Calling All Web Devs: Support More Browsers

Seeing this message on the UGSS site when I opened Safari for Windows instigated this post: You need IE (6.0 or higher) or FireFox (1.5 or higher) to view this site.

You’ve read about how disgusted I get with the whole “IE Only” crutch. Now I need to extend that call even further – developing for particular browsers limits your audience and can leave a bad taste for a potential customer. Are web developers still doing this? If so, why?

Now my guess with the UGSS site is that it’s older – as those are dated browser versions. So maybe it’s an old app that could use some updating? Most likely.

Yes, as web developers, we should consider our target audience. But unless your site was truly focused on a niche market, is there a reason why you’d want to develop new sites for one specific browser? If we’re Apple, for example, we’ll want to target our Mac fans, but at the same time, we need to acknowledge that there are other people who may be interested in our products/services who may be running one of the other popular browsers and not just the one we’ve been developing for.

For those of you working on the Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever, there have been complaints about one of the levels not working in a certain browser. If you let me know which operating system you are running and version of your browser, that would help me figure out where the bug is. I’ve tested the code in Google Chrome, Safari for Windows, and Internet Explorer 7 and 8. (Firefox and Opera were accidentally left off when I recently redid my laptop, so they were missed.) I don’t own a Mac, so I rely on Mac users to give constructive feedback. From what I’ve heard so far, the problem seems to be with Firefox (at least versions 3.0.11 and higher) on Windows XP, which I can test when I’m near an XP machine. If you are one of those people having a hard time with stage 15 and Javascript errors (and *only* JS errors), please let me know which OS/browser so that I can troubleshoot it and possibly fix it. As you will come to learn, I am not one of those web developers who will force you to use a particular browser.

Now understand something – this call goes to all web devs out there, and not just the Windows-based ones. So Linux-based web devs who design their sites for Firefox only – this applies to you guys too. And anyone else out there who’s doing web dev with just a one browser mentality – it’s time to expand your horizons and acknowledge other browsers out there. You don’t have to like them – but at least consider that it’s more than just an IE/Firefox/Safari world.

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