Browser Compatibility!!

I’m a little frustrated right now! I just spent almost 40 minutes to get a plane ticket for my wifes Grandma to fly out to Utah from Vancouver, BC for a visit. Why all my problems? Browser compatibility issues with Delta Airlines (Who is my favorite company to bash as they are inadequate in almost every way).

Delta.com doesn’t work with Safari, which is the default web browser on all Mac computers. When you select the departure and arrival dates it uses only the first digit of all their dates. This means if you select the 9th of the month “09” it gives you “0”, or if you choose the 24th of the month it gives you “2”.

Now me being the productive person I am I simply can’t work on a Microsoft Windows machine ever again, so using Internet Explorer really isn’t an option for me anymore. My experience with Macs and Windows is the meat of several other blog entries in the past, so I will bypass that argument in this entry. What gets me is that this wouldn’t be tested on a large site like Delta.com. My best research shows that Apple sold 1.7 million Macs last quarter alone and will sell over 2 million this quarter. Why would you not test your site against ALL major browsers including Safari?

In 1997 I could understand if you had a site specific to a single browser. Those days were different and the DHTML/Javascript was incompatible between browsers in many ways. In 2007 there is no excuse for this. As the vast majority of my readers run sites of their own I implore you to verify that your sites work in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Konquerer, Camino. At the very least they must work in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. If any of those browsers have issues then you are forcing visitors/customers to leave your site and go elsewhere.

Please, for my sake and for those millions of “other people” that don’t use Internet Explorer make sure your site is compatible. It doesn’t take a ton of effort to fix and the benefits far outweight the detriments!

Thanks,

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

34 Responses to “Browser Compatibility!!”

  1. Arum says:

    totally agree with you on this, big companies like this should be ashamed of their lack of cross-browser testing and compatibility, ebay just broke their selling for Safari users with their new form system.

  2. Jason Silver says:

    In a perfect world, maybe, but I don’t know– Safari is a pretty bad browser… when I design sites, I only care if they work on IE, FireFox, and Opera. If Mac can’t get with the standards, then they get left behind.

  3. Bb says:

    I agree with you. Utterly. I own an iMac but I’ve had to install 2 other browsers just to get some things working with the macintosh. My experience is iCab is Mac’s closest thing to IE. Firefox is what I use normally, but there seems to be a prejudice against Firefox in general – mac or no mac. What’s more depressing for mac users such as myself is the lack of software range… WAY too many things have a windows version but not a mac… to me, that’s just bad marketing. Recently I’ve started using Parallel Desktop for mac, giving me the best of both worlds :)

    -Bb

  4. I feel your pain. I have run into safari browser issues with my on-line banking myself. I love safari. I think it is the best browser on the market, running into banking issues and other issues with differnt websites i need to access in a normal day I have been forced me to switch to firefox. Which is better then I.E. any day.

  5. Travis says:

    I agree! If you’re the operator of a small Web site that serves a niche market, you can sometimes get away with ignoring Opera or the outlying Linux browsers… but when you are a huge company like Delta, the

  6. Varghese says:

    The delta.com mentions about browser compatibility at http://www.delta.com/help/browser_compatibility/index.jsp I could not see the safari browser in the list. As you said, the delta has to fix reach more customers – can’t lose business because of browser issues.

  7. Tony Springston says:

    You do know Delta has a toll free phone number – I would assume someone like you would have enough status to get freebie phone reservations.

    On the other hand, enjoy your trip to Vancouver, who knows, you might even have enough time to see a nice hockey game here.

    I’ll try and make the weather not, well, suck.

  8. Scott Finman says:

    Best yet, adhere to W3C XHTML standards; while this won’t negate testing with various browsers, it will at least limit your browser debugging to Internet Explorer – since Microsoft feels the W3C standards are flawed and that they can do ‘better’ with their IE engine.

    As well, I’d add Dillo (Linux) to the list of browser to test; it’s good bare bones trial of how many users will see your site on mobile devices.

  9. Mike in Kansas City says:

    Honestly Matt, you were smart enough to adopt the best hardware and O/S available, why didn’t you stop short of installing Firefox: the best browser available? The FIRST thing I do on any new Mac is to install Firefox and get Safari off of the dock. Maybe the boys in Cupertino will give the beleaguered in-house browser a serious upgrade for OS X 10.5, but I’m not holding my breath and you shouldn’t either.

  10. Scott Finman says:

    Best yet, adhere to W3C XHTML standards; while this won’t negate testing with various browsers, it will at least limit your browser debugging to Internet Explorer – since Microsoft feels the W3C standards are flawed and that they can do ‘better’ with their IE engine.

