Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Browsenberg Uncertainty Principle

Co-worker Stephen Touset has described what he calls the Browsenberg Uncertainty Principle:

As one increases the layout precision of a section on a webpage, all other sections of the page have their layouts perturbed by a proportional amount.

And its corollary:

The more precisely one specifies positioning and layout for a page in one browser, the less accurately every other browser will render it.

Make sure you follow the link and also read his example of a typical exchange between a customer and a web designer. It’s funny because it’s true.

If only we could get customers to read articles like 12 Lessons for Those Afraid of CSS and Standards. Especially “Lesson No. 2: It’s not going to look exactly the same everywhere unless you’re willing to face some grief… and possibly not even then.”

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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6 Responses to Browsenberg Uncertainty Principle

  1. Sadly, the example is more of an anecdote than fiction.

    Speakin gof the 12 Lessons, I think 10 is just as salient, and maybe even more relevant. “Working around rendering bugs is like playing Whack-a-Mole”.

  2. I think you borked the link to my site, Dougal :)

  3. Dougal says:

    Doh! Sorry about that — it should be fixed now. At least I had the link to the main page, so people could still find it, even though the direct article link was borked.

  4. Pingback: jaggai

  5. Mark says:

    Hi, I’m new to blogging and to AdSense. I’ve been clicking around on your AdSense links a bit. Hope that helps. You were linked on my blog when I started it.

  6. Yes, it may seem humorous, but it is also very true.

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