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We are wondering what the community experience is with browser management.  My tech folks here note that we are encountering browser issues, particularly in our single-signon portal.  For example, our portal supports access through to several different products, like Gmail, Moodle, Banner, etc.  Trying to make everything work in common on a browser platform is challenging.  Just wondering if you have a strategy to deal with this.  

Vendors typically use a quality-assurance process to certify browsers that work with the server-based software.  When organizations such as Mozilla released a major revision of their
software once every two years, everyone was content with the expected slight lag as all parties caught up to the current version.  The techs here noted a change when Google started its pace of releasing new versions of the Chrome browser.  Browsers seem to be releasing new versions every six weeks.  As a result, service vendors have issued varying support decrees from, "do not upgrade until we say so," to, "we think that the new versions
ought to work."  We see everything from vendors, from "certified on release 3.6" to "certified on release 10."  We are increasingly telling our users to keep different versions / releases of browsers to work with different products.  This is very difficult from within the portal. 

Is this an issue for anyone else?


--
Theresa Rowe
Chief Information Officer
Oakland University
 
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

A number of years ago we stepped away from using the term "supported browsers" for our suite of collaborative apps (Sun/Oracle email, Oracle calendar, Xythos webspace, open source Jasig uPortal). Instead of trying to do complete testing of the ever growing list of browser versions and operating systems, coupled withe the fact that older versions typically have more security vulnerabilities, we simply recommended that users stay current with one of the more popular browsers. Luckily the applications behind these services generally work with most browsers. One would hope that would generally be the case, but alas it seems that there are applications and ERPs on campus that are much more restrictive in what browsers they support. This certainly doesn't make it easy for departmental IT staff. One would hope that software vendors would get better about supporting common browsers. The portal can actually help address this to some extent if you are able to surface the most important or most used functionality directly within it, minimizing the amount of interaction the user has to do with the troublesome application. While this may not work for heavy administrative users, it may work for the typical student or employee. For instance, when we rolled out PeopleSoft HRS last year, we were able to build some lightweight portlets that displayed important information in the portal so that employees would not have to actually log into the HRS product as frequently. You can view our browser statement for the above services at https://kb.wisc.edu/wiscmail/page.php?id=3207. Note that at the bottom of this document are links to recommendations for other services. JimH on 2/7/12 3:40 PM Theresa Rowe said the following: > We are wondering what the community experience is with browser management. My tech folks here note that we are encountering browser issues, particularly in our single-signon portal. For example, our portal supports access through to several different products, like Gmail, Moodle, Banner, etc. Trying to make everything work in common on a browser platform is challenging. Just wondering if you have a strategy to deal with this. > > Vendors typically use a quality-assurance process to certify browsers that work with the server-based software. When organizations such as Mozilla released a major revision of their > software once every two years, everyone was content with the expected slight lag as all parties caught up to the current version. The techs here noted a change when Google started its pace of releasing new versions of the Chrome browser. Browsers seem to be releasing new versions every six weeks. As a result, service vendors have issued varying support decrees from, "do not upgrade until we say so," to, "we think that the new versions > ought to work." We see everything from vendors, from "certified on release 3.6" to "certified on release 10." We are increasingly telling our users to keep different versions / releases of browsers to work with different products. This is very difficult from within the portal. > > Is this an issue for anyone else? > > > -- > Theresa Rowe > Chief Information Officer > Oakland University > > ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/. > ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
The University of California's Information Technology Architecture Group produced a set of documents on support for browsers by applications in 2010:

https://spaces.ais.ucla.edu/x/9oWIAQ

Sample RFP language is also included, recognizing that applications are increasingly purchased, rather than built.

The approach was not to certify specific versions of browsers, but rather to describe the standards that should be used in the implementation of applications.  These are standards that are commonly implemented in modern browsers, so Jim Helwig's recommendation that users stay current with popular browsers fits well.

David Walker

On Tue, 2012-02-07 at 20:10 -0600, Jim Helwig wrote:
A number of years ago we stepped away from using the term "supported browsers" for our suite of collaborative apps (Sun/Oracle email, Oracle calendar, Xythos webspace, open source Jasig uPortal). Instead of trying to do complete testing of the ever growing list of browser versions and operating systems, coupled withe the fact that older versions typically have more security vulnerabilities, we simply recommended that users stay current with one of the more popular browsers. Luckily the applications behind these services generally work with most browsers. One would hope that would generally be the case, but alas it seems that there are applications and ERPs on campus that are much more restrictive in what browsers they support. This certainly doesn't make it easy for departmental IT staff. One would hope that software vendors would get better about supporting common browsers. The portal can actually help address this to some extent if you are able to surface the most important or most used functionality directly within it, minimizing the amount of interaction the user has to do with the troublesome application. While this may not work for heavy administrative users, it may work for the typical student or employee. For instance, when we rolled out PeopleSoft HRS last year, we were able to build some lightweight portlets that displayed important information in the portal so that employees would not have to actually log into the HRS product as frequently. You can view our browser statement for the above services at https://kb.wisc.edu/wiscmail/page.php?id=3207. Note that at the bottom of this document are links to recommendations for other services. JimH on 2/7/12 3:40 PM Theresa Rowe said the following: > We are wondering what the community experience is with browser management. My tech folks here note that we are encountering browser issues, particularly in our single-signon portal. For example, our portal supports access through to several different products, like Gmail, Moodle, Banner, etc. Trying to make everything work in common on a browser platform is challenging. Just wondering if you have a strategy to deal with this. > > Vendors typically use a quality-assurance process to certify browsers that work with the server-based software. When organizations such as Mozilla released a major revision of their > software once every two years, everyone was content with the expected slight lag as all parties caught up to the current version. The techs here noted a change when Google started its pace of releasing new versions of the Chrome browser. Browsers seem to be releasing new versions every six weeks. As a result, service vendors have issued varying support decrees from, "do not upgrade until we say so," to, "we think that the new versions > ought to work." We see everything from vendors, from "certified on release 3.6" to "certified on release 10." We are increasingly telling our users to keep different versions / releases of browsers to work with different products. This is very difficult from within the portal. > > Is this an issue for anyone else? > > > -- > Theresa Rowe > Chief Information Officer > Oakland University > > ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/. > ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

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