Browser compatibility in Salesforce

“Choice of browsers are a good thing for consumers” they say. Ask any developer and they may think you are crazy. Different browsers bring their own quirks, inconsistencies and benefits to the way they render content. There is no magic pill to perfectly develop and test everything and every browser in one go, and keep on doing that through the life cycle of the product.

The problem is not the different browsers that exist, but the different standards they follow. Due to the way browsers are written, and the different problems they are trying to solve, they don’t end up respecting all standards. This has improved by great lengths as compared to the history so far, but we still have some way to go.

Salesforce applications are no exception to this rule. The impact here tends to be more severe since SFDC not only gets used through the browsers, but most of the development also happens through one.

Typically the standard applications do not misbehave in different “standard” browsers (=Internet Explorer/Firefox,/Chrome), but there are few problematic areas out there. Here’s a quick run down of how various elements in salesforce get impacted by the browser that you use.

  • Forget about supporting IE6,7 and 8
    You should not be using IE 6 anyway – even basic functionality like Chatter, and Global Search do not work there. Login hints, recent tabs do not work among others in IE7. Feeds do not utilize the full page, but become windowed. Any advanced UI features (e.g. canvas, CTI) either do not work, or suffer performance lags.
  • Analytics does not work even in IE9
  • Mail merge, Connect Offline work only in IE
  • While Firefox is the recommended browser for editing enhanced page layouts, Console is recommended to be used in Chrome
  • UI issues are seen in in Metro mode of Internet Explorer (Metro enables touch friendly UI. Noticeable feature is that the address bar is at the bottom when this mode is enabled. check this in Internet Explorer Internet Options > Programs tab). You should be using the desktop version of IE.
  • Though Chrome and Firefox enjoy support with the latest versions, it is not uncommon for web developers to see features that get broken by the frequent upgrades

Note that I have been talking about the standard application feature set. You are responsible to see to it that your Visual Force pages do function as expected when the browsers change.

If you have a mission critical salesforce application and you could control the users’ desktop ecosystem, evaluate whether you can hold off on upgrades until the Application Support teams test functionalities on the newer versions. 

If the users’ computers are not in your control, choose one of the following options –

  1. Enrol yourself for beta testing the planned new versions (Chrome beta, Firefox beta). You can check your own application, and proactively advice your users on whether to stop upgrades or work with salesforce for a fix
  2. Implement work-around solutions until a permanent fix has been found
  3. Publish recommendations to impacted users to stop upgrades or use an alternate version until the fix is found

Also go through a comprehensive list of what works in which browser on salesforce.com site.

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