Java Reference
In-Depth Information
Graceful degradation is the process of building a website so that it works best in a modern
browser that uses JavaScript, but still works to a reasonable standard in older browsers or
if JavaScript or some of its features are unavailable. An example of this are programs that
are broadcast in high definition (HD)―they work best on HD televisions but still work on
a standard TV; it's just that the picture quality will be of lesser quality. The programs will
even still work on a black-and-white television.
Progressive enhancement is the process of building a web page from the ground up with
a base level of functionality and then adding extra enhancements if they are available in
the browser. This should feel natural if you follow the principle of three layers, with the
JavaScript layer enhancing the web page rather than being an essential element that the page
cannot exist without. An example might be the phone companies who offer a basic level of
phone calls, but provide extra services such as call-waiting and caller ID if your telephone
supports it.
Whenever you add JavaScript to a web page, you should always think about the approach
you want to take. Do you want to start with lots of amazing effects that push the boundaries
and then make sure the experience degrades gracefully for those people who might not have
the latest and greatest browsers? Or do you want to start off building a functional website
that works across most browsers and then enhance the experience using JavaScript? The two
approaches are similar, but subtly different. This blog post might help you to decide which
approach to take.
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