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Web Standards Project: Upgrade, Or Miss Out 733

Posted by timothy
from the progress-or-tyranny? dept.
DShadow writes: "The Web Standards Project launched yesterday a Browser Upgrade Campaign. They feel that the Web is being held back by users who use older versions of browsers. Their solution is twofold. First, they are asking web developers to drop support for old (pre- IE5.5/NS6/Opera5) browsers and code only using the most recent standards. Secondly, they are asking developers to add a bit of JavaScript to web pages that forces browsers to redirect to the a WSP page explaining this. Now, I'm all for using modern technology and phasing out support for the old stuff, but to say that I'd be annoyed when websites start telling me to go away and upgrade my browser (Netscape 4.6) because they don't want to support it would be an understatement. I'll upgrade when I'm ready to, and not a moment sooner." It took me a few reads to realize that they're serious.
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Web Standards Project: Upgrade, Or Miss Out

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  • I don't care... I don't care about your fancy layout. I don't care about your animated GIFs. I don't care about your eye candy. I don't care about your exact positioning "needs". I don't care about your midi sound effects. I don't care about your Java "enhancements". I don't care about your Flash animation. I don't care about your ego.

    Yeat ANOTHER person who still doesn't' get it. Getting browsers to support standards has got nothing to do with java/flash/images/sound.

    Tables are great. They help my browser format large amounts of information so that I can understand your data. But please don't use dozens of nested tables just to make some graphic show up at exactly coordinate x, y.

    Graphics can help your site make sense and help me to understand your message and naviate easier. But please don't pollute my browser with hundreds of micro-images just to achieve some special effect that could be replaced with a simple navigation bar on the side.

    Thats another good reason to use a browser that supports standards. So web designers don't have to place 1000's of micro images, or build complex, multi-collum, interlocking, rowspan style tables -- Just to place something at x,y

    Getting browsers to support standards has got nothing to do with fancy looking sites, images or sound etc..
    The point is to give web designers proper web developing tools so they can make good sites. That are usable, have good content, but still have a bit of style--but not having to resort to extreams in doing so.

    I can tell you right now. If slashdot made their HTML, HTML 4.0, and CSS 1.0 compliant. It would deffinitly load alot faster. And would be much more easier to manage. Aswell as having benifits to the user. (except those using 4.0 or less browers).

    If you want clean and useful content. Then up-grade to a standards compliant web brower.

  • Sticking to old technologies is silly. There's nothing different from staying with an old browser than with staying with an old 486. Sure, both can still get some use out of them, but what's the point? Especially with software - the upgrade is painless! It's free! Come on!

    Anybody who refuses to upgrade a browser should be just as resilient to, say, kernel upgrades. It's just plain stupid. USE MODERN VERSIONS.

  • There was some confusion a ways up in this thread about Netscape for SGI IRIX. Here are three useful links:

    SGI's build of 4.75 (4.76 should be there soon):
    http://www.sgi.com/products/evaluation/ [sgi.com]

    Netscape's build of 4.76:
    ftp://ftp.netscape.com/pub/communicator/english/4. 76/unix/supported/irix65/ [netscape.com]

    Mozilla, etc, for SGI IRIX:
    http://reality.sgi.com/rhess_engr/mozilla/irix/ [sgi.com]

  • I've tried to upgrade to Netscape 6.0

    So use Mozilla [mozilla.org] brand NS6 instead of Netscape brand NS6. Mozilla 0.8 is already several proverbial kilometers ahead of NS4 in terms of HTML/CSS/DOM standards conformance and stability.


    All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.
  • Since I have a lousy 26400-28800 modem

    56K modems are cheap now, even non-winmodems. Check pricewatch.com.

    I only want INFORMATION. I don't need pictures.

    Try appreciating Corbis.com or Artchive.com (or Goatse.cx ;> ) with images turned off. The images are the content.


    All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.
  • I'm forced sometimes by clients to make sure that nothing goes past a certain limit (since they believe their own clients are on PDA, 640x480 monitors, etc.)

    Then they have no freaking idea, what they are talking about. Unless you DEFINE a fixed-size table, or make non-breakable piece of text that won't fit otherwise, any browser will do its best to display it without horizontal scrolling, but once you define it, browser will stop trying to do that, and will honor your limit, no matter how impossible it is.

    With PDAs they are even more wrong -- Browse-it (formerly Proxiweb -- the only decent browser for PDAs that exists now) it either displays tables like they are supposed to be displayed (usually horizontally-scrollable on Palm because Palm has a small screen) or allows user to "unroll" them and place everything sequentially, but fit without horizontal scrolling. Slashdot, even its normal version, fits fine in "unrolled" mode, and is readable in normal mode, however your 600 pixels limit will do absolutely nothing for any PDA with this browser -- browser knows that it can't fit that table with any readable fonts anyway, and will have to ignore the limit.

  • by srhuston (161786) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @02:53PM (#423012) Homepage Journal
    An old tagline from my Offline Express (BBS offline mail reader) days:

    We've upped our standards, so up yours.
  • I'll upgrade when I'm ready to, and not a moment soner [sic].

    Fine you do that, trust me, when web sites won't display with your current browser, you'll want to upgrade. Problem solved.
  • by silfreed (202866) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @02:54PM (#423014) Homepage
    I'm all for web standards, but this is a little too far. As a web developer, I understand that coding for backwards compatibility is a pain, but very necessary right now. A 14 meg download for Mozilla or IE5 is still not very easy for people with dialup access.
    Still, it is a pain to make your pages look good on Netscape 4.x. Their spotty implementation of CSS and other small bugs have always been an irritation to me.
    As I said, though, this is definatly not the way.
  • You may complain that being forced to upgrade isn't right, and I'd agree to a certain degree. But the sheer amount of work people have to put in to support old and buggy browsers when devloping web sites is tremendous. Just imagine a world where all browsers support the standards. At some point you have to get rid of the kruft, and this is at least one way to do it. If anyone has any better suggestions I'm listening...
  • The licenses were donated from my consultanting company.. we had a drawer full of Win95 licenses from when switched most machines to Red Hat. And these werent OEM licenses, these were Retail boxes... good tax deduction.
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday February 18, 2001 @05:56AM (#423032) Homepage
    I thought I would take this most opportune time in my life to point out a dreadful inconsistency in your post. Oh dear.

    You mention that they can't upgrade their systems for *gasp* 3 years. A phenominal amount of time nowadays, especially in the computer industry. Those poor, oppressed, Katzian children, trying to geek on such old, depreciated systems. (Something must be done to fight the oppresion of geeks! Brothers, take arms!)

    You also mention a bastardized form of software you call "Windows 95" (who in their right mind still runs this thing? Even Win98 beats the tar out of it, in pretty much every category.) How you would A) get ahold of such software - since it isn't exactly readily available - and B) pay for such software - after all, you have no funds - is beyond even the keenest logic. Of course, you wouldn't simply copy a single original disk. That's horridly immoral - everyone knows software has to be paid through the rear for.

    Also, I'm relatively sure that your comparision of the modern distro to 6 year old software is humorous at best, but most likely akin to a pickup truck full of horse apples. Actually, I'll bet on it. But onto what I was saying.

