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The Mozilla Firefox 20.0 standards compliant browser showing NCF's Zimbra webmail
The Google Chrome 26 standards compliant browser showing NCF's Zimbra webmail
The Gnome Epiphany 3.4.1 standards compliant browser showing NCF's Zimbra webmail

Internet web pages are usually designed to conform to internationally accepted standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). As long as the web page is standards compliant and you use a browser that is also standards compliant then the page will render the way it is supposed to.

These days all operating systems come with web browsers installed, but some are better than others.

Linux and BSD-based operating systems often come with Firefox or Chromium, which are excellent browsers and both standards compliant. Android based systems, which are also Linux, often come with Google Chrome, which is also a very good and standards compliant browser.

Apple products, including iPads and iPhones, usually come with Safari, which is a good standards compliant browser as well.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft Windows systems come with Internet Explorer (IE), which is a browser that has a long history of issues and has generally not been standards compliant. Modern versions of IE, like IE9, IE10 and IE11 are supposed to be standards compliant, but testing shows that they do not render standards compliant web pages, like NCF's Zimbra web mail pages, properly, which can cause problems. As a result Internet Explorer is not recommended.

In extensive testing of IE10 with Zimbra in May 2013 NCF's system administrator reported:

IE10... behaviour is inconsistent.

The first time I opened up Zimbra, it loaded up totally fine. Granted I did get a mystery error pop-up about a zimlet that couldn't load, but that's survivable.

Afterwards, it was giving me trouble, and I couldn't get it to load at all, and then it loaded with text-only (basically gibberish), and then I got it to load again.

The compose/reply buttons don't work. Unlike some of those that have complained, I'm more insistent on things working, so I tried a bit harder!

I found if I double-click on a message to load it in a separate menu, then I can get the reply to work...There's no telling with this thing, clearly IE10 can't be safely used with Zimbra right now.

NCF members have reported problems with IE11 as well, not rendering page menus correctly and other similar issues.

You can note that the Zimbra web mail interface looks the same in the three standards compliant browsers illustrated on the right, which is the way it should work!

Getting a new browser

Rather than use IE, NCF recommends that you use other alternate, standards compliant browsers, all of which are available for free, such as:

Old browsers

Internet standards change over time and browsers are updated regularly. Using older, outdated versions of web browsers is not recommended for several reasons:

  • newer versions usually have fixed identified security issues, meaning that by using older browser versions you could compromise your computer
  • newer browser versions incorporate newer features that show modern web pages properly. For instance older browsers will not support modern HTML5 or Ajax, which makes modern interactive sites, like Zimbra work.

Use the most up to date version of your favourite browser, that way web pages will work right and you will be more confident that old security vulnerabilities have been addressed.