Browsers are like Churches

Last night one of my clients asked me why the same code can be interpreted so differently by different browsers. Though I agreed as I pointed out the long standing rift between Internet Explorer and most of the others, I couldn’t really explain why. But after sleeping on it I think I have a decent analogy.

The same text (or scripture) can be interpreted to mean very different things when you go to two different churches, even within the same religion. In the same way, identical html/css text can mean entirely different things when you view it through the window of one browser vs another, even on the same computer.

Yes there are commonalities between churches and across browsers. Many churches even across religions will agree that stealing is not acceptable. Just like many browsers, even across operating systems, will display an error if a requested file is not found.

However, some churches and browsers are more lenient than others in the “grey areas”. For example, certain churches accept alternate lifestyles and others exclude those who participate in them. Internet Explorer (IE) is very strict in it’s adherence to the rules. If an ending div tag is not specified IE shows no mercy, not even a helpful error message. Firefox and Chrome are more focused on the what is “in the heart”, often overlooking minor offenses and sometimes even providing helpful guidance in returning to the right path when mistakes are made.

Some churches provide free services that empower people to change. They run programs for helping people to overcome addictions and live a more fulfilling life. Some browsers like Firefox have free plugins like Firebug and Web Developer which help its users to overcome bad habits and understand how to bring their code to life.

At the end of the day, we are all in this World Wide Web together, no matter which browser we use or which church we go to. Whether online or offline the understanding and acceptance of diversity allows us to thrive while creating and enjoying wonderful experiences. 🙂

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