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Funny how people usually blame the non-IE browser
DrDoc




msg:570218
 9:48 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is there anything we can do about this? People usually blame the non-IE browser when something doesn't look/work the way they want it to, when, in fact, IE is the browser rendering the page the wrong way. And, more often than not, if you make the page work in the non-IE browser, IE still displays it correctly.

Why do people design for IE first? I don't get it!
I view the page in IE, but I sure don't use it as the corner stone of any development.

 

PCInk




msg:570278
 9:46 am on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I stopped downloading NN at about version 4.x because making layers work similarly in IE and NN just became too much work.

And this is the problem. People who design around IE, generally got sick of NN4. But I have seen only a few sites that do not work in NN7. In fact, there are only two that come to mind - an online bank and a bad webdesigner. The first claims something about security and the second redirected you to a download Internet Explorer link with a rude message. I found out the companies with high PR that linked to the second and they soon dropped their links - that site plummeted a year or two back. But both sites that don't work, both have a user-agent redirect - it's not that the site would not work but that the designer could not be bothered to check.

In fact, I have seem some designer design around IE for good reason. The only reason I have ever seen that is a good reason is they were designing for an Intranet where they guarantee 100% IE users!

My personal preference in Netscape7 to test in, but I know that really I should use Opera. All the fiddly bits and tweaks (particularly CSS) that you used to have to do to NN4 have long gone.

Your site should be designed around the W3C. Never forget that IE can drop tags in the next release or it could be less forgiving of errors without warning. How much work would you have to do if this became the case, or if another browser began to get a good market share (let's say Opera got 25%)? Wouldn't it be better that your site worked in all browsers to start with?

I could imagine the national news if a petrol/gas company released a new petrol and were discontinuing the old one for one that was easier to make. But...this new petrol/gas does not work in Honda cars. Just imagine - yet Honda have a small percentage of the market share - but there would be some very angry people out there. Why should someone be forced to change theor brand of car? Why should someone be forced to change their browser? And does their speech recognition program, screen reader or braille reader work well with IE or are we actually expecting them to buy new software/hardware to view the site? There are legal obligations here for business sites. A company may be sued for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions if a disabled person cannot easily view your site, if you have designed this site for that company, who do you think the company will sue? As stated earlier, this has already happened in Australia.

Every site that asks me to use internet explorer alway annoys me - why should I? Do they want my business? And those with redirects to internet explorer download pages or that do not allow you to view the site are simply unforgivable.

Kode_Kid




msg:570279
 2:27 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I could imagine the national news if a petrol/gas company released a new petrol and were discontinuing the old one for one that was easier to make. But...this new petrol/gas does not work in Honda cars. Just imagine - yet Honda have a small percentage of the market share - but there would be some very angry people out there. Why should someone be forced to change theor brand of car? Why should someone be forced to change their browser? And does their speech recognition program, screen reader or braille reader work well with IE or are we actually expecting them to buy new software/hardware to view the site?

I think a better analogy is, suppose i wasn't in the petrol/gas business to begin with ... but i found out there is an easily produced form of petrol that will work in 95% of the cars out there. I could either stay out of the business all together because i don't have the time/money/desire to make petrol that will work in 100% of the cars on the market or i can whip up the more easily produced petrol and attract 95% of the market. 95% is better than 0%.

It's no different than a programmer programming only for the Microsoft OS (95% of the market) and excluding the MAC OS (5% of the market).

There are legal obligations here for business sites. A company may be sued for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions if a disabled person cannot easily view your site, if you have designed this site for that company, who do you think the company will sue? As stated earlier, this has already happened in Australia.

This kind of lawsuit would never hold water in the long run. It is impossible to write a site or make your business 100% equally accessible by every conceivable handicap.

RammsteinNicCage




msg:570280
 2:30 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think a better analogy is, suppose i wasn't in the petrol/gas business to begin with ... but i found out there is an easily produced form of petrol that will work in 95% of the cars out there. I could either stay out of the business all together because i don't have the time/money/desire to make petrol that will work in 100% of the cars on the market or i can whip up the more easily produced petrol and attract 95% of the market. 95% is better than 0%.