    As well, I’d add Dillo (Linux) to the list of browser to test; it’s good bare bones trial of how many users will see your site on mobile devices, as well as giving an indication of whether your JS/DHTML/CSS/Cookies/et al. degrade cleanly in other browsers with various features disabled.

  11. Douglas T says:

    I had someone try to explain to me the other day that an IE only on-line registration form was acceptable… What? Sure it’s the major browser, but only IE? That would have automatically eliminated 20-25% of the client base for that product. I declined to accept their advice. The form works in all major browsers.

  12. Neil in Vancouver, BC says:

    Welcome to the world of CMS where all the coding front & back end is geared for the 90% of the world that uses IE compatible.

    Even being in the CMS consulting space it’s a hassle has you always got to check the product in several browsers but they are all PC based. Would love to see Safari on a PC. Thinking it’s time to buy a Mac for testing……..

    Btw you can tell your wife’s Grandma it’s still raining in Vancouver & we have past all the rain records days ago. I’ve started to look at plans for an Arch….LOL

  13. Tim Matheson says:

    In todays internet you have to comply with all operating systems and browser configurations. By ignoring this one detail you can successfully eliminate revenue from customers using unsupported software. This is negligent on Delta’s part. Any good developer knows that accessibility and usability come before design without using proper web standards you fail to future proof a site and risk future inconsistencies amongst user and software variations. I would have either not used the site or simply emailed their web master explaining the issue to bring this problem to the attention of the development team. This is unacceptable in todays market and must be addressed by all designers big and small if they wish to produce a successful product. I feel so strongly about this issue I wrote an article on it and some software you can use to lessen the blow of testing across multiple platforms and browsers. You can find the article here.

    All the best,

    Tim Matheson

  14. Paul S says:

    I wish people would stop building sites for IE then trying to make them work in other browsers.

    Build in a W3C compliant (for the most part) browser like Firefox, Opera or Safari then fix the damn thing for IE not the other way around. I do more browser testing for my own websites than some big corporations do on theirs!

  15. Zanson says:

    i try to make my site for firefox and oera. IE will work if firefox dose, and if IE dosn’t then well w/e, i hate IE, i really do. it has messed up so many pages that i wanted to create because it uses it’s own rules instead of the standards of HTML and CSS.

    i have not checked my sites with safari, but im sure my friend (who uses a mac) would yell at me if something did not work.

    i usually go by this, in the footer of my sites, i just put Works best with Firefox and Opera.

  16. Michael says:

    I’m sure these corporations have a IT policy that dictates Windows–and if they let one Mac in the door, people are going to start demanding a switch. Sadly, the way to support Safari compatibility is to port it to Windows.

  17. Doc says:

    Short of buying a Mac, how would you suggest web developers test Safari?

  18. Thomas says:

    Well problem number 1 was using a Mac and expecting anything in the real world to actually work. Problem #2 was using a browser that’s no where close to being standard or common place and expecting it to work. If you use anything other than IE or Firefox, you better check their compatibility page first to see if it will work.

    It sucks that everything doesn’t “just work” (wait.. I thought that’s what Mac’s did?) but that’s the price you pay when you’re not willing to stick with standard hardware and software that the vast majority of people use. 1.7 million Mac’s sounds like a lot, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to Windows-based systems and that’s why websites, software, etc. is not designed with Mac’s in mind.

  19. Mike Tinman says:

    Hey Matt,
    I 100% agree windows is rubbish compaired to Mac. My brother uses it, he swears that the work he does is not poss with windows. Having said that have you heard the Mac switcher song! It’s Great you can download it FREE with the link on my website http://www.tinmantree.net. Please let me know what you think of it. Hope things have gone well with the big move. Thanks for all your support.
    Mike Tinman

  20. Matt. normally I agree with most of what you write. But in this case, don’t let your dislike of Windows and Internet Explorer cloud your judgment. My bet is that the Safari Browser is the one that is non-compliant

    Webmasters must write to accommodate the issues with IE, but this is necessary because of the number of people using it. But to accommodate Safari or Opera, is asking too much. Let them make their browsers compliant with the W3C XHTML standards. Problem solved.

  21. Romy says:

    Dear Matt,

    Don’t get frustrated! Go and grow your great company and let us worry about booking a ticket to Vancouver for your wife’s’ Grandma.
    Please contact us!

  22. Mary Fox says:

    Good points about testing on Mac and Mac browsers. As for getting grandma’s airline tickets and then actually successfully printing her boarding passes in a scrolling pop-up window (try that on safari!) try the latest NETSCAPE for Mac OS. NETSCAPE !!?1 Netscape on the new macs has been doing for me in flying land what Safari cannot. That means to me that it’s also head’s up time for Safari.

