Tag Archives: browsers

Firefox: Going Strong

On Firefox 3 “Download Day,” over 8 million copies of the updates browser were downloaded. And countless more copies have undoubtedly been downloaded since the end of the record-setting event. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? Firefox accounts for an estimated 22% of internet users currently, which, sadly, is nothing compared to the behemoth Internet Explorer. Twenty-two percent…

After hearing about that rather large-sounding eight million figure, I decided to check my statistics to see what exactly that meant to Webmaster-Source. Take a look at these charts (from June 18 to June 19):

Firefox Chart

The first chart shows the browser makes of WSC readers. Firefox users account for over 65% of Webmaster-Source readers. Sure, this is blog is targetted at people who keep up on tech/internet related things, so it makes sense that Firefox have a…slight edge against Internet Exploder. I’ve been aware of this statistic for some time though, so let’s move along to the interesting part.

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No More CSS Hacks: PHP Browser Detection

You can’t make your page render correctly in every browser. It just isn’t possible. Between several versions of the bug-ridden Internet Explorer (why can’t Microsoft just switch to Gecko or WebKit?) and a sprinkling of older browsers, there are too many bases to cover. Internet Explorers 6 and prior are notorious for their bad CSS implementations (IE7 is better, but it still has a ways to go), and if you tweak your CSS to look right in them, chances are you’ll create another problem somewhere else. When does the endless cycle of fixing things end? When you give up and say “it’s just not going to work in all browsers.” Now, you don’t want to give up too soon, since there are still a lot of people on IE6, but you have to know when to call it quits.

And don’t forget about mobile browsers. Sure, their improving, like Apple’s mobile Safari browser on the iPhone, but it’s still a lot easier to use a mobile-specific version of a site than zooming and scrolling around on the tiny screen.

As usual, PHP has a solution. That solution comes in the form of the global variable $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT']. It holds a string that contains a bit of information about the browser and platform a user us using. By searching through the string, you can figure out what browser your users are browsing with, and write-in the right code depending on the browser. You can do this in as simple, or as complicated, of a way as you want.

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Fixed vs. Liquid Layouts

This is yet another web-related topic that gets people arguing. Not quite as bad as “Mac vs. PC,” it really gets some people going. Which is better, a fixed-width layout, or a fluid one that resizes to fit the browser window. Unlike some people, I say that it depends on the project, and that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution (though I do lean slightly toward fixed-width layouts). Besides, if we all agreed on standards for everything, we wouldn’t have anything to argue about..

Both sides of the argument have their pluses and minuses, and generally I would say “go with what best suits the instance.” If you want a certain look, which will require vertical tile images, and other images of specific width, you may need to go with a fixed-width layout. If you want as much control as you can get over the look of your design, or if you need your content area to be a specific size, go with a fixed layout.

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Is IE5 Dead?

Internet Explorer version 5 was released on March 18, 1999. It has almost been nine years since its initial release, and two more versions have followed.

We all know that IE5 is a buggy piece of software with fairly awful standards support, though it was significantly better than its predecessor IE4. It’s no secret that I’m no fan of Microsoft’s browsers, but I do have to grudgingly admit that they’ve come a long way.

I was comparing stats on a couple of my web sites recently, and I wondered: Do we need to continue supporting Internet Explorer 5? There have been two major versions released since, and nine years is a long time in computer years. To put it in perspective, look at this timeline:

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Testing Your Site in Multiple Browsers

By now you should know to test your site in more than one browser, so you can be sure that it works for as wide a range of people as possible. The question is: What’s the easiest way to do that?

First, make a list of the browsers to test in. Depending on your audience, you may have to support earlier browsers than others. You absolutely must test in several of today’s major browsers. That means test in

  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Opera
  • Safari

As well as current browsers, you should also test in some older browsers, like the following:

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