    Comparing a recent version of Redhat, SuSE (or whatever those Germans call it), or Mandrake to Windows 95 is nuts. It's more easily compared to Windows 2000 in all categories, namely due to the fermentation and it's year of origin, but also due to stability and code maturity. You'd be best to compare, what, RedHat 4.2? I don't even know what came out at that time. Take that, slap in a basic browser such as Netscape or maybe even Mozilla, and let it be. I've seen it work before on 'such horribly slow systems' before, for months on end. There's one such box on my campus that I know of.

    As far as whe whole situation of 'standard browsers'... dude, that kind of drug abuse isn't good for your health. As a matter of fact, it's quite bad, and quite comparable to electocutional shock. You do realize, don't you, that MS IE symbolizes everything that is Bad and Wrong? This, of course, symbolizes everything that is NonStandard and ALoadOfHorseApples. This whole deal wreaks of a potential MS sponsorship or funding of the WSB in exchange for some one-ups or various other perverse favors.

    When I'm right, I'm right.

    -------
    CAIMLAS

  • feeding the trolls here, but... mp3.com is pretty strict about not carrying illegal content. everything on the site was put up by the copyright holder, or will be removed very shortly after the first complaint about it. Don't believe me? Ask Bobby Prince, the guy who wrote all the music for Doom and a few other games. He keeps having his site yanked from MP3.com for "copyright violation" despite repeatedly proving to them that he owns the rights to the songs.

    --

  • When the images are content, people can select that. If everything is an image, then make the HTML have (below the images) a comment that says that the page is images, and to load them. Now don't abuse that with giant images.

  • I didnt try Slackware, true. And I didnt try older versions because I wanted to be able to have these machines run either NS 4.7 or Mozilla. It is my understanding that glibc2 is required for both, but perhaps I Was wrong. Also with FreeBSD, I just didnt have time to mess around with every possible combo.

    I choose debian because i could really easily par it down to size, and eliminate options I didnt need.
  • Try /usr/ports/x11-fonts/webfonts (have to cvsup ports to current first though, or merely grab webfonts and cabextract) and not only do you get those neat monotype fonts that all sites seem to require, but also aliases specificaly for netscape that help SIGNIFICANTLY. I think you'll need XFree86 4.0.x too though.
  • First, I dont think its a shame that they can't upgrade their machines in 3 years. I think its a shame that they have machines that can perform 33 million instructions per second and that this insn't enough to browse the web with modern software.

    Second, the Win95 copies were donated from the company I work for - we had about 200 original retail boxes from when we pieced together some boxes back in 1997. We switched those machines to RH, and then had 200 copies of windows 95 laying around. I take offense that you would assume I stole them.

    As far was Win98 being better than Win95, its not on low end machines. Win95 Release one is 40 Mb. Win98 is 120 Mb. Thats extra code that doesnt do me any good, and slows down the machine. On top of that, Win98 technically "requires" more than a 486, its not supposed to ever be run on a 486. No, Win95 is leaner than Win98, and about the same for stability if you are running a minimal load of software.
    Fourth, as for the "recent" distro, what makes a distro recent? The kernel was not 2.4, it was the previous stable kernel from the 2.2 series (number escapes my numb mind at the time). What else makes a distro? The software around it. Well I also did not use the 4 version X11. I used the 3.x series, to save on overhead. Literally, I pared these machines down to almost nothing. I had kernel, gnu tools, X11, a WM or two, and Mozilla or NS 6.

    So look, I hope you understand my point of view. I dont care if IE was made by Satan, stole my credit card numbers, and sold my soul to Big Bill himself. I couldn't make it run Linux/Mozilla run with any decent level of performance. I could make it run Win95/IE 5.5 with enough performance to be readily usuable.

    The choice for this school was: no internet access in the school till 2004, OR Windows 95 and IE 5.5 until 2004. Are you suggesting they do nothing until 2004, when they can afford a machine able to run to Mozilla?
  • Something with a screen full of some sort of dancing animal accompanied by annoying music and sound effects might be a good way to start.
  • I am using 56K modems. The problem is the phone lines and phone company (GTE/Verizon). The SLC/DLC is the problem :(.
  • You know what? I don't care. I really don't. All I want to hear is that someone made a distro of Linux with Mozilla as an option that will run well on low-end machines. Thats all I ask for. I dont care about the details, or the dirtiness factor, or anything else. Make it work.
  • I am saying that the W3C shouldnt have ever created the CSS standard, or XHTML standard. These are things that are supposed to be included in the spec for HTML. You should not have to reference multiple crappy specs that are each broken. I have spent lots of time with the W3C, and it hurts! They keep piling bad standards that will never be implemented to fix their previous mistakes. Its a bad practice.
  • If you knew anything about web design, you'd know that recent standards (CSS, XSL, etc) are aimed at separating CONTENT from STYLE. And if you knew anything at all about web design, programming, or simply didn't have your head firmly implanted into your colon, you'd know that was a good thing.

    When you separate content from style, then it's easy to change the presentation of the content by changing the style (since it was cleanly separated in the first place, it's easy to do).

    That was the original goal of HTML- describe content in a LOGICAL manner (paragraphs, tables, etc) and leave the style representation up to the user agent (ie, browser).

    Probably the biggest flaw of HTML was that it gave web developers TOO much control over appearance. Give 'em an inch, they'll take a foot. Soon, so much visual-presentation was being crammed into HTML that it was hopelessly polluted and style and content were being hopelessly intermingled everywhere.

    The new standards aim to fix that. But I don't know why I'm explaining it to you, since someone stupid enough to make the comments you made in the first place is probably too stupid to understand the explanation as well. :(
    http://www.bootyproject.org [bootyproject.org]
  • Opera runs fine on a 486; even a 486SX/25 with 8 MB was usable (just). On a P133, Opera should just fly - see www.opera.com. It is now free if you don't mind banner ads, or $39 to register and turn them off.
  • Opera makes it very easy to overide the web page's CSS settings - just click one button to flip to a user-controlled CSS.
  • Users do not upgrade for several reasons:
    • Users do not know how to download and install software.
    • The new version is too long a download.
    • Users who do download and install immediately notice how much longer the new browser takes to load. Many users do not have fast PCs and will not upgrade their hardware to make their browser happy.
    • Users saw nothing wrong with their old browser. More complex page layouts and newer versions of Flash to produce flashier animations are not considered advancements.
    • Some users revert to their old browser because it's faster and more familiar.
    • Browser makers do not understand users. Netscape 6 is a prime example of how out-of-touch they are with the average user.
  • by Kris_J (10111) on Sunday February 18, 2001 @01:32AM (#423073) Journal
    Far too many web developers are worried about making pages look the same on all browsers, when they should just make them look good on all browsers.

    And if you have to check for browser version and provide different code for different browsers, find another way to do what you want, or don't do it at all.

    Some of us aren't interested in investing in the new hardware needed for the latest browser software, but that doesn't mean we aren't exactly your market demographic...