  23. Hil B. says:

    ok, enough.. I love blue host, having said that you have it completely backwards as usual with you mac zombies. Heres an idea how about the idiots that wrote Safari pull their heads out of their napoleon complexed ass and make Safari work correctly..that is who you should be complaining to.. one company(apple) fixes their own problem and not try to lame blame on the rest of the internet, I am, am have been working and being very productive in the real business world.. which is why I have no use for Macs..

  24. Oreb says:

    I’m just curious why you don’t use Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/). It’s compatible, available on tons of platforms and might even work on Delta.com. Wait… Let me check… Appears to work. Might save you some frustration to give it a try.

  25. Hey Matt:
    Easier said than done. How do you propose that I, a PC user, test it on a MAC? Are you volunteering?
    -Charles

  26. Bob Morris says:

    Delta’s site also does not work with Firefox in printing boarding passes, I had to do it in IE instead.

  27. [...] Their C.E.O probably isn’t all evil.(But on the other hand, he does use a Mac.) [...]

  28. Terry says:

    Seamonkey is good sometimes too. But i had to start usiing firefox. And while we’re knocking Internet exploder, MS stopped supporting it for the mac, and they aren’t doing diddly with supporting Virtual PC lately, shame on Microsquash. Darn Goliath.

  29. greg says:

    as a web programmer i understand your pain however safari is not a majority in hits on any of the sites that i run or work with. we compensate by using mostly if not all server side coding and valid html and css, etc. But we only test our sites in IE, FF, and Opera. If it works in those 3 it should work in Safari.

    Firefox will run on any OS out there that has a GUI so if your site doesn’t load try it out. that should solve most if not all of your problems. I have also found that all OSs have their pros and cons. I personally use or have used Windows XP(home, pro) windows server 2k3(small biz and enterprise), Cent OS, Suse 10, Fedora Core 3/4/5, OS 10.3/.4 on both ppc and intel. I have found that every OS is good for something and bad for something. Mac truthfully frustrates the hell out of me with a bunch of their stuff while windows is a pain that it always has to be protected but i can do anything. Linux is stable as anything and most macs are however i have found that mac has the same application issues that windows has. I have crashed a mac before and I have crashed windows and linux simply by using them.

    What i’m trying to say is that your OS doesn’t matter. What matters is how you use and what you use it for. The same with your browser type in a way. The majority of people that use macs don’t use safari but instead download FF and make it their primary.

  30. Chris says:

    You may want to give Camino a try… it’s the Gecko engine running in a native Aqua application on OS X.

  31. P.Wolfe says:

    Dear Mr. Heaton,

    I recommend that you purchase Parallels. You can use one of those licenses of Win XP you have laying around and fire up your virtual copy of Windows on your MAC. When you run into someone who has no sense of customer service (Delta in this case), just fire up your virtual copy of Windows.

    Hope that helps.

    P.Wolfe
    AINEO Networks
    Tokyo, Japan

  32. I resent the Mac Zombie crack. I worked on the &** W******* boxes for 20 years. We took the bios in one and we threw the disk I/O and error checking away and made up to 16 at a time boot MS DOS form a net work in 1988.

    I went to an IMac to get a really fast Unix box on my desk top with Mac tools and be able to run as many other OSs concurrently with Unix as I want including Windows XP, 98 and MS DOS as well a many flavors of Linux.

    Looking at the stats on my web site IE 6 is 37% and IE 7 is 23% only makes up % of the traffic. Macs 7% a lot me and the 22% goes to Fire Fox. IE ain’t doing so great as 4/17/07

    Gordon

  33. Jeff says:

    For the record, I’ve been using Safari since day one. I’ve tried several other browsers—Firefox, Camino, iCab, Shiira, Opera, and OmniWeb, to name a few—and I just keep coming back to Safari, for two reasons:

    1) Speed

    2) RSS

    In my experience, Firefox not only sucks at handling RSS but is significantly slower than Safari on virtually every site I visit. While I admit that most people code to Firefox and IE, I rarely have to launch something other than Safari to get a site to work…. There does happen to be one site that I visit for about fifteen seconds a day that works better in Firefox, so I’ve made it my home page and that’s the only time I launch it. Other than that, I launch Camino maybe once a month? If that? It’s really nbd.

    Oh, and for the record, as of this writing (5/31), Delta has apparently gotten their heads out of their collective butt and fixed their site to work with Safari. You still can’t see anything beyond the “0” in the pop-ups, but at least it works!

  34. cdonkor says:

    Well, well, well, isnt it shocking to realize how idiotic companies can be lately? I live in the UK, and we all have had our share of idiocy. I was telling my wife the other day that companies, just love employing idiots!!! And that is true … to some extend…. why else would an airliner put up a rubbish booking system live, and i bet when you call customer service they’ll be amazed by your ‘fuzz’

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