Compatibility Begins At Home

Been doing some more work with an old client of mine in ye olde Citee of Londinium – App-DNA.

These guys attempt to make the impossible possible – i.e. analysing applications for compatibility between different OSs, physical-virtual and now browser versions (IE6 – IE8 in the case of the testing I’ve been doing) and providing remediation. So, maybe smart but not that big a deal with a handful of apps – but what if you have 1,000+ to test manually?

Yeah, time to get another job. Or you could take a look at these guys’ AppTitude product – report just gone live on our website on Basically, whereas you could get away with coding whatever you wanted in IE6, the guidelines for IE8 are much tighter. And since IE8 is inextricably tied in to Windows 7, and since Windows 7 is proving a runaway success, primarily due to the, er, inadequacies (to be polite) of Vista and XP being older than the average Pope, this has caused a real problem when moving huge user bases from XP/IE6 directly to Windows 7 or, in the case of Southern US of A, huge users (we won’t get into the possibilities surrounding the definition of a “user base” here).

Don’t just take my word for it. Gartner’s Michael Silver suggest that, through to 2014, IE8 compatibility problems will cause at least 20 percent of organisations to run overtime or over budget on their Windows 7 migration projects and admits that Gartner has seen failure rates in the range of 40 percent. And he must be right, ‘cos he’s with Gartner…

As part of the test we imported a number of browser/web-based apps and websites, including our own website, which kind of made life interesting in the same way that analysing X-rays of your teeth at the dentists does. It brought up some lovely RED warnings (the software uses a Red, Amber, Green – RAG, geddit? – model to highlight issues and what level of severity they are) on the report of our website with its IE8 compatibility manager (and on some of the software we tested as well) which we investigated of course, being true pro’s…

You don’t realise just how many things can impact upon even a relatively simple website, let alone an application, until you see something like this – external links, hosting companies’ unwelcome additions, Flash (ah-ah – he saves everyone of us… not in 64-bit mode he doesn’t; did I ever tell you about the chance I had to meet Brian May, Queen guitarist?) and so on and so forth.

Anyway – all very interesting reading, so do check it out on our website. Meantime, I’m over in the US, West Coast, where there’s not much sign of snow (70 Fahrenheit) and the local wine is still over-priced rubbish and all the food is TOO sweet, even the sour dough bread… Back in Andorra next week, where there’s equally little sign of fresh snow so, if you’re coming over to ski, bring some ice with you.