What Does Your Site Look Like On All Browsers?

Last week while I was over a friend’s house, I wanted to show him my local Syracuse blog. He uses Internet Explorer (seems there’s still a lot of those out here lol) so I pulled up the main page and all looked fine. Then I pulled up an individual post and… ugliness!


bad code

I forgot about it until I was reading a post on a blog called IBlog4Dollars titled 35 Serious Blog Design Mistakes That You Should Avoid At All Costs written by Dennis Marshall. I got to #10, where it talked about making sure your website is cross-browser compatible, and then I remembered the problem I was having with IE.

I pulled it up on my IE and I had the issue like my friend did. I then went to work, and for the next 4+ hours I went through all the CSS code and checked all the PHP files, looking for something. I ran it through the W3C CSS Validator, which found some errors but nothing causing the issue. Man, was I frustrated.

Luckily, I play chess with Mitch Allen, so I threw the question out to him via one of my chess moves. He came back with a diagnosis that it was some javascript in the code, probably the Google Analytics script.

As I’d been researching the issue, I had come across something where it had been predicted that javascript could cause issues, but it never occurred to me it could be that one.

I went to the theme and then had to search for where I’d put it. Most of the time Google Analytics script works best in either the header or footer, but I realized I’d put it somewhere else, and then I remembered why. For some reason I can’t save many of the files on this particular theme. I get sent to a 404 page after attempting to do so, which was irksome. I found the script in a PHP I’d never put it on anywhere else because it turned out to be one of only 2 files I could actually save.

Once I removed it the site came back to life for IE8, which was great, but I still had a problem; how to get that Google Analytics code in. After all, if I couldn’t track my traffic, I wouldn’t know how I was progressing or digressing right?


good code

Then I remembered that sometimes you can fix things through your FTP program. I use something called WS_FTP for that purpose, so I opened that up, went to the plugin file and clicked once on Header.PHP. Then I right-clicked and went to Edit, and I popped the code in and saved it.

Came back to both my Firefox browser and IE, ran my tests, and all is working perfectly still. Just to make sure I also tested it in Chrome and Opera; looks good so far. Whew!

You can pick up things from other blogs, that’s for sure; heck, even this one I suppose. I had obviously taken time to see what that blog looked like before, but only the main page; that was a mistake, one I need to remember not to do again. One little code; with IE, sometimes that’s all it takes to mess stuff up.
 

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Firefox Vs. Chrome – The Debate Continues

You know, back in July when I wrote the post talking about testing Chrome & coming back to Firefox I thought that all discussions about chrome would probably be over. Little did I know that discussion would open up again via a conversation I had with someone on Twitter.

I don’t remember what exactly started the conversation, that at one point in the conversation the young man and I started talking about browsers and he said regarding Firefox “Maybe it’s for old people? 😛 My visitors use IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari. In that order.” When I commented on that, saying I had trouble believing it, he said “I manage 5 of my own, plus about two dozen for clients. Never seen anything but IE in first. You, sir, are an anomaly.”

First I have to address the “old” issue. I would doubt that age would have anything to do with what browser anybody decided to use except for possibly IE, and then only because it’s the default browser that comes with Windows. Whereas younger people might learn from their friends later on that there are better browsers, older participants might not hear that information, and thus will stick with what they know.

Old? Let’s look at old for a minute. I first got on the Internet December 1995. Back then, there weren’t a lot of choices when it came to browsers. The first one I remember using came with America Online, and everybody was using that because AOL was everywhere. Later I discovered IE, but learned that there were security issues with it. All the “cool kids” were using Netscape, and when I gave that a try I said “wow”. That was my browser of choice until it was bought by whomever (can’t remember right now but I’m sure it will come to me later) and Mozilla decided to go out on their own.

The first Firefox was wonderful. The only thing I lost in switching to it was the ability to code within the browser. But since I had another program for that I didn’t mind so much. The best thing about Firefox is always been customization. You can pretty much customize it to do whatever you want to do. For instance, I have a bunch of extensions that allow me to do things such as change what websites look like, change the functionality of my browser, give me information and immediately so that I don’t have to go elsewhere, and a host of other things I’d rather not get into right now. True, adding all those extensions will slow things down a bit, but since I added the extra RAM to my computer things have been running beautifully.

My friend believed that speed and clean browsing is more important than customization. I will agree with that to an extent. If my browser slow down the files I wanted to download I’d probably have a gripe. The browsers have nothing to do with that, IP’s do. If speed was the only thing my friend really cared about he wouldn’t be using Chrome at all, he would be using Opera, which even now is the fastest browser I’ve ever seen. Not only that but Chrome, which is a Google product, tracks pretty much everything you do online. Everybody knows it, but there is something about younger people who really don’t care that their tracks and really don’t care about their privacy as much as us “older” people, who had to deal with things such as the red scare, communism and all that other garbage that we’ve proven really was a flawed model.

