Google Chrome and Vendio Browser Compatibility

Nothing interests those of us in a SaaS (software as a service) business more than advances and developments in browser technology.  Browser limitations can constrict our ability to provide compelling user experiences, time savings applications, and speedy services.  As new capabilities are added, we can introduce new technologies to our user interface and make general advances across the services we offer.

With the launch of Google Chrome Beta and the recent release of Internet Explorer 8 Beta and the considerable work we’ve been doing on new technologies soon to be unveiled, now seemed like a good time for us to revisit browser compatibility.  While we haven’t yet had time to perform exhaustive tests, we have found no compatibility issues with either of these Beta releases. As most have noted across the net, JavaScript pages load very quickly in Google’s new engine making many JS-heavy pages on the Vendio site (like the bulk editor used in Sales Manager and Reviser) perform even faster.  We look forward to taking further advantage of these browser capabilities. Firefox has provided some advance testing benchmarks they’ve done that shows their new engine will up the speed game even further.  It’s a good time to be delivering on demand applications.

These enhancements yield a dilemma, however, as we decide where we cut off support for older and less capable browsers.  Many older browsers have bugs or non-standard rendering issues that require countless hours of development time to make work–time that could be used to develop new features and better UI for the benefit of all.  In some cases, better UI requires the advanced features of newer browsers; and we’d prefer not to develop a less powerful UI for the least common denominator.  Ideally, everyone has the latest version, and we work to keep advancing to take full advantage of every feature.

But back to the real world, we have statistics.  Our internal data on the browsers our users prefer when using Vendio look fairly in line with the overall browser usage statistics, and some less capable browsers continue to be used quite frequently. We have done some surveys to understand why these preferences exist, and why users do not necessarily upgrade browsers.  After all, the upgrades are free, so why wouldn’t you?  The answers range everywhere from personal preference (UI comfort) to hardware or software compatibility issues to laziness. :)

Everyone developing web-based applications has the same decision to make regarding one notably difficult browser–Internet Explorer v6, which struggles in many ways, primarily related to JavaScript handling.  It’s also favored by approximately 25% of Internet users (although dropping between .5 and 1%/month as users upgrade or switch). This 25% compares to IE7 at 26% and Firefox at 44% using the same data (Aug 2008–aka 1 month BC (Before Chrome)).

We know we can do better and work faster not supporting IE6, but we know it’s still very much in use. Rest assured we won’t suddenly remove support for IE6, but we are seriously contemplating whether or not we support it in the new platform and certainly how fully we support it (e.g. is every UI rendering issue resolved at release). We would love to get feedback from everyone regarding reasons they haven’t upgraded (or switched) browsers as we consider our need to support IE6 with our newer services!

One Response to “Google Chrome and Vendio Browser Compatibility”

  1. zodiaclove Says:

    I don’t agree with what you said really….
    please explain further a bit more for me ;D