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Netscape The Internet

Will Browser-Neutral Web Soon Become Thing Of Past? 532

Psychotic Venom asks: "I do ASP development as a part-time job during school. ASP's not my first love or anything, but I don't have a great deal against it. I recently went to an ASP site and got this message and I just wonder what's really going on. I mean, I LIKE Netscape. I like having an option...and I thought that was part of the reason behind a server side scripting language. So are we all slowly being pushed out to the point that we really DON'T have a choice if we want to really do Web surfing? Are we going to have to keep IE on our machines to view anything Pro-Microsoft and Netscape for everything against it?" And after reading this, I suddenly found the words "Netscape-specific tags" on the tip of my tongue. Yes, the bad karma finally catches up with Netscape, but the browser market is a hell of a lot larger now than it was in 1995. Pretty soon we may see e-Commerce sites silently echoing this sentiment, upgrading perfectly valid HTML forms to ones that depend on client-side components that will only work on Microsoft (or Microsoft sanctioned) operating systems. If a few major players on the Web adopt similar practices, the standards-compliant Web, as we know it, will die. Can this be prevented?
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Will The Browser-Neutral Web Soon Become A Thing Of The Past?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just checked my webpage hits over 452 days with 915 unique visitors.

    Netscape 47.54% - MSIE 48.52% - Other 3.93%

  • After changing my UA string so I could get access to this guy's wonderful site, I discovered even more foolproof evidence that this guy is slightly dumber than your average loaf of bread.

    He actually has an article called 'The One' with the tagline 'Hard facts that prove which is the best scripting language'. This test "proves" that JScript is the best scripting language, for server and client (out of a set of JScript and VBScript). He also apparently invented the idea of client-side form validation, and I'd wager uses it instead of, not in addition to server side form validation.

    The only truly interesting thing about this article, was giving me another person to put on my 'morons' list, so I don't accidentally ever hire this guy for something.

    "Don't trolls get tired?"

  • All this is nice and good and all, and if you want to make a page that not everyone can see, that is your right.

    In a way I agree with the people saying netscape sucks, mozilla is dead, and IE has "won" and to get over it. Yea, that's great. But I'm sitting here at my Linux box and I don't have IE. Sure, I could buy vmware (~$300) and windows (~$300) and install that, just to browse. Maybe VNC to the NT box in the server room and surf from there.

    Why the hell can't I use a browser on my box? Here's what I have available to me:
    - lynx (text mode, the choice of purists but pretty useless for the "Web experience" IMHO)
    - links (text mode, but with tables and frames and such, but still lacking the web experience)
    - netscape - which sucks, yes, but a solid browser that lets me do what I want, and the only mail client I know of for linux that does x509 certs for mail signing and encryption
    - mozilla and derivatives such as galeon, skipstone, etc. Nice, but still lacking a smaller memory footprint and other things, but still coming along.

    It's very easy to say "just use IE" but I DON'T HAVE FUCKING IE! I have access to IE yes, but if I'm at home I'd have to reboot to windows just to see a few pages that don't render, or whose authors are RUDE enough to not display pages to non-ie browsers.

    Yes, I think "rude" is the right word. I'd much rather leave the page as is and let it not look as good in netscape than to totally shut the door. Hey, only like, 3 people even use netscape anymore anyway, right, so why bother to even put the check in to redirect them?

    I know that even if IE came out for linux we (the linux/slashdot community) wouldn't use it (or at least admit it), but it would give us some choice. I don't like netscape, and would rather it die as well, but I'm not going to let that happen before I find an alternative. Mozilla is getting there, but much as I'd like to "just use ie" sometimes, I don't have the choice. Linux /is/ an upcoming market, whether people want to realize it or not, and issues like this will have to be dealt with I think.

    I hope.
  • Some things that people really should consider in this argument.

    First off, these guys are big VBScript fans, and most ASP is done in it. However, you can use PerlScript now, and ASP is actually a semi-useful thing when you're stuck with a NT server for one reason or another (loadable COM objects are one of these things). The fact that Netscape doesn't support VBScript (which is incapable of printing an ampersand without a chr() function call) is probably one of hte major reasons that they don't like it.

    But lets be honest. Even where I work, our pages are HTML *2.0* compliant, and sometimes Netscape can barely render them properly. DHTML? Schea, right. DHTML is useful when applied properly. Menuing systems in web browsers tend to be much more 'scalable' than serving 4000 copies of an app over a network. I won't even get into the R.A.D. part of the deal (we primarily use perl in our shop, and some php).

    Frankly though, if you're going to do pages with lots of flashy whizz-bangy things, use Macromedia Flash. The file format is openly documented, (which means that someone could write a full GPL plugin, someone did a while back but failed to maintain it) it runs on most platforms and browsers, and it does the job better than any DHTML/Scripting/COM kludge ever will. It's also fast, and in low quality mode, fairly resource friendly, considering that it's rendering highly compressed vector and bitmap animation in realtime.

    Regardless, though, pages that are written 'just for IE' or 'Just for Netscape' are only a waste of the developers time because they're splitting their market. IE may have the windows users captivated, but, those who use every other browser on earth are still not going to view their site, or bother to remember it later.

    So, if you *ARE* going to optimize for a browser, a javascript function to detect the browser type is exteremely easy to write (or you could just google for it), and will allow any user to visit your site. (if written properly, yes, it will handle non-JS browsers as well). Your CGI's can use the user-agent information to do this even easier.

    Basically, anyone who's pushing for a single browser nowadays is nailing in their coffin as a future developer. The market is standardizing whether they like it or not simply because everyone and their mother is writing web browsers these days. And, considering that so many systems are using the mozilla core now, which is only stabilizing (i was rather uneasy about this until recently) just now, things are going to get more compliant as long as the mozilla team sticks to their guns.

    I've noticed that Mozilla is now 'IE 5.0' compatible in it's user-agent, which is also a nice benefit. That will help everyone.
  • Well it certainly works for e-commerce sites. Businesses are't going to stay in business long if they blatantly tell their customer base to go piss up a rope. If a site doesn't work with my browser I simply buy from someone else. Usually the price difference is negligible (or even lower!) anyway. A bad web site that doesn't work well with a variety of cross-platform browsers just urks me to no end. The web is supposed to be platform independent!!! That's the WHOLE FSCKING POINT! If we wanted to tie it to one OS, Microsoft could've designed some proprietary application that browses over Netbios or some such ungodly protocol and uses whatever-their-buzzword-of-the-day technology is. Ah well, what can you do? Bitch and moan I suppose, or just go elsewhere. The owners of the business should be informed that they lost a customer because of the proprietary nature of their web site though as well.
  • I think I can assume from this that you have never developed a web site with a reasonably complex layout.

    Web sites are starting to remind me of the ransom note syndrome Mac users caught in the 80's when they discovered fonts in word processors.

    When a web site is meant to display news, informational articles or an online catalog, the questions designers need to ask is "Do we really need a dancing clown, balloons, and a marching band on EVERY page? Will the user even notice if this single pixel is one shade darker.

    If for some reason, those answers are yes, the next question should be 'Is there any decent reason at all not to strip all that stuff out of an alternate version so the rest of the world can at least see something and place a best viewed with wizz-bang version 1034.2763?'. The odds are, that answer will be no.

    Part of the problem is design tools. I sometimes get output from design tools to show what the output of a script looks like. 9 times out of ten, I can strip out over 50% of the HTML in VI and get a page that the designer agrees looks exactly the same in the browser, loads and renders faster, and looks at least decent in other browsers.

  • Netscape wasn't really in the browser business--they needed to get browsers to do "more" [1] to build their server market.

    Yes, they did charge for the browser, at least on paper. You could
    also download it or find it nearly anywhere for "free evaluation," if
    somehow you didn't manage to be in one of the categories that didn't
    have to pay. And then they left it to you to pay them if
    you felt like it and kept it, with a wink or two. "Really, pay us

    Eventually, prior to assorted illegal activities by ms, they did
    have a noticable revenue stream from the browser. But at the time
    they were adding that obnoxious stuff (whoever started flashing
    gifs should be sent straight to Hell without dying first), it
    was really about increassing the market for their server software.


    [1] For a sufficiently clueless definition of "more" or "better"
  • Even more likely: the person writing the exclusion code didn't understand the problem.
  • These situations have almost made me leave usenet forever, stop talking to "up and coming" web developers, and bury my head in the past where HTML meant you could view a document from any computer and any browser.

