RE: [WSG] Targeting IE5

2003-10-09 Thread Mark Stanton
I agree completely James. Targetting browsers is an inefficient waste of
time in about 95% of cases. AFAIK its a big step backwards.

Having said that its hard to draw a line. We often find ourselves doing
things like

div classouterdiv class=inner

...and hiding some stuff inside @import to work around browser issues. In my
opinion this is ok because its not really breaking the semantics or relying
on a flaw in a particular browser. This like the Tantek's box model hack,
midpass  browser sniffing are a bad idea they can potentially impact badly
on the shelf life of your site. New browser versions  patches can mean
recoding which, as James points out, is NOT the direction we want to be
heading in.

One big exception to this is browser sniffing to decide on whether you want
to dish up Flash content or not (ala James Ellis - My only concern with this is that if
you are that interested in making your content accessible - why use flash in
the first place? But if you have to use flash this browser sniffing is the
lesser of two evils.



Mark Stanton
Technical Director
Gruden Pty Ltd
Tel: 9956 6388
Mob: 0410 458 201
Fax: 9956 8433

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RE: [WSG] Targeting IE5

2003-10-09 Thread Lindsay Evans

If you're talking about content negotiation in the way I think you are (by
the values passed to the server in the 'Accept' HTTP header) and not by
getting the value of the 'User-Agent' HTTP header, then I'm all for it.

One of my recent thoughts was to check if the UA had 'text/xml' or
'application/xhtml+xml' in the Accept header, and sending them back the
appropriate mime-type for XHTML, while everyone else gets text/html. I'd
even thought of going to the length of using PHP's output buffering to
rewrite the XHTML into HTML4 for the text/html version so that it's totally
valid, but that just seems like way too much work for so little gain :)
(also, the W3C validator doesn't send an Accept header, so it would be
getting HTML4 - still valid, but not exactly ideal to say a site is valid
XHTML then have the W3C say it's HTML4 :))

To me, this doesn't seem like a hack at all, it is exactly what the Accept
header is for - serving up different content types depending on what the
browser (says) it supports.

I'm sure you could also do the same with XML, and either send XML plus a
stylesheet to UAs that support it, and do a server-side transform to HTML
for those that don't (There are probably a number of flaws in this though
(probably the biggest being that you'd have to write two versions of your
presentation code), and I'll be stuufed if I can think of a single reason
*to* do it apart from the 'hey, cool, I can do it' factor)

/me should get back to work now...

 Lindsay Evans.
 Red Square Productions.

 [p] 8596.4000
 [f] 8596.4001

 -Original Message-
 From: Ben Boyle [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
 Sent: Thursday, 9 October 2003 10:02 PM
 Subject: [WSG] Targeting IE5

 I would have thought the best way to target a browser (be it IE5 or other)
 was content negotiation. Detect the browser and serve content in the
 appropriate format. Does anyone else get the feeling this technique is
 rarely used whilst cruder methods proliferate?

 IMHO, web servers can do a lot more than just serve files and should be
 exploited for all they are worth - and that's plenty. I feel this
 cornerstone of the web is oft overlooked, much to the detriment of the
 online experience when cruder technologies are called on to compensate.

 Maybe it's just too difficult for developers to get access to webserver
 configuration, or too tedious to produce content in multiple
 formats? Gotta
 weight that against the time and effort we've all invested in workarounds
 and hacks though ... The right tool for the job. One can't solve every
 problem with a hammer.


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