    --

  • I am inclined to believe that this is false. I'm not saying it actually is, but I am skeptical. Even if it is true, it doesn't say anything about Linux, but rather about your lack of knowledge (see point 3). Here's why I think it's false:

    1. "They had no room for expansion", yet you installed PCI network cards.

    2. IE 5.5 has as its lowest recommended config a 486/66. Your machines were half that speed.

    3. You didn't do your research on Linux browsers. Both Konqueror (Free) and Opera (not free) are lighter than Netscape or Mozilla. Opera on Win95 is lighter than MSIE on Win95.
  • All the browsers nazis need to do is go code up their own high performance browser in 1 meg of memory. Actually Opera is kinda close to that, but not quite all the way.

  • why do you hate Java/Javascript?
    It is SLOW,
    It bogs down the machine's ressources
    It is used for totally useless fluff in 99% of the time, stuff that can STILL be done with plain-vanilla HTML

    --

  • Actually guys, I was the author of the software development system for the radio tags at RF Code (formally ECode), www.rfcode.com. They are the only manufactorers of these tags as the patent is held by coowner, Jim Rodgers [btw, inventor of graphics tablet, among 50 billion other things, the guy is a modern day Tesla and I shit you not about that]. Here are the facts: 1. The tags are at 50 cents. Too expensive to buy billions, we used a Microchip PIC (www.microchip.com) 2. They are 32 bits, not 96, 1 bit is reserved for other uses. 3. Range of frequency is up to 8 feet, not hundreds or millions. I'm sure this will get better, but because they are battery free, you have to broadcast energy in the air to read them, and their return signal is VERY weak. Too much energy broadcasted would blow out your pacemaker. 4. They are used to ID or for inventory ONLY, unusable in detecting them in your home from the street. They are no different than a serial number, if yer going to bitch about ID'ing things, how come you haven't bitched about serial numbers!??!!?!? 5. They can be 'bin-ed' together, that is, hundreds can be piled ontop of one another and read independently [the only system in the world that can do that]. 6. If yer going to steal something from Walmart with their white tags, steal more than 1 item because those tags cancel each other out :-) (not that I know this by doing it, but in theory it should work). 7. You should all fear my code :-) hahaha Aloha from Hawaii, Bwilcutt
  • People have lots of legitimate reasons for not upgrading. Their hardware may not support it. They may not be able to pay for it. They may be on a slow connection or wireless device. And they may need special accessibility features.

    That sounds great, but the reality is you can't remain backwards compatible forever. There is plenty of linux software that requires newer version of the kernel or core libraries to run. Does anyone complain about that? WSP's approach may be a bit draconian, but I think the idea of an upgrade campaign is a good one.

    Sites should be able to render fine with no JavaScript, no DOM

    You may think you are pushing the "right" thing here, but there are implications that I don't think you don't realize. The JavaScript and DOM stuff is not just for fancy effects and little extras. It's about gradually getting away from this insane practice of refreshing the entire page anytime any element on it needs to change. It wastes gobs of bandwidth and is really disorienting.

    - Scott
    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • Of course, you have to wonder why the STANDARD wasn't hashed out a LONG time ago. Instead they keep upgrading the standards and thats whats causing these problems. As I once heard, lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
    For this, you can blame the (god blessed) "free" market "competition", where every browser "maker" is pulling in it's own direction (and you can guess in whose general direction my stare is gazing at right now).

    --

  • This really doens't make much since to me, as a web designer. My page works fine in Lynx, Netscape, and IE. (A little less so in IE than Netscape because IE wouldn't let me have transparent table backgrounds) I haven't checked it in Mozilla yet (Or NS6 for that matter) yet but it works fine in Konquerer. The thing is, with IE and Netscape it has the fancy animated DHTML and such. There is absolutely no need for a good designer to REQUIRE those things though.
    One of the things I've always prided my work on is trying to make it work with ALL browsers. Not just new browsers, or graphical browsers. Technologies such as CSS are great for browsers that support it, but it's still a relatively simple task to write additional code for browsers that don't. Conditional SSI makes this job very easy, as well as updating of the page. SSI of course, being server side is completely browser independant as well.
    I just see no need to do this. My site needs a redesign because the menus have grown to large and Netscape for Win is kinda slow with the transparency, but the new design will most definetely still take full use of new browsers, without locking the old browsers out. There is not now, nor will there EVER be an excuse to do that. Not as far as I am concerned.

  • A "standard" that changes ever two minutes (as the HTML standard, for example, has)

    CSS1 has been ratified since 1996. MacIE5 was the first shipping browser to implement it properly.

    I'd like to see a movement that was not only minimalistic, but blatantly rebelled against all the over complicated nuances of the "standards" -- all the idiocy added to HTML

    WSP and the W3C agress with you. HTML4 is minimalist. The strict version doesn't permit font tags or other inline formatting. All the display is shifted to stylesheets.

    - Scott
    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • "I use computers to break into other computers, I don't use them for a jukebox."

    Ah, I see... you're a *selective* criminal =)

    Seriously, though, sorry for the accusation, but it does seem rather trollish considering mp3.com's true standing.

    --

  • For even more reassurance, one can use a small personal firewall and deny IE any access to the Internet at all(grin). In Zone Alarm, for instance, one can select on a per-application basic to always allow, always deny, or have the Zone Alarm ask each time if a program can access the Internet. Personally, I set IE to "ask", because I get a perverse pleasure out of denying it any power at all.

  • I recently needed to buy an airline ticket from KLM (http://www.klm.com). They had this lovely browser detect JavaScript, and because I always disable JavaScript until I get to verify the authors intentions, I got a blank screen. So, I got a blank screen, glanced quickly over the code and enabled JavaScript.
    Next time, fly Britshit Earways, Air Chance, Butchansa or SABENA*...

    * Such A Bad Experience, Never Again.

    --

  • I agree with you. Personally I think what they will end up inevitable doing is alienating more users that way. can you image if you go to a site and it say s you must upgrade? Then the upgrade is 12 Megs or more and you are on a 28.8 / 56k modem? I'd leave the site never to return.

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!


  • Correction: Netscape 4.75 for Linux _is_ Flash enabled, with a plugin. I'm running it now.
    Wow, I didn't know that Slashdot had flash!!!!

    I guess I'm gonna have to upgrade from Mosaic...

    --

  • >Umm have you ever been to www.flashkit.com or any
    >of the other flash sites? They have a huge
    >community built up around the idea that artistic
    >design is actually worth something and actually
    >conveys some kind of information to the end user.

    So what? Pedophiles have large (albeit anonymous) communities built up around the idea that children are sex objects. A community does not automatically make an idea good.

    To tell the truth, I'm not sure which group I'd sooner avoid...
  • HydroCarbon10 said: "Netscape did become usable under linux once it got upgraded to 20 MB of RAM though." These had 32. Also, you didn't mention non-Netscape browsers for Windows or Linux, many of which are lighter weight, like Konqueror and Opera.
  • Other than ActiveX security updates, I honestly don't have a reason to move my browsing to IE, or any other browser for that matter.

