Re: Start with HTML or XHTML? (slightly OT)

by "Ryan Fischer" <ryan(at)>

 Date:  Thu, 14 Mar 2002 04:25:14 -0500
 To:  <cbirds(at)>,
 References:  mediaone
  todo: View Thread, Original
cbirds(at) wrote:
> Robin Liston hunted and pecked out this message on 3/13/2002 11:01 PM
> >I think it is much worse the NN4.x. It behaves poorly on every
> >computer I've seen.
> When you say "worse" this is true that NN 6 is bad, but for those who
> have not tried NN 4.7.9 (a completely different animal and much better
> looking) lately you might be quite pleasantly surprised at how nice it
> It is light, fast and doesn't crash which is why I use it for personal
> browsing.
> Sure, the days of NN 3 used to be that it was crashy but  no more. IE
> locks up my computer solid but NN 4.7.9 has minimal impact when it
> rarely misbehave, usually just a quit on a bad website...never brings
> whole computer down. (On the Mac we can force-quit and recover easily)
> But like I said unless you are living on little RAM, you don't even
> that happening.

Funny, it's always been the exact opposite for me.  NN3 was a
heaven-sent, always working properly, with the smallest amount of bugs.
It rarely crashed on me.  But NN4 came along, and it was an abomination
of a browser, and Netscape hasn't made a decent browser since.  Mozilla
isn't any improvement either, from where I'm sitting.  So, I've gotta be
comfortable using IE6 (or Opera if the mood strikes), no matter how much
it pains me.

Me, I've been working with web stuff long enough to have seen many
different browsers support many different things.  It's not pretty.  I
think the approach taken by some disgruntled designers is best - support
the greatest common denominator, have your site degrade gracefully, and
refuse to pander to inferior browsers until people start upgrading, and
companies have incentive to finally get the standards right.

This means using XHTML1 and CSS2, and ceasing use of such ugly hacks as
spacing gifs and tables for layout.  Just the other day, I tinkered with
a layout using XHTML1 and CSS2 for a personal page of mine.  It wasn't
too hard to get how I liked it.  It was simple, and it degraded in such
a way that when viewed in IE6 it was a thing of beauty, but when the CSS
was turned off, it looked like something out of the good ol' days of
NN2, though it wasn't incredibly unappealing, but rather a nice stimulus
for reminiscence.  This is how things should be.  If there's an interest
in seeing the prototype of the design I whipped up, I'll post it for the
list to see.

It's all a matter of realizing and informing your clients that the web
is not a place for eye candy, but for transfer of information, and eye
candy is only a secondary thing to strive for, and "icing on the cake,"
so to speak.  And you really can have it both ways if you know the
standards well enough and use them to your advantage: both a site that
looks good, and in browsers that don't do things right it simply gets
the message across.

Read this article ( for an
even more coherent explanation of my adopted philosophy.


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