I use FF and Chrome and avoid IE like the plague myself. But Im aware of some places that insist on IE and prevent other browsers (I think its a shortsighted and flawed policy, but... ). So I wanted to at least make the theme usable with some fallbacks for older versions - It won't have all the look and feel and wont be responsive on those older browsers, but it should at least be usable (with a big notice at the top telling people to use a decent browser ;) )
Firefox is usually my 'goto' browser, especially on XP - although my access to XP machines is now close to zero!- but I think Chrome is actually even faster - recalling the graphic Julian (I think) posted recently too ;) https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=231970#p1065436
And I can do it with browser sniffing but I keep reading that this is not best practice, so I was trying to improve the theme and to get it to work with modernizr to reduce the code. Im happy enough building the fallbacks and giving older browser users a usable page (not finished in the version thats on github right now, but happy that I can do it as I progress over the break) - but wanted to get that modernizr script working if I can, as well as improve my understanding of how it works.
Its been fun learning about the flexbox layouts - frustrating at times, partly because its still in RC and browser support isn't 100% even now with the latest browsers - but fun
Ooooo, lots of food for thought.
Ok, if you need XP and have certain versions of Windows 7, then you can download and use XP for for free - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows7/install-and-use-windows-xp-mode-in-windows-7. Support will end soon in line with XP, but what the heck, you don't have to maintain an old machine.
I've found that FF runs like a whippet with a Zimmer frame on Windows at the moment - or at least with FireBug. And if I run the same combination on a virtual Ubuntu 12.10 on the same machine its really fast. I'm not quite sure what is going on.
With FlexBox, I think that utilising new technologies in the early stages of their development helps to understand them. It provides knowledge even if older browsers are not supported. Through demonstration of new technology you can provide the impetus for the non-technical managers to make the technical decisions about upgrading browser versions (deliberate Catch-22 here). The decision about upgrading is always a problematic one. You don't want to hang on to the constraints of the past and at the same time plough too far into the future with the increased risk of failure.
I take the view with design that you should de-risk a new technology on common stable hardware and software at the time. Design, implement and simplify the code. Then tackle how you will add fall-backs if required. Often as development takes time, by the time you've completed the finished product then things have moved on anyway. That upgrades have happened, that the light at the end of the tunnel was a new dawn and not an oncoming train.
Themes need to be like advertisements. The new product has to be wanted and more importantly be better than the product it replaces. Use browser detection to provide fall-back looks that make people want the new look. And that look happens by a simple browser upgrade. Problem -> solution. Old -> new. Everybody needs a reason to expend effort, so give them one that is credible.
Its a work in progress
I think the way Julian handled it in Essential is to create a setting that allows the admin the option to use the loaded fonts or the CDN version and I'm thinking to put the same thing in place, but haven't done it yet - Im not comfortable about using the cdn with no possible fall back (at this stage at least), partly for my own purposes as I often do development work on a standalone laptop with moodle installed and dont always have internet connection.
I cant really comment in too much detail on browser speeds in Windows as I do almost all my development work on Linux and only really use Windows 7 for testing - but my limited experience (and without proper stats to back it up) would put them something like (fastest->slowest) chrome(linux)-> chrome(win)-> FF(linux)-> FF(win)->->-> IE
As for the pushing forward v catering for old browsers - its always a balancing act, but perhaps even more so in this instance because of how new and the flexbox model is (its still in RC after all! ).
Well, the issue with modernizr must have been caching - even though I thought I had purged caches a number of times and have theme designer mode on anyway. Ive been playing around with the theme a little bit yesterday and today and just looked at the <html> in firebug and lo and behold all the modernizr additions are there today (different computer, so maybe its an issue with my browsers/computer in work). So at least I know I was doing it right having followed the docs and the example of a couple of other themes
Have a great Christmas everyone!