September 17, 2002

Gecko Compatibility

Ran across some useful DevEdge docs; the Netscape Gecko Compatibility Handbook and Browser Detection and Cross Browser Support.

The former is subtitled "How to diagnose and avoid common web site problems with Netscape, AOL for Mac OS X and other browsers based on the Netscape Gecko embeddable browser", and that pretty much says it all. Besides the common problems, info here you might not easily find elsewhere is how to test AOL from behind a firewall, and how to challenge your browser detection scripts by using a Mozilla-based browser configured with the UA bar XPI to identify itself to your server as some other browser type.

Anyone who has had to build a browser detection script knows what a maintenance headache this can be. Many newcomer browsers like Opera and Omniweb by default allow useragent spoofing in order to gain access to sites that improperly assume only IE or Netscape traffic.

The latter document explains why detecting useragents is generally a bad idea, and recommends to "Target the standards and not particular browsers." Starting with the history of browser detection techniques, the article critiques common approaches and makes recommendations toward more inclusive and less maintenance encumbered detection schemes.

Posted by Lewis Francis at September 17, 2002 10:48 AM

One of the most common compatibility problems people run into is with using an incorrect mime type for CSS files. The spec states that CSS files should have a MIME type of "text/css", but many servers by default will instead assign the "text/html" MIME type, which will work in older browsers with less stringent standards compliance but may be ignored in browsers based on the Mozilla/Gecko engine.

Posted by: Lewis Francis at October 20, 2002 9:59 PM
TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'Gecko Compatibility' from Information Gift.
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Voigt-Kampf verification (needed to reduce spam):