W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 2001

Degrading Gracefully and Browser Testing Suites

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 18:08:56 -0800
Message-Id: <a0510100fb84d8bda829c@[10.0.1.3]>
To: sethmr@bellatlantic.net, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 5:00 PM -0500 12/24/01, Seth Rothberg wrote:
>1. You ask how much work is needed to learn what degrading gracefully means.
>My answer is that it takes a little time and not much work. Do what every web
>page creator has been encouraged to do from day one: look at your page in
>multiple browsers and multiple versions of a given browser. Do you want to
>know what a linearized table looks like? Look at it in a browser that doesn't
>support tables.

Seth, to play devil's advocate here, and I know that your answers were
off the cuff anyway, but...

What suite of browsers would YOU recommend for testing, and on what
platforms?

Some of you may know that I'm working on a book on CSS (Teach
Yourself Cascading Style Sheets in 24 Hours from SAMS).  I sat down
to figure out what kind of testing I needed to do, as my goal is
(was?) to test out my examples on all reasonable browsers.  So I
started making a list.

It started like this:

<testing>
   <browser name="Netscape">
     <version number="4.X"/>
     <version number="6.X"/>
   </browser>
   <browser name="IE">
     <version number="5.5"/>
   </browser>
   <browser name="Opera">
     <version number="5"/>
   </browser>
</testing>

Four browsers, pretty simple.  Not simple at all.  Thinking about
it further led to something like this:

<testing>
   <platform os="Windows">
     <browser name="Netscape">
       <version number="4.x"/>
       <version number="6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Mozilla">
       <version number="0.9.6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="IE">
       <version number="5.5"/>
       <version number="5"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Opera">
       <version number="6"/>
       <version number="5"/>
     </browser>
   </platform>
   <platform os="MacOS">
     <browser name="Netscape">
       <version number="4.x"/>
       <version number="6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Mozilla">
       <version number="0.9.6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="IE">
       <version number="5.1"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Opera">
       <version number="5"/>
     </browser>
   </platform>
   <platform os="Linux">
     <browser name="Netscape">
       <version number="4.x"/>
       <version number="6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Mozilla">
       <version number="0.9.6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Opera">
       <version number="5.0 beta"/>
     </browser>
   </platform>
</testing>

So already we're up to 4 different browsers, three different operating
systems (not counting the differences between Windows versions, or
MacOS 9 vs OS X), and I'm testing on 16 different browsers.

But wait!  That doesn't even BEGIN to cover old browser versions!
Let's add in some of those, especially as Netscape 3 is an example of
a browser that doesn't do CSS, and IE 3 an example of buggy CSS.

<testing>
   <platform os="Windows">
     <browser name="Netscape">
       <version number="2.x"/>
       <version number="3.X"/>
       <version number="4.x"/>
       <version number="6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Mozilla">
       <version number="0.9.6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="IE">
       <version number="5.5"/>
       <version number="5"/>
       <version number="4"/>
       <verison number="3"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Opera">
       <version number="6"/>
       <version number="5"/>
       <version number="4"/>
       <version number="3.6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Lynx">
       <version number="2.7.x"/>
     </browser>
   </platform>
   <platform os="WebTV Simulator">
     <browser name="WebTV">
       <version number="??"/>
     </browser>
   </platform>
   <platform os="MacOS">
     <browser name="Netscape">
       <version number="2.x"/>
       <version number="3.X"/>
       <version number="4.x"/>
       <version number="6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Mozilla">
       <version number="0.9.6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="IE">
       <version number="5.1"/>
       <version number="4"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Opera">
       <version number="5"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="iCab">
       <version number="??"/>
       <version number="??"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Lynx">
       <version number="2.7.x"/>
     </browser>
   </platform>
   <platform os="Linux">
     <browser name="Lynx">
       <version number="2.7.x"/>
       <version number="2.6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Netscape">
       <version number="4.x"/>
       <version number="6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Mozilla">
       <version number="0.9.6"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Opera">
       <version number="5.0 beta"/>
     </browser>
     <browser name="Konqueror">
       <version number="???"/>
     </browser>
   </platform>
</testing>

You'll notice I'm completely leaving out anything having to do with
Windows CE, Palm, Solaris, BeOS, DOS, or other operating systems,
as well as not covering nearly every possible option.  Which means
the above list is not complete either!

Now let's include screenreaders in the mix, as well as browsers with
integrated screenreaders, like Home Page Reader!

On second thought, let's not.

You'll note that for this excerise, I'm _only_ talking about CSS
support.  I'm not even touching JavaScript or HTML 4.01 support or
anything else, just those browsers which may be impacted by the
use of CSS.

So, what do you guys think?  Where should the line be drawn?

--Kynn

-- 
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire          http://kynn.com/resume
January Web Accessibility eCourse           http://kynn.com/+d201
Received on Monday, 24 December 2001 21:32:52 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:13:59 GMT