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Encantador Encantador is offline
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Browser compatibility?

Hi,

For those with a business website, or perhaps any experts.
What browsers would you want your site to work well on?

Obviously the latest version of Netscape and IE, but what about older versions and other browsers.

I assume no developer will ever claim a site will work well on everything. What should they be offering in terms of browser compatibility if they were quoting to build you a site today?

Thanks in advance.
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Daniel Knight Daniel Knight is offline
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You hit that one on the head; no site looks how it's supposed to on all browsers, and for any web designers here I imagine you're also cringing on past experience, or past problems with this.

There isn't too much variation, though, in the way browsers interpret HTML (or whatever your site will be written in). Netscape tends to make the page vertically elongated in comparison to IE, but AOL is identical, at least in my experience. You should think about netizens of other platforms however. Unix/Linux users, for example, seem to be fond of Opera and Mozilla a lot more than Windows users. The same goes for Macs. These are the five most popular browsers, and some kind of consistency should be acheived for these.

Resolution, in my opinion, is a more dangerous minefield. Recent statistics, however, show that 1024 x 768 is the most widely used at 47%, and 800 x 600 is second at 37%. The first is becoming more popular where the latter is dying out, but for now, web designers should try to satisfy both.
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Phil Phil is offline
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Don't forget Safari on Macs.

Personally I try and make all my sites compatible with:

I.E 5.5+
NS 6+
Opera 6+
Mozilla
and Safari

AOL uses Netscape as its browser so if it works in NS7, it should be the same on AOL. Prior to AOL6, I think they used IE5.5.

The browser I most hate i NS4. Whereas the others variate pages slightly, NS4 just destroys them as it doesn't do CSS2 properly, nor any modern (as in last 6 years) HTML tags. Therefore what I do is create a javascript which redirects NS4 users to a seperate page telling them that their browser is 8 years old and needs replaced. I know it's harsh, but it's better than them seeing a site looking incredibly bad.

Resolutions I stick to is 1024x768. I do however make sure that it works fine on 800x600 (i.e. tables just fill the screen exactly when the browser is maximised). However, if you use percentages to size tables on your page, then it is possible for you pages to look good on any resolution (of course excluding extreme sizes (3G phones, WebTV, 1600x1200, etc).
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longplay longplay is offline
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I usually aim for:

IE 5+ (5.5 is the biggest pain, 5 tends to be find for CSS etc)
Latest version of Mozilla/Netscape (most of the people using these are savvy enough to upgrade often)
and the latest version of Opera

AOL runs IE, so no worries there, I build using standards so a quick check in a lynx emulator usually shows everything works in the text version, sometimes I double-check in a Mac browser with some of the online tools, but due to their adherence to standards, most Mac browsers are usually fine.
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Phil Phil is offline
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AOL now uses Netscape because they had a big argument with Microsoft and dropped I.E
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Encantador Encantador is offline
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Thanks...what about......

Thanks for the info so far, very useful.

Most developers have suggested they would use PHP and My SQL (does that sound right) and others asp/MSSQL.

Can anyone explain in laymans terms what the main differences are and which is better and why.

The site is database driven with lots of photographs.

Thanks again.
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Phil Phil is offline
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the difference is about £1000!!!

PHP and ASP are free. I dunno what language PHP is based on, but it does seem very similar to Java/C++ (from my own experience). ASP is based on Visual Basic but it does come in Java flavours (JSP). ASP.net is the newer version of ASP with the main language being C# which is microsofts new version of C++ and is very very nice. There's also java and vb versions of ASP.net (probably more too as that's what .net is all about).

MySQL is a free open source database platform whereas MSSQL is the Microsoft version.

MS is probably a hell of a lot more powerful than My, but then again it does cost £1000's.

MySQL is probably adequate for what you're doing and PHP is a lot nicer than ASP.
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Encantador Encantador is offline
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So.......

Hi Phil,

Thanks for that.

Do you mean £1000 is what a site might cost more than one using My, or is the £1000 just a figure that the developer has paid to use that software.

