Which browsers do you support?

Gareth Saunders
Thursday 14 June 2012
Five web browsers
Chrome, IE, Opera, Safari and Firefox

I’m currently working on a document of guidelines for our web team and web developers. Something that I’ve been asked to include is to indicate which browsers we support.

Digging around, for example, Yahoo! have their fine Graded Browser Support page which lists specific version numbers of various browsers. Google Apps, on the other hand, supports

“the current and previous major releases of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version is released, [they] begin supporting that version and stop supporting the third most recent version.”

What do you folks do? Do you have browser support guidelines, either written down or not? Where do you draw the line (do you still support IE7, for example)? What are your criteria for what you support and don’t support?

And what about mobile devices?

I’d love to read your thoughts about this.

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4 thoughts on "Which browsers do you support?"

  • Peter Fisher
    Thursday 21 June 2012, 7.44pm

    I think it depends on the project and the html 5 API's that you are using. Due to the increase in automatic updates and the decline in legacy browsers we dont need to worry to much about browser versions anymore, we should be more concerned with different browser types. Also there are frameworks such as http://modernizr.com/ which will allow you to use the latest and greatest html5 API's while providing backwards compatibility for older browsers. My view on mobile is to build a responsive design. One which is fluid and can adapt to the screen resolution. You could have a policy that checks the user agent and displays a link/ notice pointing the user to upgrade their browser. But at the end of the day its important to know who your audience is and what browsers they are using.

  • Sam Roberts
    Sam Roberts
    Thursday 28 June 2012, 4.47pm

    For St Andrews - it is potentially a consideration that you may have to cater to potential students viewing the website from developing countries (either gap year travelers etc etc or locals) on what would be considered obsolete technology by the main customer bases of Yahoo etc .

  • Gareth J M Saunders
    Friday 29 June 2012, 4.23pm

    @Peter -- an interesting comment. After I had written the blog post I sat back in my chair and said, "Wait a minute! Are we approaching this the wrong way?" It occurred to me that as (as you mentioned) tools like Modernizr are checking for browser capabilities then shouldn't we also be approaching our support in that way too. But how would that work in progress? We can't always be updating our "we support..." page depending on what latest features of HTML5 and CSS3 are added to this browser or that browser, and at the end of the day these capabilities are encoded in browsers and so we need to test them somehow, so having some kind of benchmark of what we are testing in would be useful. I'm leaning towards the Google approach of "the current and previous major releases of [Google Chrome,] Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari on a rolling basis." Then we have something concrete to test against. @Sam -- that is an important point. I would hope that our development would allow for older browsers to still access the content even if they don't experience the same polished design as more modern browsers. That's certainly something to aim for, if we are not there already. It's all a part of the wider accessibility question.

    • Peter Fisher
      Saturday 30 June 2012, 10.31am

      @Gareth - I agree with the Google approach you mention. If you say that you support the latest versions of all the popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE) then you are not committing your self to fixing legacy versions of these browsers (For instance IE6). Each time a browser version is rolled out you discard testing on the previous version and focus on the new one. These days browsers are being updated more frequently so major differences of versions will be few and far between. You can concentrate on different types of browsers instead of different versions of those browsers.


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