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What browsers to test and why

     
11:48 am on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Note, the following posts were split from a thread about cross platform testing:
[webmasterworld.com...]

The highest ranking non-IE browser on one of my sites (an international one) is Netscape 7.01 with 2.4%, the second is Firebird with 0.7%.
Total IE browsers: 94.6%

As for OS'es, the highest non-windows is Mac PowerPC with 1.2%, second is Linux i686 with 0.9%.
Total Windows versions: 97.6%

My dutch sites' visits are even 97.9% IE.

I don't bother with the non-IE browsers.

[edited by: tedster at 7:24 pm (utc) on Jan. 4, 2004]

1:52 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Zaphod, can you break the non-IE/IE vistors by landing pages and non-landing pages?

After all, 97.9% pages viewed in IE could be:

Landing pages: viewed by IE: 70%
All other pages: viewed by IE: 100%

*IF* your stats were like that, then a drawable conclusion would be that you are actively scaring away non-IE users, rather than not bothering about them.

2:40 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How much do you care about Netscape 4.x when testing / optimizing for different browsers?
4:12 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How much do you care about Netscape 4.x when testing / optimizing for different browsers?

Not one whit. I don't support them, period.

4:45 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I care about Lynx (for disabled users that require text-to-speech, and to make sure search engines will "understand" it too), the new standards-compliant browsers (Mozilla et al.), then IE and finally Mac.

I would gladly pay for a service where I could instantly get screenshots on different OS/platform combinations. As it is now, it's far too expensive and time-consuming to test our sites on all the platforms.

5:04 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm not so bothered if my site doesn't display the same in Netscape 4 as it does in say Netscape 7, as long as it "degrades gracefully" and is overall still functional. Visitors will view your site they way they want to, and not the way they want to. By using Netscape 4, they're choosing to view websites more simply than other people. If the company they work for or their colledge or whatever forces them to use Netscape 4, then the IT department there has chosen for the users to view websites more simply than other people.

Soon this will turn into "by using IE 6, they're choosing to view websites more simply than other people".

6:05 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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txbakers,
Do you mean ALL Netscape or only the 4.x series?

I personally don't even look at NN anymore. I do my tests in IE6, OP7, and Moz 1.0.2.

6:28 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Do you mean ALL Netscape or only the 4.x series?

I don't bother with the 4.x series any more, nor do I care about 6. If any of my users has these I tell them point blank to get the newest NN or Mozilla or IE. If they don't, they can't use my program.

I used to use NN7 till I got Mozilla and then promptly uninstalled NN7.

So, I guess I don't worry at all about NN.

6:41 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My site is for Amiga computers, but looking at the stats I get about 50/50 IE/Mozilla... only problem is that most Amiga users spoof as IE due to bad website designers saying they don't support it (nothing more annoying than going to a site which tells you "upgrade your browser", turn on spoofing and it works perfectly - hence most leave spoofing on all the time).

So not only are there browsers that don't report what OS version they're running on, there are browsers that report something totally different to what they're actually doing...

Robin

6:55 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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RobinC- that's a very interesting point. I often will switch to IE for a specific site, but it is damned annoying.

Does anyone know how big of an issue this is?

6:58 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I can't say that I'm explicitly bothered about Netscape 6.0 since very few people actually use it (because it was horrendous). However, Netscape 6.1 & 6.2 are likely to display pages similarly to Netscape 7 (since they are based on Mozilla 0.9, and NN7 is based on Mozilla 1.0). Netscape 6.0 is full of unexpected bugs, and tends to do some quite random things (like tiling a background image over every table cell, instead of just one).
7:43 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I tell them point blank to get the newest NN or Mozilla or IE. If they don't, they can't use my program.

We can assume by the word "program" that you have a web based application, rather than an information or sales page, right? That's a big difference in how deeply developers can worry about cross-browser support.

It makes plenty of sense to develop an application with an eye to the feature set that only certain browsers will supply. But that same mind-set does not transport well to pure information or basic sales of products and services. Without good cross browser support a more basic site may be limiting their readership or revenue.

7:49 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We can assume by the word "program" that you have a web based application

Exactly.

12:57 pm on Jan 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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First of all - this was meant as a reply to the other thread, I didn't mean to start a new one. Sorry!

Edit - I just noticed Tedster did that...

Zaphod, can you break the non-IE/IE vistors by landing pages and non-landing pages?

These are all landing pages only. I log them as they arrive.

2:29 pm on Jan 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Zaphod, can I just ask the general interest area of your site? Don't say exactly what your site is about (because you're not allowed to do that), but what sort of people does it attract? Techies, school pupils, university students, collectors, hobbyists? etc.

I was just interested, because your non-IE stats seem to be notably lower than the general average. On the contary, my site's non-IE user base is very high considering the interest area of my site (which is collectors).

3:08 pm on Jan 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We can assume by the word "program" that you have a web based application, rather than an information or sales page, right? That's a big difference in how deeply developers can worry about cross-browser support.

Well, yes and no. If the application is developed for the general public, as in the case of several that I've built, then I do have to worry about the various browsers just as much as if the pages were purely static. Probably more so.

With regards to NN I believe it was Mr Tabke who noted that he tests for Moz and assumes that will cover NN - at least the ones that aren't so quirky.

3:23 pm on Jan 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Personally, and I'm sure others have said the same thing, To insure the widest reasonable range of cross-browser compatibility, I develop to W3C HTML and CSS specifications. My primary testing platforms are Mozilla & Firebird, Opera 7 and MSIE 5.5 & 6.0. Mozilla and Opera 7 are good choices because they are the strictest about following specifications. As such if a site looks good in Mozilla and Opera, it has a good chance of looking good in most browsers. When there are issues with MSIE, they are usually only minor issues and are easily addressed without feeding special code to MSIE or the other browsers.

I rarely make use of browser sniffing routines and when I do, I only do it to address a specific issue with a specific browser.

I no longer support Netscape 4.xx, nor do I support MSIE 5.0-. If my site works in MSIE 5.0 or older, great; if not, oh well, they really need to upgrade. If we are to take full advantage of DOM, we have to leave older browsers behind and force users to choose a more up-to-date browser. I don't care what browser they choose, as long as it is current.

8:43 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The cs room at my college had older computers than the typing room, grrr. Anyway, they used a program that reset the computers to a default setup every time the power was cycled, which was every night. It had NT installed and only 256-bit color. I forget what browser our version of NT used. IE4 I think. Really sobers you up seeing your website in 256 colors on IE4. I bet there are colleges and schools across the globe where students get stuck on similiar setups.

People used the computers to browse the net all the time during class. A lot of students didn't know how to turn there color up or would bother to update their browsers since even if you did it would be reset by the next day.

I found tons of websites that were simply unviewable and would move on. Anymore I try to focus on content. I figure if my website works in Lynx browser than i'm pretty safe all around.

11:40 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Zaphod, can I just ask the general interest area of your site?

I host several sites. The international one is about a wildlife rescue center project being started, the rest, all dutch, are 2 photographer sites and a site related to genealogy.

My own site consists of the usual stuff - personal info, CV, pictures, webdesign promotion.

So, apart from my own site, which might attract some techies because of the programming related stuff, they're all visited by ordinary everyday people.

Maybe it's because most visitors are dutch/belgian...

2:18 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Maybe it's because most visitors are dutch/belgian.

Quite likely, since there have been no more Dutch releases of Netscape since version 4.7.
 

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