Geeky Section, The Trials & Tribulations Of Web Development



Geeky Section, The Trials & Tribulations Of Web Development
Ok, so this is another of my rants, this time its about the difficulty of developing and maintaining a website. Ok its easy all you have to do it drag and drop icons around in MS frontpage or dreamweaver and its displays just fine. Well not quite and unfortunaly, as i just spent several hours doing some tricky debugging to try and get some kind of common code that would work on more than 3 diffrent web browsers at the same time, it really pissed be off.


Rimmer + Mr Fibble (Chris Barrie) looking alot like what i feel after spending to much time debugging diffrenences in web browsers

Here, i sit in front of my Quanta Plus intigrated web development enviroment, on my Mandrake-Linux 8.1 box, have Apache 1.3.20 running, and Mozilla 9.4.4 displaying my finnished work perfectly but im not happy, why ?, cos my website is stunningly blank on Netscape 4.7x and IE5.x, and i dont know why. Im trying to get some code that will work properly on more than a few diffrent web browsers, its tricky cos they all display my website in a diffrent way !, this is just and example of what the problem is; i have to make sure my code works on all these browsers.

  • Internet Explorer Versions, 4 / 5 / 5.5 / 6 on Windows and Versions, 5 / 5.1 on MacOS
  • Mozilla Versions, 0.8 / 0.9x on Linux, Unix, MacOS and Windows
  • Netscape 4.x on Windows, Linux, MacOS
  • Knoqueror, 2 / 2.1 / 2.2, on Linux / Unix
  • Voyager 2.9x / 3.x on AmigaOS
  • Opera 5.x on Windows, Linux, MacOS
  • AWeb 3.3 / 3.4 on AmigaOS
In all thats about 30+ combinations, whislt its not quite that bad, certain browsers, IE 5.x and Netscape (not mozilla), do produce diffrent displays on diffrent operating systems, its just silly, and its to much. They all seem to support diffrent parts of the 'standard' (if only), in diffrent ways, the DOM is diffrent, the JavaScript support gives diffrent effects on diffrent systems, i cant cope !

But im not just some Windoze lover, who thinks that IE is the only web browser in existance, i do try and make an effort to get my stuff working on as may platforms as possible, just because i think i should, anybody should be able to use the web not just users of the (very latest) windows operating system. It pisses me of when i get 'this site requires XX', my browser is just as good as yours, its just got a diffrent name, stop pissing me off, ill just spoof as IE 6 anyhow.

HTML and the fabled HyperText Markup Language (if your american you can say HotMetal), is i must admit very cool, its almost impossible for a person of my age (born 1980), to imagine a word without HTML, back when i was a lad, i can just about remeber Mosaic being used at school. I now know that was back in the good old days of HTML2.0, but we can do better than that now, we have 3.2, 4.0, 4.1, god help us, where would we be without standards, but there are so many.

CSS and the wonders of Cascading Style Sheets, were going to solve all the aforementioned problems, they were going to revolutionise the development of web based applications (fancy for websites), and indeed on first reading about them i downloaded and printed out the 800+ spesifcation for the CSS1 standard. CSS is infact really, cool its can save lots of work in building a website, and goes a long way to make sure that your website will look the same on a number of diffrent browsers and platforms. Unfortunatly for everybody who as ever loked at HTML, browsers just cannot agree on how to display the bloody things,... so whats the point,.. i dont know maybe if Microsoft took over it would all be ok,.. no stop, i cant think that.