    And herein lies the discussion. The WSP is trying to point out that although you may not realize it, Netscape's 4.x rendering capabilities (particularly CSS) are horribly broken, which is causing people to continue to create very kludges pages with various workarounds and hacks. If we can get everyone onto a browser with solid W3C standards support (Mozilla, Opera, IE, etc.), than we can do away with things like 5-level deep tables and single-pixel spacers. If you don't like the Mozilla UI, download something that uses Gecko (the rendering engine) but uses native widgets.

    Like it or not layout is important to lots of people. You're not going to change that. So we can either do it in a clean, efficient manner (CSS), or we can do it in a ugly, bulky manner (HTML + Font tags + Tables + etc).

    Dreaming up standards faster than developers can implement them is just plain annoying.

    This doesn't have any basis in fact. CSS1 was solidified at the end of 1996. Netscape 4 doesn't even come close to matching those standards from five years ago. Some people are already moving on to XML/CSS.

    How about let's all get HTML 3.0 done correctly across browsers and platforms, THEN worry about the wonders of CSS and XML?

    You're totally missing the point. HTML 3.x is not an interim step on your way to CSS/XML -- it's a totally different direction. HTML 3.x is heavy on inline commands to achieve formatting. This is totally backwards. HTML4 strict throws out a lot of the extraneous stuff from HTML 3.x. A web document should be just that -- a document. Leave the formatting to CSS, which is far more flexible.

    - Scott

    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • Web browsers for the visually impaired and blind rely on being able to parse text and play it through a speech synthesizer. Obviously lots of graphics and shockwave crap won't work with speaking web browsers.

    View your webiste with lynx. Is it workable? or do you see [IMAGE] [IMAGE] [IMAGE] [IMAGE] [FRAME] IMAGEMAP] ...?

    Well, just as public AND PRIVATE business which are open to the public are REQUIRED to install ramps, bathroom handrails, and accomodate guide dogs preemptive of "no animals allowed" policies, so too should publically accessible business web sites be required to support text-only.

    Keep fucking the disabled over and expect a big, expensive, precedent setting lawsuit to "impact" your stock holders and cost you that sweet CIO job.

    All because you don't want to play fair. It'll happen. You'll see. You'll lose. And you'll pay. So why not do the RIGHT thing now?

  • Sure. A new browser that works right will be fine. The problem is, there are not such browsers, yet. This webstandards.org promotion to upgrade browser is futile while there are no better browsers to upgrade to ... or more specifically, while the ones they are suggesting are in fact downgrades for things they aren't considering to be issues (but I am).

    I do think some (not all) newer standards will improve things, and that browsers that implement those standards correctly are essential. My point is that we are not there, yet.

  • If they're talking about not supporting Microsoft of Netscape extensions to HTML, I'm right behind them. But if they're talking about not supporting HTML-3.2, then screw them!

    AFAICT, they're not. They're pointing out that it is not the old standards that are the problem, it's the old sucky implementations of these standards (or whatever they implemented) that we need to get rid of.

    Now, I think this proposal is very radical, indeed, I think it might be too radical. However, if you design pages after the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines [w3.org] (which you should), the backward compatibility issues will be few, I think.

    There are some very annoying things, like the font-size stuff in IE3. If I remember correctly, it scales the font relative to the default font of the element instead of relative to the parent element, which is what the spec says [w3.org]. Getting this incredibly bad browser out of circulation would of course be great. However, one needs to weigh the importance of using the font size extensively to the importance of getting IE3 out of the market.

    Further, HTML4.01 Strict is a far better standard IMHO than HTML3.2. HTML3.2 was dictated pretty much by the panics that went on in the browser wars. HTML4.0 Strict gets back to the "separate style from content", which is a really Good Thing [tm]. HTML has a few problems, I think, mainly in the rather strange distinction between block level elements and inline level elements, but the separatation style from content is still something Good and Important.

    And, BTW, WASP used Amazon as an example of sites that can't participate because they can't have a design that chase off a single user. Well, Amazon has a design which certainly chases me off as it is now...

  • If I have be able to run NS6 or IE 5.5, that reduces the number of computers I have capable of web access from 3 to 1. (My parents' 486-100 and my brother's P120 laptop are suddenly useless, webwise. Sorry Mom!)

    So out of IE 5.5, NS6 and Opera -- none will load on a 486? Are you sure about that?

    NS 3 is lightweight

    Ironically CSS (which Netscape 3 doesn't do at all) permits the use of much more lightweight pages with formatting shifted to simple CSS rules.

    - Scott


    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • Maybe we should integrate Mozilla into the kernel so it can compete with IE fairly...
    Think Linus will go for it?

  • Although I agree that Win95 is better than Win98 on these machines, I have a *real* hard time believing that a) IE 5.5 is faster than Netscape on a machine of that vintage, and b) that Netscape/X11/Linux cannot do acceptably on that hardware.

    As to item "a" above, I know that IE adds a tremendous amount of overhead to the OS itself - this was one of the big reasons Win98 is such a pig. "Upgrading" a Win95 machine to IE rips up and replaces very large portions of the OS. (And I think I speak with some authority on this issue, as I was software program manager for Dell's notebook lines of business for the introduction of both IE4 and Win98 - NOT a fun job. BTW, 32 MB is an absolute minimum with IE *or* W98, which is why we decided not to support W98 on machines with less than 32 MB.) In my experience, a thin/fast Windows-based browsing environment is best achieved with Win95 and Netscape.

    As to point b) I'm certainly not the "Linux or death" type (In fact, I currently have only one Linux machine left here, and have moved most everything over to Windows simply because my time is worth too much to mess with Linux while I try to start a company), but if Linux wasn't WAY faster on that old hardware, you were doing something badly wrong. (I suspect it had to do with trying to use the obese new Linux/WM distros - you apparently aren't even aware, for instance, that Mandrake does offer a 486-optimized version of their code, although it often lags a rev.)

    How do I know this should work? The one Linux box I still have here is an Epson IM-403. You've never heard of that, because it's a *cash register* CPU, darn it: a 486SX33, with the max 32 MB of memory, a scrounged 2.5" HD, and a generic NE2000 clone stuffed into the only slot the poor thing has. Running Caldera 2.2, and a not-so-thin (but positively anorexic by today's standards) WM like fvwm or even afterstep, it's not speedy (especially when starting up Netscape), but once it's up and running, the preformance is really quite acceptable. In fact, it was my primary browser here at home for much of last year.

    I just can't see how IE5.5 could even possibly be faster in the environment you specify - that doesn't make sense.

    Finally, if you really want thin and fast, try Win95 and the new Win32 version of Opera, since that's what I would expect to offer the best possible browsing performance on the machines you describe, and it has adequate plug-in support, to boot (sadly, another advantage of W9x for browsing.)
  • The WWW was defined by the first web-browsers. There has, in fact, been no truly useful addition to HTML since the first few years of development. It has only had gobs of useless and annoying eye-candy piled on top of (obscuring and interfering with) the content and navigation.

    I'm sorry, but you clearly don't have sufficient information on the topic to make such a statement. If you'd bother to read anything at w3c.org, you'd realize that virtually all the work origanzation is doing revolves around focusing on structure of the document, and abstracting formatting from the structure.

