One Standard to Rule Them All...

One Standard to Rule Them All...

Posted by Matt Kibby on Tue, Jan 14, 2014

describe the imageTowards the end of the third age of our earth, great Internet browsers of power were forged by the tech smiths of Silicon Valley.

And nine... nine were gifted to the race of Men, who above all else, desire data.

Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows mobile - that’s ten but who’s counting?

One standard to rule them all, One standard to find them.
One standard to bring them all, And in the darkness bind them.
In the land of Silicon Valley, where the servers lie.

You know something? As the developer of a major clinical R&D internet application, TrialCentralNet (TCN®), it may sound awful, but sometimes I wish a Dark Lord would emerge to unify all the browser standards. (OK and I totally admit that I am excited by the release of the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug).

What a browser does is inherently simple. It renders text, images, videos, and other graphical stuff with colors and formats. The issues arise with HOW a browser does this. A standard defines how much width and height an element on a webpage should occupy. The space between elements. The arrangement and order of elements. The early and neo-modern scramble for browser domination caused multiple interpretations of vague standards that have led to the cacophony of display issues that plague us all.

I haven’t even mentioned the endless versioning that continues to confound developers in their quests just to put out products that work elegantly on all platforms (including mobile)!

All in all, TCN® has to cater to 15 major versions of browsers as we develop our system. That’s one-five! Why? Well we have found that for some sponsors, updating browser software can take quite some time. Many users are still forced to use Internet Explorer version 6, (which was retired by Microsoft in 2006.) Since then, Internet Explorer has had five further major releases - each bringing their own technical baggage.

Of course, what has been wrought in the fires of Mount Doom cannot be unmade. (We are unable to cast them into the fires of whence they came). It is a task that can seem as hopeless and tiresome as a journey into Mordor, but what we have done is to learn which ones are being used and we ensure that all the features work smoothly on all.

In the land of Silicon Valley, where the servers lie.

To read more of Matt Kibby's blog posts on product development and technology for patient recruitment, click here.

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Topics: Patient Recruitment, Mobile Strategies, Technology