This week's giveaway is in the Testing forum.
We're giving away four copies of TDD for a Shopping Website LiveProject and have Steven Solomon on-line!
See this thread for details.
Win a copy of TDD for a Shopping Website LiveProject this week in the Testing forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other Pie Elite all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Paul Clapham
  • Ron McLeod
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Tim Cooke
Sheriffs:
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • paul wheaton
  • Henry Wong
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Tim Holloway
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Carey Brown
  • Frits Walraven
Bartenders:
  • Piet Souris
  • Himai Minh

uestion for Frank Zammetti

 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 52
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Frank,

I've started learning JavaScript and Web Development as a whole a few months ago when I was put an a project that needed some help. I have experience in Java and found JavaScript fairly easy to understand and follow the basics. Where I get lost is with the Browser differences. It doesn't make sense to me why these browser companies can't just develop to the standard, but that is a different story.

Does your book go into the details of the Browser differences as far as programming to them are? We get a lot of reported bugs because our code works for one Browser but not another. If it does, to me it would be worth the cost just for that portion.

Thanks in advance.
Greg
 
Sheriff
Posts: 67637
173
Mac Mac OS X IntelliJ IDE jQuery TypeScript Java iOS
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Greg L Tonn:
It doesn't make sense to me why these browser companies can't just develop to the standard...



Looking up the address of the guilty company is easy. Apparently bothering to code to standards is not.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is look into adopting a light-weight library such as Prototype or jQuery. In addition to making it a lot easier get your pages working with less script (written by you at least), they go a long way to reduce the angst of dealing with IE and its "we don't need no stinking standards" attitude.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 136
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Greg,

My book certainly does deal with that, but not as an explicit topic. It's covered as differences come up.

I do think a lot of people place the blame on IE, and for good reason. However, I have to be honest here, and I know a lot of people won't like hearing this, but... I'm involved in a massive, highly complex and very client-heavy application at work, and I'll tell you this: we coded to standards, and we bent over backwards to almost never do anything in a browser-specific way unless we really had no choice, and we've frankly had more trouble getting Firefox to cooperate than we have IE.

I know, I know, IE is more forgiving of bad syntax. Doesn't apply here because we put in a lot of effort to make sure our syntax is spot on. We in no situation ever said "ok, IE does this cool thing, let's use it"... early on we had a lot of people on the team developing in IE and then checking on FF... I finally convinced them to do it the other way around, which has certainly improved matter, but even still, we find more quirks in FF than in IE frankly.

This is no way lete Microsoft off the hook... the criticisms of them not implementing standards fully/properly is of course accurate, as is the criticism of the extending and extinguishing. But, I think the attitude of "FF is right and IE is wrong" is just a inaccurate. At least, my experience bears that out. In my opinion, they both have a long way to go to get things right, even if FF is in the lead overall.
 
Greg L Tonn
Ranch Hand
Posts: 52
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So for the sort term Web developers are stuck in the middle checking their apps against multiple browsers. Then going back and tweaking things one at a time!

It's good to be a web developer...
 
Frank Zammetti
Ranch Hand
Posts: 136
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't think that's just for the short-term frankly... it's been this way for years, and I don't see any sudden event that's going to change it that much. Note though that browsers *have* slowly converged on standards (yes, some faster than others!), so where we are today is leaps and bounds better than where we were 2-3 years ago... I'm sure the same will be true 2-3 years from now.

The key is sticking to standards. Do that, and you'll find your troubles decrease quite a bit *most* of the time.

Also, and I can't emphasize this enough: get yourself the latest copy of O'Reilly's Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference. I've yet to find a better book that concisely lists out the differences between major browsers. The ability to go look up a given CSS or DOM attribute and see which browsers support it, which don't, and see the quirks between them, is invaluable. It's broken out into sections on DOM, Javascript and CSS, so it's easy to find what you need (although they changed the format a bit in the latest version, which I felt was a bit of a step back, but it's still very good).

<tangent alert="warning!">

Also, and this is more of a general suggestion for any developer in any area: learn to use Google well! I have one colleague here at work that thinks I'm some sort of uber-genius because he'll IM me a question and I'll have an answer for him in <30 seconds almost every time. He's always amazed that I seem to know everything, and then one day I broke the news to him: I just Google very well If you aren't getting precisely what your looking for in the first 1-3 results about 90% or so of the time, you aren't querying well. General tips: always enter all lower-case, remove any punctuation, use quotes around terms that absolutely need to appear the way you type it, and most importantly, don't be overly-specific.

