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Dawid Kasperowicz

Easing Technological Pains


My website doesn’t look the same in all browsers. Can you fix it?

Short answer: Yes, but I won’t.

Expecting your website to look identical – pixel for pixel – in all browsers can hurt your website. One of the most important – if not the most important – aspect of any website is usability. When making a website look the same in all browsers, you will sacrifice usability. Here’s why:

  1. Well developed modern day web browsers use technologies known as HTML 5 and CSS3. These technologies are the standard when developing web based user interfaces. These technologies allow developers to make stunning visuals on websites without the use of using images. Older web browsers do not support these new technologies. Naturally, a website being viewed on an older web browser will ignore the new technologies and only use the ones it is capable of supporting. One can create fail-safes to make the website look virtually identical in these older browsers, however; the website will become severely “bloated”. Your website will then take a significant hit in performance that will frustrate users and cause you to lose potential customers and clients.

    • Every time a fail-safe is used, at least one of the following negative consequences occur:

      • An increase in HTTP requests, increasing page load times
      • An increase in the amount of web elements needed, causing bloated code and losing semantics
      • An increase in the amount of scripts required, increasing page load times

        • Running each additional script in the web browser reduces browser response speed
      • An increase in the use of CSS expressions, increasing the resources needed by the web browser
  2. It’s not always possible to recreate the look of a website in all browsers. Each web browser is developed by a different company and it will naturally have its own interpretations of how to display code in a web browsers. The way Mozilla’s Firefox web browser decides to display a font size of 12pt is different from the way Microsoft’s Internet Explorer decides to display a font size of 12pt. Differences in web browser versions developed by the same company may also cause websites to look different as well.

    • If you’re one who likes analogies, think of web browsers as the vehicles of the Internet. A Volkswagen Golf from 1974 is drastically different than a Volkswagen Golf from 2013. You wouldn’t expect a 1974 Volkswagen Golf to look and function the same as a 2013 Volkswagen Golf. You wouldn’t expect a 2013 Volkswagen Golf to look and function as a Audi R8. Similarly, you shouldn’t expect old web browsers to display websites and function like modern web browsers, and you shouldn’t expect the modern day Microsoft Internet Explorer to display your website identically to the modern day Mozilla Firefox. There will also be differences between web browsers just like there are differences between vehicles.

When I develop websites, I always strive to use the most modern technologies available. I ensure that they all meet current web standards and best practices, and ensure the website offers the same experience on all modern browsers. I will not use any hacks, malformed code, or trickery to get a web browser to perform or look a certain way. I will not compromise the integrity of the inner workings of any website.

My goal in web development is to ensure code integrity, web standard’s compliance, website efficiency, and a uniform experience across all modern browsers.

Will you develop website for legacy browsers?

No. Continuing from the previous question, I do not develop websites with outdated browsers in mind, if you are willing to compensate me for the trouble. I ensure to use only the newest and current technologies available in order to ensure great website performance, and to future proof the website.

Developing websites for outdated web browsers will only harm the overall user experience, degrade code integrity, increase development times, increase user frustration, increase troubleshooting, and increase costs. It is much simpler and economically sound to update your web browser to a current version – for free – and take advantage of all the advancements that was made in web technologies, instead of hacking and slashing through website code to get legacy browsers (who aren’t even supported by their developers) to display a modern day website as if the web browser was a modern day browser.

I want Flash a website, or incorporate Flash in my website. Can you do it?

Short answer: Yes, but I wont.

Today, there are little justifications why any website would ever need to use Flash technology. Even when the technology was at its prime, there was little justification to incorporate Flash technology to a website. Flash technology is taxing on the user:

