SharePoint Browser Support – All latest browsers supported… Really?

I came across Kirk Stark’s blog post in which he discusses an update to Microsoft’s documentation regarding SharePoint’s browser support:

Unless otherwise stated,  all browser versions are supported. Period.

For any third-party browser (including Google Chrome, Firefox, Apple Safari, etc.) we will support the latest publically released version. There is no more distinction regarding version numbers.

Yyeeahhh! I can let my users use Chrome or FireFox and expect the same great experience from Internet Explorer…

Good luck, that won’t happen.

The term “support” is such a loosely used term here, and I think gives a false hope. (or maybe I’m reading too much into it and I should shut up…) Sure, the browsers will open SharePoint and allow users to navigate and view everything. For the most part things work well (editing items, popup modals, ribbon, etc.) However, to say that Google Chrome is “supported” in SharePoint is a stretch. It should probably be rephrased to “all browsers can access SharePoint”, or be in the “Supported with limitations” group.

Some of the real beneficial end user features of SharePoint are lost with browsers other than Internet Explorer. Don’t believe me, open Chrome, FireFox or Safari, and try these:

Within a document library…

Try creating a new document…

Try uploading multiple documents…

Try opening the library in Windows Explorer…

Try opening a Word doc and have it connect and save back to SharePoint…

The file will download, and you can open it. Then you have to upload the file manually, it doesn't auto-save to SharePoint.

Then there’s lists…

Try editing a list in datasheet view…

A photo library…

Try viewing a photo library…

In Internet Explorer, nice thumbnail view.
In Chrome, we lose thumbnails, but get a neat little preview on the left.

These things are clearly not “supported in all browsers”. These little pieces are the icing on the cake that make SharePoint much slicker, more user friendly and all around cooler. All of these awesome little features in SharePoint require ActiveX controls.  ActiveX is only supported in Internet Explorer, 32-bit version. For more details on what else in SharePoint utilizes ActiveX, check out Microsoft’s Browser Support on TechNet. So until Microsoft changes the way they handle these (or all browsers start supporting ActiveX, fat chance at that) we won’t see these work in anything other than Internet Explorer. Maybe we’ll see some improvements in SharePoint 2013?

Did you see what was not on the list above? Excel Services, PowerPivot, Dashboards… Those even work on the iPad!

all browser versions are supported. Period.” Really?

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