That’s enough of the “old” talk. Let’s talk about the demographics of browser use when it comes to webpages. As you saw in his quote above, he stated that Chrome was the top browser being used by people who visited all of his websites. With the caveat being that there is no way I can determine the age of the people who visit all the websites that I have in the websites I manage, let me show you the numbers that I see for all of my websites based on Google Analytics; by the way, if you care, you can view this information under Visitors, then look at the bottom under “technical profile”:

I’m Just Sharing:

Firefox 37.55%
Chrome 25.97%
Internet Explorer 17.94%
Safari 11.36%

Mitch’s Blog:

Internet Explorer 32.48%
Firefox 28.57%
Chrome 18.86%
Safari 11.83%

Top Finance Blog:

Firefox 38.61%
Chrome 26.19%
Internet Explorer 22.92%
Safari 7.91%

Syracuse Wiki:

Firefox 30.57%
Internet Explorer 26.57%
Safari 17.43%
Chrome 13.71%

SEO Xcellence Blog:

Firefox 57.39%
Chrome 20.87%
Internet Explorer 7.83%
Safari 5.22%

SEO Xcellence:

Firefox 31.78%
Internet Explorer 31.01%
Chrome 26.36%
Safari 4.65%

T T Mitchell Consulting, Inc:

Internet Explorer 57.81%
Firefox 19.20%
Chrome 10.93%
Safari 6.44%

CNYHBA:

Firefox 45.59%
Internet Explorer 27.94%
Safari 13.24%
Chrome 8.82%

CNYHBA Blog:

Internet Explorer 51.25%
Firefox 23.75%
Safari 10.00%
Chrome 10.00%

Li’l Specs:

Internet Explorer 40.00%
Firefox 32.31%
Safari 10.77%
Chrome 9.23%

Medical Billing Answers:

Internet Explorer 79.13%
Firefox 9.88%
Chrome 5.62%
Safari 3.34%

Smoke Not So Much:

Internet Explorer 36.86%
Chrome 19.49%
Safari 17.37%
Firefox 16.95%

Services and Stuff:

Internet Explorer 53.95%
Firefox 21.31%
Safari 8.59%
Chrome 7.90%

Professional Consultant’s Association:

Internet Explorer 32.04%
Firefox 30.10%
Safari 15.53%
Chrome 13.59%

PCA Blog:

Internet Explorer 40.32%
Firefox 29.03%
Chrome 14.52%
Safari 8.06%

G Chapman Consulting:

Internet Explorer 54.21%
Firefox 17.37%
Safari 13.68%
Chrome 6.84%

Krueger Resource Recovery:

Internet Explorer 64.66%
Firefox 18.10%
Chrome 7.76%
Safari 4.74%

There’s a couple other websites I manage, but I didn’t want to bring those clients into the mix. However, their numbers are pretty much the same as all the others I’ve shown you above. Since the only one where Chrome actually beats Firefox for my sites is my anti-smoking site, I can probably conclude that only sites that addicts visit tend to use Chrome more often than Firefox, but that would be pretty silly.

Anyway, those are my numbers. I don’t necessarily expect that everybody who has a website will end up with numbers like mine, but I wanted to paint kind of a broad brush because I guess the “old” thing was something I felt I needed to address. But it would be interesting to hear from some of the rest of you what your analytics look like when it comes to browsers that visit your sites, especially those of you who are younger than 35, since I believe my young friend is actually younger than that. Seeing as how in 1995 I was 36 years old, that means that I was older than he is now, which could mean that in his eyes I’ve always been old. But that’s okay because I’m feeling pretty old myself these days; good thing I’ve got that Vegas trip coming up. 🙂
 

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Why I Left Firefox For Chrome And Why I Came Back

Last weekend I finally had it with Firefox. After one more crash because it was blowing up my resources I decided it was time to give up the ghost and I switched to Chrome.

I had two other alternatives, of course. I could have gone to Opera, which has always been pretty fast, but it just seems so sparse. True, one should probably only think about using a browser to browse the internet, but many of us are looking for certain things from our browsers to enhance the user experience, if you will. I also could have gone to IE8 but decided I just don’t want to go backwards, even though I’ve heard good things about IE9, which I haven’t loaded yet.

Anyway, Firefox had suddenly decided to go nuts on me. It was using some major league resources on my computer, once to the tune of 1.8GB; that’s a lot. It was regularly going over a gigabyte, and that was way too much. Then it started crashing all the time, asking me to send crash reports to Mozilla. Last Sunday it crashed the 7th time in one day and that was that.

So I made Chrome my default browser. I had been thinking about it anyway, but not without some reservation. It’s a Google product, as you know, and almost anything related to Google wants to track you. I wrote a post in 2010 telling people that if you use Google Toolbar it tracks your searches and then you start getting targeted advertising. I know they try to tell us it’s for our benefit but I just don’t feel the benefit if you know what I mean. At least you can turn it off for Google Desktop.

I used Chrome for about 4 days and started to feel that, though it had been running better than Firefox, it had issues as well. For instance, every once in awhile it just hangs for a little bit. I went to check the resources and found that it was using a gigabyte of memory as well; what the hey? It seemed to handle that much memory a little better than Firefox but not entirely; that was shocking.

