Which browsers should I develop for?

This is a question that is asked by all levels of web developer at some time or another, and the answers vary widely depending on who you ask. Die hards from each of the Win, Mac or *nix camps will all have their favourites. Each OS version will have various browsers attached to them. The possible combinations are enormous – how do you decide which ones you will support?

Well a good place to start would be the Yahoo! browser support grade chart. The chart, which can be found in the Yahoo! Developer Network, categorises common browsers into three grades of support.

  • C-grade – base level of support, providing core content and functionality.
  • A-grade – highest support level.
  • X-grade – support for unknown, fringe or rare browsers.

Developing for the A-grade browsers should be first priority, with graceful degradation employed for C-grade browsers. If you have a very specific audience, or can demonstrate that a smaller subset of browsers are likely to be used when viewing your online applications then the chart could be minimised. Bear in mind though that the web, browsers and platforms are ever changing, and what you plan for today may very well change in the morning!

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