  • It consumes a large amount of throughput (commonly mistaken as bandwidth) and in countries like Canada where the Canadian Internet Service Provider(ISP) market gate keepers (non-indie ISPs) enforce low throughput caps on their customers for ridiculously high prices. The combination of Flash and low throughput caps enforced by non-indie ISP’s make using this technology particularly undesirable.
  • Flash decreases website search engine optimization(SEO). Search engines like Google are able to provide you with accurate results by going into websites and reading the text contained within. When a web crawler from Google visits a Flash website, it doesn’t see all – if any – text and assume there is nothing of value contained within. When this happens, Google and other search engines will drastically decrease the websites “PageRank”, making it harder for individuals to find the website, which decreases website traffic.
  • There is decreasing support for Flash. The most famous company who publicly announced they will no longer support Flash technology was Apple Inc. Although at the time of this writing, Apple doesn’t have any majority in market, it still possesses a significant amount. We can expect to see larger companies following in the footsteps of Apple as time passes and newer more efficient web technologies emerge that have the abilities to provide interactive interfaces that rival – if not surpass – what Flash provides.
  • Development costs and the time required to develop Flash content is drastically higher, and updating content is difficult. Something as easy as changing text colour on a regular web standard compliant website can take a few seconds, while the same task on Flash content is exponentially more time consuming.
  • Flash technology is owned by Adobe, and can be subject to licensing fees.
  • Today, the only real use for Flash is for developing games, and perhaps video playback.

Do you provide web hosting services?

No, I don’t provide hosting services, but I do refer all my clients to a reputable web hosting company with whom I conduct business. They are flexible and capable of meeting your needs for very good prices.

Do you register domain names?

No, I don’t register domain names. A website is a very personal thing and it should always be registered under your own company or name. If you do need aid with registering a domain name, I do refer all my clients to a reputable web hosting company with whom I conduct business. They will register any available domain name on your behalf and give you full ownership of the domain name at a very good price.

What are your qualifications for web development?

I have done recreational web development since the year 1996, and professionally since the year 2002.

Immediately after earning a Bachelor of Arts with Honours degree in Information Technology, I was hired onto a Microsoft gold certified partnered e-commerce company where within a year I became a hiring manager for the Web Development Department.

Some of the clients I have developed websites for include:

  • Worth
  • P&G
  • Mid-Continent Instruments
  • Metafore
  • Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Assumption Province (Canada)

What do you charge to develop a website?

Each website development project is unique and has its own set of requirements. Due to this unique nature, I charge a per hour rate for all web development projects.

How exactly do you proceed with developing websites?

I follow the basic spiral methodology of the System Development Life Cycle for all my technological projects, which is divided up into the following phases:

  1. Phase 1: Project Planning and Feasibility Study(No charge consultation)

    • This phase is usually done during the first meeting. The goals here are to establish a high-level view of the intended project and determine the goals. In most cases at this stage, it is possible to determine if the goals and needs of a client are realistic, and we explore the possibility of using existing solutions as alternatives to creating something from scratch. Remember, creating something from scratch is not always the best solution for every situation. Often times using existing solutions is a better option.
  2. Phase 2: Systems Analysis and Requirements Definition

    • Based on the information I have gathered in Phase 1, I refine the project goals into defined functions and operations, and I analyze the end-user information needs. I develop a list of function and non-functional requirements and review it with the client. The requirements document is refined until both the client and I are satisfied.
  3. Phase 3: Systems Design

    • During this phase, I begin working on the project according to what is in the requirements document from Phase 2. Prototypes of the system are created – where appropriate – as well as pseudocode, business rules, process diagrams, and documentation – where appropriate.
    • Often times it is necessary to return to Phase 2 to refine the requirements, as once a client sees a prototype, they wish to change the scope and the requirements document.
  4. Phase 4: Implementation

    • Only once the client has signed off on a design of the project created in Phase 3 will I begin developing the real code.
    • This process usually takes a short amount of time as most the assets needed to create the final product has already been created.
    • I ensure all optimization’s, standards verification, and best practices are used and addressed.
  5. Phase 5: Integration and Testing

    • I deploy the final product from Phase 4 onto a testing environment where the client is able to make reviews. If there are any issues, the client can enter these issues into my ticket system where I will address them.
  6. Phase 6: Installation and Deployment

    • Once the final product is signed off by the client in Phase 5, I deploy the final product on the clients live environment.
  7. Phase 7: Maintenance

    • Generally, this is the longest and most important phase in the development, where changes, corrections, additions, moves to a different computing platform, etc. is performed.
    • All my projects have a limited lifetime warranty.

      • If there is a bug in the system that occurs as a result of my development, I will address this issue free of charge.
      • If the client modifies essential website code (i.e.: code that goes beyond the creating, modifying, and deleting of content), it voids this warranty. I can only support a live project if the core code has not been altered from its original state.
      • Any changes or additions that the client needs once the project has been deployed is subject to the standard hourly rate.

At any given phase, it is not unusual for us to need to go back to a previous phase to refine various aspects of the project.