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  1. #1
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    The Death of Netscape (4)

    I posted a few months ago, "when are we all going to stop coding for netscape 4"; and someone (can't remember who) rightly said "when are we going to stop coding for browsers" - ie, instead of to the standards.

    Well lately I've been thinking; there are some pretty solid truths at work here:

    1 - if you fully support rich, dynamic content for netscape 4, validation and accessibility are impossible

    2 - if you want your pages to look even vaguely respectable, rather than a mess, you *still* have to concede to netscape 4 in some respect - by blocking bits of CSS, adding the odd sneaky "align" attribute; that kind of thing

    3 - as long as we do this, we damage the web, and make everybody's life that bit more difficult

    You know - Joe Clark puts it very nicely, in his book "Building Accessible Websites" - basically (I'm paraphrasing) he says that if you've taken steps as a designer to meet the guidelines and code to the standards, in order to acheive good accessibility, and along comes a screenreader or helper application that completely disregards bits of the standards, misinterprets valid markup, and generally disrespects your careful work, then you, as a web designer, are pretty much blameless for this - you did the right thing.

    Netscape 4 is like that, and users themselves can take some responsibility; for those users who can't (because of admin privileges or whatever) then the organisations and admins can take some responsibility; designers and agencies can help by gently 'educating' their clients; and if you know a non-techy person who is still using it, you can help them upgrade.

    So what do y'all think? (no flaming please!) What I'm saying is - completely forget netscape 4; don't concede to it *at all*. Uninstall it from your computer, and throw it away.

    I mean specifically netscape 4 here - other legacy browsers in general, including netscape 1,2 and 3, do a much better job of interpreting the standards.
    Last edited by brothercake; 03-15-2003 at 05:22 PM.
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

  • #2
    jkd
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    Heck, I rarely concede to Win/IE, let alone NS4. The most I'll ever do is some sort of conditional comment to add in CSS fixes for IE's crappy rendering engine.

    Do the right thing, and then let the browsers deal with it.

  • #3
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    2 points
    1) Contracts and Contacts - If you sign a contract for it to work in so and sos browser you have to do it. If you don`t sign the contract they go elsewhere to where someone will sign it.

    2) Mr. Big - It is about bigwigs, people like barclays, abby nation, shops, services etc. want to get the most customers, if they decide not to code for so and sos browser beacuse it doesn't parse code properly, or whatever a browser does, they will loose many customers so will slash profits.

    So until everyone understands about it all including non techie people i forsee there will be no change.

    just my 2 cents
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  • #4
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    Originally posted by jkd
    Heck, I rarely concede to Win/IE
    lol No sniff of IE7 either ... a mate of mine gets one of MSDN's 4-figure subscriptions; he's had primitive previews of the next version of Windows, but no IE

    Maybe they've given up
    Last edited by brothercake; 03-15-2003 at 08:22 PM.
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

  • #5
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    Originally posted by scroots
    So until everyone understands about it all including non techie people i forsee there will be no change.
    That's a very good point, and information can help.

    Let's say, we could come up with a whole bunch of short articles - aimed at kinds of different people and levels of existing knowledge - which explains in an easy to understand way, what's wrong with netscape 4, and what the alternatives are.

    As it goes, I have the domain name www.stopusingnetscape4.com lying idle ...
    Last edited by brothercake; 03-15-2003 at 09:09 PM.
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

  • #6
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    Well, I think it's pretty easy to do this nicely - you simply see to that compliant browsers get the right things, noncompliant get their own things. This is even made pretty easy in nn4 and iew:

    nn4: use the media attribute on all stylesheets to hide them. Use jsss specifically for nn4. Other browsers will ignore link tags with type="text/javascript"..

    iew: conditional comments to ie5/5.5

    So, this solves a few problems with the css hacks and that mess:
    - Since jsss files won't even be downloaded, you aren't cluttering up your css with nn4 targeted code.
    - Since IE conditional comments only will be applied by ie, browsers with correct box model won't download them.


    You'll still get minor clutter in the head tag, and some html clutter to get everything stylable in nn4, but in general it'll work just fine.
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    If I code for NS4, I might as well code for WebTV! - I get more of those trying to access my site than NS4...

