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RE: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here! (was: RE: margin element s)

From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 15:58:28 -0800
To: "'www-html'" <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <007601c06629$c1e73020$0100a8c0@aries>
Jonathan Gray wrote:
"You can crash Netscape 6 quite easily following several simple rules.

1. write a properly formated HTML page which looks nice in IE
2. Write a technical page with HTML/JAVA script above HTML 1.0
3. Use any kind of DHTML effect
4. Try to get content to look half decent
5. Try to get content to download quickly
6. Try and leave anything for the browser to decide."

Hmmm. I've had a few problems, but nothing insurmountable. And the problems
I've had are problems for the programmer, not for the viewer.

If you go to munat.com and enter /rwc/ you can see a site that I'm in the
process of building for the City of Roseville, California.

[Note: this is a work in progress on a staging server, so I've split the URI
to avoid it being picked up from the archives by search spiders. Please
don't refer directly to this page by URI or publish the URI anywhere on the
web, or I'll have to move the pages. And realize that the design/code is not
final.]

On the Roseville site, mouse over any of the navigation bar links and you
should get a pop-up box with a description of the link. Is this not DHTML?
What's more, if you tab from link to link using the keyboard, you should get
similar results (of course the tabbing version doesn't work on NS4 because
it doesn't support onfocus). Not only is this DHTML, but it uses absolute
positioning.

While I haven't finished perfecting this script yet, it's a good example, I
think. And I haven't double checked, but it I'm pretty sure I used strict
XHTML to accomplish this. In Netscape 4, it does use a table, but it should
work if linearized (even though this is obviously moot). To see the benefit,
bump up your text size a notch or two and mouse over a link again.

If you follow the "How much water do I use?" link on the home page, you'll
find a page with more DHTML. I *have* had problems with this page not
loading or working properly in Netscape 6, but it seems intermittent. When
it does load properly, it works just fine.

One problem I've noticed with Netscape 6 is that when you tab through the
links, it only goes so far and then stops. Very annoying, but not something
your average user will notice. I wouldn't recommend it to people who can't
use a mouse, however.

Another problem, particularly noticeable on the How much water do I use?
page mentioned above, is that Netscape 6 often fails to load the page
completely. This is a terrible nuisance. I've had to click the reload button
over and over again on some pages to get them to finish loading. I've yet to
figure out why some pages do this and other don't. And, of course, Netscape
6, like its predecessors, is incredibly SLOW.

That said, it provides much better support for the standards than either IE
or Opera (Opera is actually looking kind of pitiful at the moment). If
Mozilla can work out some of these bugs in time for a 6.1 release, this
could be the future (near future, anyway) of web browsing.

But, referencing both your points the Roseville site mentioned above:

1. This site is full of properly formatted HTML pages that look identical in
IE and Netscape 6 (except for NS6's smaller font sizes). I don't know why
you're having trouble, but I suspect the problem is IE, not Netscape. Can
you provide specific examples (how about a site? I showed you mine...).

2. These pages are strict XHTML 1.0 with CSS2 and JavaScript 1.3
(ECMAScript), certainly higher than HTML 1.0.

3. All of them use DHTML. And with NS6's greater support of the DOM, you can
actually do MORE on NS6 than on IE. But, of course, you have to do the work
of learning the DOM (and forget that document.all crap). But note that DHTML
is generally a waste of time anyway. For one thing, it's usually
inaccessible. For another, it only works on certain browsers. For another,
see what Jakob Nielsen has to say. Is your DHTML really enhancing your site,
or just your ego?

4. It is EASY to get content to look fully decent on Netscape 6: FOLLOW THE
RULES. There are a few glitches, but none terribly serious. In fact, on my
dynamically-served sites, I've begun to use one version for Netscape 4 and
another for IE, Opera, and Netscape 6 (and degrading gracefully for all
other browsers). So only Netscape 4 requires any tweaking at all.

5. Netscape is slow and always has been. Stick to Opera if you want fast, I
guess. This one bugs me, too. For example, a page that took 3 seconds for IE
over a 28.8 modem took 18 seconds for Netscape 6. That's 600% slower. What
gives, Mozilla?

6. I don't understand this point. You don't like the defaults?

Charles F. Munat,
Seattle, Washington
Received on Thursday, 14 December 2000 18:52:38 GMT

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