Web Design: Cross Browser Compatibility

by Brad smith - Date: 2008-04-18 - Word Count: 430 Share This!

Web Design: Cross Browser Compatibility An important aspect of web
design today is making sure it is compatible with all the major web
browsers. There are literally hundreds of web browsers in use around
the world. All of them implement the W3C document standards a little

What is Cross Browser Compatibility?

If a web page is completely cross-browser compatible, it will look more
or less the same in all of the existing web browsers. The most popular
browsers right now are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera.
Right now Internet Explorer holds the largest market share, however its
lead is being steadily eroded by the rising popularity of Firefox and
Safari, making the Cross Browser Compatibility increasingly important.
Each one of these browser implements HTML, JavaScript and Cascading
Style Sheets (CSS) slightly differently. Some only create cosmetic
differences others can cause the web page to break down. The
situation is made worse by each browser being free to implement their
own unique features to the W3C document standards that will most likely
at work in otherbrowsers.
Then to compound matters even more the underlying operating systems
also creates difference in how the computer displays graphical elements
and text differently.
When you add the fact that people are also using multiple versions of
each of the browsers, no wonder web designers get headaches.

So what is a web designer to do?

Creating a website that is completely compatible with all potential
browsersis, obviously, impossible. However it is possible to design
your website so it will work in the most commonly used browsers. To
achieve this, a designer must write code that conforms to the W3C
standards to get consistent results across all browsers. The whole idea
behind the standards is that if each browser adheres to the same set of
rules, you will get more or less consistent results in all of the
existing browsers. Conforming can be a real challenge. It will
limit some of the neater effects available in specific browsers. There
are online code validators available. The validator checks your code
based on the DOCTYPE you specify on the webpage. The DOCTYPE tells the
browser which version of HTML or CSS the web page is using. At the end
of the day, even code that is validated may not work correctly in all
the major browsers. The best way a web designer can create cross browser
compatibility is through extensive testing across all major web
browsers and operating systems. Overall there has been an attitude
shift towards more compatibility in general and having compatibility
across all browsers is now expected in basic web design.

written by Matt Dible

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