Same Web Site, Different Browsers, Diff. Results?

This sounds like a Cafe Society question, but I’m really interested in the technical reasons. A web site I visit often is, the site of the silly comic strip of the old west.

Lately, on Internet Explorer, the site will pop up the first intro page, as normal, but the second intro page is blank. It still plays the music, you just can’t see anything. And when I click in the right place (blind, but I know where to click) a notice comes up that the site can’t be found.

On Firefox, it bypasses the intro screens entirely and jumps right to the comic strip pages.

How can a web site have two different flowcharts, on the basis of the browser that’s used to view them? Isn’t it supposed to be the same for all?

What do you mean by the “second intro page”?

I’m not having any problem seeing the site on Internet Explorer.

Perhaps the issue is not one of different browsers as such, but of the site or some of its features being incompatible with an older, out-of-date version of one of the browsers, or an add-on, such as a pop-up blocker?

Web sites are not required to give the same content for all browsers. Some choose not to, though it does require some effort on their part to serve up different content depending on which browser you have. For example, it is very common for web sites to have significantly different content for folks using portable devices like iPhones and tablets.

Internet Explorer doesn’t support some functions that Firefox and Chrome support, for example, so it’s not all that uncommon for IE to render a web site differently than Firefox or Chrome.

It’s also possible that you have a problem with your particular installation of IE. Upgrading to the latest version might fix it.

We actually live in a fairly enlightened time for this kind of thing. Back in the browser wars of the '90s it was routine to have web pages that displayed correctly only in one browser or another. Nowadays with standards and all, things are look mostly the same most of the time.

FWIW, the site has a pretty glaring flaw in its HTML on the front page. It’s missing table-related tags within its tables (tables need rows and columns, and some row and column tags are missing). I’ve seen browsers just completely not display chunks of code because the HTML isn’t right and it can’t figure out what to do with it. Or a lot of times with tables, stuff that’s not properly encased in table tags will be shown outside of the table and it’s way off the screen.

Also…I visited the site in Firefox and IE, and IE with compatibility view on and everything displays a-ok. As far as I know.

To address the main question in the OP, though - e_c_g is right. You can detect the browser and do anything you want from there. You absolutely can show completely different sites to different browsers if that’s what floats your boat.

If you’re curious in general, try a site like this. It lets you test a site in about every browser out there.

Actually, they still don’t. What it boils down to is how close a web browser meets the technical requirements for properly rendering a web page under W3C standards. In addition, browser makers attempt to influence those standards by adding their own browser features (hoping those enhancements make it into the standards). Microsoft has a very long history of ignoring industry standards, and with its (perceived) immense bulk influence the standards for its own ends.

Using the HTML5 test web site ( ):
[li]Chrome 27 scores 463 points out of 500 possible point for HTML5 compliance.[/li][li]Firefox 23 scores 399 points out of 500 possible point for HTML5 compliance.[/li][li]IE 11 Beta scores 355 points out of 500 possible point for HTML5 compliance.[/li][li]IE 10 scores 320 points out of 500 possible point for HTML5 compliance.[/li][li]IE 9 scores 132 points out of 500 possible point for HTML5 compliance.[/li][li]IE 8 scores 42 points out of 500 possible point for HTML5 compliance.[/li][/ul]
If you want to view a web page as the developer intended, don’t use IE.

But at least there are standards now, and browsers are measured by how closely they adhere to them, giving some kind of convergence over time, hopefully.

In the 90s, the main browsers (IE and Netscape mostly) were deliberately adding incompatible features to their browsers in the hopes that web authors would use the new features and their pages would be “broken” when seen in other browsers.

There are still incompatibilities, but at least now no one’s business strategy specifically involves introducing incompatibilities.

ZipperJJ: I’d never known about compatibility mode! That fixed the problem!

Interesting! In IE (when it worked) you first got a pic of the Nugget Bar, with music playing. Click, and you get another pic, I believe it’s the stagecoach, with music playing. Clink on that (in the right place) and you go to a main screen with various options. In Firefox, it goes right to that main screen.

In IE, I used to go to intro page 1, then intro page 2, then main screen, but, for the past couple of weeks intro page 2 is all black, and the link doesn’t work.

In IE with compatibility set, I go right to the main screen. Who needs those dorky intro pages anyway? Waste of clickage, and it has auto-play music which can be annoying. So I come out ahead!

I hadn’t thought that the problem might be in my own system set-up! I just figured their web-master had goofed something up.

And I never dreamed that a web-site would branch on the basis of browser!

