The answer to the differences between the wiki and browserchecker.xml according to Blackboard? It is very much intentional to leave unsupported browsers in the browserchecker.xml just in case those unsupported browsers do still work.

Also in the answer was that in general only the two most recent stable browsers will be kept as supported. Since IE8 is the most recent, IE7 should also be kept. To have deprecated IE7 would mean something really bad was found with it as only one browser is supported on WinXP. (One users have to put in Standards Mode to get to work.) The matrices of supported browsers.

So it sounds like, IE7 was dropped from the supported list early because there were significant problems. Yet Blackboard doesn’t use their method of telling end users which browsers to use not to use the browser they dropped from support… On the chance it does?

My head hurts.


UPDATE 4pm: Apparently Blackboard has 4 slots to test Internet Explorer. When the two operating systems were WinXP and WinVista, that meant they could test IE8 and IE7 on the two. 2 browsers x 2 OSes = 4 total. When Microsoft added Win7, that meant they needed to test IE8 on 3 operating systems and IE7 on 2 (5 total).

When IE9 comes out soon, there will be 8 potential browser and operating system combinations with only 4 testing slots. Most likely at that point the Windows Vista support for IE7 and the Windows XP support for IE8 will also have to be dropped in order to add support for IE9 on Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

Internet Explorer 9 Internet Explorer 8 Internet Explorer 7
Windows XP likely won’t test likely won’t test likely won’t test
Windows Vista priority priority likely won’t test
Windows 7 priority priority not available

Browser Checker Inconsistent With Bb Wiki

The below text is from a ticket I opened with Blackboard this morning.

I used this unix command to dump a list of all supported browsers from the browserchecker.xml.

grep -A 1 ‘supported=”true”‘ serverconfs/browserchecker.xml | grep descript | awk -F\> ‘{print $2}’ | awk -F\< ‘{print $1}’

The list of supported browsers does not match the list of supported browsers at Supported Technologies Vista 8.0 SP4+Re-Release which means users of unsupported browsers are not getting alerted to the fact they are using an unsupported browser.

This specifically arose because I’ve been depending on the wiki to describe which browsers are supported in my work for [ticket number]. Several recent cases I’ve reviewed were IE7 which the wiki says is unsupported on Vista 8.0.4. The browser checker says it is supported.

Here is the full list of supported browsers according to the browserchecker.xml file. Those in bold are supported according to the supported technologies wiki entry in the above link. By my count that is 6 supported out of the 22 listed. (Actually it is 46 listed but I consolidated those in the same version.) My favorite on the list is Netscape Navigator 5 which was never actually released for the general public.

Netscape Navigator 5.x

Netscape Navigator 7.x

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.1 (Mac OS)

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2 (Mac OS)

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 (only on Windows Vista)

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0

AOL Version 5.x(MAC)

AOL Version 9.x

AOL for Mac OS X

Safari Version 1.2

Safari Version 1.3.x

Safari Version 2.x

Safari Version 3.x

Safari Version 4.x

Mozilla Version 1.7

Firefox Version 1.0

Firefox Version 2.0

Firefox Version 3.0

Firefox Version 3.5

Firefox Version 3.6