[thelist] Site redirect check : old browser

Jacob Stetser lists at icongarden.com
Wed Jun 6 05:33:31 CDT 2001

I'm not sure I got my point across. Yes, designing to standards may 
make your job easier on the server end. I think that's what you're 
saying. But instead of going the rest of the way and saying "Hey, 
we're designing to standards, how can we make that fact work for the 
users as well?"

It's VERY easy to detect whether a browser supports getElementById. 
Test for it. If the browser supports it, add your javascript 
navigation and other elements. If not, use plain old non-javascripted 
html navigation. Heck, there are some ingenious ways to combine the 
two so that compliant browsers get the geee-whiz version and the 
EXACT SAME code produces a usable plaiun html navigation scheme for 
the rest.

Of course, I try to implement as little of a site's "necessary 
features" in Javascript as I can. However, the new DOM gives me a 
chance to code with degradation in mind. I don't care about 
document.layers, document.all. As far as I'm concerned, the older 
browser should lose the gee-whiz features, that's fine. It's when 
older browsers lose necessary functionality that I get concerned.

What you're doing,  in my opinion, is tantamount to denying access to 
the site because you don't want to spend the time to understand how 
you can do this in such a way that works effectively for everyone. 
Has this company run usage stats on their existing web site? How many 
people will immediately be asked to upgrade their browsers when this 
site launches? How many customers will get irate?

There's a very real people issue here, and that's EXTREMELY important 
in business. My whole point is that I think you understand the 
benefits to you of standards-compliant design, but I don't think 
you're really thinking of the benefits to users. Standards compliant 
design != shutting out the old guys, the weak guys (PDAs, embedded 
devices, cellphones), the sick (WinCE!! ;)... it means designing a 
site that will function everywhere, even if design and gee-whiz 
features don't propagate down to the lesser folk.

You CAN develop great sites that include CSSP/DOM Javascript/DHTML 
that work in all browsers. You have to let go of the necessity of 
some of your concepts to do so, however. Why does everyone need 
javascript menus, for example? It takes a lot more forethought and 
organization of ideas - but it can be done.

That, I think, is the true spirit of standards in web development - 
the browser upgrade campaign only comes halfway, even though many of 
the sites developed by supporters go the full monty!

Thanks for sharing your site - btw, doesn't work in Mac IE5 for me :)

>How is a standard compliant site supposed to work in a browser which does
>not support standards? eg DOM?  If I use getElementById, which is in the DOM
>standard, should I insert non standard code so the site works? eg
>document.all, document.layers?
>If the site uses CSSP only, then I agree - it will degrade and using
>positioning it will degrade nicely. However, I think that misses the point -
>standard compliance means compliance with all standards, not just the ones
>people can see.

Jacob Stetser :: jms at icongarden.com
Internet Experience Consultant

icongarden.com: Making good ideas grow!

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