    Heavy use of Java, ActiveX, etc. are not what WSP is advocating. They're advocating using browsers that actually allow you to create modern documents with real structure, not a bunch of hacks. Pages created for more standards-compliant browsers can acutally be much smaller and more efficient than those using pre-1996 standards (yes, CSS was ratified in 1996).

    Furthermore, the W3C standard approvals process is a public and open one. This isn't like Microsoft were they just invent something, slam it in a browser and don't tell anyone how to reproduce it elsewhere.

    - Scott
    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • Yep, I downloaded and tried the new 0.8 this week, in fact.

    It's still so far from usable as to be an absolute joke. It does render well, but is missing functionality that's important in the real world (seemingly little things like URL completion, bookmarks that work, and roaming profiles.)

    On top of that, when I tried the mail, it failed to acknowledge any of my messages between some time in October of 1999 and yesterday. That's just scary. (Fortunately, it doesn't appear that it damaged my mail files.)

    Mozilla's gone from my box now, and good riddance. Mozilla had a chance, but is now completely irrelevant, as Netscape may soon be as well. I *hate* IE with a passion, but will probably switch to it in the next couple of months simply because I can't afford to marginalize myself relative to my peers. (But I refuse to use Outlook/Exchange for mail - that's where the real line in the sand is for me...)

    It's sad nothing else handles bookmarks worth a flip...
  • But before you continue flaming me, do a little research yourself. Talking web browsers (which there are about three) and Lynx are about it for those folks with vision problems. Lynx doesn't understand style sheets.

    The whole point of the upgrade campaign was to punish Microsoft and Netscape. That's fine by me, but killing off the Lynx users is not acceptable collateral damage.
  • This is a strawman reply. I really shouldn't reply to such a stupid post, but I will, out of the sake of informing others.

    I have 18 years experience coding in C. I've developed libraries and written kernel patches. I've also done the same for assembly language. But that doesn't mean I can write a patch to fix just any bug that comes along in any project. In order to do that, I also have to have a strong knowledge of how the existing organization of the project works. And learning that is exponentially proportional to the product of the size of the project and how poorly it is designed.

    It would take me perhaps a few months to achieve the knowledge that the existing developers have in the project. That would be a waste of time because I am not a part of that team, and have no intentions to ever be. My time is best spent elsewhere.

    The team members, however, having this knowledge base already, could, in theory, implement this patch rather quickly. If it is indeed something easy to do, why not just do it now and get it over with?

    I will suggest to you that the organization of Mozilla falls somewhere between messed up and fubarred. Now that's just my opinion based on looking at several pieces of the code. And I do think that's a major reason why Mozilla has been so late, runs so slow, and is riddled with bugs. IMHO, their whole development approach is wrong.

    As for giving something back, I already do. I do write code and I do make it available under GPL and LGPL terms. And I design for clarity and reliability, and I also fix bugs. I don't see this in the Mozilla project.

    If I wanted to work on browser development (and I don't, because graphical applications is not my area of interest) it seems to me I would be far better off ignoring Mozilla and starting from scratch.

    They often-replied statement "submit a patch" is what I'm complaining about. If you failed to research how easy or difficult this would be, then you have no business posting it. Still, people do that all the time. But it's nothing more than a strawman.

  • It took me about 1 minute to find a stupid user interface misfeature, 3 minutes to crash the browser without Java and another 2 minutes to find a completely reproducible bug with Java - and I wasn't even actively looking for crashbugs.

    Did you file bugs against these in bugzilla [mozilla.org]?

    --

  • If you're running Netscape 4, upgrade to Mozilla 0.8. Now.
    I'd love to, and so would the people that I work with, but we use Netscape's roaming profiles. Neither Netscape nor the Mozilla project has seen fit to add this feature back into Mozilla leaving me and everyone at my workplace stuck with Netscape until we can find another cross-platform browser that supports roaming profiles.
  • If more people used browsers that understood the newer standards, including stuff like CSS, developers may be more inclined to ensure that their sites work for all (CSS used for all the fluff, so it degrades nicely) - rather than spending their time trying for incompatibility between the many different browsers. CSS could well be the main thing, not least because the major browsers (IE, Mozilla, not sure about Opera) allow the user to override CSS settings if desired.

    Not even close. Having just been through CSS hell trying to get even the simplest things working correctly on a new site, I can tell you that the client end isn't the problem - it's the authoring end. I've yet to find a tool that really has the knowledge required to build things like they ought to be built, and it's silly to think that only "professional web designers" (those that care about the arcanities of CSS) are building web pages today.

    Compare the effort required to get something as simple as a good-looking (graphical) heirarchical nav menu working in JavaScript vs. CSS/DHTML and then decide which makes more sense if your time is worth anything. I wasted several hours, then usashamedly opted for JavaScript. Until that knowledge is embedded in the authoring tools, it's just not going to make it into most of the pages out there, since I (and many others) simply won't take the time to deal with today's morass of web "standards", a situation that leaves us at something of an impasse, doesn't it?
  • Scott, I couldn't agree more with the sentiment, but this line of thinking is rather like saying we should just ban all gasoline stations to encourage drivers to buy electric cars. If those folks making browsers put one out that has compelling enough features, those same folks WILL download and use it. Case in point, Napster wasn't exactly embedded into anyone's OS.

    The UI is important stuff, and at this time I don't know of another browser that replaces NS 4.x to a reasonable extent.

    Like it or not layout is important to lots of people. You're not going to change that. So we can either do it in a clean, efficient manner (CSS), or we can do it in a ugly, bulky manner (HTML + Font tags + Tables + etc).

    I totally agree, and as someone who designs web pages for a living I would also love to see that come about. The problem is, this is putting the cart before the horse. Clean efficient browsers are needed BEFORE designers can take advantage of these new tools, not the other way around.

    This doesn't have any basis in fact. CSS1 was solidified at the end of 1996. Netscape 4 doesn't even come close to matching those standards from five years ago. Some people are already moving on to XML/CSS.

    Yes, CSS has been around a while. XML is just now getting itself solidified. Thing is though, nobody, and I mean nobody, has been able to produce a web browser that is 100% compliant with all that encompasses CSS1 and CSS2. IE maybe has something like 90-95% compatibility with CSS1, with a smattering of CSS2 tossed in. Moz has close to 100% CSS1 and some CSS2. Is full compliance with CSS even possible? There's been a lot of folks throwing in a ton of time trying to get there, yet nobody is.

    HTML 3.x is heavy on inline commands to achieve formatting. This is totally backwards.

    Yes it is, but it totally worked. Furthermore, browsers of the future will have to support 3.x or we might as call it NML 1.0 (New Markup Lang).

    In closing here, I'm not opposed to CSS or any of the new web technologies in the least. What I am saying is that before we'll see any meaningful changes to how the web is developed we will first need to see changes in the browsers being used. It really should be the browsers leading the way, with designers following. The other way around is simply a chaotic mess.
  • However, there is no reason why the web site cannot also put as much of the specification into the <body> tag as the HTML standard allows. In this way, those who cannot use CSS for some reason (and there area plenty) can disable CSS, or use a browser that ignores it, or filters it out from their firewall, and still get as good of a page as HTML by itself allows. Doing otherwise is leaning on one standard (CSS) and using another incompletely (HTML).

