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Cross Browser and Cross Platform Issues : Page 4

Different computers display graphics differently—understand these variations and design for them.


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Beware of Cross Browser Differences
Different browsers and browser versions display pages differently.

A browser is the the program that displays display HTML and XML documents on the monitor. In theory, the browsers follow W3C standards. In reality, browser developers have worked independently of each other and implemented standard features as well as their own features, in somewhat inconsistent ways. And so we end up with browsers that don't always display your page in quite the way you expected or intended.

<SCREAM class="frustration">Go ahead, scream. Cross browser compatability makes us all scream. Often. Loudly. With great frustration.</SCREAM ">

Ideally a Web site you design should work in all browsers. In practice that would mean using the least common denominator of features and previewing it in every browser. Designers often want as many features as possible, which may mean designing a pages that don't look the same in every browser or are creating multiple versions of a page to satisfy different browser needs.



In addition, the same browser might have some different feature implementations from dot to dot release, as well as from platform to platform release. For example, Navigator 4.0 on the PC and Navigator 4.0 on the Macintosh are not identical. And Navigator 4.5 and 4.51 are not exactly the same either.

Once again, the best way to handle browser to browser differences is to understand your audience and what they are using. Look at your own logs to gain some insight into how people are viewing your site. In addition, you might want to check out BrowserWatch, which tracks overall usage of different browser releases.

Browser Support for Graphic Formats
PNG is an up and coming format supported by newer browsers.

For straight graphics files, there is very little browser to browser variation.

Old—very old—browsers do not support JPEGs, but this is not a concern for most applications.

At the other end of the scale, the newest browsers support PNG. PNG is a very exciting format and as the 5.0 browsers begin to dominate the marketplace, expect more and more people to use PNG as the format for choice for line art and other graphics which are currently saved as GIFs.

Always test your pages in at least the two browsers that dominate the market, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

Consider trying the PNG format if your readers are all using newer browsers.





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