If you’ve tried using different Web browsers to surf to your favorite online hangouts, you’ve probably noticed that the same sites look a little different depending on which browser you’re using. That’s because page display varies according to browser compatibility.
Browser compatibility is the ability of the Web browser to properly interpret the hypertextmarkup language (HTML) that renders Web pages. HTML is a coding language that is “understood” a little differently by each Web browser. Most sites are designed to look correct in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, because it is believed to be the most ubiquitous browser. However, if you are a Web designer, your task is to code a site for maximum browser compatibility so that the pages look correct in other popular browsers as well, such as FireFox, Netscape, Opera and text-based browsers.
Browser compatibility creates potential headaches for webmasters. As newer popular scripting languages create flashy Web pages, older browsers may not understand the new code. For security reasons, many people disable scripting languages in their Web browsers, reducing browser compatibility. If the webmaster has been thorough, there should be a way to surf the site’s content without the flash and bang. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case, and a browser that has scripts or cookies turned off may not be able to get into the site at all.