The quotes certainly are not £1000 apart.
Or have I missed the point.

When you say......"PHP is a lot nicer than ASP"
are you talking about the building of the site or the using of it.

Obviously, all I am interested in is how well the site will work for my visitors.

Does any of this actually make any difference, providing of course that the developer using whatever knows what they are doing.

Thanks again.
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Phil Phil is offline
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Re: So.......

Quote:
Do you mean £1000 is what a site might cost more than one using My, or is the £1000 just a figure that the developer has paid to use that software.
Actually, now I think about it, it's £1000+ for the licence to have MSSQL installed on your server. I suppose if someone else is hosting the main DB program, it won't cost you as much for a single database. Probably only £50 a year. Sorry for the confusion.



Quote:
When you say......"PHP is a lot nicer than ASP"
I really just meant for coding, but it's just what I'm used to I guess. Someone who has a lot of experience with VB would probably say the opposite



Quote:
Does any of this actually make any difference, providing of course that the developer using whatever knows what they are doing.
Nah, not really. Both should work fine unless it's a huge site and so MSSQL would be better (huge as is 1000's of database records to be held).
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Encantador Encantador is offline
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Hosting.....

Thanks again Phil.

The developer showing the most promise so far has given me this....

1. The recommended hosting platform will be Windows NT / Win 2000 with MS SQL database and asp support.
2. File upload component on the server like 'aspupload'
3. Initially we can opt for 40 mb space. We can get the space increased as and when required.
4. An email component for sending / receiving mails.
5. email accounts (as many as you require)

Is this enough to get quotes for hosting?
What sort of other things do I need to be asking a potential host?

Thanks
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Phil Phil is offline
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oh, forgot to mention that PHP/MySQL primarily runs on Linux servers, whereas ASP/MSSQL primarily runs on Windows servers.

That should be enough info for you to find hosting, although if you're planning on having a busy site with lots of file transfers, you'll need to consider bandwidth too.

If you ever decide to opt for PHP/MySQL, then I could match your requirements exactly for hosting, however I don't have any windows packages currently
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conceptdelta conceptdelta is offline
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Encantador,

ASP, in Microsoft's eyes at least, is a dead technology, no longer supported. If you go down the MS route I'd recommend ASP.NET as the code running the site will be more upgradeable / extensible / maintainable in the future (as newer development tools emphasise ASP.NET rather than ASP).

Remember you can run MySQL + ASP.NET to avoid MSSQL server expense.
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longplay longplay is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phil
AOL now uses Netscape because they had a big argument with Microsoft and dropped I.E
Actually no, they still use IE.

They settled a suit with MS and have since all but dropped Netscape, giving the code to the Mozilla foundation. Rumour has it they may do some more development work on it as IE isn't due for an update until 2006.
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Encantador Encantador is offline
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My head hurts.......(;0)

So guys.......

If we choose a developer that wants to build our site using ASP/MSSQL

what, in real terms will it mean to us and more importantly our visitors?

Thanks
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hirstys hirstys is offline
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Hi A few important points:

1. Browser compatibility.

You should ensure that your developer is coding to recognised W3C standards. Specify this in your detail specifciaiton document with the developer.

By using CSS and restricting HTML code to approved standards you should not see too many problems with cross browser compatibility. The problems usually arise when a developer just "slices" an image in fireworks and uses tables in dreamweaver to layout, etc..

Aside from anything else, accessibility is now a legal requirement and by sticking to the standards you will be closer to compliance from the start.

2. Asp / MS

The problem you will face with using ASP and a Microsoft server is primarily that of cost, the web host must pay for licenses to host your site and this puts up the cost in comparison to a linux and open source (php / MySQL for example) solution. The majority of the web runs on linux with open source solutions, unless there is a very good reason for doing so, it would seem a costly option to buck the trend.

3. A quick plug....

We have years of experience producing sites similar to your brief descrip above, why not drop your spec through and we will send back a comparative price and some refrerence sites, etc. James@a4internet.com

Regards


James Hirst
A4 Internet ltd
0845 108 0411
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