Thank y’all! Learning experience!

Hmm, I never even knew about/noticed “compatibility view” before. But I’m going right to the main screen in IE 10, with or without turning on “compatibility.”

I think that’s rather overoptimistic. There were always standards, both official and de facto. And companies have always veered from them to make their own things.

Java was close to a standard, then ActiveX came around.

ActiveX was almost a standard, then Flash took over.

Flash almost made the web universal, but then Google decided to improve JavaScript instead, but only in Chrome, and there were websites that could only be used reliably in Chrome (or later, bleeding-edge Firefox). Their entire browser strategy was to make a fast JavaScript interpreter and build their entire web platform on it, to the point of offering IE users a Chrome interpreter and then later on just forcing them to upgrade altogether.

Apple joined the fight and built a whole mobile ecosystem using compiled apps for iDevices instead of focusing on JavaScript/HTML.

And then Microsoft tried to fight it with Silverlight and lackluster HTML5 support.

And Chrome now has “Chrome apps”, which are sometimes just embedded webpages and other times are actually dedicated apps that only work in Chrome.

And Mozilla was guilty, too, with its -moz vendor-specific CSS prefixes.

The end result is that if you have a relatively simple web app, you can code for HTML4 + JavaScript and get relatively similar results on all the platforms. But if you want rich, interactive web services, you have to choose from some terrible combination of HTML5 + JavaScript + XHTML + HTML4 + iOS + Android + Windows Phone because every platform supports everything just a bit differently, to different levels of speed, such that coding natively and targeting specific platforms is still the safest way to make large, complex apps (like Google Drive or the Office online suites).

The browser wars have evolved into the platform wars, and that’s not exactly the same thing as achieving device neutrality. Today there is content that is best viewed with Chrome, stuff that still requires Silverlight, stuff that only lives in the iOS ecosystem, and stuff that’s dual-coded for HTML5 and Flash to support more browsers. And even just aesthetically, CSS still has vendor-specific issues, and CSS3 has nowhere near universal compatibility. This is not exactly the “standard” internet we all hoped for. And it’s only going to get worse once Google’s new Blink engine gains more traction versus generic WebKit.

You want a real example of a webpage that looks differently depending on how you view it? Try this one.

I tried that in Chrome, FF and IE. Apart from IE not showing the mouseover text, I didn’t see any significant difference. There are some minor differences in font weight and image spacing, but nothing really leapt out at me. What am I missing here?

…Huh, really? Maybe he turned off the cleverness. What image are you seeing?

When that comic was current, it showed different things (sometimes completely different) for different browsers, operating systems, geographic locations, language settings, and possibly a few other variables. Some people saw a heat-shimmering sun (what I’m seeing now), some saw a very long snake (exact length variable depending on window size), some saw a joke about the weather (with the punchline varying geographically), etc.

I see 4 panels with a long snake and a couple people

And I see a strip about earthquakes in CA and snow in Boston because I live in Boston. It’s a massively personalized page that displays different content based on browser, IP, OS, etc of the viewer.

Two points I feel compelled to bring up:

  1. IE10 is less compatible as a matter of policy, not technology. Meaning: it’s not technically inferior to Firefox or Chrome, but Microsoft’s policy is to not implement any HTML5 features until they are well-supported by the rest of the browser ecosystem; this is opposed to Chrome and Firefox’s policy which is to implement them as fast as possible. This is one reason why IE10 scores less on a test for HTML5. (This is understandable when you considered how screwed IE got after implementing the box model as originally speced, distributing the browser, then having the spec changed out from under them making their already-finished implementation “wrong”.)

Also note: HTML5 isn’t even a finished standard, so there’s nothing compelling Microsoft or any other browser maker to support it at all. They could support zero HTML5 features and still have 100% conformance to current web standards.

  1. This Tumbleweeds site is more like HTML3 than HTML5. It’s obvious the layout hasn’t been redone in a decade.

I had a jpg file on a site I run which displayed fine in Firefox, Chrome and IE 7 but did not display in IE6. Making the picture a gif file fixed the problem. I think the cause was modifying it in PhotoShop. I found that the bug no cause was reported for it, so I don’t know for sure it was a result of modifying the picture.

Unless they designed and developed it specifically for IE. This is much less common than it used to be but I still see sites out there that recommend IE, or even worse, won’t display if you’re not using a “supported browser”. :mad: This usually seems to be gov’t related sites that they had done 10 years ago and don’t have the budget/inclination to redesign.

I get a joke about hockey and a picture of the northern lights. Guess where I am?

The Sahara?