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

Simon Geard delgarde at ihug.co.nz
Thu Nov 22 01:58:51 PST 2012

On Wed, 2012-11-21 at 07:09 -0500, LM wrote:
> 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'd not be surprised if some of those problems were from brain-dead
developers doing browser version checks in their code. Now that I think
about it, some things *did* break on FF10, due to crap version-detection
code mis-classifying it as FF1. And I have seen other IBM products doing
the same kind of thing - disabling functionality not because it won't
work, but because they don't recognise your browser and assume it won't.

> 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.

Do you mean that they clearly block it from being used on IE? Or is it
that it just doesn't work, and they make it clear they're not going to
fix it? I have a lot of sympathy for the latter attitude - yes, it
excludes some users, but if you're trying to do anything fancy,
supporting IE ranges from difficult to outright impossible.

For example, I was looking recently at doing data visualization in the
browser (e.g workflow models), and while it can be hidden by libraries,
it basically requires two separate code paths - one using VML for IE,
the other using SVG for every other browser. That's a lot of extra
effort, so you have to ask yourself whether this particular feature
needs to work on IE.

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