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the browser ghetto

by Rob Friesel

Why I simultaneously love and hate web developers (via Musings from Mars » All The Lovely Browsers!):

Regardless of why it’s favored, developers need to understand that when they fail to include Safari in their compatibility testing, they are basically thumbing their nose at Mac users. In my world, that’s not just a nasty thing to do, it’s also illegal. After all, it’s essentially the same as putting a sign on your shop window that says “No Jews served,” or “No Illegal Immigrants served,” etc. […]

By the way, developing for Safari isn’t as hard as it’s made out to be. In my latest update to this heavily JavaScript/CSS/Ajax-driven website experiment, there were only one or two items that worked differently in Safari than in Firefox or Opera. The only hard browser to support was IE. And I do mean hard, as in forget it hard. I probably spent three full days just getting the site to its current level of support for IE, and even then I had to dumb down certain features to get it to work.

What I enjoy here is that Safari is put on the spot (sort of) as the minority browser that plays by the rules. Internet Explorer is the one singled out as “narsty”. And yet IE is the one that needs constant pandering because of its disgusting, gigantic market share.

“Ironic” isn’t the right word but it’s the first word that comes to mind.

This isn’t a new or novel observation.  Hell, at this point it’s barely even noteworthy.  But I also think it’s easy for web developers to forget that they’re a niche group that passionately believes that they’re right and can’t be bothered with distractions like user-bases.  I’m one of those people.  I believe in web standards.  I think they’re a good thing and that the software developers building browsers have a responsibility to adhere to those standards.  But then there’s the “tough shit” moment when you realize that 90% of the user-base accessing your site is using the IE vector and of that 90%, 25% experience a bug with your fancy, CSS-driven fly-out menu.

And so it’s Safari and Firefox (and heaven forbid Camino) that get the ghetto treatment.

“Stupid” isn’t the right word but it’s the first word that comes to mind.

currently playing: Bill Hamel “Siren Song”

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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