This might sound like a very old topic which has come up unlimited number of times before but its an ongoing frustration for every HTML/CSS developer and because I have always been a ColdFusion developer and also a Flex developer lately, I never really understood the intensity of the frustration. However, at my current contract, I am having to do quite a bit of XHTML/CSS, so I got a chance to experience the problem first hand. I really must say that it can’t get any more frustrating when you spend whole of your day (without a lunch break) trying to make sure that your code looks the same in IE and Firefox , just to find out at the end of the day that you must test your code in IE version 6.0 as well, which will make you look like a complete idiot because IE6 will mercilessly make your page look like a drawing board with random elements on it.

I mean, can anyone remind me what a browser is for ? I thought it was for just BROWSING! Every single browser out there does not make any money to anyone, they are all essentially free of cost. So why can’t they all just work the same way and render HTML/CSS in the same way, which is what they were built for in first place, if I am not mistaken. It would make life so much easier if the code was to be written just ONCE and it would work in all browsers. Bear in mind, I haven’t even started talking about Safari, Opera and IE on Mac, yet. Are the developers really expected to write compatible code for most (if not all) of these browsers ? I mean, is this not a direct impact of the war amongst browsers to win market share? Why should developers suffer because of this ?

From a client’s perspective, what’s the point of having a super hi-fi cutting edge technology behind your application if the front-end doesn’t look right in one of the browsers. And I completely agree to that. But who suffers ? The poor HTML developer who ends up writing different versions of CSS files for different browsers! Crazy Stuff!

People who use HTML Table tags in their code, are considered old fashioned nowadays. These people are given a weird look when someone looks at their code. Because its the in-thing to write XHTML/CSS2 code. Now this is all fine, but what I don’t understand is, why do we have to spend numerous number of hours to make sure the code looks likewise in all browsers and all versions, when the way these browsers treat margins, paddings, width’s is different in first place ?

Simply put, If I was in control, I would either force every single browser installation out there to update itself to the latest version or just start writing Flex/Flash applications as much as I can, atleast Flash Player is browser-independent. Although, I am still waiting on search engines to start indexing Flash content.

There really should be some easy way out! We should be working on something more useful and productive!

Thoughts ?

 

7 Responses to Why are these browsers at war with each other ?

  1. Sana says:

    Its very simple as four different CFML engine. Why not all vendors support each other to maintain same behaviour of language/tags etc.

  2. Dan Roberts says:

    “I mean, can anyone remind me what a browser is for ? I thought it was for just BROWSING!”

    If all we ever did was browse html documents with the basic tags there wouldn’t be a problem. However the browser is used for much more than that…. multimedia experiences, graphic design, dynamic application interface, etc. It is not as easy as it might seem.

    Here is an article by Joel Spolsky that may explain why making browsers compatibility and testing is difficult:
    http://joelonsoftware.com/items/2008/03/17.html

  3. Michael says:

    “Every single browser out there does not make any money to anyone, they are all essentially free of cost.” browsers make money from the search tool in the corner. http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3590756

  4. Anuj Gakhar says:

    @Sana, Yes, agreed but all 4 CFML engines document what will work and what not and they treat the tags in the same way, e.g. cfquery would work the same way in all engines.

    @Dan, I know browsers are used for a lot more than just HTML browsing and that is what I meant. The problem however lies in only the HTML rendering…

    @Michale, browsers can make whatever amount of money they have to but that stil doesnt justify the reason they would treat a piece of html/css code differently.

  5. i think we all feel your frustration. i often wonder why browsers can’t just update the html/css/javascript rendering engines. why do we have to wait years or months for a new version to come out to fix a bug in the css parser?

    on the flip side, once you get the hang of xhtml/css it really isn’t that bad. there are tons of websites that explain the secrets to accomplishing getting the page to render perfectly in ie and firefox. remember that if worst comes to worst you can always to a conditional css include for just ie6.

  6. Anuj Gakhar says:

    @Tony, I cant agree more on that. It should be easy to just update the rendering engine.

    I know we can learn our way around xhtml/css but i keep on asking myself why ? I would rather learn something more useful in the same time….

    nothing we can do though..

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