Re: Logo for user-friendly/browser-friendly/scalable pages

Charles E. Carroll (
Thu, 28 Aug 1997 17:47:53 -0500 (CDT)

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 17:47:53 -0500 (CDT)
In-Reply-To: <> from "Chris Maden" at Aug 28, 97 05:08:29 pm
From: "Charles E. Carroll" <>
Subject: Re: Logo for user-friendly/browser-friendly/scalable pages

Chris Maden wrote:
>Not supporting <h1>s is a somewhat extreme example - but let's say you
>didn't support <em>.  If you follow recommended practice of ignoring
>unknown and unsupported tags, then Web pages that use <em> will
>degrade gracefully in your browser.

*If* I follow the recommended practice in desiging my browser.

I don't have any problem with the ABI's goal of making all
web pages functional on all browsers.  My problem is that
it seems to me, from what I've read of the ABI, that they
place the burden of achieving this goal almost exclusively
on Web page authors.  I think the responsibility needs to
be shared among three groups:

1. HTML authors must realize that how their pages degrade on
various browsers is at least somewhat within their control--
use of the ALT attribute in IMG tags is the quintessential
example of this, and there are numerous others.

2. W3C needs to keep in mind, when developing new tags
and attributes, how they will degrade on older browsers.
(In the 4.0 draft, the TFOOT element is a particularly bad
example of this--the requirement is that TFOOT appear
before TBODY "so that user agents can render the foot before
receiving all of the (potentially numerous) rows of data,"
but on browsers which don't support TFOOT, this will cause
the rows within TFOOT to appear above the body of the table.)
But in some cases this may be very difficult, if not
impossible--I don't think there could have been any way
to write the basic table specs to degrade gracefully. 

3. Browser designers not only need to follow the recommendation
for dealing with unrecognized tags, but also to upgrade in
a timely manner to include new, standard tags as much as
possible--particularly those which do not degrade gracefully.

If 2 and 3 do not live up to this responsibility, HTML authors
alone should not have to bear the burden of making sure all
pages are functional in all browsers.