1.1.1. This standard applies to web browsers that are being used on desktop versions of Windows, Mac OS and Linux/Unix. This does not cover PDAs, mobiles, and other mobile devices.
1.2.1. The BBC accepts that the nature of the web medium is such that web pages cannot be produced in such a way as to be uniformly rendered in all browsers, so as to provide a consistent experience for all users. We accept that small variations in this experience are acceptable within the 'Levels of Support'. (See appendix 1 for details)
1.2.2. Web browsers are assigned a 'Level of Support' by the BBC Browser Support Standards Work Group. These levels of support are summarised in the Browser Support Table. (See appendix 2 for details of how these levels of support are decided).
1.2.3. There's nothing wrong with using all the latest bells and whistles to support funky features of newer browsers, but try to do it in a way that still allows users not supporting (or intentionally disabling) these features to access your basic content.
2.1.1. All content MUST be readable and usable and all functionality MUST work.
2.1.2. Variations to presentation of content MUST be minimised.
2.1.3. Where CSS layout is used, the CSS MUST be rendered by supported web browsers, so that a fully-styled version of the page is presented to the user.
2.1.4. Variations between browsers are inevitable. In these situations, when deciding which browsers should offer a better experience than other browsers (i.e. which would be the closest to the original design), you MUST base your decision on which outcome would maximise the 'Objectives of Web Browser Support'.
2.1.5. Pages SHOULD be developed to maximise the user experience for users of the web browser with the highest proportion of users (IE7 PC at this time) UNLESS this would greatly compromise the 'Objectives of Web Browser Support'.
2.2.1. All core content MUST be readable and usable and navigation MUST work.
2.2.2. Any degradation to (client-side) application functionality MUST be graceful degradation.
2.2.3. Any degradation to presentation MUST NOT obscure content.
2.2.4. Where CSS layout is used, you MAY choose to provide an unstyled version of the page to partially-supported browser.
2.3.1. No support or testing necessary.
2.3.2. Any web browsers not specifically listed in the support table MAY also be regarded as level 3; that is, unsupported.
3.1. The table below defines the levels of support that MUST be adhered to. See also Appendix 2 'Objectives of Web Browser Support' and Appendix 3 'Decision Tree for Degradation of Browser Versions'.
|Platform||Windows||All||Windows & Mac||All||All||Linux|
|Level 1||6, 7, 8||FF 3.5.x, 3.0.x, 2.0.x||latest x.x||9.6x, 9.5x||4.x, 3.x|
|Level 2||5.5||9.x||2.x (Mac)||4.x|
|Level 3||1, 2, 3, 4, 5||FF 1.5.x, 1.0.x||8-||1.x (Mac)||3-|
|Must test||6, 7, 8||FF 3.5.2
|latest x.x1||9.64 (PC)||4.0.3 (Mac)|
|Should test||5.5||FF 3.0.6 (Mac), 3.0.13 (PC)||9.52, 8.01||3.2.1 (PC), 3.2.1 (Mac)|
|Engine||Trident (4-7), Ohare (1-3)||Gecko||Webkit||Presto||Webcore||KHTML|
1 Supported versions are largely dictated by usage since the OS/Users are encouraged or prompted to upgrade.
2 Chrome Versions autoupdate without user intervention, so the supported version is the most recent non-beta version.
Pre v1.0, Alpha, Beta and Release Candidate builds are not supported.
Web pages are available to viewers across the internet, anywhere in the world, using a wide variety of web browsers. These web browsers are developed by a number of different organisations with a variety of motives (some commercial), each of which interpret the source code used to produce web pages slightly differently. As a result, any single web page will not be uniformly rendered by all web browsers, to produce a consistent user experience as intended by the producer.
While this has improved over time, standardisation of web browsers is still to be achieved. The quest for standardising source code and the manner in which web browsers interpret it, has been led by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), an organisation whose stated role is to try to "lead the Web to its full potential". The support amongst the community of web developers for standardisation has come to be known as the 'Web Standards' movement.
This BBC standard exists so as to produce web pages that can be viewed (as consistently as can reasonably be achieved) by the greatest number of people possible.
Because of the lack of web standards in the past, the only way to provide a consistent user experience was to use only the small range of source code features which worked across all web browsers. Specifically, the inconsistent rendering of CSS meant that CSS was not used much. HTML, which was more consistent, was used for both meaning and presentation; although its intended purpose was semantic rather than presentational.
With the advance of web standards, this has changed. HTML should thus be used to mark-up web content, to give it semantic meaning; while CSS should be used to define the presentation of content.