    My biggest problem with this is that it isn't that hard to design pages that work *everywhere*. I mean lynx, netscape, opera, etc. You can still have your fancy flash and DHTML (and cross-browser DHTML is not hard), as long as your core stuff is there in the basics.

    The fact that 85% of the web users are running WinBoxes with IE5 pre-installed isn't an excuse to alienate the other 15%. It's also stupid unless you like recoding your pages every 6 months for the latest greatest, want to keep working around the bugs and the changes from MS, the whims of the monopoly.

    If web developers want to hand the internet over to Bill Gates, the man who didn't see the value of the web until Netscape showed it to him, fine. Just learn to accept all the stupid nuances and new technology it will take to support your dumb decision.

    This is timely for me, as I plan on publishing some white papers on about making insanely compatible pages. If anyone wants in on it, email me.
  • But it takes even more effort to exclude them than it would to simply let them in and see the crap that you couldn't be bothered to clean up.

    It's actually much worse to let them see a broken site. If a user with both browsers comes in and sees it not accept Netscape, they'll just switch and try again.

    Get some decent tools, then. You know, one that produce valid HTML 4.01 Strict, and valid CSS2 to go along with it.

    There's a lot more to it than that.

  • Many times sites check for browser, they also check browser version. This is foolish, 'spec when there are STILL sites that report IE 5 as being 'too old a version, please upgrade to IE5'..
  • My girlfriend recently shopped around the Web for a mobile phone. Our PC was out of action for a while (turned out an IDE cable had worked loose) so she was using the Dreamcast browser.

    Several major sites used client-side features which meant she could not use the site even to browse the products (DreamKey's lack of https support meant that whatever happened she had to make the actual purchase over the phone) -- the sites she couldn't browse went straight out of the window. Those companies lost a sale because of their dependence on esoteric browser features.

    Set-top-box net access is growing in the UK, with thinks like the Bush Internet TV, OnDigital's OnNet service, and things like Dreamcast. That potential fot lost sales is growing, and I'm sure that as time goes by, the people who watch the bottom line are going to catch on to this.

    I can see a time in the near future when not only do web design contracts stipulate browser independence, but also things like accessibility to the disabled. If you ran a high-street shop, you wouldn't turn blind folks away at the door -- they might buy something. Why would you treat them any different on a web-commerce site?
  • Microsoft owns WebTV!!!
    woopsie, there goes that argument.
    Joseph Elwell.
  • I'd buy 10% of the users to his site use non-IE. It's an ASP information site, so, yes, the majority of users use IE. I've seen the same numbers on my ASP site [].
  • I'm sure there is nothing on the page which couldn't be rendered using code which is compatible with all browsers. Web developers are obsessed with stupid things like Javascript, CSS and the like. That's where most of the gut-wrenching compatability issues come in.

    The point is not so much that Microsoft has won, but that crafting a site for IE-only is nothing more than stroking one's ego by showing off cool widgets.

    Turn off the crappy HTML extensions and let people read the contents of your page... assuming there is content at all.

  • I got some better results...

    The Java applet loads on the cooperative bank, but all the labels are screwed up... lots of buttons with "Unknown text id >10113" labels.

    The Javascript on the Barclaycard site does cause problems. The instance of the browser locks up... it has to be closed. It doesn't appear to affect other sessions though. On the other hand, the site doesn't do Javascript preloads for its mouseovers... poor design.

    Still, in an ideal world no script should take out a browser, and no application should be able to crash X. I've had Gnomehack crash X. It is one of my greatest complaints of "Linux stability". The OS is solid... the GUI falls on its face far too often.

    BTW, I'm using Win98 on this post... Mozilla 0.6

  • They work fine for small sites rendering graphics to relatively known platforms. As soon as you try to make the content accessible to a blind person, readable on a cell phone, indexable (and understandable) by a search engine, or in any other way try to decipher the content from the presentation, you run into problems.

    The reason I say for small sites too is that by abstracting the content from the presentation, it makes dynamic updates very simple. You don't need a webmaster or HTML guru to put up a site which meets the corporate formatting guidelines.

    Currently, clever dynamic page generation gets around that quite well, your backend can see the structure, to create indices and the like, but no machine in the rest of the world can understand what your page is trying to convey. Only humans who have a knack for deciphering magazine-like columns peppered with graphics and the like can read it.

  • Sorry I've struck a nerve, I'm well aware of what CSS was supposed to do. The reality is that it hasn't made the web any less ugly... yet.

    The end result is that people use CSS and make their documents unreadable to Netscape users. HTML worked fine... the only problem was that people couldn't stop trying to use it to do desktop publishing.

    When people start adopting CSS, the same trash will start all over again, people will start adopting the equivalent of a Netscape blink tag, only it will come from Opera, Mozilla, Netscape, or IE. All to overcome some perceived problem rendering information which could just as easily be presented in plain text.

    The only advantage is that then maybe people will be able to actually see the information in plain text, trimming off all this cruft introduced since HTML 2.0.

    You're just ticked off that compatability issues and market forces prevented CSS from becoming what it was/is promised to be. I agree it is a shame, but ignoring the current state of the web and using CSS is going to cause readers nothing but headaches.

  • It is a good alternate method to render data, but Microsoft (and I believe a few others recently) are the only ones who currently support it. It is almost there. I haven't done CSS development since 1.0, but I've followed the (major) developments of it on and off.. and the end results I see are analogous to the problems encountered doing pixel-perfect tables. Finding the lowest common denominator between all the browsers has more to do with hacking and experience than anything to do with standards.

    But as for your response, you're telling me that it is all those pesky Netscape users who won't let you use CSS to render information... On one hand you say that standards are important, and that CSS provides clear rendering of information, but on the other hand, you're probably using tables to hack the web into a glossy magazine.

    All these features provide zero improvements to the quality or readability of content... more often than not they detract from it. You're right though, CSS is a step in the right direction, but that doesn't mean that it should be embraced at the expense of giving one ill-reputed company a nearly complete stranglehold on the marketplace.

  • This is a common complaint among developers who want to do relatively advanced dynamic stuff on the client-side - Netscape 4.x (which is still the most common Netscape in use, AFAIK) doesn't give the developer nearly as much as IE 4 does (let alone IE 5), and what it does, it does badly.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the developer: You want to do a web app that does nifty UI stuff (because the standard HTML form controls don't cut it for anything other than the most basic interaction). You also want to do lots of live updating on the page without having to go back to the server, which is a reasonable request since you don't want to slow down the user nor overload your server. Netscape 4 makes it a complete pain to do this stuff well, and its API is almost totally incompatible with IE's. You're obviously going to want to cater to as large a share of the market as possible, so you go for IE, thinking you'll do a Netscape version later. (And even if you do get around to attempting the Netscape version, half of the time you'll give up out of frustration)

    The usual argument against all the above is that as a conscientious web developer you should be sticking to established, open standards and not falling into the trap of using browser-specific features implemented by greedy companies who just want to get ahead in the web features game. Ironically, it's been my experience that Netscape had always, up until NS 6, been the worst offender here - for every new tag that IE ever stuck in, Netscape did two. And IE's implementations of existing standards have pretty much always (from IE 3 onwards, anyway) been more compliant than Netscape's. So bear that in mind before you start your usual rant against Micro$haft.

    Anyway, the situation regarding sticking to standards is definitely better than it was. XHTML + DOM + ECMAscript + CSS2 gives you a ton of flexibility to do almost anything, and the IE 5 and Mozilla support for these is pretty good. Of course, you still have to do client-specific code if you want to do anything outside the browser (e.g. interacting with the rest of the client machine, which a trusted web app might want to do) and the arguments about how to implement this securely (or whether to implement it at all) are still raging. (Java Plug-In + signed applets is probably your best bet at the moment)

    In other words, I believe the situation is going to get better, not worse, especially since the way it tends to work is
    1. web browsers have new useful features added due to developer demand (useful as opposed to the features that get banged in due to an order from higher up, hated/ignored by all, and then quietly removed two releases later - hello, IE Channels!)
    2. the W3C tends to follow suit once they see there's a large amount of developer demand
    3. the browser makers move to implement the standard, since they've learnt the hard way that ignoring this is a bad idea

    and these days, the browser makers actually go as far as submitting a standards proposal for the new stuff too, which is, of course, what they should have been doing in the first place.

