Web Browser Support

Airlie Beach Bum is written to strictly conform to World Wide Web Consortium recommendations on how to write web pages. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and the first web browser, is an active director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). I figure W3C should know what they are talking about.

Best Viewed in Any Browser?

Not really. Best viewed by downloading Safari or Opera or (not perfect) Firefox, or any standards compliant browser (that is basically every browser, except one). Internet Explorer prior to IE9 does not work at all. This is due to a Microsoft decision not to support correctly served XHTML.

Some features I tried at various times (like multiple column layouts) rely upon experimental browser support in Safari and Firefox. They will display fine without multiple columns in other browsers.

I use web standards. All pages are written in the simplest, most semantically reasonable HTML I can manage, given the limitations of semantic support in HTML. Tables are not used, except where tabular data is present. General elements like divs and spans are used sparingly. Unlike many web sites, all pages are valid XHTML Strict, and have been validated by W3C.

All the major browser owners (Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari, and Opera) are members of the W3C. All have agreed their browsers should comply with W3C recommendations and specifications. I take the browser designers at their word, that correctly written pages will render correctly.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer prior to IE9 does not display Airlie Beach Bum. About 2/3 of surveyed web sites use HTML, and about 1/3 use XHTML. This is not a matter of me using the slightly more demanding XHTML. Pages written in XHTML (according to the specifications) should be served as application/xhtml+xml. A browser should use its XML parser to check the XHTML is well formed (fancy term for not having certain types of errors). If a web page has any error, the web browser should report the error, instead of displaying the page. That is what happens on my pages in every web browser except Internet Explorer.

Why don't I provide more support for Internet Explorer? Because I am sick and tired of writing complicated kluges and special tricks to fix problems in Microsoft's browsers. My pages will display in any Standards mode browser. Microsoft, the errors in rendering (or even working at all) are your problem, not mine. If I were really intent on not supporting Internet Explorer, I would write my pages in XHTML, and serve it correctly as XHTML. We all know what happens in Internet Explorer then! Opps! That is what I eventually decided to do.

The Internet Explorer architecture is ancient, with support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) dating back to IE3 (the first browser to use CSS), when Microsoft started embracing CSS in their browser battles against the then dominant Netscape browser. The Trident rendering engine dates from IE4. Due to the importance Microsoft place on maintaining compatibility with the vast number of badly written web sites out there, they have problems when updating. Microsoft are continuing to improve standards support in Internet Explorer. I look forward to the day when Internet Explorer 9 displays this web site the way I wrote it.

Special note to web site designers and developers. If you don't know how to write a standard web site, stop claiming that you do. Write your broken page in HTML Transitional, not HTML Strict. Then browsers would use Quirks (broken) mode, not Standards mode.

Not Optimised for iPhone

Backpackers and tourists, the Airlie Beach Bum web site is no longer optimised to be easy to read on an iPhone or an iPod Touch display. It does use a fluid design, with no fixed width or fixed size text, no fancy fonts, and no giant graphics without warnings.

My xhtml no longer includes the viewpoint meta, which allows Webkit to select its own width and height, even for iPhone models that do not yet exist. This is because the iPhone does not handle fluid designs at all well. You can not change the font size independent of the viewpoint size, unlike in other browsers where both are possible. This means that when you expand the text size (say because you need to read a larger font), the entire page expands. This in turn means that when the iPhone retains the same width, you need to scroll horizontally to read the contents. This is not the way my pages work in proper computer browsers. In a proper web browser, the entire text reflows dynamically to suit whatever magnification you have used to get the text size you desire.

Enjoy, but let me know if something fails to work.

Yes, I know the logo at the bottom of the page falls off the right hand side of the display on phones. The alternatives to fix that on a small display all seem worse to me, so it is working as designed. Most alternatives involve horizontal scroll bars, or forcing text sizes. These are worse choices, and don't work on all mobile devices.