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For the past two weeks I have been painfully revising and changing my webpage to run in IE.

I was happy to see my page working properly on Safari 4 & 5, Chrome 10-13, and FF 3.6-4.0

BUT

I opened my webpage in IE 8.0 and everything went wrong.

I guess I just have two questions:

  1. What are w3schools.com's browser statistics accurate to?

  2. Why does IE interpret scripting languages different than Safari, Chrome, and FF?

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This question has a wider summary of useful approaches to cross-browser development (not just scripting). –  richaux Jun 14 '11 at 12:44
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 14 '11 at 9:43

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5 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

re your first question: Nobody's stats are accurate, least of all W3Schools'.

The only people who really have accurate browser market share stats are likely to be Google, because everybody uses their services, and also their Analytics tracking code is on so many sites. But they don't publish their stats.

Everyone else is only going to be seeing a small portion of the global traffic, and their stats will be biased in favour of the browsers used by the people who visit the sites they monitor. Therefore, W3Schools' stats will be biased in favour of people who visit W3Schools.com. Since this is likely to be mainly web developers (albeit inexperienced ones), their stats will be biased in favour of the browsers that developers prefer. I don't know if they're getting stats from anywhere else as well, but wherever it's from, there will be a bias of one sort or another, and therefore the stats will be innaccurate.

The best source that I know of for global web stats is StatsCounter, which does seem to be fairly well respected as a source. But even then you should take the results with a pinch of salt.

Franlkly, the only stats that really matter are your own stats. What browsers do the visitors to your site use? That's the browser share you should be targetting.

Re your second question (about scripting languages): This question is a bit too vague to answer. IE's imlpementation of Javascript is virtually identical to that of the other browsers. Yes there are some bugs, but they're pretty minor. The big differences are in the DOM and feature support; this is where you may run into compatibility trouble. But you'll need to actually tell us what your problem rather than just having a general moan with a question mark at the end and expecting an answer.

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Yes agreed. Thank you for that resource, it looks like i'll be going for cross-browser compatibility, even including IE. Different CSS layouts has been the main issue that I have been having, I will probably post specifics later on if I cannot figure them out myself. I'd vote down my post for my vague second question if it would let me, I suppose I should have done my research before asking –  TaylorMac Jun 14 '11 at 9:06
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As others have said, W3schools browser stats are among the most inaccurate for the web at large. Here is a nice roundup of reputable sources - but also note the first paragraph - the only accurate measure of browser usage is your own website stats.

As for Javascript, most of the browsers are almost identical for their support of basic Javascript. You could consider using a framework such as jQuery which mitigates the majority of cross-browser problems.

And always use a strict doctype: <!DOCTYPE html> is all you need to force all browsers to render pages the same.

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The anwser to why IE interprets scripting differently is because there is no unified way of checking the code. It's all client sided, the browsers want to get the feeling that they bring something "special" to the table. This doesn't mean it works or if it is any good.

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Ah and how wonderful it would be for all of us if there was a universal way! –  TaylorMac Jun 14 '11 at 9:07
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Actually the problem with IE is that it tries to do everything(even the wrong). Even if there is some content which should not be interpreted correctly(wrongly coded), IE tries to interpret it too.

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Interesting. I never thought of it like that, I guess I will have to go back and make sure that I have not coded anything wrong –  TaylorMac Jun 14 '11 at 8:59
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w3schools browser stats for IE are lower than the actual numbers, seeing as how most people visiting w3schools are web-savvy, and thus more likely to actively choose a different browser than the pre-installed.

Here's a wikipedia page with composites of different stats and lots of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers

And how do you mean it interprets scripts differently?

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Not sure if my wording on the second question is correct, but i'm just curious as to why IE displays information differently or not at all, such as certain CSS attributes –  TaylorMac Jun 14 '11 at 8:55
    
Ah wikipedia. Very good source, I will have to read through that thank you –  TaylorMac Jun 14 '11 at 8:56
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