  • Try out Opera! It is available for multible platforms and with version 5 it has become "Adware" instead of shareware.

    Without Java, it's a 2MB download (on windows, which is what most people use). That should be possible for most people to download.

    It's damn fast too and supports most standards.

    Greetings Joergen
  • I'm no lover of Netscape 4.X. And IMHO it is a P.O.S. I don't use it if I can at all avoid it. But Mozilla and Netscape 6 have many of the same overall design flaws that NS 4 has. These are NOT valid upgrade targets. Maybe some of the newer offbeat browsers could be. How about evaluating them for standards compliance. I'm all for the standards, but I'm dead set against shitty browser design.

  • Would you call a 2MB download big?

    Well go get Opera 5.02 (the newest Windows version) - without Java it's no more than that! Furthermore Java is not one of those standards - ECMAScript/Javascript is part of DOM (I think...).
    And yes, Opera supports most of the standards like CSS1 & CSS2 with pretty few exceptions. Opera also has integrated a validation function - just right-click on any webpage choose "Frame/Validate HTML" and it sends the current page to the W3C validator!

    Greetings Joergen
  • These people seem sincere and well-meaning. The trouble is, I probably don't want the kind of web they're making. Look at it like this:
    [ Client ] <---> [ WebServer ] <---> [ DataStore ]
    In most cases, I'm trying to extract data from the data store. I want the web server to be as transparent as possible. However, the web designers want to demonstrate their cleverness by throwing in all sorts of graphics, javascript, etc. In the current regime, I can just barely use lynx on about 80% of sites. People making serious sites don't make javascript mandatory for navigation.
    This group is asking to change that. ECMAscript, to take only the most offensive part of their platform, is now a 'standard'. So even though I'd like a standard-compliant, less hackish web, I don't really want the web designers having more and more control over the platform I use.
    I wonder if someone can come up with a 'safe' javascript interpreter for Lynx and LWP. It would make javascript interfaces accessible to Lynx and to scripts, without giving the javascript author any real control over the client platform.
    I think CSS is a pretty decent idea, though. I can just refuse to download or use the recommended CSS stylesheet. Then I'm left with more structural markup that I can render however I choose. Everyone wins - the web designer gets to design his heart out, and the user never has to look at the 'design'.
  • Theres one site floating around out there that won't let me view it from my Linux box, it says I need Win32. It doesn't say anything about plugins, so I'm not quite sure why they think I need Win32 over UNIX or Mac, but needless to say I've never been interested enough to reboot into Windows as find out, despite the fact that I ran across that site alot when I was researching whatever it was I was researching at the time.
    So I tend to agree with you, it would have taken less time to reboot my computer than to download a 12 meg program on my 56k modem, but I still didn't do it.
    Besides, alot of people in non-US countries still pay for access by the minute. Maybe if the website designers want to start re-imbursing these people for the lost money, I'll give them more credibility. Then again, maybe not.

  • Amaya never worked. How many times do I need to go back and try it again until one that does work is released? I've already tried it 6 times. I refuse to do so more than once a year now (next opportunity comes up in June 2001).

    Of course a graphic arts company isn't expected to code for Lynx for their graphical development. However, for their "investor information" page, I expect TEXT, so Lynx should basically work there.

    IMHO Standards are a great thing (when not abused). Graphical and layout standards are fine. But some web developers need a clue about what the USERS find acceptable. The majority of the population doesn't care about whizbang Flash displays. For the most part, only other graphical artists (and wannabes) care about it.

    There are markets for substance and markets for style. I just think that too many graphical artists are putting themselves too high on a pedestal with regard to what most people care about. Graphical layout is good. Graphical abuse is bad.

    The original topic of all this is supposed to be about upgrading browsers. I just want to find one that actually is an upgrade (and Amaya is certainly not).

  • The one 'legitimate' use for javascript is checking form field values before allowing the user to submit a form. Unfortunately, this sucks just as much as the above-mentioned abuses. Why? Because a) Javascript developed for IE doesn't always work the same on Netscape and b) When the limits on the parameter are changed, there are now two places to update them. While in theory, you could auto-generate the javascript to keep up with the current constraints, in practice it's usually broken.
    On a deeper level, it breaks the truly wonderful things about web programming. Validating a web interface is easy - write a Perl script to try all legal transactions with a range of form field values, both permitted and not. Record results. However, you can't validate javascript checking these easily, which is probably why it's frequently broken on edge cases.
  • You certainly are allowed to use whatever browser you would like to use, but again, I have to say that a new browser doesn't have to be bloated and big!

    Try Opera, you can download it with and without Java - without, it's a 2MB download and it's damn fast too!

    Greetings Joergen
  • Obviously, a commercial site that expected to get every kind of user is going to have to break their back to make sure they support as many browser versions as practicable, while maintaining a sophisticated interface.

    Obviously. But what about Ebay? I guess they don't have a sophisticated interface. Does anybody care? Could somebody compete with Ebay by starting 'the auctions site with the sophisticated interface'?
    Seems to me that the most popular sites on the web work with all browsers because they're simple, not because they have different versions for different browsers. The sites with 'sophisticated interfaces' are just electronic masturbation for web designers. That problem usually solves itself when the company goes bankrupt.
  • by TheInternet (35082) on Sunday February 18, 2001 @04:03PM (#423195) Homepage Journal
    If those folks making browsers put one out that has compelling enough features, those same folks WILL download and use it.

    Yep, I know. The only problem is that people complain if browser makers add too many extraneous features. The MacIE team sort of split the difference by revamping the UI and making it more customizable. That got people downloading, whereas a rewritten rendering engine alone would not.

    The UI is important stuff, and at this time I don't know of another browser that replaces NS 4.x to a reasonable extent.

    I suppose this is a matter of opinion as I really don't like it much at all. There might be a little less choice on the Unix side of the world, but from what I can tell, IE, Opera, and the Gecko-based browsers look pretty reasonable for Windows users. Personally, I'm on OSX, and IE5 fits my needs nicely, and had some of the best standards support around.

    Clean efficient browsers are needed BEFORE designers can take advantage of these new tools, not the other way around.

    So, do you feel it is more important to have a "clean efficient" browser (which I assume means strong on standards, low on frills), or compelling features to get people to download, as you mention above? Either way, we can't really afford to wait around any longer. Either we push W3C standards now, or sit by and watch Microsoft take over with Active*.

    Yes, CSS has been around a while. XML is just now getting itself solidified. Thing is though, nobody, and I mean nobody, has been able to produce a web browser that is 100% compliant with all that encompasses CSS1 and CSS2.

    CSS2 really isn't that big of an issue right now. I'd settle for CSS1. MacIE5 was probably the first shipping browser to do 100% of CSS1, and Mozilla is probably right there as well. I don't know much about Opera, but hear it's good.

    Is full compliance with CSS even possible? There's been a lot of folks throwing in a ton of time trying to get there, yet nobody is.

    Yes, MacIE5 did 100% of CSS1, HTML4 and PNG. This was all over the web.

