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Cross browser compatibility

General

- What is cross-browser compatibility?
- What are the most commonly used browsers?
- How can I be sure my website is cross-browser compatible?
- Are your templates cross-browser compatible?
- Is there ever a time when I don't have to worry about cross-browser compatibility?

Applications to Avoid

- Why does FrontPage put stuff in their program that won't work in Netscape and some other browsers?
- What are some things to avoid using while designing my web site?
- Are there compatibility issues associated with Dreamweaver?

Other HTML Issues

- How can I get rid of that space, about 10 pixels, around the edges of my web page?
- My site looks good in IE but doesn't show up or looks bad in other browsers and I didn't use any of those bad things listed above.

Tables and Borders

- Please see our Table FAQs page for cross-browser compatibility issues and other table and border facts.

General

What is cross-browser compatibility?

Browsers parse code differently. Internet viewers use a variety of browsers. It is a good idea to design your website so the vast majority of viewers can get the full benefit of your site. The best website designs are compatible with the most popular browsers, thus being cross-browser compatible.

What are the most commonly used browsers?

Internet Explorer (IE) is the most widely used browser. Next in popularity is Firefox. One that is gaining in use is Opera. Each of these browsers have different versions which also read code differently.

How can I be sure my website is cross-browser compatible?

Test, test, test in browsers. I would recommend having at least three browsers downloaded onto your computer: Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. The browsers listed cost nothing to download.

The more testing you do of your site while it is being constructed, the more sure you can be of its appearance to your audience. Frequent testing also reveals problems early in the design process, making them easier to pinpoint.

Are your templates cross-browser compatible?

Yes.

Is there ever a time when I don't have to worry about cross-browser compatibility?

If you are designing an Intranet and everyone who accesses it will be using the same browser, you do not need to be concerned with the issue.

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Applications to Avoid

Why does FrontPage put stuff in their program that won't work in some browsers?

FrontPage is a Microsoft product as is Internet Explorer (IE). As far as I know, IE supports all FrontPage applications. In the case of an Intranet, where all site viewers are using IE, the matter of cross-browser compatibility is not an issue. However, in the case of an Internet website, a variety of browsers are used and restraint should be encouraged in using the applications where there are compatibility problems.

What are some things to avoid using while designing my Internet site?

Absolute Positioning--Not all browsers can read absolute positioning. When it is used, the content on web pages can become jumbled or even overlap in some browsers.

FrontPage Marquee--FrontPage uses the marquee HTML tag which can only be read by IE. The alternative is to use a JavaScript scroller. Many free JavaScripts are available online. Be sure to check browser compatibility of the script.

FrontPage Background Sound--While background sound is very much frowned upon for business sites, it is acceptable for personal or entertainment sites. It is also wise to give your viewers the option of turning sounds on and off. FrontPage uses the bgsound HTML tag which is not cross-browser compatible. It also does not provide a control panel for the site visitor. The alternative is to embed the sound using the following code, preferably near the top of the web page where you wish the control panel to appear.

<embed src="filename.wav" width="51" height="20" controls="smallconsole" autostart="false" loop="false">

Replace filename.wav with the name of your sound file. Change autostart to true if you wish sound to start upon your page's loading; and loop to true if you wish the sound to repeat.

FrontPage Page Transitions--These do not work in Netscape and are slow and distracting in IE.

FrontPage DHTML--This meets with mixed results. It is best to use DHTML or JavaScript that has been tested and proven to be cross-browser compatible.

A word about FrontPage hover buttons--Hover buttons are not to be confused with the hover attribute in CSS. The CSS hover attribute allows a text to change color or a link to become underlined or not upon a cursor moving over text.

FrontPage hover buttons are graphics "powered" by Java (totally different than JavaScript). Being Java, they require large amounts of available RAM on a site visitor's computer in order to load, and they are slow loading. They sometimes load well and sometimes do not load at all, leaving a solid colored rectangle in their place. Search engines cannot follow their links, some firewalls block them, and browser translators for the visually challenged cannot read them. They have even been known to crash browsers.

The best alternative is to use plain text links or proven JavaScript or DHTML scripts/menus for navigation links.

Are there compatibility issues associated with Dreamweaver?

Yes. Read the above issues to get a general idea of what to avoid inserting manually into Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver's tempter to non cross-browser compatibility is layers. Layers can be used but they need to be converted to tables.

Other HTML Issues

How can I get rid of that space, about 10 pixels, around the edges of my web page?

Add the following to your css file

body{
margin: 0;
padding:0;
}

My site looks good in IE but doesn't show up or looks bad in other browsers and I didn't use any of those bad things listed above. Why is Netscape such a pain?

IE is very forgiving of incorrect HTML code. If you are experiencing a problem in another browser, check your code for missing tags, closing tags, or parts of tags.

Occasionally, in FrontPage, the closing body tag, </body>, and closing HTML tag, </html>, will disappear, preventing the web page from displaying in Netscape. They are usually the last items in the HTML View of a web page. Typing them in should correct the problem. However, every now and then a page will become corrupt and those tags will not stay in place. Simply open a new page, move the content to the new page, and save using the offending page's file name.

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