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RE: Browser Issues

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 07:51:03 -0500 (EST)
To: Access Systems <accessys@smart.net>
cc: RUST Randal <RRust@COVANSYS.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0203060737120.6890-100000@tux.w3.org>
On Tue, 5 Mar 2002, Access Systems wrote:

  On Tue, 26 Feb 2002, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

  > Further, it is not specifically older browsers that are "non-standard" -

  define "non-standard"

In general, I mean "unable to do something sensible with all valid code" -
for example a browser that can't give access to the URI specified by the cite
attribute of a blockquote element is non-standard. (As far as I know this
includes all browsers except iCab, and as far as I know there is not a single
browser that manages to conform to HTML 4 and CSS 1 completely - although
browsers are a lot better at it now than they were.

  I have uploaded and am running the latest version of PINE in e-mail, and I
  think I have the latest version of LYNX for web browsing.

  now is this considered "upgrade" in your book or does it have to have all
  the fancy bells and whistles to be considered "updated"

Well, I too am running what I believe is the latest version  of PINE for my
email, and I use a fairly recent version of Lynx. There are a few things that
Lynx does not do well, but it is obviously an upgrade - it handles most
things better than older versions, and it handles most things.

  > (As someone who is using a version of Mozilla that has been available for
  > several months, rather than the new version with more accessibility features
  > this applies to me too. And I make an effort to keep most of my tools up to
  > dat - my Operating system was updated last week, and most of my browsers are
  > the latest available version. There are also tools I would like to

  now how many people in the real world up date anything that
  frequently...how about someone running the latest (not avaliable in the
  USA) MSDOS 8.1 ??
     What about someone who is running BSD, or Linux, or some other less
  popular browser???

My point is that most people do not upgrade frequently. In fact, people who
are using a less common system are probably reasonably likely to either
upgrade more frequently - in the case of iCab the browser forces you to do
so, since it is a beta version and the developers don't want to have to
support old betas longer than thye absolutely must - or not to upgrade at all
- for example I know people who use AOLPress as an authoring tool, and will
not change, but cannot upgrade because it hasn't been in development for the
last 5 years.

     I am playing devils advocate a bit but many people just "like" text,
  why is it so hard to understand this is a valid way to use the web and
  people who chose speed and robust and clearity over bells and whistles
  have a right to all of the data and information on the internet.

someone else wrote
  >   While I do agree that an older browser causes accessibility issues, I feel
  >   that when standards are brought into the picture that older browsers should
  >   be considered non-standard and should be discouraged as much as possible.
  being considered "Non standard" and being "discouraged" is very different
I don't consider "no-frills" browsers older browsers, I consider outdated
versions of those, and outdated versions of common browsers (Netscape
4.anything, IE 5 for windows, Opera 4, ...) older browsers. But I agree that
they are almost always less standards-conformant than newer browsers, and
should be discouraged.

  a basic level of usability MUST be preserved.. there are too many people
  in the third world and who are low income and who cannot or chose not to
  upgrade on a regular basis.

Right. But where to define that level? ASCII text is no good for the three
quarters of the world whose languages can't be written in it, and ISO-8859-1
(also known as Latin 1, and an internationally recognised set of characters
that Windows mostly copies in their system software for latin-alphabet
countries) doesn't get a whole lot further. Text itself doesn't solve the
communication problem for many people - I think it is no longer true that
most people in the world cannot read, but it is not far from true. (but then
half of the world have never made a telephone call, so we are really only
talking about the priveliged minority anyway when we consider access to the
web of today in international terms).

Received on Wednesday, 6 March 2002 07:51:05 UTC

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