    [HTML 3.x is heavy on inline commands to achieve formatting. This is totally backwards.] Yes it is, but it totally worked.

    You and I must have been working with different browsers. :)

    I found myself constantly battling to get things to work the way they were supposed to, especially anything in terms of alignment. And in the end, you had a very clunky, difficult to maintain page. CSSP elminates many of these issues.

    It really should be the browsers leading the way, with designers following. The other way around is simply a chaotic mess.

    I could not possibly disagree with this more. It was the browser makers that forked DHTML and created their own proprietary standards that caused all the nightmares we've had to endure over the past several years. The fact that some sites require IE is a direct result of this.

    - Scott

    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • You're a website owner/designer who wants to get as many people to see your site as you possibly can...

    Guess again! Not everyone builds websites for the same reason. Of course, a commercial site will want to port to as many browsers as they can reasonably. Others can do what the hell they feel like. This is the Internet, right?

    However, development on the web has got in a mess. Why? It's because the Mozilla project dumped most of the old Netscape codebase, and dropped some compatibility features. That's left a lot of people with a frozen release.

    Now, one of the big complaints about Netscape 6, (apart from performance, which Moore's law will take care of in time) is that is standards compliant is all very well but it handles spaghetti HTML worse than other browsers.

    All the WaSP are saying is that some people who don't have a pressing commercial need to do otherwise should just write clean HTML. It's not a question of forcing people to upgrade: it's just redressing the balance.

  • lynx is a bad example. AFAIK pages that are accessible to the blind (like government's pages) are often tested by opening'em with lynx. The sentiment was OK, the example happened to be one that's not all that good :)

    //rdj
  • Face it. We think we're all l337 and everything. But the future of HTML is like the future of any language. It is defined by the users, good and bad ones.

    You cannot legislate language (see: The failure of German spelling reform of last year). You can only react to how people use it.

    If I can't stop people from using impact as a verb, we certainly can't stop folks from using Frontpage to make their Geocities home pages.

    We may know more about the language. But we cannot define it.

    Sheep run the show. And the corporations on whose land they graze are the only ones who will profit.

    baa. baa. baaaa. [ridiculopathy.com]

  • Somewhere along the line I finally caved and switched from mosaic 3.0B to netscape, back when I was using older hardware. It was probably a conflict with some hardware I have; it's been a while.

    Anyway, I preferred Mosaic to Netscape, and istr that it was much faster . . .

    At the moment, I'm typing in lynx :)

    hawk
  • Here's what nobody seems to get about this topic: believe it or not, we're all on the same side. The problem is that human language is preventing comprehension, and some people are posting or moderating before understanding the material. The WSP is not encouraging people to upgrade their browsers so that web designers can go add a bunch of fancy graphics and glitz to their pages. They're trying to normalize the page creation process.

    The most important standard to make sure everyone has is correct and complete CSS1/CSSP support. This solves a number of significant problems with web pages:

    [1] CSS permits creation of lightweight, structure-centric documents. With regular HTML, you achieve formatting by using font tags, nested tables, single-pixel spacers, and other various hacks. This forces the content to be mixed with formatting, which makes the page very hard to parse, maintain and repurpose. CSS works to abstract the document from the display by enabling formatting through simple property lists that can be kept in a separate file. This is how it should be.

    [2] CSS provides more predictable layout control With regular HTML, even if you use all sorts of hacks to get items arranged on a page, they always seem to end up in different places in various browsers. This is because HTML was not designed for such things. CSSP solves this by allowing the author to specify a point of original for page elements.

    [3] CSS is scalable, and degrades graceful Anybody who is concerned with supporting multiple types of devices with the same content should be very interested in CSS. You can take the same document and apply a different stylesheet based on the environment. For example, one set of display rules for the browser, and one for a printed pages. Or, one for WebTV, one for a cell phone. Or one for regular browsers, one for audio browsers (for those without the benefit of sight). And since CSS abstracts style from content, you should be able to read static text just as well if you decide to not render the rules in the style sheet (or supply your own rules).

    [4] CSS typographic control reduces the need for text graphics Text is often rendered as an image to preserve typography settings. CSS provides more typographic control, meaning lynx users will get all the text, and that download times will be shorter.

    [5] CSS provides formatting automation Instead of wrapping a font tag around every page element, you can simply create a class for a certain type of content, which then formats all text that fits that description. CSS also uses inheritance to allow formatting of parent objects cascade onto child objects if you desire.

    After taking all this account, it should be clear why CSS is so important, and why WSP is pushing for new browsers to be adopted for CSS use to become more widespread. Netscape 4.x supports CSS to some extent, but its implementation is so broken and incomplete, that designers end up using the older hacks anyway, which is the worst of both worlds.

    And while CSS is the most important immediate standard, it's just part of the story. Once we have XML pages with correct DOM using ECMAScript, then we can stop this ridiculous business of refreshing the entire page everytime one element has to change. This wastes bandwidth, CPU power on both the client and server, and is disorienting for the user. But this requires standards support.

    Believing that WSP is your enemy is pointless. You're giving the battle to Windows IE's proprietary web standards. People are going to want to make nice-looking, functional pages. The audience and the purpose of the web is much different than it was in 1992. It's not just about static technical manuals anymore. You can either try in vain to convince people to adopt to your aesthetic tastes, or you can provide them with an open, well-documented way to express theirs. Push for W3C standards, and you'll have your choice of browsers and platforms. Ignore the problem, and you'll wake up one day to find you can't view many sites on anything except Windows.

    There are plenty of good browsers out there that meet WSP's recommendations. Mozilla, Opera and the newest version of IE should all do a satisfactory job. If you don't like Mozilla/Netscape 6's UI, find another browser that uses the same Gecko engine, but has a nicer app wrapped around it. There are several efforts underway in this vein. The biggest goal here is to get Netscape 4.x (and earlier versions of Explorer) off the market, because it makes web developers' lives a living hell. It's akin to having to support Windows 3.1.

    - Scott

    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • Most sites provide a basic service. Some are calendars, some are schedules, some are guestbooks, some are news articles. Most of the web does not require DHTML, leave alone flash, plugins, or java. [...] Why start demanding that people upgrade to see the same crap they've been seeing for years now?

    WSP's goal isn't to make the page flashier, it's about making it easier to manage. Nothing WSP is talking about involves Flash, Plug-Ins or Java. Those are not W3C standards.

    There are two points to be made here:

    [1] Standards like CSS and XML enable the web document to having meanful structure beyond display. This makes maintenance and reuse much more practical. This gives us a web document that can compare reasonably to a document generated from a word processor or page layout program, while using the flexibility that the internet provides.

    [2] Web sites are no longer just flat technical manuals. Many of them are distributed applications. It's insane for each time you click a window widget to have to refresh the whole page just to update the display. This wastes bandwidth, CPU on the client and server, and makes software much harder to write. If we get DOM, ECMAScript and XML in gear, we can solve this problem.

    Somebody is always going to find a way to use technology in an obnoxious way. That doesn't mean you don't try to improve things. If we believe that, then we might as well give up on the web.

