Firefox 1.0, Mozilla 1.7.3, Safari 1.1 (OSX Panther) are the current choices for developing web sites. Mozilla is the “parent organization” of FireFox as well as the current engine of Netscape Navigator. It is an “open source” product, which means that developers freely contribute to the growth and addition to these browsers. (Safari is a product of Apple Computer.) These products are known to support XHTML 1.0 and CSS 2.1 as fully as any browsers on the market.
The ever popular Internet Explorer from Microsoft, is slowly becoming a serious problem. Microsoft has stated that they will not upgrade the browser (Mac or Windows versions) until their new operating system codenamed “Longhorn” is released sometime in 2006. This leaves IE very problematic with a number of known bugs that have to be “hacked” to work correctly. It also means that IE will not support any changes in the standards. It is not even clear if Microsoft plans to support web standards with their new products. The problem with designing with IE as the “viewer” of your web pages, is that it will often result in all other browsers seeing it quite differently.
The recently released (Sept 04) Firefox 1.0 Preview release not only is fully compatable, it has a number of innovative features including the ability to save RSS files similar to a news aggregator. It also allows the installation of plug-in extensions, which can add functionality to the basic browser. Our classroom Firefox browsers have the popular EditCSS 0.2.2 plug-in as well as the Webdev plug-in added. These tools allow you to quickly view the source code of browser page, view any CSS rules attached to the document, perform validation of CSS, HTML, or Accessability of your pages at the touch of a menu button. This makes your work more efficient, and better organized.
Browser Issues & Web Standards
Some history about browsers for those who are curious. Browser technology had a small window when most of the “biggies” all were functioning close to Web Standards. That meant that code in one browser looked the same as in another browser. But additions to the standards (CSS 2.1) brings with it, familar problems with browsers not seeing files consistently.
The solution for the lack of comformity with current Web standards is for designer/developers of web sites to use the most compliant browser available at all times. This can change as new versions of Web standards are approved and considered final. Not every manufacturer can or will update when we want them too. The reasons why one browser is more compliant than another is not the issue. Which browser you favor or have used in the past is not the issue. You can continue to use any browser you choose when you are a “user” surfing the Web. But when developing, it is best to use the most compliant browser possible. It will save you a lot of headaches and problems later.
Links to Mozilla and Firefox sites.
Mozilla Web site: Mozilla and FireFox
Plug-ins and extensions for Mozilla & Firefox
http://update.mozilla.org/extensions/ Firefox & Mozilla extensions
A blog about Mozilla – by Pinder Johal