    Remember to keep the width < 577px and <FONT SIZE="4">


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  • #8
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    Originally posted by brothercake
    lol No sniff of IE7 either ... a mate of mine gets one of MSDN's 4-figure subscriptions; he's had primitive previews of the next version of Windows, but no IE

    Maybe they've given up
    heheh, you must be looking in the wrong place :P

    AFAIK, IE7 is due out around about the same time as Windows 2003 let's say six months

    Fingers crossed for some improvements!

    ::] krycek [::
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  • #9
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    Just some stuff about IE7 (to be confirmed):

    1. There will be a spell checker for forms and for people who have office 11 there will be a thesaurus. Both will work the same way with the right click menu that already exists in MS Word (red underline etc.)

    2. Popups. There will be no popup stopper but there will be limits on what popups can do (no full screen and multiple popups etc.)

    3. Tabs there is likely to be some sort of tab UI but it is likely to be different to the in Mozilla and Opera.

    There will be no version for Windows NT4.

    IE 7 will be IE .NET and it will be the last IE! Microsoft accepted that integrating IE into the shell was a bad idea from a security perspective (not marketing wise ) so they are diversifying IE from the shell and making a new browser. MSN explorer is planned to take over when the IE line ends.....

    ::] krycek [::
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    OK, and here's some stuff on the standards side, from a post at slashdot:
    IE7 and CSS (Score:5, Insightful) by Dr. Eric Peters (peterse@princeton.edu) on 17-06-02 21:50 (#3718281) (User #586095 Info | (LINK)

    Based on secondhand reports, it sounds to me as if IE7 is going to bring *major* advances in CSS support for Windows Internet Explorer. They're going to fix the box model, with bugwards compatibility handled via a DOCTYPE sniffing strategy similar to IE6/Mac's.

    This is a hugely significant event for advocates of CSS. I'm eagerly looking forward to this, even though I don't plan on ever using Windows on a regular basis. Given Microsoft's ability to bulldoze Windows users into upgrading, we may soon have a world in which, for the first time ever, *the dominant Web browser* has good CSS support.

    This could improve things for CSS in general even if we don't end up with the dreaded Microsoft-only world. Developers of *other* browsers will no longer be able to hide behind claims of industry-leader compatibility when releasing buggy CSS implementations.

    Of course DOCTYPE sniffing is going to complicate the situation somewhat, since IE7 will still have a bugwards compatibility mode. I'm hoping that the existence of IE7 will cause enough people start intentionally invoking standards mode that other browser developers notice. While from a theoretical point of view DOCTYPE sniffing makes no sense--it's a pure hack--in practice it's a lot better than no standards mode at all, which is the only likely alternative.

    Furthermore, my secondhand source also tells me that IE7 will finally bring full PNG support to IE. This is a major step ahead in InterNet graphics.
    There's some stuff in there that makes me think "eh?!" but interesting all the same. I mean, doctype sniffing and png... both are already implemented in IE however they should be implemented BETTER You can use RGBA PNGs in IE with some JS, but proper support would be nice... Also, I thought the box model was supposedly fixed in IE6?

    So it's of debateable value, and maybe pure conjecture, but I thought you may be interested

    ::] krycek [::
    Last edited by krycek; 03-16-2003 at 02:30 AM.
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  • #11
    jkd
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    Originally posted by krycek
    You can use RGBA PNGs in IE with some JS, but proper support would be nice...
    By the time IE catches up with that, Moz should have rgba() and hsla() color values.

    http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=160550

    There will be a translucent web soon enough!

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    Is it possible that the majority of people still using NN4 are webmasters running tests?

    I know from reading questions on these forums that alot of newbies think anything can and must work the same in everything including their toaster.

    If they're worried about supporting the browser they must be using it to some extent. Maybe it's a vicious circle.

  • #13
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    Looking at the most recent browser stats from upsdell, it looks like 95% + are using NN6 or higher or IE5 or higher.

    I actually write in my contracts that backwards compatability will cost you more and the site will be coded to HTML4.01 standards or XHTML1.0.

    Usually don't have a problem with rendering that way.


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