Cross-Browser Compatibility

A Brief Overview

An unprecidented amount of progress and innovation has been made on the internet since the World Wide Web was first introduced circa 1990. In many ways though the internet is still like the wild west, governed only by marshall law—and there are many marshalls.

The Big 5 Browser Vendors
The Big 5 Browser Vendors

These marshalls come in the form of internet browsers. Although fiercely competitive, they begrudgingly work together at times for the greater good of the web. In other words, they all follow a slightly different version of "the rules". This is done to justifiably demonstrate they are better than the competition while maintaining some universal standards... except for one rogue marshall:

Internet Explorer

Yep, that's the naughty one. Internet Explorer is a law unto itself. Love it or hate it for its rebelious behavior but the fact is that people use it (Frowny-Face). People who look at your website use it. So how do we reign in IE and make it play well with others? We use the "Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease" method.

We give Internet Explorer its own special style rules that compensate for all of its known quirks as well as anything else that happens to crop up along the way. Even the most tenacious developers will agree though that the best policy is to develop for standards compliant browsers first and then "make it work" in IE. You can spend a lot of time trying to make your site look identical across browsers but it is more practical to make it look good in each browser allowing some differences as long as they don't "break" the site or make it look unprofessional.

Standards Compliance

Once great benefit of developing for standards compliant browsers first is that you get to make better use of cutting edge web technologies like HTML5 and CSS3. At the end of the day, this accomplishes richer content served up to your users in less time. Here are the nuts and bolts:

  • More meaningful markup elements that help search engines to better understand your site
  • Custom Animation without being restricted to Flash
  • Embeddable media without 3rd-party plugins
  • Achieve rich visual effects with less images for the browser to download
  • Make use of Scalable Vector Graphics for high-resolution images that use less memory
Device Style Optimization →