This morning on reddit I discovered the following question:
What big cross browser compatibility issues (old and new) should we know about as web developers?
followed by the summary:
I am a relative noob to web dev and have my first interview for my first front end dev role coming up. Cross browser compatibility isn't a strong point of mine. What issues should I (and any developers) know about and cater for?
Any links to articles so I can do some further reading would be awesome sauce. Thanks!
When talking about compatibility, I usually prefer Web Compatibility to cross browser compatibility. It's not that much but there is a turn into it which focus less on browsers and more on the Web as used by people.
First of all, there's no magic bullet. Browsers evolve, devices and networks change, Web development practices and tooling are emerging at a pace which is difficult to follow. Your knowledge will always be outdated. There's no curriculum which once known will guarantee that all Web development practices will be flawless. It leads me to a first rule.
Web Compatibility is a practice.
Read blogs around, look at Stackoverflow, understand the issues that some people have with their Web development. But more than blindly copying a quick solution, understand your choices and the impact on users. Often your users are in a blind spot. You can't see them because your Web development prevent them to access the content you have created. One of the quick answers we receive when contacting for Web Compatibility issues is: "This browser is not part of our targets list, because it's not visible in our stats." As a matter of fact, indeed, a browser Z is not visible in their stats, because… the Web site is not usable at all with this browser. There's no chance it will ever appear in the stats. Worse. The browsers have to lie about which they are to be able to get the site working, inflating the stats of the targeted list. Another strategy is to make your Web site resilient enough that you do not have to question yourselves about Web Compatibility.
Web Compatibility is about being resilient.
Where do you learn about Web Compatibility?
- Web Compatibility with a punk twist by Mike Taylor
- What could be wrong by Hallvord Reiar Michaelsen Steen
- Dev Opera. Opera had a time with a strong stance on Web Compatibility. They have bitten the dust because of Web Compatibility issues and switched to Blink. There are still a lot of good people there, caring about Web Compatibility.
- Intent to ship and deprecate
- Web Compat Teams
All of these you may find on Planet WebCompat
Where do I report Web Compatibility issues?
Before I would have told you on each browser bug reporting systems. But now we have a place for this:
Some Reference Resources
- can I use
- MDN compatibility tables At the bottom of each features, you will find a compatibility table in between browsers.
- Firefox Site Compatibility maintained by Kohei Yoshino giving information about regressions and backward compatibility issues for Firefox. Very useful.
- Safari Guides
Understanding some meta issues about the Web
There are some people who you should read absolutely about the Web in general and why it's important to be inclusive in the Web development. They do not necessary talk often about Web Compatibility per se, but they approach the Web with a more 30,000 meters view of the Web. A more humane Web. This list is open ended, but I would start with: