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4GuysFromRolla.com : ASP FAQS : ASP.NET


Is ASP.NET output compatible with all browsers? If not, what browsers is the output compatible with?

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Answer: This question has been asked by a few readers so I thought I'd whip it up into a FAQ.

ASP.NET is, in no way, incompatible with any browser. ASP.NET functions just like classic ASP: it sends back nothing but HTML to the client. In fact, the ASP.NET Web controls return HTML 4.0 compliant HTML.

One reason, I think, that people may be wondering if ASP.NET is a browser-specific technology, is because the Web controls ASP.NET uses can produce different HTML depending on the user's browser. One of the coolest features of ASP.NET are the validation controls. These controls allow you to perform server-side and, depending on the visitor's browser, clinet-side validation on form fields. They're very easy to use, and very powerful. If you're unfamiliar with them I recommend that you read: Form Validation with ASP.NET - It Doesn't Get Any Easier!.

If ASP.NET senses that the user is using an "uplevel" browser (which is currently defined as IE 5.x and up, although you can tell ASP.NET who, specifically, to consider uplevel and who to consider downlevel), then DHTML code (stylesheets/DOM/JavaScript) is sent along with the vanilla HTML to the client to perform rich validation on the client's computer. If the browser is a downlevel browser (defined as any browser that's not uplevel), then plain-jane HTML is sent.

In this aspect it may seem that ASP.NET is compliant only on certain browsers and not on others. This is far from the truth. ASP.NET, as I stated before, simply sends HTML to the client, so any browser can view an ASP.NET Web page. If the browser is uplevel, though, additional functionality is sent along... but the short of it remains that any browser can view an ASP.NET Web page - those with uplevel browsers will just get a more enjoyable experience!

Alert 4Guys reader Avi chimed in with this good insight:
"While we all know that it has to be, considering that it's a server
technology, it does have some faults when it comes to the web controls, which are not compatible with all browsers. Have you ever seen what the samples look like in Netscape? Or tried to build a half-decent site in ASP.NET that is compatible with both IE and Netscape? I personally love IE and try not to develop for NN when I can, but we all know that a client such as JP Morgan Chase, Lucent or AT&T is not going to want to their NN users not to use their site. If MS tried slightly harder, the web controls could have been compatible with all browser. I have written client side validation that does what the web controls do for IE in NN. But I do admit, sites look really good in IE, particularly IE 6. This is because the code that ASP.NET spits out to the client is more compatible with IE than any other browser and this is done deliberately."

Happy Programming!

FAQ posted by Scott Mitchell at 12/4/2001 12:02:09 AM to the ASP.NET category. This FAQ has been viewed 53,711 times.

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