And just think of how much more business you would do by selling gas that the other 5% can use, especially when there are other places that do not sell it. I bet that 5% would increase, most likely making it profitable to spend the little extra time/money for it.

Jennifer

Kode_Kid




msg:570281
 3:02 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

And just think of how much more business you would do by selling gas that the other 5% can use, especially when there are other places that do not sell it. I bet that 5% would increase, most likely making it profitable to spend the little extra time/money for it.

But if not for the easily acquired 95% i wouldn't be in the business at all. Like i said in my earlier post, for some, 95% is better than 0%.

Back to my earlier point, it's no different than MAC versus PC ... Most PC programmers ignore the MAC OS. It's not worth the extra time/money because of the low market share of the MAC. If i wanted to get into programming i would immediately jump into the PC market where i'd have instant access to 95% of the computers, i wouldn't put my programming career on hold until such time i could write my programs for both platforms.

Farix




msg:570282
 3:04 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

And that 5% is called diesel. And yes, I know of two local gas stations that makes a killing off of it.

Farix




msg:570283
 3:12 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Back to my earlier point, it's no different than MAC versus PC ... Most PC programmers ignore the MAC OS. It's not worth the extra time/money because of the low market share of the MAC. If i wanted to get into programming i would immediately jump into the PC market where i'd have instant access to 95% of the computers, i wouldn't put my programming career on hold until such time i could write my programs for both platforms.

Weak analogy. There is little difference between pages that works for 99.5% of browsers (at least the major four) then those that work only in IE. All that is required is less error prone markup, unlike Mac and PC which are to completely different platforms with different APIs.

DrDoc




msg:570284
 3:15 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

As a side note:

de facto

adv. In reality or fact; actually.
adj. Actual


DrDoc




msg:570285
 3:53 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's how I think it is...

People who worry about IE only see the world in black and white. To them, all the stats point towards one thing -- Internet Explorer on Windows. Since their pages by default become optimized for the crappiest browser on earth, many non-IE users simply cannot view the pages. Thus, the stats become extremely skewed in IE's favor. You end up getting something like 98% IE/Win users... and 2% others. Many of these "other" users visit your page, but click the back button. What does this tell you? That 98% of your visitors are using IE/Win? No! It tells you nothing more than that 98% of the page views are IE/Win users. The actual amount of users that are turned away by your malformed page may very well be fairly high, 25% or more.

How do W3C Standards evangelists see the world? Well, we know there are many colors and flavors out there. We know that though it may seem like IE is the almighty browser, reality is different. Yes, IE/Win still is the dominant browser, but it doesn't have 95-98% of the market. Why do I say that? Simply because standards compliant pages are the only pages flexible enough to accomodate for a wide variety of users. Those developing the pages are usually more aware of browser flaws, and can avoid them. I have never ever worked on a site with more than 85% IE users, and that's counting IE/Mac as well.

The world is still changing... IE is slowly losing users, not gaining. Many schools and companies have switched from IE to Mozilla or Opera for security reasons. Everyone here at the office is using Opera. My wife is using Opera. Why? Because I ask her to? No, because she likes it better!

People just need to become more aware of the alternatives. After all, I can't think of any fully developed browser that is worse than IE/Win. I can do nothing bu second TGecho's statement -- IE is what hinders the market and progress. W3C's standards are lightyears ahead of IE's capabilities. That is a fact.

DaScribbler




msg:570286
 4:25 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

An article worth reading...somewhat pertinent to this thread.

[ecommercetimes.com ]

RammsteinNicCage




msg:570287
 4:47 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

But if not for the easily acquired 95% i wouldn't be in the business at all. Like i said in my earlier post, for some, 95% is better than 0%.

True, that 95% is very important and you should worry about them the most. BUT, you make it sound like if you make your site work on all browsers (which does not take much longer [possibly an even shorter amount of time] unless you write VERY sloppy code), you'll have no visitors! That certainly doesn't make sense, does it? :)

Jennifer

victor




msg:570288
 5:01 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Obviously everyone needs to make their own business case if they decide to write code that does not work in all browsers. And their conclusions may vary depending on the market they are in.

