RE: How to be 3.0 browser compliant and still validate?

From: Liam Quinn (liam@htmlhelp.com)
Date: Sun, Aug 08 1999


Message-Id: <3.0.6.32.19990808142707.034c9100@mail.undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Sun, 08 Aug 1999 14:27:07 -0400
To: "Kevin Berkheiser" <KBerk@Bigfoot.com>, "W3C Validator" <www-validator@w3.org>
From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Subject: RE: How to be 3.0 browser compliant and still validate?

At 01:48 PM 08/08/99 -0400, Kevin Berkheiser wrote:
>Actually on this end I did not notice how Word 9 sent its html.  Next
>time I will send text only.

Thanks.

>I wanted to get the author's site to actually validate using the HTML 4
>Transitional DTD.
>
>I was hoping someone out there would know a way to do the same thing the
>author was doing without CSS since that would break in Navigator 3.  The
>author is adamant about not breaking the site in 3.0 browsers.

Navigator 3 doesn't support any of the margin or table background stuff
you've done, so it seems that the site is already "broken" in Navigator
3--unless your page is still accessible (as any good page should be)
without your specified margins and backgrounds.

Just make sure that you're not depending on non-standard or poorly
supported features like zero margins and table backgrounds.  The page
should still be readable without those features, even if it's not as
beautiful.

>It is too bad that HTML 4 validation eliminates the users ability to
>give their page a consistent look since different browser
>implementations have different default settings for things like margins.

HTML 4.0 allows you to use style sheets to suggest margins.  It's just that
Netscape 4 is broken in this regard.

>Thanks for looking at the errors though.  Guess I am out of luck until
>the 3.0 browsers become less common on the net.  At what point should
>web developers give up on outdated browsers?  I wish more web developers
>would just say, Opera 3.6 or a 4+ IE or Nav.   It is impossible to
>support new features if you must remain compatible with all old
>browsers.

No it isn't.  Most new features (style sheets in particular) are designed
to degrade gracefully in non-supporting browsers.  If a browser doesn't
support the feature, the page may not look as pretty, but the content
should still be accessible.

These days all the new pages I write are HTML 4.0 Strict with CSS1.  I take
some precautions (especially with the CSS) to avoid browser bugs (mostly
IE3 and Nav4), but Netscape 3 has never been a problem since it doesn't try
to support HTML 4.0 or CSS.  The pages look somewhat bland on browsers like
Netscape 3, but they're perfectly readable.  I've never had a complaint
from a Netscape 3 user.

>CSS is so inconstant in the
>existing browsers that it is basically worthless.

Not quite.  There are lots of workarounds out there; see <http://css.nu/>
for some guidance.

>Navigator 5 probably
>won't enter beta till November and probably won't be released in
>non-beta form until right after the first of the year.  Once that
>happens CSS will become more useful since at least most of CSS is
>implemented in IE 4 and 5.  There will still be problems unfortunately
>since Navigator 5 will implement all of CSS 1 and of course IE only
>implements the parts Microsoft wanted to implement.  But at least it
>will get rid of that crappy support in Navigator 4.

Navigator 4's crappy support will always be there, and authors will have to
consider it for a long time.  Luckily, you can take advantage of a Nav4 bug
to keep it from seeing complicated style sheets:

<link rel=stylesheet href="crashNav4.css" media="screen, not Netscape4">

or

<link rel=stylesheet href="crashNav4.css" media="screen, print, projection">

etc.  Navigator 4 ignores any style sheet linked with a MEDIA value other
than "screen".

-- 
Liam Quinn