Browser stuff - compatibility

So I came back with a thought. I needed today to add a "snow fall" script to a page. You know, the lame and useless eye-annoying usability-impediment ones. Wow, that almost made me swallow my tongue. I'm sure you've seen them at least once in your life. Most of them appear around this time of year.

For those of you that don't know, most (if not all) of those scripts are made in JavaScript. They simply create new layers (divs) that contain a GIF image representing a snow flake or I've seen some containing just the * symbol (I think it's called asterisk). Move them randomly across the screen and repeat the process over and over again. Until your user's eyes get tired trying to read the content of that page, curses the guy that had the bright idea of inserting the script and leave. And one more guy won't come back to your page. At least until spring comes and you remove the script.

But I didn't want to tell you about that. I had to insert one of those stupid scripts and that's that. Looking for one that would be compatible with all browsers, I got really frustrated. You see, most all JavaScript functions have one problem: browser compatibility. It's not that it can't be achieved, it's just that it's a stupid idea to make a script compatible to a browser that doesn't stick to the standards. Yes, you got it! I'm talking about that blasted Internet Explorer. The browser that makes all web developers sick to their stomach. But what I'm really trying to point out is that it's not just the browsers fault. No, wait, gimme a second to explain what I mean.

For those of you that don't really understand what's wrong with IE (Internet Explorer) here's a short version (the extended version would be enough to fill a few books): there are some things that are called standards. Maybe you heard of them. They're all over the place: cars, PC's, TV's, office equipment, books, furniture and almost anything that is manufactured in this world of ours. The thing is standards have a very important role: they're guidelines that people must follow so everybody can know what someone else used when he tried to do something. To exaggerate a little, if there would be no standards, a Japanese car could only be repaired in Japan, and only by the guy that built it.

The Internet also has to follow certain guidelines set in place at an international level. Web developing, web applications, instant messaging, email, web pages - they all have to respect those standards. Here is where the problems occur. Although most browsers stick to the rules, IE does thing it's own way. And I'm not talking about JavaScript alone. It also has serious problems with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Adobe Flash and who knows what other issues with the many 3rd party plug-ins. The reason for this, in my opinion anyway, is that it was developed by a company that made a history from keeping most of it's code secret (that's OK, otherwise they would have probably gone out of business), but also tried to take over the market on as many planes as possible. For the Internet browsing branch, they developed IE and they did it in a time when standards were not well implemented. But when they were finally in place, the browser was such widely spread that all the web developers already had to make their pages compatible with it. And this is how the Internet had to shape itself after a crappy browser.

But I was saying that it's not just IE's fault. So it's a lousy browser that doesn't stick to the standards and makes every web developer's life a living hell. But it's not the only one that sucks, there are others. The problem is with it's users. The fact that Microsoft releases it together with it's operating system makes it such a widely used browser. It's the user's fault because he's too lazy to get a proper browser, one that lives in harmony with this world of ours that we call Internet. One that doesn't force it's "way" on everything else. One that follows the guidelines and respects both the user and the web designer.

I think you got the idea. So please people, make everyone's life just a little bit easier and get a "standard compliant browser" as it is called in the industry. Anything you like. There are so many to chose from: Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Apple Safari (even on Windows). I personally use Firefox and I highly recommend it. You can find the link at the bottom of this page. But it's your choice, just try it. Hell, you can try them all. Find one that works for you. You won't regret it, I assure you.


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