    As time goes on the standardised browser feature set gets more and more capable, which means less demand for new features, which means things can settle down. I hope.

    BTW, for web developers looking for a nice cross-browser (works in NS 4) API to do dynamic stuff with, check out Dan Steinman's DynAPI [].

    -- Yoz, using too many brackets as usual
  • You get over it. The arrogant designers of HTML are the ones who should have gotten a clue and realized that 99% of the users want WYSIWYG precise control over the appearance of the page, and they will kludge HTML to be this no matter how much you insist it is "not designed to do that".

    If html had simply had a "go to pixel x,y" command we would not be in this horrible mess of incompatable browsers and we would have quick-rendering pages without huge messes of nested tables. I'm sorry, but this attitude is entirely responsible for the hell we are in now.

  • Face it, it does not matter what you want. 99% of the web designers out there and the users out there want precise pixel-layout of their images. If the designers of html would have just supported this from the start we would not be in this mess. The arrogant belief that we are transmitting anything other than images has caused the incredibly complex and slow document structure model and the fact that the slightest difference between the browsers causes pages to look bad.

    Yes, flowing text is nice. But html should have had a "draw in x,y,w,h" command to give the rectangle to format the text into. Perhaps x,y,w,h could be given in percentages of the window size or relative to the bottom of the last rectangle, as well as in pixels. But that and a "fill x,y,w,h" rectangle call would have gotten rid of the need to use tables and CSS and frames and all the other messiness, and probably would have been supported perfectly in Netscape 1.0 and in every other browser in the world (Lynx could even round to the nearest character cell).

  • I find it interesting that everyone here is assuming that the "90 percent" figure quoted is correct. My experience (on neutral, non-technology sites) has been that the number is closer to 65%, with the curve beginning to flatten out.
  • As far as displaying poorly with poorly-written code, well, that's your fault. As for the quirks, I guess that depends on how you use it. For me, netscape has had the fewer quirks. IE will tend to do some pretty random stuff in fixed-width tables.
  • back to the #1 application on my wish list for *nix. A decent GUI HTML editor. Man, if I could get a suitable replacement for Dreamweaver and Homesite for my FreeBSD box, NT would be something I'd only use on occasion.

    The page composer in Mozilla is pretty damned good. I always used to use the composer in Netscape 3.04, as it produced much more acceptable HTML than commercial offerings like SoftQuad's thingy or Frontpage. Plus it ran on Unix. Obviously Netscape 3.04 is too long in the tooth now for most people, but Mozilla's replacement is great.


  • ...with some decent diagnostics (i.e. "'}' expected on line 554" or something like that)

    Try the W3C's HTML Validator [].

    ...some random user agent (read: browser) can handle bad code in any number of unexpected ways.

    Right, and that's why it's really important that the code be valid. Otherwise, the results are, as they say, "undefined" -- you may very well end up shutting out all but a few browsers and never even know it (unless people send you death threats or something ^_^).

    It's kinda nice to have a 'strict' browser around. I've seen a lot of web designers make bad errors that don't show up in IE (which is about the most permissive browser out there).

    Permissive browsers are good for users, but really bad for designers.

    Probably better to use the validator anyway though.

    Big thing, though, is that Netscape (<= v4) isn't exactly strict ... it's just downright broken. I make a reasonable effort (write valid & strongly semantic markup, make some minor adjustments) so that broken browsers can at least display the content (regardless of how it looks), but at the end of the day if it's just simply a matter of browser bugs, screw that browser.

    For my personal projects [] (where I just go for rigorous standards-compliance) this usually means:

    • Mozilla - fine
    • Mac IE 5 - fine
    • Netscape 3 - fine, no CSS
    • lynx - fine, no CSS
    • Windows IE 5 - fine (minor layout issues, little CSS2)
    • Opera - fine (minor layout/formatting issues, occasional weird CSS1/CSS2)
    • Windows IE 4 - fine, everything's readable although e.g. "float" can occasionally be bizzare.
    • Netscape 4 - you can read the page ... most of the time. always new "surprises"
    • Mac IE 4 - parses HTML in a non-upwardly compatible (and incorrect) way, so XHTML displays as source. too bad.

    Oh. HTML Tidy [] is nice for fixing HTML so you don't have to by hand.

  • Yup, Netscape is crap. I did up some pages using CSS2 and NS really barfed on them; black text on a black background is not good. I had to do some server side mojo to get it working.

    That said, sites should attempt some kind of browser agnostic approach; there are some users for whom IE just isn't an option; linux/Unix users (let's ignore IE for Solaris/HPUX; it's even worse than NS), phone users (as someone mentioned elsewhere), etc. You are effectively telling these people they aren't good enough for your site.

    If someone pulled that on me, they'd get a mail telling them to wise up and if they didn't, they'd just lost a reader. This is especially true of shop sites; if you are excluded from that site by dint of browser choice, email them to let them know why you won't be shopping there and you won't be recommending it to your friends. Vote with your credit card!

  • But there's the rub...

    What happens is that users of ASP and (to give another example) Cold Fusion tend to use templates to generate the html, and those templates tend to have netscape-breaking bugs in them...The biggest example is that most of the common ASP templates people were using for a while all left off a closing </table> tag, which IE just "fakes" adding one at the end of the page, and netscape decides not to render at all.

    Result -- netscape viewing ASP would come up blank, making it look like netscape and not the ASP page was at fault. It never gets noticed in testing because the ASP users normally only test with their one and only browser (that they may not have had a choice in getting). If you're using ASP, you're likely using IE exclusively. Its actually very rare now that someone actually tests their code on multiple browsers.

    Even I still haven't fixed all my problems getting to act right under mozilla...

  • reads (in part):
    Src='rejectNS.js' Language='JavaScript'>

    and reads:
    if (!document.all)

    Anybody want to comment on how it works ?

    Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

  • I keep doing this, because I prefer Opera most of the time on Linux as well as Windows, and many sites actually prevent use of Opera. I don't mind so much if the site doesn't look great, what's a pain is when someone has taken the trouble to exclude Netscape and Opera from a plain vanilla site. and its versions in other countries are good arguments for browser independence by the way - no frames, (at least some) ALT tags, and no Javascript, and of course no browser exclusion. And most importantly, they are known by everyone and commercially successful (useful when arguing with PHBs).

    However, I've yet to convince clueless sites like that they should change their policies, even after stating that I'm not going to be buying a car for them...
  • As much as the author of the above mentioned web page may be an 'arrogant dweeb' (quoting one of my fellow posters) he's certainly not one of the commercial-savvy dweebs.

    I mean, his page is being slashdotted. He could have driven to DoubleClick at 200Mph, but instead he chose to do this. I love it :-)

    if (document.all)
    if (document.referrer.toLowerCase().indexOf("slashdot .org")>-1)
    location.href=" /";
    document.write(arrogant message);

  • our new company site is layed out fine in ie, ns6, and even w3m, and lynx lays it out nice and vertical [it uses a lot of tables]. it's only ns4 that makes a complete and utter hash of it. so now i have to spend all kinds of time hacking on the html because of netscape's sloppiness.

    it would have been an easy and quick distribution of information if we didn't have to spend time hand-hacking the html to deal with netscape's bugs.

  • someone out there, somewhere, has an opinion. they like a certain browser better, and it's not netscape.

    there is a page on the web written by someone who doesn't like netscape. and he has strong opinions for jscript.

    this must be stopped. the future of mankind is at stake.

  • what would be neat is if we could send people the complex content needed for intranet apps in a small portable format that can be executed in an environment that lets people run these applications from unknown sources without worrying about them getting access to the rest of the system outside the browser. these apps could communicate information back to the site as needed instead of having to send low-level traffic about individual widgets back to the site. we could even send the programs as bytecode that could run on any platform with such an implementation.

    i just hope netscape doesn't screw it up and create something slow and crashy that only looks good for goofy text effects, or we'll be back to square one, i tell you.

  • OK so the designer of that website is an idiot, but Netscape hasn't helped - NS4.7 hasn't been updated for years, and NS6 is a sick joke.

    Mozilla breaks javascript (if you tell them about this they refer you to a snotty page about how they are the only browser that works and it's everybody else who is wrong... yeah right), and HTTPS locks it solid every time.

