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Part II > Working with Browsers, Part II: Bugs, Workarounds and CSS3’s Silver L...

Chapter Twelve. Working with Browsers, Part II: Bugs, Workarounds and CSS3’s Silver Lining

Create once, publish everywhere” is the grail of standards-based design and development. We don’t learn proper (X)HTML authoring to win a gold star. We do it so that our sites will work in desktop browsers, text browsers, screen readers, and handheld devices—today, tomorrow, and ten years from now. Likewise, we don’t use CSS exclusively for short-term rewards like reducing bandwidth to save on this month’s server costs. We do it primarily to ensure that our sites will look the same in Internet Explorer 14.0 as they do today, and that unneeded presentational markup won’t impede user experience in non-CSS environments. To save breath and time, I have labeled this raison d’être of standards-based design “forward compatibility.” (I have labeled my underwear “Jeffrey,” but for a different reason.)

Standards-compliant user agents move forward compatibility from the realm of wishful thinking to the forefront of rational, sustainable design strategies. If the web were still viewed mainly in the previous decade’s broken browsers, forward compatibility would be unattainable by all but the most rudimentary sites. If the leading user agents that succeeded 4.0 browsers had continued to promote proprietary technologies at the expense of baseline standards, the web’s future as an open platform would be open to doubt. Thankfully, all leading and many niche browsers released within the past few years can justifiably be called standards-compliant. But some are more compliant than others. Coping with compliance hiccups is what this chapter is about.


  

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