Subject: Re: color: NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, and HTML3 Message-Id: <MICHAELJ.firstname.lastname@example.org> From: email@example.com (Michael Johnson) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tue, 18 Jul 95 14:03:16 EDT >with a 60% market share. Most of the Web page designers that I work with, and I >work with many, include Netscape extensions without thinking twice about it. Which just goes to show that there are a lot of damned idiots out there designing web pages, but we knew that already. The problem with the Netscape "extensions" is that they are poorly designed, and very shortsighted. In the long run, Netscape has done the web a great disservice by trying to turn what started out as a great tool into their private commercial enterprise. Building a better browser or server is a fine and noble goal, but it should be done while paying attention to standards. The standards that are being designed (HTML 3.0, style sheets, sHTTP and so on) are without exception better solutions than what Netscape came up with. So now, on top of getting these standards finished and implemented by the larger web community, we have the problem of controlling the damage done by Netscape. Netscape didn't have to do this; for example, their addition of JPEG image support was perfectly reasonable, given that HTML does not specify what format images are to be in and that JPEG is the industry standard for photo- graphic image encoding. Their bookmarks, their highly configurable preferences view, their Postscript printing support, and other features, should have been enough to get them the market they wanted. They could then participate (and I do mean participate, not attempt to dictate) in the development of standards such as HTML 3.0 and sHTTP, implement these early, and still have an edge over their competitors. If they wanted to do something really useful for web page authors, they'd have made Netscape Navigator with an authoring mode that would help authors to write syntactically correct HTML. Instead, they marketed a browser that ignores blatant syntax errors and thus encourages people to write bad HTML. The problem was bad enough with just Mosaic to worry about, but at least the Mosaic team didn't go hog wild adding new tags. They just neglected to put in any kind of syntax checking, which still led to lots of bad pages. Netscape has been operating in a very myopic mode that can't see past the end of their profit margin, and has done great damage to the web thereby. Just because they (apparently) have 60% of the market share is not a recommendation for the Netscape "extensions". Rather, the fact that they have this large a share and continue to operate in such an irresponsible mode is a condemnation of Netscape as a member of the web community. If your web authoring buddies are serious about ensuring the future of the web, they should avoid using Netscape "extensions" and instead try to encourage Netscape to drop their "extensions" in favor of adherence to standards. Yes, I'm being an idealist here. Right now, the web needs idealists, and it needs them in large, highly vocal, numbers if we're to get the web back on the track that it ought to be on. Michael Johnson Relay Technology, Inc.