    Someone needs to write a decent browser. All I want is something that supports HTML4, XHTML, CSS, SSL, etc. and *doesn't fall over every 2 fsking minutes*. Currently only IE does this. Sad but true. If it wasn't for VMWare I'd have to boot into Windows to browse!
  • I don't know much about how to register user agents, but for example in the Opera browser you can choose your user agent. In Opera 5.x I actually believe that the default user agent is MSIE5.0.

    I know it is still just a minority and then again - Opera 5.x has been downloaded more than 2 million times in the first month.

    And no, I have no interests in Opera Software whatsoever.

    Greetings Joergen
  • This isn't a troll. It's a vent.

    Yep, it's not a troll. It's just offtopic.

    I agree with your bitching about Netscape, but I wonder what set it off... Does it have anything to do with the story? I don't see anybody here "rallying behind Netscape" and that certainly wasn't the theme of the original post.

    Some of you people are just so blind with your anti-MS fervor that you don't realize MS did what any company would do in its place -- even your beloved Netscape.

    Oops, and you lost me there. MS did what any company would do it in its place? I don't see the creators of AWeb or Opera or iCab or Konquerer doing anything to try to balkanize the web. Don't point at the sins of Netscape and Microsoft and say everyone would do it, because time has already shown that they didn't.

  • Well, there's two different issues: the technology used to render to a specific platform (e.g. JSP for HTML, WAP for wireless), and the differing needs of the various platforms.

    HTML, in theory, can still be the "universal" markup language, for all platforms, driven by PHP/JSP/ASP/Perl/whatever.

    Even then, however, the fact remains that what you aim to present a user looking at an HTML page on their 17" monitor from home is different from what you want to present to a user on a cell phone with a 128x48 pixel screen. Clearly you need to display different things. In fact, what you need to display is so vastly different that it makes sense to code two completely different "pages" for each user, rather than a single one that will work under both, even with slight variations.

    While in theory the actual technology to display one or the other doesn't have to change, e.g. HTML for both, in reality it also makes sense for it to change also, for similar reasons. HTML has evolved around needs surrounding display on your typical CRT, and those needs are going to be very different from those for smaller devices.

  • Completely agree, the latest Mozilla 0.7 build is a huge improvement over M18, and in terms of performance, over 0.6 also. I don't know what they did, but it's a hell of a lot faster.

    And, I highly recommend galeon []; it's a GNOME browser, built using Gtk, but using the Mozilla rendering engine of whatever Mozilla build you have installed. Much faster than running the full Mozilla, but with all the Mozilla standards support goodies.

  • There just seem to be more and more sites using javascript when plain HTML would work just fine.

    Is using HREF="javascript:openWindow('target.html')" someone's idea of a joke? Not quite the same as excluding a browser, but similar needless exclusion of audience.

    Is this the fault of the authoring tools or the web page authors, (or both?) (Hint to all you "drag-n-drop" web authors: HREF="target.html" would work fine.)

    (I browse with Javascript and Java off because of security concerns, in case you are wondering.) [] - 30,000+ links to reusable open source software and the FAQs, references, and Q&A you need to use it.
    Check out the category tree of AskSlashdot! []

  • My site [] lays out fine in IE/NS/OP.

  • If piss poor coders who forget to close off their tables would just f*****n test their pages, we wouldn't have this problem. Better yet, if piss poor coders would just go back to flipping burgers at Jack in the Box, maybe we could have better web pages and worse burgers. If someone can't code HTML correctly, they have no business coding it directly. If that means no ASP career for them, fine. Let them wallow in Frontpage (which itself produces s****y HTML, but that's another whole /. thread).

    It is a BAD idea to ever encourage sloppiness. When you do, the sloppy will just figure out how to "push the envelope" on sloppiness.

  • Actually, that's not all that's there anymore. The guy's put in a special redirect that anyone from slashdot goes to MS' IE page without delay...unless you're not using javascript, which obviously wouldn't occur to anyone using IE in the first place.
  • by MS ( 18681 )
    The article says: "...on online study found", but doesn't say who actually did the study. I'm quite sure the study in question was biased, and that's the reason, the author remains undisclosed.

    My experience (I administer various popular websites with thousands of visitors a day each) is as follows:

    Freeweb/Warez/Fun Sites:

    • 69-70% MSIE 5.X
    • 9,3-12% Mozilla 4.X
    • 4,4-11% MSIE 4.X
    • 2,6-3,8% Searchengines/Other
    • 0,8-0,9% Mozilla 3.X
    • 0,5-0,8% Mozilla 5.X
    • 0-1,8% MSIE 2.X
    • 0% MSIE 3.X
    News/E-Commerce sites:
    • 65-66% MSIE 5.X
    • 19,6-20% Mozilla 4.X
    • 8,9-10% MSIE 4.X
    • 1,5-1,9% Searchengines/Other
    • 0,3-1,4% Mozilla 3.X
    • 0,3% MSIE 3.X
    • 0,2-0,3% Mozilla 5.X
    • 0% MSIE 2.X
    (Data is taken from Weblogs of January 2001)

    So you can see: MSIE has at most 76% Marketshare and Netscape reaches 22% when it comes to e-commerce sites (and e-commerce sites tend to enable access to ALL potential customers, as their goal is to sell goods to EVERYONE).


  • by vs ( 21446 )
    So what? Obviously, they neither want you nor me as a customer.

    Same with the "you need JavaScript because we dont know how to program without it"-sites.
  • Err, British. Tim(othy) Berners-Lee.
    But hey, most people reading this think that all British people are English... ;-)
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    Actualy, pages using CSS for layout will be a lot more readable to non CSS-browsers, then table layout and the like. The point of CSS/XML/XHTML, etc is to make developing web pages, and technology related to the web easier to develop. While those things won't make the content better directly, they do allow designers to spend more time thinking about the content, and less about they layout.
  • A few years ago when every news program had an obligatory story about the Information Super Highway, there was a lot of discussion about certain groups being excluded from using the new technology, with a resultant 'information underclass'. Most of the fears were over money - poor people not being able to afford the technology.

    It seems to me that these concerns are more likely to come true if people have to spend money on software, and on high powered expensive hardware to deal with 'the most up-to-date' OS/browser/etc... A web that is increasingly dependent on any software platform that is not free, should be of concern to society as a whole, not just geeks with an axe to grind.

    Many of the posts are from people who actively chose to ignore web sites that they can't read in their browser. At some stage we might not have this luxury

  • Hey stupid, I didn't say ANYTHING about whether or not html is TECHNICALLY a good way to do wysiwig, you just made that assumption yourself. HTML is crap for wysiwig, we all know that - but my point stands - the majority of people wanted something closer to wysiwig than html was, but html was the only thing available - thus html became a sort of de-facto standard for doing it, and hence all the crap thats been tethered onto it to make it more wysiwig-design-friendly. That is just the way it turned out (perhaps, since you seem to know so much about engineering, you will have heard about "de facto" standards?) There are hundreds of sub-standard standards in common use simply because people happened to adopt them, not because they were technically the best for the job. And no matter how much you whine about it, you are NOT going to change it, because people just *naturally* chose html. So why not just accept that that is what people have chosen, and improve it, rather than spend the rest of your life whining on a soap-box to people who aren't going to listen anyway? You're wasting your time. Get over it - html is not just a general markup language anymore, and YOU CAN'T CHANGE THAT.

  • "HTML's purpose is not WYSIWYG publishing. Get over it"

    HTML's original intended may have been to be a general markup language, but it certainly isn't just that anymore. Things *are* what they *become*, no matter what they were originally intended to be. Get over it.

  • you took time to compose an e-mail to the Webmaster of a browser-specific site? Did you make it clear that you would not be doing business with them because they were forcing you into one kind of browser? If it wasn't an e-commerce site did you mail them anyway and complain? I say this because only if there's a consistent stream of complaints against this kind of thing will anything get done.

  • The biggest problem with these new protocols (actually that's not a protocol problem but rather a data format, WML vs HTML rather than whateverP vs http) is that there is not content available yet while there are zillions of HTML pages.

    So whenever you want to setup something you want to market as webish (Mobile phones, TV, Microwave oven, etc.) you'll have to face the problem to display HTML sites to your device. AFAIK there are only two solutions around, either build a huge conversion platform or embed a html browser in your device. In both case if a web site wants to be seen by your device users it'll have to be any browser compliant or develop a specific version for your device.