Then I started missing some of my customization. For instance, I was able to modify the look of Firefox to what I was used to in the past; you can’t do that with Chrome. Also, certain plugins that make using a browser that I’ve come to like aren’t available on Chrome. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t figure out how to get anything onto Chrome whatsoever. Well, I did finally get one thing to work, but that was it.

Yup, I started missing Firefox, but I had to do something to help it stop crashing. I decided to take a look at all the plugins I was running, along with other things, to see what I really didn’t need anymore. I ended up disabling, then removing, a lot of things that I noticed didn’t even work anymore. Firefox 5 automatically disabled some thing it said it wasn’t compatible with, but I use both Stylish and Greasemonkey and it turns out some scripts with each of those weren’t working anymore either, and could have been causing a conflict.

The verdict is pretty good so far. The highest recorded memory since I made the changes is 525MB, which is easily more manageable. The browser hasn’t crashed since I started using it again and I’m happy about that as well. Maybe it’s finally going to behave; one can only hope, right?

But customization is really what puts Firefox ahead of every other browser, and in the end that’s really why it’s my favorite. That’s my story; what’s yours?

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Firefox 5 Already?

Wow, that was fast. It was only in April that I was giving my review of Firefox 4 and now Mozilla is already releasing the Firefox 5 browser. Is there a major problem with Firefox 4? As it turns out, no.

It turns out this is the plan by Mozilla and the way they’re going to be doing things from now on; at least until they get tired of doing it this way (that’s my prediction). Their expectation is to have a new release every 3 months to try to better keep up with quick and ever-changing web technologies. The fact that, in my opinion, Firefox 4 was much better than Firefox 3 (though one of my friends differs on that view) and now we’re switching to something else is slightly irksome, but it’s hard to gripe about someone that actually keeps improving on things that we’re not paying for, unlike my rant in January about many things being new and unimproved.

What’s new in this release? Other than a few cosmetic changes the only thing I’ve heard about is a few bug fixes. Frankly, that leaves me less than impressed, but it might turn out to be a big deal. This time around I haven’t heard anyone talking about reducing how Firefox hogs resources, and that’s a major difference in past browser updates. Also, I wish someone would work on updating the Adblock Plus add-on to better help us block things we don’t like such as popups and the like.

And, based on the speed that we’re now going to see, we can look forward to Firefox 6 and Firefox 7 coming out before the end of the year or possibly at the beginning of January; gush! This is the way things are going, so it’s probably a waste of time asking what your thoughts are about the speed of coming changes, but I’m going to do it anyway; how do you feel about all of this?

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Firefox 4; My Review

Yes, it was time for me to download Firefox 4 to see what it had to offer. I thought about waiting up until late last week, when 3.6.whatever started freezing up on me again. No idea why it kept doing that, but I can honestly say that version 3 never lived up to expectation and almost drove me away from what had become my favorite browser.

Actually, I’d thought Firefox 4 was still in beta, but it seems to be the real deal, and it’s about time. It’s promised faster speed and better functionality; let’s see what it’s all about.

The download, of course, was simple, one of the gripes that I had against Chrome. It automatically updated all my bookmarks and all my add-ons and the like, with a few exceptions. I don’t have weather anymore, and I lost this neat little add-on from AVG that tested links before I went to them and gave warnings to those that were dangerous. It looked like I was going to lose my Multirow Toolbar add-on as well, but I searched beforehand and saw that its creators had a beta going for FF4 and, once I updated to the new Firefox version, went and grabbed it and things are working great once more. I was also able to get an old favorite of mine back, Colorful Tabs, which helps me see all the different tabs easier than having them all be the same color.

One of the first things I noticed was how much it seemed to look like Chrome. It took away the toolbars and put the tabs at the top of the browser, with the address bar underneath it. The idea was to open up the browser so we could see more of our content. Me being me, I like change but not that much, so I went into the options setting, which is at the top left, and put things back where they used to be; very easy to do. The one thing they finally added that both Chrome and Opera had was where you can choose the option to Paste and Go if you copy a link into the address bar; that’s sweet.

Firefox 4 is supposed to be up to 6 times faster than its previous version, so of course I had to test that. I’ll say that normal websites seem to load pretty fast, but I had to do the test of YouTube. The videos did load faster but they didn’t play much better than previous. For whatever reason everything was shaky; not sure what that was about, but it’s somewhat irritating.

It’s also supposed to handle resources better, but I just checked and it’s using 430K of my resources, which is pretty much the same as the other version. I had read where the more tabs you have open the more resources it uses but come on. I turned off prefetching webpages to help speed things up and reduce resources, as well as altering about:config to tell it to reduce resources if I minimize the browser to the toolbar, but that seems to be being ignored as well.

The final test I can’t do yet, and that’s to see if the browser will lock up any time soon. That one I’ll just have to wait for, but I’m a patient guy. Overall Firefox 4, at least for the casual user, has some things that are changed around that some people might find fascinating, but since I have no need for synching my browser to anything the only thing that’s different to me might be the speed. I hope the YouTube thing clears up eventually as well.

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