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Browser Support to Improve

Release Date: 29 Nov 09
Category: Site Updates

After the code refresh, HASA's browser support will become better for newer browsers.


When HASA last had a significant code change, there was only one viable commercial browser available, IE6. All other browsers suffered from severe rendering flaws, security bugs and lack of support.

Fast forward five years. There are now half a dozen excellent browsers for multiple platforms available for free download. People are increasingly using netbooks and handhelds for browsing. The future of the Web is rapid change. Sadly, this meant that HASA's old IE6-centric code was breaking, bungling and crashing for many visitors.

The new HASA code that will deployed in late December is built for newer browsers and devices. It relies heavily on CSS for design and layout, and uses Javascript for a few minor effects. While this will be very good for people using browsers released in the last two years, older versions of IE, Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, Konqueror and Safari are not going render the site very well. IE6 users in particular will have problems with some .png images with transparent backgrounds. Both IE6 and Opera 9.2 or lower will have difficulty with the all-CSS top navigation menu. Later Opera 9 and Opera 10+ versions should be fine.

There are a few menu boxes that open or close with a click that use Javascript, functionality which HASA already uses. After consideration, I did not put in additional Javascript or "AJAX" features. While it is fun and gee-whiz stuff, it doesn't work on handhelds and there are cross-browser scripting problems. I'd rather HASA stayed simple and easy to use for everyone than be good for a few and causing headaches for others. If the Javascript doesn't work, the worst that will happen is you see all the items at once.

One bit of Javascript and cookies that was consistently failing to work was the font resize links. You could resize one page, but would have to do it all over again for the next page. They are gone. Instead, all the fonts have been reset to relative sizes and can be scaled up and down through the browser itself. For example, in IE, you can use the Font Size button in the tool bar to increase or decrease font size. If you have IE7 or IE8, you can use CTRL++ or CTRL +- to zoom the page magnification. Other browsers have different combinations to change fonts and/or magnify the whole page.

Readers who have Office 2007 on their machines will view the site with the new Web fonts Cambria and Calibri, which are really beautiful on screen. Those who don't will see the trusty standards Georgia, Verdana and Arial.

Overall, unless you are using a very old browser on a pre-2000 computer (and, yes, that does describe some site visitors), your browser will be much happier with the more standards compliant code, particularly those of you on smaller form-factor devices.

Anglachel

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