For instance, let's say I'm trying to use the transparent border style in IE7, but for some reason it doesn't work. Google for:

ie7 css border transparent

The first hit gives the answer: transparent is still not supported. Now, leave ie7 out of the query. That result isn't found on the first page of results, nor are any of the top few apparently helpful. Not quite specific enough. Likewise, query for:

transparent border css in ie7 not visible

...and none of the top few results seem helpful. You might think that query is good, very specific, should get you exactly what you want, but in fact it does just the opposite.

A whole book could be written, and I'd bet one has, on writing good Google queries, but it comes down to putting in as few terms as possible that dscribes what your looking for adequately. If you learn to do this well, you'll be able to find information on the exact browser issue you're dealing with in a hurry (and there's how I got the tangent to be cogent again!).

</tangent>
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 38
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All this leads me to wonder...

It seems like the Web that we have today, while awesome, is just a mixing pot of technologies that might have been implemented in a much better way. Why is it that the Web seems to be implemented so haphazardly? With all the power and potential that interactive technologies like Ajax have, why are we still limited to confined, finicky, and often much slower browser windows? (This is probably why I stick to desktop applications!)

It seems to me like it would be much cooler to have a kind of Web where all content wasn't bound by a browser, where web pages could render themselves outside the box--almost Java Web Start-ish but more lightweight and with web apps. But that's just my ramblings. What are the author's thoughts?
 
Frank Zammetti
Ranch Hand
Posts: 136
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's always what happens when you devise an exceptionally generic framework on which to build something... all the layers on top of it wind up being a patchwork of ideas, and while we marvel at the ingenuity of it all, and that fact that it works at all, it's not especially clean.

The idea of a browser is basically that of a virtual machine... if you consider HTML and Javascript and all that stuff to be something akin to an API that you write an application to, and the browser is the virtual machine that executes it, you get the picture. The problem is that we've been enhancing and expanding that VM for years now without stopping and saying "wait, maybe we fundamentally need to do things differently".

Flex is along those lines for instance. I don't know this for sure, but I assume one could run a Flex app in a stand-alone Flash player, which do exist. But really, isn't the Flash player just a browser conceptually at that point? Of course! Similarly, the Java VM is just like the browser when your talking a Webstart app.

So it isn't that the concept is flawed in any fundamental way, it's that the implementation needs to be rewritten from the ground up. You could say the same for the Internet, but that's clearly a much larger proposition (although it's not stopping some people from starting to do exactly that).

Remember that the Web started as a text-only entity where the server was expected to do any and all processing. We've been evolving it from that point ever since. We're I think reaching a point where the warts are becoming a bit too much to bear, and the only solution is to start fresh. Maybe it'll be Flex, or something along those lines, maybe something completely different, but clearly the evolutionary approach is starting to show signs of stress.

The benefits of web-based applications are too great to ignore though, so we'll figure it out
 
Greg L Tonn
Ranch Hand
Posts: 52
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Frank,

Once again we had issues with our pages today. This time it was our tables. We seem to have this problem a lot. I checked Google and found some promising sites but I wanted to know if your book goes into things like building pages without troublesome tables?

Thanks
 
Frank Zammetti
Ranch Hand
Posts: 136
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's odd that you would have trouble building a site with tables... tables have been around since, well, nearly forever in Internet time and, generally, they are an area that browsers tend to handle pretty much the same all around. I can't remember the last time a table didn't work the same across all browsers for me. That aside though, I do talk about CSS-based design in the book a bit, yes. You'll find however that I'm not a person that gives that approach an absolute endorsement... I've seen far more trouble trying to do layouts with no tables than I've seen problems spawned by table usage. To me, the idea of tableless layout is a good one, certainly the direction we should be moving without a doubt, but it doesn't jive too well with the reality of today in my opinion.
 
Greg L Tonn
Ranch Hand
Posts: 52
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's not that we are having problems with cross browser dependences but rather with the data that goes into the tables. Our customer changes things like column headings and validation rules. This causes us pain when the table does not respond very well. Most of the problem is our own. I'm new to the team and there are a ten developers and I think the pages have gone through a lot of flux so they are not developed with a single theme in mind.

I've seen things about developing pages without using tables as the layout mechanism. I though if it was a good way to go I could get the team to buy into it and then in the process get all the pages to meet one set layout. Based on what you said we may just have to look at establishing our own standard and refactor to that standard.

Thanks again,
Greg
 
If you look closely at this tiny ad, you will see five bicycles and a naked woman:
free, earth-friendly heat - a kickstarter for putting coin in your pocket while saving the earth
https://coderanch.com/t/751654/free-earth-friendly-heat-kickstarter
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic