Many a times and it is still the case most of the times, browser compatibility issues are the most troublesome. The basic problem is that we dont constantly keep a watch on the browser compatibility as and when we modify the presentation layer code. It is often at the end of the project or after significant code has been developed do we check the application in different browsers and sit spending lot of time in trying to fix stylesheets and HTML to make the application work consistently across browsers.
So how can we take care of this? While the issue cannot be totally avoided, but the browser/display related requirements should be kept in mind from the beginning of the project. This will help in finding out inconsistencies early and also look at alternatives. The following are the people and what they must do in the project team for making sure that browser/display related requirements is taken into consideration from the beginning.
1. Business Analyst - is responsible for adding a non functional requirement on browser/display requirements. Basically it should contain the following,
a. Browsers to be supported
b. Minimum versions of browsers to be supported.
c. Minimum resoution to be supported.
2. UI designer - is responsible for
a. designing the layout, style, look and feel
b. generating stylesheets and HTML adhering to the browser/display requirements.
c. collaborately working with the technical team on rich UI + AJAX requirements and it satisfies the browser/display requirements..
3. Designers/Developers - are responsible for
a. making sure the code does not affect the layout, style, look and feel of the application at any point of time.
b. working with the UI designer in getting the ui design for rich UI + AJAX requirements, that adheres to browser/display requirements.
c. including browser compatibility tests in the unit test cases.
4. Testers - are responsible for
a. including test cases that test browser/display requirements.
b. Use a tool like Selenium to automate browser compatibility testing.
Here are few grains from the sack on browser compatibilites.
AnyBrowser.com - resources on browser compatibility verification
Browser compatibility chart
Browser Compatibility Tutorial
Style Master CSS tutorial
Websites that dont work well with FireFox
While browser compatibility testing seems to be one of the most ignored area in web app development projects, if attacked from the beginning can save a lot of time in trying to crack your head fixing inconsistencies.