[conspire] We don't support Mozilla

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Apr 24 15:54:45 PDT 2005

Quoting Ross Bernheim (rossbernheim at speakeasy.net):

> They later migrated to a web based system. They do support firefox and
> even Apple's Safari web browser. It does take them a while to support
> new versions of the browsers after they come out.  They did balk at
> supporting new browsers a number of years ago, but have been fairly
> good for the last few years.  They do not support all browsers and no
> bank that I know of does.

Honestly, the fact that they have to develop "support" for particular
browsers means they're doing it badly.  

It's really not that difficult:  An e-commerce site of any sort should
require only basic HTML (e.g. HTML 3.2), SSL, and _maybe_ -- if the
designer insists on doing tiresome tricks like mouse-sensitive picklists
and validating your input on each field as you tab out of it --
Javascript.  If the cited "tiresome tricks" aren't used, then it's even

There's no reason beyond site-developer malfeasance why the site should
be _that_ browser-sensitive.  I would speculate that _this_ is what is
happening with your WFB guys:

The site developers, being typical screwball PageMaker guys who got laid
off and haplessly ended up as Web designers without bothering to
correctly understand the medium, tend to use _all_ of those tricks and
more, because they're still under the delusion of doing page layout.
When they're done with the design phase, they check that the rendering
results are pixel-perfect with MSIE v.whatever on their workstations,
and cross-check with Netscape Navigator v.whatever. 

Shortly before deployment, they hear disturbing rumours that some
customers might use "non-standard browsers" like Mozilla Navigator,
Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Konqueror, etc.  They find one such browser, and
one of the images is out of place by five whole pixels!  This plainly
cannot be permitted!

They go to the bank IT director and state that, for quality control
reasons, in order to ensure a quality customer experience, the site will
have to be modified to check browsers' agent strings, to make sure
they're on the approved list.  Any browser that returns a differing
string, even if only because it's MSIE v.whatever+1, will get the door
shut in its face. 

And, typically, the bank IT director goes along with such idiocy,
because he doesn't know better and is getting bad advice from his
"experts".  The "experts", in turn, give bad advice because they don't
understand -- and never will understand -- that the Web designer isn't
_supposed_ to be able to specify the fine details of rendering, which
are strictly under local user-level control _by design_.

Which is why, often, the least-troublesome way to fix the problem is to
fake the agent string of a "supported" browser.  If that doesn't work, 
e.g., because the site relies on particular browsers' more-peculiar
quirks, or -- worse -- because it uses ActiveX or such -- you're dealing
with idiots who shouldn't be entrusted with your money in the first

More information about the conspire mailing list