead End. (3, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302740)

So -- We took SGML document language, then slapped on a shitty scripting language that successfully rode Java's coat-tails, on no other merit than "it's what's available". Then we tried to formalize everything, HTML5 got delayed (is still being delayed) for EIGHT YEARS...

All for what? What did we do with a stateless distributed document display system and a scripting language? Why we built stateful applications out of them.

We all booed and hissed at ActiveX and Java -- native code is insecure, no one has the right Java version installed, it's a slow VM! -- But now we take JavaScript and compile it into insecure native machine code, run it in a slow hybrid VM, and no two browsers have the all the same features, and visitors don't have a common version installed.

Meanwhile someone discovered that if you give the general public access to a software repository, and give coders a stable platform and channel to access customers via -- You can do the exact same bullshit as a web-app with less resources, and make it graphically slick too. (Of course fracturing is starting to happen again -- The old beast of platform diversity rares its head -- Google needs to step up and say: "If you don't give your users the updates after a set period, you can't access the Marketplace with new devices" [with an exemption for older hardware] ).

I'm no iFan, but this is what I've been saying since I wrote my first web app: "This sucks, it will eat itself alive with complexity as it gets popular".

Hey the "web" is neat -- But bending your code to support non-standard browser extensions has bit us in the ass -- Abandon ship, It's not worth the hassle to keep bailing at this point -- look over there, a good ol' fashion Repository... and it doesn't leak development time/money like a sieve...

Believe what you want. Yes, the web is too big to fail, but as long as we haven't learned that basic lesson -- Standards or Bust -- the platform (be it web or app) is doomed to be huge clumsy insecure zombie with an insatiable lust for mindshare, and development time.

Simple (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302808)

It's really simple. Pick a point in time in the past, and develop for that. With web browsers, I'd guess that aiming for standards (whether official or defacto) about 3 years ago should be usable for 99% of visitors. Trying to develop using features included in current browsers is nearly impossible.

I give up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302890)

I lost my faith in web development, the internet, standards and life...
I'll go to the country to grow and orchard and some chickens.

Screw you all.

I'm glad I retired (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302912)

The rate of change in IT is too rapid for anyone to keep up with. Esp. us old coots. You young folks still in the game, your skills are practically outmoded
before you've had a chance to use them. You have my sympathy.

Develop to the Standards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36302990)

Develop against standards, not browsers. It's the way it always should have been. You may need to support a standard or two backwards in time, but write to one standard or another and if the browsers don't work with any modern standard correctly for some feature you require, you can blame the browser and get it fixed.

Use Google Web Toolkit (2)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36303122)

Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is pretty darn good at sorting out the browser dependencies for you. There are some pre-browser CSS tweaks you have to do for layout, but basically GWT is to the Web what the Java Virtual machine is to hardware - you just don't have to care about it. Plus, you write GWT in Java, which you already know and are using on your back-end Enterprise cluster. Take a look at GWT, if you are writing a significant part of your AJAX web application at the level of HTML5 and ECMAScript then you are doing the Web-equiavalent of writing assembly code (sometimes necessary, but can be avoided most of the time).

Here's the link to GWT if you haven't seen it before: http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/overview.html [google.com]

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>