Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire

Sunil Mishra (smishra@cc.gatech.edu)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 10:48:55 -0400 (EDT)


Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 10:48:55 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <199610181448.KAA12596@cleon.cc.gatech.edu>
From: Sunil Mishra <smishra@cc.gatech.edu>
To: preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com
CC: snowhare@netimages.com, jaobrien@fttnet.com, www-html@w3.org
In-reply-to: <199610181304.IAA20042@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com>
Subject: Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire


\\ I have to disagree.  The "looks best in..." and the "download ... now"
\\ buttons are useful.  They give people a way to know whether their choice
\\ of browser is getting in the way of their use of the information they
\\ use.  It's not an annoyance, it's a piece of advice.  Obviously, you
\\ have to design so those with other browsers are at least adequately
\\ supported, but it's good service to your users to let them know what
\\ they need to do to get the best value from your offerings.

As someone who uses neither and does not want to, trust me, it's an
annoyance. It's as though some content provider as decided for me that my
needs would be best met by some other browser, even though I might have
tried them and decided I like my current browser better.

Worse, it tells me *I* cannot get the best I could out of the page because
my needs and preferences are somewhat different from others, sometimes
going as far as obscuring content. Sometimes though I'm thankful that I
don't get the silly scrolling messages at the bottom of the screen.

\\ And people *will* switch when they start seeing a lot of pages
\\ suggesting a different browser - especially if the suggested changes are
\\ simply to later versions of the browser they're already using.  Or,
\\ possibly more important, they'll start pushing the vendor of their
\\ preferred browser to incorporate the same new features as the ones
\\ suggested by the pages they use.

Provided they are willing to spare enormous resources to run something that
is as "mundane" as a web browser. Or at least should be mundane.

\\ I think it's a very useful mechanism for the continuing development of
\\ the Web.

Towards what end? Making the web a tool for delivering multi-media? That
will just make content that much harder for people to get to. An orthogonal
(or somewhat orthogonal) structural markup from presentation is a good idea
for exactly these reasons - that it would provide for a relatively simple
content representation while allowing the display to become arbitrarily
complex. If multi-media is part of your content, you would simply have to
mark it up to show precisely what it is, so that an automated search
mechanism would be able to locate it. And I'm not talking about the
simplistic text search engines that exist now.

Sunil