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RE: Browser Sniffing

From: Jon S. von Tetzchner <Jon@operasoftware.com>
Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 20:49:35 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: "Charles (Chuck) Oppermann" <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>, Jon Gunderson <jongund@staff.uiuc.edu>, David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

Of course there is a difference. The point is that the user
doesn't need to be on a certain platform. He can be on any
platform. He can have any kinds of needs. What the designer
of the web page should know is what the program and user
are capable of handling or like. Not only which program it is as the
users of the program can have different requirements. Let's put it this

  - A designer wants to check if the browser can handle frames.
  - It finds the browser is Netscape X.Y, MSIE A.B or Opera F.G.
  - These browsers can handle frames so he returns a framed page.
  - The user, however, would like a non-frames page.
  - (Please do not tell me they can use the noframes tag. A lot
    of companies do it this way).

Designers are using browser sniffing because there isn't a
better way to check what functionality the browser and
user support. If there was an easy way to check this 
they would do that. Simple as that.

At 09:51 02.04.98 -0800, Charles (Chuck) Oppermann wrote:
>"Browser sniffing" is no different than a Windows or Macintosh application
>checking the version of the operating system it's running on.
>How many applications check to see if they are running on Windows 3.x or
>Windows 95?  
>There is nothing morally wrong with this.  If the end-result is
>inaccessibility, deal with that issue.  Preventing "sniffing" isn't the
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Jon S. von Tetzchner [mailto:Jon@operasoftware.com]
>Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 1998 11:13 AM
>To: Jon Gunderson; David Poehlman; w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
>Subject: Re: Browser Sniffing
>As a browser developer we must say that browser sniffing is a problem.
>The result is that we need to say that we are Netscape to get pages
>that are ok or even get pages at all in some cases. What would have
>been much better is to be able to ask for pages using a system where
>you say whether the browser and user want certain things such as
>  - frames
>  - tables
>  - java
>  - javascript
>  - images
>This allows the page designer to take these things into consideration
>and deliver an optimal page. Sadly, some of them will just say "turn
>on feature X".
>At 11:49 31.03.98 -0600, Jon Gunderson wrote:
>>In response to David Poehlman,
>>Broswer sniffing is a server issue, and I think WAI will bring it up with
>>the server people at W3C.  I think in general W3C is against browser
>>sniffing, but it not clear what power they have to stop it.  Do you think
>>it is something UA should be dealing with and make a statement?
>>Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
>>Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
>>Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
>>University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
>>1207 S. Oak Street
>>Champaign, IL 61820
>>Voice: 217-244-5870
>>Fax: 217-333-0248
>>E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu
>>WWW:	http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
>>	http://www.als.uiuc.edu/InfoTechAccess
>Regards/Ciao/Kær kvedja/Vennlig hilsen/...
>Jon S. von Tetzchner
>Opera Software
>Opera - The browser that is made for you.
Regards/Ciao/Kær kvedja/Vennlig hilsen/...

Jon S. von Tetzchner
Opera Software

Opera - The browser that is made for you.
Received on Thursday, 2 April 1998 14:01:17 UTC

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