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Nifty technology and nonconformance: the Web in crisis

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1 Author(s)
Zelnick, N. ; Allaire Corp., USA

The near parity between Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Navigator is bringing what had been merely a developers' annoyance firmly into the realm of disaster. The problem is a relatively familiar one: nonconformance or incomplete implementation of standards makes building sophisticated Web pages that work across browsers a difficult and expensive job. Because Web developers have to spend extra time and effort working around quirks in different implementations, they almost always have to privilege general functionality over technological enhancements. Just trying to get pages to look the same across browsers by following the Cascading Style Sheet Level 1 (CSS1) standard-a W3C recommendation finished nearly two years ago (1996)-requires intimate knowledge of the peculiarities of each version of each browser on each platform. IE 4 on Windows, for example, supports about 80 percent of CSS1 and about the same amount on Macintosh, but not the same 80 percent. Navigator 4 supports a little less of CSS1 on both Windows and Macintosh, but again not the same subset and not in the same way. And CSS is just the tip of the iceberg

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 10 )