When you’re at home, on your own computer, you can use whatever browser you want. Into Chrome? Cool. Love Firefox? Fabulous.

But when you’re a developer, you don’t have that luxury. You have to ensure that your sites work well on all browsers —even those that aren’t your favorite. Worse … you have to ensure they work even on dated versions of those browsers.

And that gets old really fast.

Enter Modernizr.

Modernizr is an open-source JavaScript library that helps you build HTML5 and CSS3-powered websites without having to worry about browser compatibility. Modernizer does this through a series of “feature detection tests.” These tests detect features that a user’s browser can’t handle and downgrades those features accordingly, in a way that works for you.

This gives us developers much greater flexibility in building sites. We can build with a “high-end” target in mind — an ideal version of the site — while maintaining full control over what the “low end” version will look like. No more dumbing-down sites to ensure compatibility with older or non-preferred browsers.

Adopting this bit of tech can also save time and money. By building sites with the future in mind, there’s no need to redo development when a browser adopts more of the new HTML5 or CSS3 standards. Your site will have already been built to make full use of them.

This saves the client money and developers time, allowing those resources to be used for more important things. Like well-thought-out user interfaces, and more research in emerging web and mobile technologies.

So we can keep dreaming about the day when all users adopt a single, brilliant, modern browser.

But until then, we’ll keep writing for all the browsers out there. And Modernizr will make that task a lot less painful.

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