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RE: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire

From: Jason O'Brien <jaobrien@fttnet.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 96 14:34:00 CDT
To: "'www'" <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <32668A8C@smtpgate.ftt.com>

Since this seems to be a day for rants, I'd like to include my own -- in   
response to this discussion concerning slapping a label on a web page   
stating that this page is best viewed with (favorite browser of choice)   
 -- see below :

From:  www-html-request[SMTP:www-html-request@w3.org]
Sent:  Wednesday, October 16, 1996 5:05 PM
To:  www-html
Subject:  Re: Netscape 4.0 press release at their server

Tom Magliery wrote:
++ "This page best viewed with" is an ironic step backwards in document
++ interchangeability.  Before The Web, that information was given out   
++ only 4 bytes of data, not 30 or 40.  And it appeared in the document's
++ meta-information -- the filename -- not in the body of the document   
++ so it was usually easier to get to.  ".DOC" was (and still is) quite a
++ convenient way to say "This page best viewed with Microsoft Word."

Someone quoted TBL recently in c.i.w.a.html:

Anyone who slaps a "this page is best viewed with Browser X" label on a
Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web,
when you had very little chance of reading a document written on
another computer, another word processor, or another network.
                   [Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996]


Web designers who put these on their page are not yearning for the bad   
old days as stated above -- the example of the doc files have been   
brought up in discussion here -- what if we had never advanced beyond   
Write or NotePad -- Microsoft Word was an incredible advancement for word   
processing, and documents could be presented in much better formats with   
more control for font, alignment, styling, etc -- the web is no different   
 -- the web must evolve -- Microsoft and Netscape do make it difficult to   
maintain standards but development should always be done with a forward   
thinking mentality in mind, not a reverse mentality -- Microsoft and   
Netscape ARE going to determine and shape the future of the Internet,   
like it or not, that's the reality.   As the internet grows and advances,   
these two are going to be the ones to move along with it to support it --   
specifically, I'm talking about multimedia -- there will of course always   
be a place for text publishing, and for this, any browser will work -- I   
don't know where the complaint comes from there.

As a web designer, I will place these statements for "optimized for best   
viewing under" and provide a link to either MS or Netscape because I feel   
an obligation as a web designer to always utilize what is available, and   
inform more people of the fact that upgrading is the only future there is   
for internet growth -- for us web designers, we all have a fascination   
with the Internet and I find it hard to believe that some abhor the   
newest developments, new tags, and can't stand it when a badge on a page   
says "upgrade your browser" -- right now, I recommend and design my pages   
primarily for MSIE 3.0, because of its advanced features, support of the   
OBJECT tag, BGSOUND, and better use and installation of plug-ins, among   
many other features.  Netscape 4.0 may change this view back -- that war   
will always continue -- they must agree on a set of standards -- I've   
said this numerous times to this group -- it is impossible to design your   
sites to be viewed by every possible browser in every single desktop size   
configuration in any consistent font or color -- it's impossible right   
now.   Unless all you type is text and think this is where the future of   
the Internet lies, but I find it hard to believe anyone would believe   
this.   Therefore, the only option is to design for the future -- if you   
don't believe this, then let's just use txt files to try to type   
professional looking resumes or more advanced publishing features --   
computing and the Internet will always advance, always mature, always   
change, always get better -- as web designers, we must move with that   
future, or be left behind.

Jason O'Brien
Received on Thursday, 17 October 1996 15:47:55 UTC

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