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Maintainable JavaScript

Cover of Maintainable JavaScript by Nicholas C. Zakas Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Maintainable JavaScript
  2. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
  3. Introduction
  4. Preface
    1. Conventions Used in This Book
    2. Using Code Examples
    3. Safari® Books Online
    4. How to Contact Us
  5. I. Style Guidelines
    1. 1. Basic Formatting
      1. Indentation Levels
      2. Statement Termination
      3. Line Length
      4. Line Breaking
      5. Blank Lines
      6. Naming
      7. Literal Values
    2. 2. Comments
      1. Single-Line Comments
      2. Multiline Comments
      3. Using Comments
      4. Documentation Comments
    3. 3. Statements and Expressions
      1. Brace Alignment
      2. Block Statement Spacing
      3. The switch Statement
      4. The with Statement
      5. The for Loop
      6. The for-in Loop
    4. 4. Variables, Functions, and Operators
      1. Variable Declarations
      2. Function Declarations
      3. Function Call Spacing
      4. Immediate Function Invocation
      5. Equality
      6. eval()
      7. Primitive Wrapper Types
  6. II. Programming Practices
    1. 5. Loose Coupling of UI Layers
      1. What Is Loose Coupling?
      2. Keep JavaScript Out of CSS
      3. Keep CSS Out of JavaScript
      4. Keep JavaScript Out of HTML
      5. Keep HTML Out of JavaScript
    2. 6. Avoid Globals
      1. The Problems with Globals
      2. Accidental Globals
      3. The One-Global Approach
      4. The Zero-Global Approach
    3. 7. Event Handling
      1. Classic Usage
      2. Rule #1: Separate Application Logic
      3. Rule #2: Don’t Pass the Event Object Around
    4. 8. Avoid Null Comparisons
      1. Detecting Primitive Values
      2. Detecting Reference Values
      3. Detecting Properties
    5. 9. Separate Configuration Data from Code
      1. What Is Configuration Data?
      2. Externalizing Configuration Data
      3. Storing Configuration Data
    6. 10. Throw Your Own Errors
      1. The Nature of Errors
      2. Throwing Errors in JavaScript
      3. Advantages of Throwing Errors
      4. When to Throw Errors
      5. The try-catch Statement
      6. Error Types
    7. 11. Don’t Modify Objects You Don’t Own
      1. What Do You Own?
      2. The Rules
      3. Better Approaches
      4. A Note on Polyfills
      5. Preventing Modification
    8. 12. Browser Detection
      1. User-Agent Detection
      2. Feature Detection
      3. Avoid Feature Inference
      4. Avoid Browser Inference
      5. What Should You Use?
  7. III. Automation
    1. 13. File and Directory Structure
      1. Best Practices
      2. Basic Layout
    2. 14. Ant
      1. Installation
      2. The Build File
      3. Running the Build
      4. Target Dependencies
      5. Properties
      6. Buildr
    3. 15. Validation
      1. Finding Files
      2. The Task
      3. Improving the Target
      4. Other Improvements
      5. Buildr Task
    4. 16. Concatenation and Baking
      1. The Task
      2. Line Endings
      3. Headers and Footers
      4. Baking Files
    5. 17. Minification and Compression
      1. Minification
      2. Compression
    6. 18. Documentation
      1. JSDoc Toolkit
      2. YUI Doc
    7. 19. Automated Testing
      1. YUI Test Selenium Driver
      2. Yeti
      3. PhantomJS
      4. JsTestDriver
    8. 20. Putting It Together
      1. Missing Pieces
      2. Planning the Build
      3. Using a CI System
  8. A. JavaScript Style Guide
    1. Indentation
    2. Line Length
    3. Primitive Literals
    4. Operator Spacing
    5. Parentheses Spacing
    6. Object Literals
    7. Comments
      1. Single-Line Comments
      2. Multiline Comments
      3. Comment Annotations
    8. Variable Declarations
    9. Function Declarations
    10. Naming
    11. Strict Mode
    12. Assignments
    13. Equality Operators
    14. Ternary Operator
    15. Statements
      1. Simple Statements
      2. return Statement
      3. Compound Statements
      4. if Statement
      5. for Statement
      6. while Statement
      7. do Statement
      8. switch Statement
      9. try Statement
    16. White Space
    17. Things to Avoid
  9. B. JavaScript Tools
    1. Build Tools
    2. Documentation Generators
    3. Linting Tools
    4. Minification Tools
    5. Testing Tools
  10. Index
  11. About the Author
  12. Colophon
  13. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
  14. Copyright
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Chapter 12. Browser Detection

Browser detection is always a hot-button topic in web development. This battle predates JavaScript browser detection by a couple of years and begins with the introduction of Netscape Navigator, the first truly popular and widely used web browser. Netscape Navigator 2.0 was so far beyond any of the other available web browsers that websites began looking for its specific user-agent string before returning any useful content. This forced other browser vendors, notably Microsoft, to include things in their user-agent string to get around this form of browser detection.

User-Agent Detection

The earliest form of browser detection was user-agent detection, a process by which the server (and later the client) looked at the user-agent string and determined the browser. During that time, servers would regularly block certain browsers from viewing anything on the site based solely on the user-agent string. The browser that benefited the most was Netscape Navigator. Netscape was certainly the most capable browser, so websites targeted that browser as the only one that could properly display the site. Netscape’s user-agent string looked like this:

Mozilla/2.0 (Win95; I)

When Internet Explorer was first released, it was essentially forced to duplicate a large part of the Netscape user-agent string to ensure that servers would serve up the site to this new browser. Because most user-agent detection was done by searching for “Mozilla” and then taking the version number ...

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