Thursday, June 14, 2012

Website and Browsers

When I started designing and developing Web pages in 1994 all we had were text editors and Mosaic, which later turned into Netscape Navigator when some of the people at the University of Illnois who developed Mosaic split to California to start Netscape, and we know the rest of that story with Microsoft (MS) and Internet Explorer (IE) pummelling Netscape into corporate oblivion.

Anyway, ever since then the battle has been between Website and Web page designers with the iterations of HTML and later CSS and browsers, mostly however, with MS and their idea to dominate the brower world by developing their own HTML standards exclusively for their browser and then their Web design software.

Both sucked royal as the rest of the world went on without them and developed HTML standards which Web designers and developers could expect any browser to use and display Web pages properly. Well, it's was an almost near success as browsers still vary between themselves depending on the browser's rendition of HTML code.

That said, the variation between the browsers means they vary in adherence with W3C standards for HTML and CSS in several factors but mostly two, compliance and robustness, meaning how strictly they follow the standards and how much they allow in variation from the standards.

Most Web developers I've spoken with over the years have said Apple's Safari browser, which comes with OS-X, is the most compliant and least robust, meaning if the Web page HTML code varys, the Safari will be the browser to show where and how it varys, and if wrong, usually very ugly.

On the other end MS IE is the least complaint and most robust, in part for MS unique HTML nonstandard code which other browsers don't recognize or not display. Microsoft has improved IE to where the last two versions are better but still not totally as they are still somewhat backward compatible for MS unique code.

The rest Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, OminWeb, Opera, SeaMonkey, etc., fall in between the two. Some, such as OmniWeb, is versatile to emulate a variety of browsers to show the differences between popular browsers. I use some of these for testing, all but Opera which I can't install or use due to conflicts with Adobe Creative Suite applications, but 95+% of my use is with Safari.

The rest is with Google's Chrome because I found Mozilla's Firefox (FF) doesn't work with some plugins and verion 2 of Google's map API for the maps with the Mt. Rainier photo guide. I don't know why but I run FF without any plugins or extension.

And this leads to my point here. Over the last few years with browser plugins and extensions, the user has the ability to do anything with Web pages to suit their interests or needs, which in turns overrides almost all the work of the Web designer to present their Web pages and expect the user to see what they designed.

This doesn't mean all the work is for naught as most users don't actively use the plugins or extension for changing Web pages beyond a few simple things like font size, disable javascript or popup windows, etc., but the newer plugins and extension can disable or ignore Google analytics, remove parts of Web pages, and more.

This means what I want and intend for the Web pages doesn't always happen for the user. I won't argue about the Google analytics, I use simply to see what pages are being visited and read every week or month, but little else. It's simply for me to see what is most important and what's just for my own interests.

This also means I have no plans to change my work. I develop my pages to be W3C HTML 5 and CSS 2 compliant. The Web pages aren't all 100% complaint but I'm working in that direction. It's why the Web page follow a simple design and code structure, it's easier to keep updated and add new content or pages.

What you won't see is MS IE backward compliant Web pages but should be compliant with recent versions, although they will look slightly different due to IE's rendition. I don't design for IE or accommodate it in the code, which you can see others try by viewing the source code. I don't and won't.

It's not my interest and if you use IE and it doesn't or display right, get FF or Chrome which does work and display right, but personally I still recommend Safari only because it's the one I use for normal Web usage and almost exclusively for Web page design and development.

As for all the user controls now available for users and their browsers, that's your choice but don't expect me to accommodate you anymore than you accommodate my intent and design. Otherwise you should see what I see and the Web pages should work for you the same as for me.

You can always get the latest information on this work here along with the history and plans for the Website and photo guide.

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