  • I stopped using Netscape 5 years ago. . .

    I guess that makes you one of the four happy IE 2 users.

  • Konqueror has problems, too. There are many sites that I can't fill out forms on, for example, I can't log into SlashDot using Konqueror. I think it's in the javascript support.


  • He does this client side scripting. Client-side scripting was originally an incompatible thing that Netscape did. If you turn off JavaScript, you can get the original page. This isn't surprising, when you look at the page - it's about client-side scripting. And, frankly, most of its articles are worthless - client side form validation and the like are useless in the enterprise, and just about anywhere else I can think of.
  • I do web programming for my job, and our company has started considering charging extra for NS support on more advanced features. "That's evil, you must work for MS!" Actually, the reason we considered this was because of our experience with NS out-right violating the standards. I would write standards-compliant webpages using OReilly's reference books on JavaScript and HTML (which I'm fairly sure aren't going to spread MS's FUD), and then test them. IE would almost always work, NS would almost never work. In order to get things to work for NS, I would have to use NS-specific tags. All of this applies to NS 4.7. I can't speak for Mozilla, because frankly, Mozilla is still in beta, and therefore we can't expect our customers to use it.

    So I'd appreciate it if everyone would stop spreading FUD about "MS extensions" to the language, since most "MS extensions" are really the features of standard HTML 4.0 and JavaScript 1.2 that NS refuses to implement. Just because IE is the only browser that supports a certain tag doesn't mean that it's IE-specific; most of the tags (there are a few exceptions, but not nearly as much as NS) are really HTML 4.0 tags that no other browser has gotten around to implementing. The only exception _might_ be Mozilla, but like I said, Mozilla is still betaware. Honestly, I'm dying for Mozilla to be finished, and I'm waiting for Opera to get up to speed (which reminds me, I need to check them out again...) because I'd really like to have an option that works on Linux, and I despise supporting MS. But the fact of the matter is: right now, their browser is the best production browser that I've found.
  • no-one can afford to support every possible platform and configuration.

    If you stick to the published specifications [], you automatically support every conforming browser out there and it costs much less. This is obvious, really, to everyone except Web designers []

  • The practice of limiting sites to access by a single browser is a self-correcting problem. Companies that undertake deployment of these sorts of sites will get precisely what they deserve. Here's why.

    First, it's safe to assume that sites deployed to support a single browser are a result of a conscious choice. And that choice was likely driven by a technical inability on the developers' part to create a site that was functional across multiple platforms. If it was my site, I'd get new developers because there's no technical excuse of any substance to argue for single browser support.

    Second, companies that deploy sites like this are relegating themselves to something on the order of only 25% of the potential market they'd otherwise reach. Here's the logic that escapes people who limit sites to IE5, for example.

    Assume that Microsoft platforms account for 80% of the hosts connected to the Internet. Furthermore, assume that the 65-35 split between Microsoft and Netscape browsers persists and that of the remaining approximately 52%, only about half are OS versions or CPUs capable of running IE5 with the others being out of date, running AOL, etc.

    Making a conscious decision to exclude 75% of the Internet seems absurd when you do the math. But a room full of lame Web developers can convince non-technical management of a lot of things. Apparently, writing a single browser web site is one of them. Fortunately, companies that pull this stunt probably won't last long in the marketplace.

  • I'm SO SICK of the open source community rallying behind Netscape as if it were the second coming, just because they are anti-Microsoft. Netscape was HATED by the online community in the mid-90's.[...][Netscape] tried to screw up an existing standard bysecuring market share and then making their own extensions more popular than the standard.

    Yesterday, Netscape tried to screw up standards, and it was a bad thing. Today, Microsoft's doing it, and it is still a bad thing. Meanwhile, Netscape has done an about turn and makes a standard-compliant, open-source web browser.

    Public companies do whatever they think will be most profitable. They are legally obliged to do so. Sometimes, this means that what they do now contradicts what they did yesterday. It is pointless trying to assign karma to them. The situation *now* is that Netscape is promoting standards compliance and they will not (cannot) abort the Mozilla project. Meanwhile Microsoft has a dangerously high browser market share on top of an operating system monopoly.

    I'm not anti-MS or pro-NS. Next time Microsoft is promoting standards compliance in a way from which they cannot easily withdraw, I will support that. Next time Netscape tries to screw standards, I will be against that.

  • Where have you been? Did we *ever* have a browser-neutral web? Did I miss something? This is what Mozilla is hopefully trying to accomplish. Full standards compliance. What is the big deal? There are all sorts of stupid sites claiming allegiance to a particular browser that will not allow you to view the site if you use a different one. It's just immature, and they get what they deserve - less traffic. This is a non-issue. Or at least an issue that has been around since the first browsers were created.
  • Use the source damnit! Says it right there:

    if (document.referrer.toLowerCase().indexOf("slashdot .org")>-1) location.href=" /";

    The page displays the same way on IE as on Netscape, i.e. if you're coming from /. it will redirect you.

  • This issue - cross-browser compatibility - has been around forever. From the early days of "This site best viewed with xxxx" to FrontPage sites where JavaScript errors abound, this has been argued and discussed to death.

    The most cogent discussions -- see Jakob Nielsen.

    The bottom line:
    - web sites that customize for a single browser or platform lose readers/customers. It's up to the site/company to decide how many customers they want to lose.
    - too much customization will eventually backfire.
    - public institutions (e.g. universities, etc) based in the US are bound to provide electronic accessibility to the disabled. There haven't been too many lawsuits yet, but there will be more. Browser customization works against accessibility.

  • I still don't know what everyone has against using tables-?! They were the first hurdle I overcame when I learned HTML and they've been the foundation of almost every site I've built for the past 3 years of my career. They WORK in damn near every browser. CSS doesn't [].
    Also, keep in mind that various graphic effects just aren't possible without tables, and if a client wants an assload of graphics, they'll get 'em. I enjoy getting paid. :-)

    "I'm not a bitch, I just play one on /."
  • So reinventing the wheel by rewriting something that already exists 1000 times over is "efficiency?" ABSOLUTELY nothing already exists to fill the role of "Chat, file transfer, user management?"

    fire up that bookmark, log in

    And how does Java not fill this role? You could save time just by using the Java that already exists rather than trying to write a proprietary program.

    Hey, we're both on the same boat here. We both feel that the job must be done as well as possible in the least amount of time. I just feel that using preexisting products when possible is the most efficient method.

    And contrary to a lot of other people, it seems, I feel checking mail over telnet is a little silly, unless you roam like hell and don't have a laptop.

  • "Work nice" or "look nice"? This seems to be a point of confusion in web designing, i.e. the two are synonymous.

    Most designers seem to think "look nice" means "look the same", which is simply not true. The only requirement for portability is that the content be available, not the site format.

    And if you had any knowledge about designing whatsoever, you'd know that making an accessible sites certainly does not "double development efforts". Doing things the "right way" isn't a matter of project time, it's a matter of education, something which 95% of "web designers" don't have.
  • I wrote this [] last week.

    It is nothing new for a company and its lapdog companies to adopt exclusionary business practices like this. Shockwave [] does the same thing, and doesn't even let you click through to get information about Shockwave, unless you play ball or code a liar-proxy.

    Big railroads used to do things like this all the time to destroy little railroads. Every few months or years they would patent a new hookup technology, change the hookups on their railcars to the new type, then charge spur-line railroads more than they paid for their railcars to buy the patented, "improved" hookups. Soon enough the little railroad was broke, to be snapped up by the big railroad at bargain prices.

    I have to wonder if AOL/TW will make the decision that Netscape Navigator is unprofitable. As soon as they do, IE will be the only client. Once IE is the only client, MS can decide what the only servers are.


  • try mozilla. it'll cure what ails you.

    especially a nightly build. []

  • Ok. I'll bite.

    I run Linux. Tell me a program (or programs) that come CLOSE to the functionality of Netscape for both Web and Mail that has all of the compliance, alleged robustness, and features of IE.

    Here's the requirements:

    - Full HTML4 (ins. the rest of the alphabet soup here) compliance.

    - Plugin capabilities (Shockwave, Acrobat, etc.)

    -IMAP/SMTP/POP3/LDAP/MIME/SMIME based mail program

    So, if Netscape is 'so bad', what do I use.
  • So. What do I run under Linux?