But questions to ask include:

  • Is it 95% or 80% in your market? Assuming 95% may be costing you that new holiday home.
  • Are 95% of your visitors also 95% of your potential sales? If you are selling in some markets (some governments, many schools, universities) that 5% of minority-browser users may be a large proportion of sales.
  • What browser does a VIV (Very Important Visitor use)? If you are trying to get into DMOZ, what browser does the main editors in your target category use?
  • Ho much does it cost to make a site acceptably cross-browser? Many people would claim it is actually cheaper to take that approach.
  • Which way is the markets shifting? With PDAs and phones and stuff, that 95% may already be on the slide
  • Will your site work well in IE 7.0 and later? A big nightmare would be if Microsoft put out a new browser that has many quirks compared to IT 6.0, 5.5, 5.0. Standards-compliant sites will then probbaly look better in the new IE than old ones.
  • DrDoc




    msg:570289
     5:04 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    That is a very interesting article, DaScribbler. Thanks for posting that!

    And good points, victor ;)

    PCInk




    msg:570290
     5:29 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    In reality we should never design any site around any browser, but unfortunately we do have to use a browser to test our sites. What worries me is those who state that IE dominates the market, so we will design around IE.

    Can I just ask, which browser would you use to 'design your site in' if IE dropped to 50% and other browsers totalled 50%?

    Or, would you design around the W3C standards?

    richlowe




    msg:570291
     5:44 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    de facto

    adj : existing in fact whether with lawful authority or not; "de facto segregation is as real as segration imposed by law"; "a de facto state of war" [syn: actual, factual] [ant: de jure] adv : in reality or fact; "the result was, de facto, a one-party system"

    DrDoc




    msg:570292
     5:47 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I still don't see how that makes IE the standard? Just because most people speak Chinese doesn't mean that Chinese is the de facto international language.

    richlowe




    msg:570293
     5:52 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    English is the de facto international language.

    DrDoc




    msg:570294
     6:01 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    ...and W3C is the de facto Web standard authority? :)

    hartlandcat




    msg:570295
     6:25 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    (let's say Opera got 25%)

    Quite right! It always anoys me when people try to claim that such a thing could "never happen". Some people tend to foget that as recently as 1998, Netscape still had 40% of the market, and as recently as 1996, they still had 70%. The orientation of the browser market can change dramatically in a relatively short space of time. It happened in 1999 -- it could happen again in 2004.

    People who design around IE, generally got sick of NN4. But I have seen only a few sites that do not work in NN7.

    People assume that there have been no more Netscape releases since 4.x, since that was the time when Netscape lost most marketshare. Most people now use IE, so they're not too interested in what Netscape are doing now. It's like, how many people know what the most recent version of WordPerfect is? For the records, it's version 11, but I suspect that most people on here wouldn't have been able to tell us that.

    On the subject of programming for Macs, it's a completely different subject, but not *entirely* unrelated...

    (Please forget games from this one, the sort of people that use Macs generally aren't interested in playing games anyway, and I'm no exception).
    You make a piece of commercial software for both Windows and Macintosh. Something like a word processor, graphics program or whatever. The marketshare stats are estimated to be about 96% Windows, 3% Macintosh and 1% everything else (primarily Linux). By making a Mac version of your software, will you only get 3% more sales that you would if you only had a PC version? No. More like 20%. Why? Not only are Mac users less likely to be using illegal/warez software, they have less options availible to them.

    For example, lets look at the four major graphics programs:
    Adobe Photoshop, Jasc Paint Shop Pro, Corel Draw and Macromedia Fireworks MX.

    Jasc Paint Shop Pro and Corel Draw will only run under Windows, so Mac users will have to choose between Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks MX. Because Windows users can choose between all four, the two Mac-compatible graphic suites will have more than the statistical percentage (3%) of Mac users.

