[blfs-support] browsers (was Re: Latest news in GNOME world)

LM lmemsm at gmail.com
Wed Nov 21 04:09:08 PST 2012

On Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 2:00 AM,
<blfs-support-request at linuxfromscratch.org> wrote:
> Yeah, that's a problem we had to deal with at work, when they switched
> to the rapid release cycle. But in practice, what we've ended up doing
> is simply ignoring it - our experience is that we can upgrade Firefox
> whenever a new release comes out, with full confidence that nothing will
> break. The move to out-of-process plugins in Firefox 3.6 was the last
> time I remember anything causing problems for us...

That's lucky for you that nothing's seriously broken.  As I mentioned,
we use IBM Cognos at work.  Firefox and Chrome support both break
after upgrades.  We haven't been able to upgrade our version of Cognos
(which supports later versions of Firefox, but not earlier ones)
either, because of bugs in critical pieces that we use.  At this
point, we're pretty much stuck.

> I don't see that. As you said earlier, the standards are being *written*
> by the browser makers, and most of them (Safari, Firefox, Opera, Chrome)
> are keen to implement the new features. True, support for some things
> does vary between browsers, but that's a matter of timing rather than a
> refusal to implement things.

The webkit and mozilla based browsers do have pretty similar standards
support because they're using the same base libraries.  As far as
other browsers, like IE, text-based browsers, some browsers for
embedded systems, I'm seeing a lot more differences.  I also see a lot
of differences and issues with how different browsers are supporting
offline and web based apps, and running scripts locally.

> And I *definitely* don't see that. There are sites that don't work on IE
> because it lacks features web developers want to use, but not because
> developers have deliberately excluded it. Or is that what you mean?

I do mean that web developers specifically exclude certain browsers
from viewing a site.  When trying to look up various web and
programming topics online, a search engine will send me to a site and
the site will specifically say that they do not support IE and to use
another browser like Firefox or Chrome if you want to view that site.
I didn't keep a list of those sites' URLs, but I've encountered more
than one site specifically designed to do this.  If a site is going to
only support a couple of browsers, I typically don't feel their
content is worth jumping through hoops to view and I don't feel it's
worth recommending to others.

> I'm trying not to beat up on Internet Explorer too much, but a lot of
> compatibility problems come down to that browser being very slow to
> support new features.

They also add new features that aren't standards compliant.  For
instance, they went with VML (which did at least get proposed as a
standard to the W3C).  They're only now adding some SVG support (and
probably one reason was because other companies like Google were
creating ways to add it if they didn't).  The standards don't get
released that often.  Look at the gaps between HTML 4, XHTML 1 and now
HTML 5.  It may be a lot of work to fully implement the HTML 5
standard, but if some browser did that (especially when it's at the
point where it's fairly stable), it probably wouldn't need to change
for a long time (at least until there's an HTML 6 equivalent).


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