    Help me out here... There IS no IE for Linux.
  • I've seen the same problem in some pages that I've made before, when I try to use something like CSS, it just usually doesn't work properly in Netscape.

    So I simply gave up, and put a item in the FAQ explaining why I wasn't going to write crappy code just to make it work with Netscape.

    Of course the difference is that my pages were all made to be HTML 4 and CSS 1 compliant, so they for the most part work great in Moz. They also work in IE, Opera, Lynx, and apparently are usable on a cellphone (if the person who claimed he tried it can be believed anyway).

    The sentiment of not wanting to dumb code down to work in Netscape 4 isn't a new one, and you can expect it to get popular very quickly. The idea of using all this wacky Microsoft stuff to make pages that only work in IE is something thats limited primarily to MS type developers (who tend to do a lot of ASP work), and most likely won't last as the use of set top boxes and cellphones for browsing begins to pick up.

    So I wouldn't really worry, market forces will force things to not go that way for very long. Of course if your using Netscape 4 still, then it might be time to worry, since its about time that died off. (now if only they could make Moz not slow, we'd be set.)
  • As ugly and freedom-limiting as this sounds, the only real solution to problems like these is either:
    1. Convince the masses to follow you (which isn't easy), or
    2. Convince the government to instate laws that force the masses to follow you.

    What could help fix part of the problem is:
    If IE and Netscape kept a shitlist of sites with Bad HTML or HTML that used proprietary extensions, and warned the user before going there, as well as automatically mailing the owner of the site and informing them that "At Jan 07, 2001, at 03:41:55 PST, may be unable to access your web site because of problematic code and/or proprietary extensions." -- granted, site owners wouldn't like it, but if they had decent HTML code then they (probably) wouldn't get their inboxes spammed :)
  • The browser world *had* the opportunity to revolutionize computing
    by providing a platform for universal distributed computing. The browser,
    operating system independent and using universal standards, could have
    supplanted the operating system itself as the platform for client applications.
    This would have allowed us to escape from the OS wars and start afresh.
    Apparently this was Brad Silverberg's (formerly of Microsoft) vision.

    BUT IT FAILED. Netscape failed to properly support Java,
    making applets nothing but toys (proper support would have included the
    ability to store applets on the user's machine, solving the applet
    download problem).Netscape also failed to provide a powerful dynamic HTML capability.

    Microsoft, ironically, came much closer.
    They provided (starting with IE4) powerful dynamic HTML coupled with ECMAScript.
    In addition, the provided (albeit subtly) a way to store applets on the
    client computer, and even a way to securely store data between sessions. All
    of these are *necessary* components of a true distributed platform. However,
    their browsers were buggy and the event management was not quite adequate.
    Caveat - I have not investigated 5.5.

    Unfortunately, because of the estrangement between Microsoft and Java supporters,
    we are unlikely to see a suitable Java platform on IE - which would be IMHO
    a great distributed platform.
  • Netscape was HATED by the online community in the mid-90's

    Exactly! because the product of that day was not interoperable.

    Now we have another company, which happens to have a lot of weight to throw around, trying the same old tired trick.

    Netscape eventualy got a clue, and the newer version is attempting to be 100% standards based. Meanwhile other folks are tring to create the MS internet.NET

    In many commercial settings, Netscape is the standard, and so other browsers are not allowed. Persumably in a lot of other places, other products like Opera may be prefered. I suspect hat most folks reading websites don't have a choice, or perhaps dont even know that there is a choice.

    Now as for what to do, well I include a link to Any Browser [] on any web site I have control over. and I write a to the odd webmaster who is clueless.

    I will say my reading of this particular case is that the webmaster who went to all the trouble in this case, is probaly not clueless, but may be trying to bring attention to his or her self.

  • Ummm, the article concludes that jscript kills vbscript for an ASP scripting language. Of course, you could just use Perl or any of the other 14 different WSH-compatible scripting engines . . .
  • users of ASP and Cold Fusion tend to use templates to generate the html, and those templates tend to have netscape-breaking bugs

    True. A more accurate translation: "I'm a lazy fuck of a web designer who would rather sear your retinas with K00L ActiveX widgets than close a standard tag". That attitude pisses me off every time, and the worst part is that it's so damn common.

    For example, JHU uses an employee timecard form [] written in Perl. The designers recently added NEATO KEEN font coloring for vacation, sick leave, etc. But they didn't bother to /CLOSE most of the new tags in the script. So the result is that my browser of choice (the highly standards-compliant [] MSIE 5 for MacOS []) chokes halfway down the page and says the rest can go to hell. Mozilla 6 also fails to load it.

    I emailed the bastards and told them exactly how to fix the problem. Their reply was "Your Remedy ticket #HITS00000013578 has been Closed" which is TechSupport-ese for "fuck off". Too bad for them -- I still get my salary either way.

  • with mobile phones, web appliances maybe finally looking more viable, WebTV and all that, I think this is just a plain wrong assessment of where we are. The browsing world is getting more diverse, not less. Major commerce sites won't want to lose WebTV users' purchasing power.
  • Sites that do this are likely to piss off huge sections of their audience. I for one quickly head for the exit when I see the words "You need *browser X* to view this site...."
    I like writing to the webmaster of those sites to tell them I'm working on Irix, and if they can point me to IE for Irix I might just try it (a lie, of course). Then I go on to tell them that, until then, I guess I'm forced to do business elsewhere.

    I mostly browse with java and javascript disabled, as even sites I frequent (like CNN) are likely to pop up a window here and there, which just pisses me off. So when I come across a site that won't let me get past the front page because all the links are java scripts that simply perform the link...well, I "quickly head for the exit", too. It's the first warning sign that the site will do things I don't want it to popping up advertisement windows.

    But I'm also guilty...I have junkbuster set to tell sites that I'm using IE so I don't get bogus error messages. Some sites are definately designed to screw Netscape users, while I have yet to run across one that complained I was using IE. It is arrogant and stupid of them to design websites this way. The most important thing is content, not the way it's displayed. While some sites don't display that well with my method, at least they display instead of giving me a blank screen or something.

  • I'm pissed off at all sites that don't use standard HTML or scripting when possible. I know that ASP gets much more complicated, but the same principle applies that it isn't too difficult to do standard stuff that can work in most browsers.

    One of the most annoying things I saw lately was that, when I went to eBay to complain about being spammed, I decided to take a quick look at their privacy policy. So, I clicked on the link, and it gave me a mostly-blank page. There were a couple of lines about their regs, but that was it. So I clicked on links for their policy from all over the site--same page. Come to realize, from looking at the source. that the page used such badly formatted BS that if wasn't rendering properly. I mean, it was a simple page, they could have used plain old HTML for the whole damned thing, but no, they had to go and muck around. And sadly enough, I was using IE 4.0 at the time, and it wasn't displaying the policy, just the couple of lines intro mentioning the policy which I had no idea was hidden on the page. If you can't even make text that will render on IE 4.0, of all things, then there's something wrong with you. There was nothing there that couldn't have been done in plain HTML.

    Naturally, I complained to them. I hope they've fixed something as important as their privacy policy, so that every user can see it. But somehow I doubt it. More and more pages are doing BS like this. For example, the Wired article referenced in the Steve Jobs story below wouldn't render very well, because it wanted me to download an ActiveX object that my security settings wouldn't allow. Maybe on non-IE browsers it doesn't try to slip in the ActiveX, I don't know, but it's annoying that they were using it in the first place...

  • Doing HTML/javascript that works on all DHTML-compatible browsers (IE4+, NS4+, Mozilla, etc) is not so hard. There are several free javascriptAPIs that can manipulate layers and stylesheets for all browsers (Most programmers creates their own after a while) so there is defenetly no reason not using one of them.

    If you have access to serversidescripting of any kind (ASP,PHP,JSP,etc), then it becomes even easier. Making a serversideAPI to generate the right layer-tag and include the right stylesheet is done in 5 minutes to a professional programmer.

    Please dont fall into the microsoft-trapp doing exacly what they want.
  • I couldn't disagree with you more.

    As a web developer, I find that even with complex layouts, the key is not how cool I think it looks and the user expereince MUST come first, so if you need to design a site that only works on one browser, you are limiting your client base. If your site doesn't work under AOL's integrated IE (which some stuff doesn't you should be checking) that is a HUGE client base to loose.

    If you are using browser dependent code you, need to find a different way around it. Don't expect the user to switch to your platform because you want to develop in it, expect the user to go elswhere for services.