Not only is this how HTML and CSS are intended to be used (as outlined by the W3C), but it brings a wealth of advantages that considerably improve the potential to improve public value at the BBC; especially in terms of reducing costs and improving usability, e.g. accessibility. The use of HTML and CSS in this manner is often referred to as 'standards compliant code'.
Web browsers employ varying degrees of compliance to W3C recommendations (web standards) and consequently we often employ hacks and work-arounds* to meet the BBC's remit to provide content to the widest possible audience, while providing the optimum user experience. However, these hacks and work-arounds cost time and money, for supporting older, less standards-compliant browsers.
This BBC standard defines which web browsers are supported by the BBC, based on these and other contributory factors, to optimise value for users of the BBC website.
When considering which 'Level of Support' a web browser should be assigned, the following are some of the issues that are considered.
4.3.1 See the figure below for a visual explanation of the decision making process taken by the BBC Browser Support Standards Work Group when deciding upon the deprecation of browser versions.
|07/09/2009||v3.5||New additions: FF 3.5.x, Opera 9.6x, Safari 4.x. Downgraded from Level 1 to Level 2: Opera 9.x, Safari 2.x. Downgraded from Level 2 to Level 3: IE 5, FF 1.5.x, Opera 8, Safari 1.3, Linux 3 (and below). New additions for testing, 'must test': FF 3.5.2 (PC), Chrome (latest version), Safari 4.0.3 (Mac). Downgrades for testing (from 'must test' to 'should test'): FF 3.0.13 (PC), Safari 3.2.1 (Mac). Also addition of Appendix 3 'Decision Tree for Degradation of Browser Versions' and minor editorial corrections. IE for Mac support dropped.||Ed Lee|
|03/04/2009||v3.4||Internet Explorer 8 added, Firefox 1.0.x moved to level 3 support, testing must be done on Firefox 3.0.6 for PC only, recommended to test on Firefox 3.0.6 for Mac and additionally 2.0.16 for PC, Chrome 1.0.x added, sites now must be tested on Opera 9.64 for PC. Testing must be done for Safari 3.2.1 on Mac and should be done for Safari 3.2.1 and 2. x on PC.||Ed Lee|
|24/09/2008||v3.3||FF3 added, Chrome added, 9.52 Opera added, discrete testing versions added, Netscape column retired from table, exception to 'no beta support' rule given to Chrome, following review by the Browser Support Working Group.||Nick Holmes|
|02/06/2008||v3.2||IE on a Mac is now moved to level 3 support, following review by the Browser Support Working Group.||Victoria Jolliffe|
|15/11/2007||v3.1||Revisions after quarterly review of browser use on bbc.co.uk||Nick Holmes|
|12/2006||v3.0||Completely revisited||Nick Holmes, Nat Darke|
|18/11/2005||v2.12||Deprecated Mac IE 5.x Family to 'partially supported'||Tred Magill|
|29/12/2004||v2.11-external||Removed all sensitive sections for public release||Jonathan Hassell|
|14/12/2004||v2.11||Final alteration (removal of date; for next revision, thinking clearer) required by Standards Exec||Jonathan Hassell|
|03/12/2004||v2.1||Alterations required for approval by Tech Forum on 03/12/2004||Jonathan Hassell|
|01/12/2004||v2.09||Revisions after quarterly review Q4-04 - Firefox becomes supported||Browser Support WG|
|26/05/2004||v2.08||Revisions after quarterly reviews up to Q2-04||Browser Support WG|
|26/06/2003||v2.07||2 minor revisions from MattB of Standards Exec||Jonathan Hassell|
|09/06/2003||v2.06||Revisions required by Tech Forum for approving the standard: QNX typo; explicit comment on test browsers; % of browsers excluded in 6.3; language sites requiring non- latin character sets; clarification of linux support thru Mozilla ; info re larger test benches||Jonathan Hassell|
|03/06/2003||v2.05||Final edits after comments from WillG||Jonathan Hassell|
|02/06/2003||v2.04||More edits after comments from NickH and MattC||Jonathan Hassell, Paul Hammond|
|21/05/2003||v2.03||More edits after feedback from PH's coding team||Jonathan Hassell|
|19/05/2003||v2.02||More edits by JH and PH||Jonathan Hassell, Paul Hammond|
|14/05/2003||v2.01||Document created from bolting together v1.2 of the Browser Support v2 straw man and the browser support table from the minutes of meeting on 09/05/2003||Jonathan Hassell, Paul Hammond|
Like all other Future Media Standards & Guidelines, this page is updated on a regular basis, through the process described on About Standards & Guidelines.
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