Cross Browser Support in MOSS - Common Questions Answered

This article answers FAQs about MOSSs cross-browser support in WCM and SharePoint Server, confirming compatibility with Firefox and Safari.

Seems three questions keep coming through from readers of my blog and some of my fellow IM cronies, so I figured I’d mention them here to hopefully answer any questions in the future (ala Google/MSN/Technorati)…

Cross Browser Support in MOSS… specifically WCM

Web Content Management (WCM), and SharePoint Server (MOSS) will work not only in IE, but also in Mozilla based browsers like FireFox & Apple’s Safari. Those of you who were at the Office Developer Conference in late March, and those who were at the SharePoint Conference this week, probably saw the presenters use IE and FireFox. In many of the presentations I saw at DevCon, FireFox was used to demonstrate two different sessions. So for the next version, the SharePoint developers are testing against multiple browsers, not just IE.

Are WCM sites going to be XHTML compliant?

No sense in beating around the bush: No… not out of the box. The reader experience for the Internet site template will be compliant with the W3C HTML 4.01 Transitional spec ( I think this is the one )… but there are a few exceptions. For example, Web Part zones won’t conform to this spec and the SharePoint specific UI (like WSS lists) don’t render HTML 4.01 compliant output.

The good news is you can make your WCM site XHTML compliant if you decide to. It’s not a trivial task, but it’s possible:

  • You’d need to modify the master pages & page layouts to make sure they were XHTML compliant.
  • New WCM Web Parts such as the TOC, Summary Links, and Content By Query, will need to be modified. These Web Parts use XSLT to transform the data to output as HTML. Modify the XSLT to render XHTML compliant output.
  • Create customized field controls that render XHTML compliant output.

ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts & WSS v3 Web Parts

As it’s been widely reported, WSS v3 is built on top of ASP.NET 2.0… a significant improvement. For more, read Maurice’s post “ On the final approach to Beta 2 ” or Scott’s post “ SharePoint 2007 –– Built on ASP.NET 2.0 ”.

So, ASP.NET 2.0 has Web Parts… WSS v3 has Web Parts… which should you build? Good, and very popular question! The two are very similar. In fact, the WSS Web Part class (Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages.WebPart) is derived from the ASP.NET 2.0 class (System.Web.UI.WebControls.WebParts.WebPart). The SharePoint class is primarily provided for backward compatibility with WSS v2 developed Web Parts.

So when is it appropriate to build Web Parts derived from the SharePoint class? If you need to do cross page connections, connections between two Web Parts that aren’t in a Web Part zone, client-side connections, or leverage the data caching infrastructure provided by SharePoint.

Unless you have a specific case, build ASP.NET 2.0 Web Parts for use in your WSS v3 or MOSS sites. I’d expect to see more guidance supporting this recommendation coming over the months leading up to RTM of MOSS.

Andrew Connell
Developer & Chief Course Artisan, Voitanos LLC. | Microsoft MVP
Written by Andrew Connell

Andrew Connell is a web & cloud developer with a focus on Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. He’s received Microsoft’s MVP award every year since 2005 and has helped thousands of developers through the various courses he’s authored & taught. Andrew’s the founder of Voitanos and is dedicated to helping you be the best Microsoft 365 web & cloud developer. He lives with his wife & two kids in Florida.

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