    The _only_ exception to this rule is on a corporate intranet, where the organization has the right (as they own the hardware) to say, you must use IE, AOL, Netscape, Lynx, Amaya, WebTV or whatever.

    I don't want to start a flame war here, but lets be realistic, the web isn't about what you design, its about what the average user gets out of it.

  • HTML = Hyper Text Markup Language.

    Please think about what that statement means before you allege naivety. I fact, I find it naive for people to assume that plain old HTML is adequate for the task of document preparation, in general.

    If HTML can be used for any purpose, why did HTML 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 emerge? Why is MathML for? What is CSS for? Why, if the purpose of this HTML standard is so malleable, that people chose to define new standards?

    You use a hammer to hammer nails and a screwdriver to screw screws. You would laugh at any person trying to do one with the other. It is not "naive". It is classic case of people not understanding the tool.

    To the original poster who complained about not having control over document layout, I say again: Go ahead and push for some new standard that defines document layout. Perhaps a ready one like PDF would be nice. Then go get netscape, MS and others to write browsers for them. Complaining about how browsers don't render things similarly simply means that you have not read the RFCs. It says very clearly that browsers are allowed to render layouts with differences. But that is not a law from high. By all means change it formally if you want to.

    BTW, why are the high numbered posters in slashdot getting so asinine?

  • by hawk ( 1151 ) <> on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @06:30AM (#502352) Journal
    For those using the One True Browser (Lynx), it is necessary to view
    the source to even see the message. I expect this also applies to those using those silly graphical browsers who have enough sense to browse with javascript off . . .

  • It's that they willfully decided they were going to break IE compatibility by not supporting document.all in favor of (the correct) document.getElementById().

    I haven't really followed all the details of these "standards", but I'll take your word for it -- you sure make Mozilla's position sound wrong. A solution just occurred to me: I agree that they should add support for this (and, I assume, other analogous things), but if they want to do it "with attitude", they could do like OmniWeb [], which has a Preferences panel with a label reading "Features" with the quotes included in the label beneath an icon that is a picture of a bug (a fruit fly, it looks like). In this panel, they give checkbox options to turn on the various "nonstandard features", but the label and the icon (especially in combination) never let you forget the old programmers' joke about "feature" being a euphemism for "bug". Programmers, at least, would get it, as well as almost anyone who has spent any time around them.

    It lets them keep a "holier-than-thou" attitude about standards-compliance without impacting their functionality. They could turn them off by default in the "Mozilla" builds and on in the "Netscape" releases or even, if they have the balls, leave them off in the "Netscape" releases too, but with a prominent help message to make people aware of the issues (with the proper spin) by explaining that "For viewing sites designed with certain non-standards-compliant practices, you may wish to select options to support these practices in the 'Features' Preferences panel."

    David Gould
  • by Raul Acevedo ( 15878 ) <> on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @03:04AM (#502354) Homepage
    AOL is the only thing that will save the web from becoming IE-only. This is because AOL will eventually switch to Mozilla, which will force everyone to accomodate it. Hopefully this will mean a better world where web standards are followed more closely, given that by the time this happens, IE and Mozilla should have excellent standards support.

    Yes, I'm sure there currently are, and always will be, standards compliance issues, but by the time AOL switches to Mozilla these will be for the most esoteric and cutting edge features, so for most sites, they will hopefully not be too bad. Even at this point, the latest Mozilla and IE support is supposed to be excellent.

    Note that it's only AOL's use of Mozilla that will make Mozilla mean anything. Without AOL adopting Mozilla as its default browser, Mozilla will be relegated to the likes of Netscape, Opera and Lynx... no, I'm not bashing Lynx and Opera. It's just the truth that they will simply not be on any large commercial site's radar screens. They will not do anything to stop the tide of sites converting to IE only.

    Some say that web access for other devices will help this situation, but I doubt it. The display needs and platforms for PDAs, cell phones, and whatever are so different that companies will code entirely different interfaces for those devices, instead of hoping that their HTML will work across all possible devices. This actually makes sense. Architecturally the "right thing" is to do the usual content/presentation separation, e.g. XML as the data stream and JSP/ASP/PHP for standard web display, WAP for wireless, etc.

  • This isn't a troll. It's a vent.

    Ditto here.

    I used to run a couple small websites. One day I forgot to close a table, causing the table to not display under Netscape. IE rendered the table just fine, assuming that since the page/HTML section was over, I was likely not adding more to it.

    I got six or seven e-mails about this, all of them nasty and insulting. My logs showed that fewer than a dozen Netscape visitors had even visited!

    I fixed the error, but included some code to suggest an IE download to Netscape users. Insults poured in, someone attempted to DoS the site, and I even received a snail mail letter with some rather nasty material (feces?) smeared on it.

    Frankly, I don't know what conclusion to draw here. At least people seem to have calmed down about the browser wars -- things like the story's hilighted site are less the norm, though I'll wager his Netscape bashing has tripled his site traffic overnight thanks to Slashdot's troll story.

  • by throx ( 42621 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @02:35AM (#502356) Homepage
    I'm having no problems browsing the site from Netscape 4.6 on my Mac. That's about as non-MS as I could manage at the moment. Are you sure about your results, or did you just pick a page from the search engine to get slashdotted?
  • by iceT ( 68610 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @03:53AM (#502357)
    Someone needs to write a decent browser. All I want is something that supports HTML4, XHTML, CSS, SSL, etc. and *doesn't fall over every 2 fsking minutes*. Currently only IE does this. Sad but true. If it wasn't for VMWare I'd have to boot into Windows to browse!

    I have to ask this... WHY do you want to view HTML4, XHTML, CSS, and the rest of the alphabet soup? How does CSS add to the CONTENT of the web? How does HTML4 add to the content of the web? I think people get so engrossed in the technology that they forget the important thing about the web.... The content. Graphic designers and Marketing people want special tools for layout because they want their web sites to be a mirror of the rest of their marketing literature. Graphic Designers don't want to be limited about the way their pages look either..

    The CONTENT is more important than the style. I don't go to a website because they don't have CSS. The reason I wouldn't go to a website because there is no useful information.

    The notiable feature of the web is the EASY, QUICK distribution of information. It's what made the web a 'killer app', and when people get caught up in dumb things like browser wars, and blocking content BECAUSE of a browser, then I guess it's time to find a new technology because this one is corrupt.

  • by CiaranC ( 69596 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @02:43AM (#502358)
    It appears that your operating system is not supported by We support the following operating systems: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0 (or later), and Mac OS 8.1 (or later).

    Have a look at what you get if you try to call up with a linux box.
  • Go to this link []
    and download mozilla-0.7-3 and psm and all your complaints are resolved. BTW do you have an example of a page that breaks JavaScript, as I haven't seen any since M17.
  • by CaptainZapp ( 182233 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @02:41AM (#502360) Homepage
    The text on that site is Sorry, the browser you currently use is not supported by this site. This column focuses on Microsoft (only) technologies (take data binding and xsl for example) and, as an intranet applications developer, I dont see any reason for me to bother myself with works of horror such as netscape (no offense, its a fact). This site's traffic (as well as the world's) is 90% Internet Explorer, I wont bother with compatibility issues over a misely 10% who use an inferior browser.

    In my book the guy's a fucking arrogant dweeb.

    He has certainly every right in the world to target whoever he wants, but he might consider a message that doesn't blurt to the world that he's full of it.

    But then I mostly use Lynx [] most of the time anyway.

  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @02:34AM (#502361) Homepage
    It's patently obvious to anyone who knows how ASP works that this was done by the nice folks at [] and not by Microsoft. You can use ASP to build netscape and opera friendly sites with no problem. You can also use mod_perl and apache on linux to build sites that reject netscape clients and only allow ie.

    I've seen the same thing done by linux sites but with ie users as the targets. It's not new and it's not likely to become popular as it alienates customers.

    Finally you'll note that the URL is .html
    Dagon is a demonic fish god that was worshiped by the heathen cananites. This smacks of the actions of a lone satanist rather than a major corporation. Although I would expect satanists to like mozilla, the mascot is a demonic fire-breathing lizard after all.