    So what does this have to do with IE-only vs. W3C standards? Everything. If your site displays and works perfectly in Netscape (as mine does), you will get more than the statistical percentage of Netscape users. I get about 15%, although I would've expected that to be much lower when I consider the subject area of my site.

    Farix




    msg:570296
     7:01 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I'm noticing a pattern here. The only argument for IE-only web development is that IE is the dominate browser (between 80% to 95% depending who you believe). And that this somehow makes it the "de facto" standard.

    But just what is the IE standard? In large part it is a large portion of the standards established by the W3C with various bugs and proprietary elements thrown in along combined a rendering engine that is very forgiving of erroneous markup.

    End the end, those who advocate for the IE-only position are really advocating for erroneous markup and that being allowed to create erroneous markup is some sort of "freedom" or "innovation".

    PCInk




    msg:570297
     7:09 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    ...and erroneous markup is ... really ... an error!

    Farix




    msg:570298
     7:21 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Well, erroneous is the adjective form of the word error. :)

    ronin




    msg:570299
     7:46 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    After reading through this entire thread it really does look like there are some flat-earthers out there... if standards weren't really important I suppose Dr. Johnson never would have bothered compiling a dictionary.

    The fact that he did and that it was phenomenally successful suggests that when everyone uses and understands words the same way, everyone benefits.

    So, why is it so controversial to suggest that if all browsers used and understood code in the same way (ie. according to the W3C spec), everyone would similarly benefit?

    We shouldn't dismiss the improvements that have already been made - the situation is vastly improved since 1999/2000 when you practically had to write different pages for NN and IE. In late 2003, if you write standards compliant code you can be pretty much assured that it will work in Firebird, it will work in IE and it will work in Opera. Guess what? It will probably work in Lynx, Konqueror and Safari as well. And any other browsing device.

    If all browsers were equally strict at interpreting W3C standards then you could test a new page in any browser you liked and once it worked you wouldn't have to worry about the others.

    The fact is that IE lets you write faulty code.
    But given that standards-compliant code works everywhere what benefit is there in writing faulty code?

    hartlandcat




    msg:570300
     8:03 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I agree. I had someone on another forum the other day describe Netscape as a "hinderance" to web designers. Contrary to what some people like to pretend, non-IE browsers exist. Just about everyone that uses them has explicitly chosen to use the non-IE browser instead of IE, they are not going to change what browser they're using because a certain webmaster wants them to. If a webmaster wants to prevent non-IE users from accessing their site, then that's their loss.

    To add to the order that was posted before about the browser's "forgivingness" of errors... lets expand that to rendering engines. Starting with the most forgiving:

    MSHTML -> Tasman -> KHTML -> Gecko -> Opera

    However, in terms of Microsoft proprietary code, it's more like this:

    MSHTML -> Tasman -> KHTML -> Opera -> Gecko

    In case some people don't know... MSHTML is the rendering engine used in IE for Windows. Tasman is used in IE for Mac, Gecko is used in Netscape, Mozilla etc., Opera is used in um... Opera, and KHTML is used in Konqueror, Safari etc.

    TGecho




    msg:570301
     8:25 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I think Opera's engine is called Presto :)

    Opera seems to have deliberatly followed IE's lead in a few cases (:() but that's usually only triggered in quirks mode, which I avoid like the plague (see "doctype switch").

    richlowe




    msg:570302
     8:53 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    My protest to what's being said here by the "standards affectionadoes" is the statement that IE is a lousy browser and that everyone who codes for IE is an idiot, a bum and probably a deviant.

    IE is the defacto standard, but that does not make it the best browser in the world. What you can say about it is it works and most people use it. Why? Because that's what comes on their computers. That's the only reason IE is the standard for browsing (and anyone who believes that W3C sets the standards is seriously detached from reality).

    Personally, I like coding to standards, but I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it. I generally have way to much to do in life to worry about small, silly things like this. My concern is does the application meet the business requirements? How much man- (or woman-) power was required to create this code and how much will be needed to maintain it in the future? Business questions like that. Standards that help create good applications which meet business requirements are adopted in my organization and standards that do not are discarded.