  • by sohp ( 22984 ) <snewton&io,com> on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @06:12AM (#502362) Homepage
    You hardly have to read much more than this to know the designer doesn't know what he's talking about: "This column focuses on Microsoft (only) technologies (take data binding and xsl for example)". Raise your hand if you believe that MSFT invented or is the only technology you can use to do data binding and xsl. Those of you with your hands up, please go to the back of the class and read: and l

    Off topic: it's amazing but I've known people who work with and for MSFT and they really do believe the claims the company makes for inventing and having exclusives on various technologies.

  • by macpeep ( 36699 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @04:13AM (#502363)
    I know that ASP gets much more complicated, but the same principle applies that it isn't too difficult to do standard stuff that can work in most browsers.

    *sigh* ASP, like JSP, PHP and Perl CGI works by generating HTML on the server, which is then sent to the browser. It's not like some weird ASP code is sent to Netscape, and Netscape gets confused and doesn't know what to do. From a browser point of view, there is absolutely no difference between ASP and plain static HTML files - the browser still gets plain HTML.

  • by taniwha ( 70410 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @06:49AM (#502364) Homepage Journal
    it starts with - 'if (document.all) location.href=""; else if (document.referrer.toLowerCase().indexOf("slashdot .org")&gt-1) (insert rant here)'.

    That's right it special cases people who come from slashdot .... so I suspect people are seeing several different things on this page (Konqueror just ignores this stuff and continues on to the main page)

  • by grantdh ( 72401 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @03:02AM (#502365) Homepage Journal
    I have argued many times with web developers about ensuring that web sites will work with any browser. It was easier to win the argument when I was the boss, but I'm still managing to prevail as a consultant :) Some simple reasons are:

    1. A well designed & implemented web site which works on all browsers is more robust, better planned and easier to maintain.

    2. It doesn't take much effort if you know what the hell you are doing!

    3. Alienating even 5% of your potential audience is not a good idea if it doesn't take much more effort to make it right for "everyone" (don't forget, one happy person tells another, one pissed off person tells as many as they can :)

    4. The "top sites" are coding for all browsers - if we use them as examples of good design, why not extend that to implementation as well?

    Basically, those who can't be stuffed to write "generic" sites are lazy non-professionals who are taking advantage of an "easy out" argument.

    Unfortunately, I do not see much progress towards a more balanced client-side of the web. Most office & personal installations are using IE (hey, it comes with the OS, installs out of the box, seems well integrated, hmmmm - bit of a no brainer - I just want it to work, I don't care who makes the engine - etc etc etc). The ones using non-IE browsers are those using alternate platforms - usually people with Unix workstations or a grudge against Microsoft :)

    Until the non-Microsoft browsers are less than 0.5% of audience, though, I will keep recommending that people code for them. One can only hope that they will claw back enough marketshare to be taken seriously...
  • by (void*) ( 113680 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @04:16AM (#502366)
    It is not the spirit of HTML to display things the way you want them to look.

    Other technologies exists for that purpose. HTML's purpose is not WYSIWYG publishing. Get over it.

  • by Paladin128 ( 203968 ) <aaron@[ ] ['tra' in gap]> on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @05:55AM (#502367) Homepage
    This is the message I get when browsing via Netscape directly, i.e., cutting and pasting the URL into a new browser window.

    • Sorry, the browser you currently use is not supported by this site.

    • This column focuses on Microsoft (only) technologies (take data binding and xsl for example) and, as
      an intranet applications developer, I dont see any reason for me to bother myself with works of horror
      such as netscape (no offense, its a fact).

      This site's traffic (as well as the world's) is 90% Internet Explorer, I wont bother with compatibility issues
      over a misely 10% who use an inferior browser.

      In order to view this resource please switch to Internet Explorer 4 or higher.

      ASP Alliance []
      Complain [mailto]

      - Dagon

    "Evil beware: I'm armed to the teeth and packing a hampster!"
  • by DLG ( 14172 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @07:09AM (#502368)
    I have been a web designer for approximately 7 years now. That is a long time. I have seen what the web is, and what a web designer is, change several times.Like back when all transparent graphics made the same grey as the default background of Mosaic because if the browser didn't support transparency it probably didnt support backgrounds either. And we were taught to never count out the text only users. Alt tags!!! Hell back then we didn't assume anything about layout. We didn't have tables or other methods. The best we had was we could run the text next to a graphic on either the left or right side. Oh and Lists...

    So anyway, in all that time I have learned that it does not matter what browser 90% uses, or what browser has the most features, or best features, or whatnot. What matters is that when your client calls, and says "A reporter I wanted to cover our new web opening called, and he says it doesn't work" or "THe vice president in charge of marketting says your site crashes his browser" or "My college buddy says that your page looks like crap on a Sun using Netscape 3.0 beta 7 with a 1600x1200 screen (because the background image is a 1x1000 image...)" All of this has happened. Infact I had one of the earlier uses of Javascript to do roll over menus for one of the top Internet Providers, and they had me remove it from 300 pages (well ok search and replace made that work really easily) because it crashed a Netscape 3.0 beta user on Sun (a really small impact but) who was covering the company for Newsweek.

    Folks like to claim that 10% is a small percent of the user base in the world. 10% of the 100 million users in america is 10 million. That is a very very big group you are alienating.No one would in their right mind give up 10 million potential customers merely because of a browser choice. Any web producer who suggests they can will lose to the one that says it is no problem to support both. Basicly I can say as an experienced web developer that I deliver 10% more client eyes automatically than someone who makes it IE browser dependent.

    Javascript has it's place. ASP's are certainly used a great deal by companies that DON'T find it difficult to produce for Netscape. Hell. My Mozilla doesn't have problems talking to Microsoft websites.:) They certainly don't want to lose my business...

    In the long run, the web is not the best manner to do alot of things we want to do, and PC's aren't the natural client for them. Handheld browsers, consumer set top boxes, PLAYSTATIONS, and other NON MICROSOFT products are going to dominate the user base, just as AOL began to do 5 years ago. You all don't remember what a panic it used to be "Our page won't show right on AOL browsers! %!@$@!$" before they started using more standards.

    Let me remind you all that Microsoft was late to the internet party. They had their own proprietary page format they were going to use for Microsoft and then slam bam, they had to change directions. That allowed Netscape to grow so large they forgot to make good products, and forced Microsoft to accept all sorts of standards. I can assure you that Amazon can't afford to run a server with software that cuts off 10% marketshare. That 10% will go right to the one who doesn't.

    Lets talk about it from a sheer number argument. There are 10 sites. There are 100 users. 90 use IE, 10 use other... All the sites but 1 say, Well IE is the only way to go... Each site is equally good besides that. Ok... Well each site gets 9 IE users....(including the 1 that supports other browsers) but the 1 supporting the other browsers gets the OTHER 10... Which site survives longest?

    So while I can see arguments why one might want to use Microsoft only technology in a web page having some virtue (Well yeah it only works for 90% but it lets me enhance it enough to make a big difference to my usability...) there is no excuse for not delivering some service to any class browser. I have basicly rejected employee applicants because their sample websites were all graphics for instance. No search engine would find anything ont heir site. Or blind folks. Or Text only browsers. ETc...

    And that is another thing. The ASP Alliance site is rejecting search engines if it only allows IE browsers. It's content is an island.

    If it has any.

  • by SnowDog_2112 ( 23900 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @03:49AM (#502369) Homepage
    This isn't a troll. It's a vent.

    I'm SO SICK of the open source community rallying behind Netscape as if it were the second coming, just because they are anti-Microsoft.

    Netscape was HATED by the online community in the mid-90's. Don't you remember the protest pages, people turning their pages black-on-black with netscape-specific tags, with little comments "If you can't read this page, you're using Netscape."

    Netscape tried to do the exact same thing MS does. They offered their software for free, and then tried to screw up an existing standard by securing market share and then making their own extensions more popular than the standard.

    Netscape is just as guilty of shady practices as Microsoft. You can't be anti-MS for these reasons and be pro-Netscape. Some of you people are just so blind with your anti-MS fervor that you don't realize MS did what any company would do in its place -- even your beloved Netscape.

    I stopped using Netscape 5 years ago and I'll never use it again.

  • by Elvis Maximus ( 193433 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @02:46AM (#502370) Homepage

    Will the browser-neutral web soon become a thing of the past? Yes, by about 1996, I would say.


"I'll rob that rich person and give it to some poor deserving slob. That will *prove* I'm Robin Hood." -- Daffy Duck, Looney Tunes, _Robin Hood Daffy_