    One thing that I object to is the incredibly fast pace of change. The "standard of the week" (exagerating) mindset sure does make it difficult to keep thousands of desktops up-to-date and hundreds of applications up-to-standard. It's already bad enough that hardware obsoletes faster than catalogs can be printed, operating systems need to be replaced every year or so and applications like SAP require TENS OF THOUSANDS of patches every year. Not a hundred or two like Windows, but thousands and thousands.

    One fact that I do like about IE is that change has slowed down. The browser has remained constant for several years now, and that has made my job much easier. One less thing to worry about in our corporate environment. One less change requiring time to adopt.

    Richard

    hartlandcat




    msg:570303
     9:05 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    and how much will be needed to maintain it in the future?

    And what if IE 7.0 in 2006 turns out to be much stricter than how IE 6.0 is now? Your site will thus require alot more maintainance if you write sloppy code than if you write correct code. Well written code is also much easier for other people to modify, and has the added bonus of working in just about every browser out there.

    victor




    msg:570304
     9:30 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    My protest to what's being said here by the "standards affectionadoes" is the statement that IE is a lousy browser and that everyone who codes for IE is an idiot, a bum and probably a deviant.

    Can you give me the post numbers in this thread where those things have been said? I can't find any such statements (though they may have been deleted by the mods, of course)

    TGecho




    msg:570305
     10:32 pm on Nov 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

    One thing that I object to is the incredibly fast pace of change.

    Incredibly fast pace of change?! The "base standards" we're all referring to have been around for over four years!

    One fact that I do like about IE is that change has slowed down.

    In other words obsolete is good even if it retards progress, just because that's one less piece of software you've had to update/support over the last couple of years.

    "Microsoft's commitment to open standards for the Internet is real and deep," said Brad Silverberg, senior vice president of the applications and internet client group at Microsoft. "This issue is so critical to the viability of the Web that we've made an explicit pledge to support all W3C standards for HTML. This is a pledge that we believe all Internet technology vendors need to take. Without this commitment from our industry, interoperability across products from different vendors will continue to be a customer nightmare."
    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1997/Mar97/dhtmlpr.asp

    Apparently someone important at MS thinks (or thought, the quote is a bit dated) that independant standards are important. Granted, he didn't say CSS (the CSS2 spec had already been released).

    IE is a lousy browser and that everyone who codes for IE is an idiot, a bum and probably a deviant
    IE is a lousy browser when compared to the alternatives. Yeah, "it works," but that doesn't make it good.
    I don't think anyone has called those who code for IE names like that. However there is a lot of frustration with those that contribute to a problem that's already bad enough thanks to IE.

    g1smd




    msg:570306
     12:31 am on Nov 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

    There is a rule in the data transfer world, which is incorporated into several RFCs, and it reads something like:

    Just because the end application is tolerant of errors in the format of the data that is sent to it, this does not give you the right to be lax in the format of the data that you send to it.

    (paraphrased as I didn't have time to find the exact wording) In other words, just because IE can render duff HTML this does not give you the right to write pages of duff HTML on your site.

    digitalghost




    msg:570307
     12:54 am on Nov 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I code for accessibility and that's it. In rare cases coding for accessibility causes conflicts with some non-IE browsers. Accessibility wins that argument every time. IE never seems to choke on code that is written with accessibility in mind.

    In the Tables vs CSS thread I didn't see accessibility mentioned once. Seems incongruous to me. I view accessibility as much more important than cross-browser compatiblity and I've stumbled across more than one site proudly proclaiming "best viewed in ANY browser" yet I never see, "this site accessible to anyone". :)

    DrDoc




    msg:570308
     4:35 am on Nov 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

    "this site accessible to anyone"

    I've seen that on a couple of sites :) And I actually put that on one of my own a while back.

    Yes, accessibility is most important. But don't you think it's easier to write accessible pages using standards compliant code? I've never seen IE choke on accessible pages either. But then again, accessible pages are rarely written using sloppy code ;)

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