    - Scott

    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • by glitch! (57276) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:26PM (#423237)
    ...I'd be pretty pissed-off if I was constantly getting nagged to upgrade...

    Exactly.

    ...older browsers screw up my designs...

    I don't care...

    • I don't care about your fancy layout.
    • I don't care about your animated GIFs.
    • I don't care about your eye candy.
    • I don't care about your exact positioning "needs".
    • I don't care about your midi sound effects.
    • I don't care about your Java "enhancements".
    • I don't care about your Flash animation.
    • I don't care about your ego.

    I DO care about your message.

    I want to hear what you have to say. By all means, spend a few moments on making it look nice. But there is really something wrong if you spend more time on "style" than the actual substance.

    Tables are great. They help my browser format large amounts of information so that I can understand your data. But please don't use dozens of nested tables just to make some graphic show up at exactly coordinate x, y.

    Graphics can help your site make sense and help me to understand your message and naviate easier. But please don't pollute my browser with hundreds of micro-images just to achieve some special effect that could be replaced with a simple navigation bar on the side.

    Most of all, if you respect me (the viewer), with clean and useful content, I will respect you for the effort you have spent in creating it.

  • by Metrol (147060) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:28PM (#423238) Homepage
    Okay, there must be something I'm just missing in all the browser war talk. NS 4.76 is to this day my primary browser under NT, and my secondary on FreeBSD (Konq being my primary). If the font handling weren't so god awful it'd be my primary on FreeBSD as well.

    I personally don't have the constant lock up problems I keep hearing folks complain about. I personally support around 40-50 installations of NS 4.76 at my company, and the darn thing works. To date, it still has the best E-mail client I've used on any platform, and it certainly has the best LDAP integration at there.

    Yeah, IE is faster at rendering pages with gobs of emedded tables. So? NS 4.76 still processes JavaScript faster than anything else I've tested, and the right-click menus are noticeably faster. Other than ActiveX security updates, I honestly don't have a reason to move my browsing to IE, or any other browser for that matter.

    Even Mozilla, right up to last night's build, doesn't perform any faster for me where it counts, at the UI level. Again, some of the heavy table pages show up a wee bit faster, but no where near a level to compensate for a far slower UI. Oh god, and don't get me started on the mail client.

    How about getting us end user types a browser that has a really sweet and fast UI that'd cause us to actually want to upgrade? This strong arming us from the top down makes the web weaker, not stronger. Dreaming up standards faster than developers can implement them is just plain annoying. How about let's all get HTML 3.0 done correctly across browsers and platforms, THEN worry about the wonders of CSS and XML? How about getting JavaScript to actually work 100% across every browser at the version it's at now? We ain't even there yet, and these folks are worried about CSS? Ack!

    "This page is not viewable because you need to upgrade to IE or die! Don't like IE? Go buy another 256meg of RAM and run NS 6.0!"
  • by carlfish (7229) <cmiller@pastiche.org> on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:29PM (#423243) Homepage Journal
    One of the great advances of web standards is that they have re-introduced the strict separation of structural markup from display markup. This effort is actually a bonus for the vision-impaired, or handheld users, because the more standards-compliant a site is, the more likely it is to be possible to get some kind of coherent content out of a site after the "designed for 800x600 graphical displays" styles have been stripped away.

    This is one of the real problems with the current system. The more you have to tweak your site just so it'll work in NS4.x, NS3.x, IE3 and IE4, the less inclined you are to do the work that will also make it viewable in non-traditional browsers, screen readers and handhelds. If people used standards-compliant browsers, then the effort now put into supporting 5 different browsers, could instead be put into supporting 5 different modes of viewing.

    Charles Miller
    --
  • by mr_burns (13129) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:36PM (#423282)
    Corporate sites don't give a rats about browser technology. They want their audience to see the site, and if you fail to make their page work in the old ass version of AOL's crappy browser like you said you would, they are going to sue you for everything you have.

    Also, no web development firm is going insist on using new browser standards when the competition knows the client's ceo want's to have the page work in the widest selection of browsers possible.

    I'm not tooting my horn here. This part of the discover phase of web application development in the industry today, and as long as it remains so, we're going to be laying out pages in tables and clear spacer gif's. We're lucky we were able to sneak css text control past the clients, seeing as how it doesn't work in version 3 browsers. The only reason we cant use css-p is because the AOL browser chokes on it.

    AOL's web developer documentation even has the guts to say that we may as well "sacrifice" new technology for the greater good.

    Talk about pushing a boulder of cruft up a mountain as your day to day existence. I've found some HTML sites that I've worked on to be harder than keeping 7 dimensional arrays in my brain. It's all because we've learned to write code to break consistently, instead of working.

    And it isn't going to change, no matter how hard we try. Our clients just won't go for it. They're willing to pay money for crap technology everybody can see, and aren't willing to pay LESS for good technology that the user would have to install additional software to see. They know the customer/user would rather use some other site.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @04:31PM (#423332)
    > The web is not at all about stylized content. It's about content. Period.

    The web is about _lots_ of things, and to say something as sweeping as the above proves you don't understand that yet.

    I'm a web interface designer/developer, and thus am _really_ picky about how things appear. It's often quite difficult to organize content and design interfaces to complex content. Most sites don't get it right - heck, most don't even come close! One of my mottos is, "If someone can't _find_ what they're looking for, it might as well not even _be_ there." There is a place on the web for both style as well as substance. You could put the best novel in the world online, but if you make all the text blink, it won't matter. _Think_ about that! People avoid sites with lots of crap, despite how good the content may be - simply because the other stuff is too irritating. It's not necessarily that there's too much 'technology' (ie: javascript, popup windows, etc.), it's that it's not DESIGNED properly. Some content lends itself to simple layout - all text, perhaps, single column, whatever. Some content does NOT (no matter what your personal opinion is, I'm sticking to this). Frames are not only somtimes appropriate, they're sometimes the ONLY _good_ way to present some content (generally navigation, though). Just because you've been subjected to evil web site design using frames or javascript or popup windows (as have we all), that doesn't make such things bad. Those things are just tools - neither good nor evil. I certainly like having the option to use such thing when I feel they're appropriate.

    I've seen some _fantastically_ artistic presentations done via Flash - which many SlashDot snobs dismiss out of hand. I've seen things that simply couldn't be done without Flash. Sure, someday some of the upcoming vector and SMIL stuff will likely make that possible without Flash, but it ain't here, yet, so stop bitching about Flash. Instead, bitch about Macromedia not properly (not even REMOTELY properly) supporting non Win and Mac platforms. And where's the Flash program itself for Linux? Nowhere. Ugh. Nevertheless, the technology is here, and can be quite cool.

    Anyone developing a website has to make many choices, not the least of which is, "How many people, and WHICH people, am I targeting this to?" Does it make sense to not be able to, or to have to dumb-down, your content to be able to reach more people? Many artists in non-web fields would answer that with a resounding "No!", so why should artistic expression on the web be any different? Just because a small percentage of people think so? The artist is the only person qualified to determine what is the 'proper' method of expressing their vision, be it text or audio or visual. Deal with it.

    In a related vein, my opinion is that if content really WAS king for most people, the web would be vastly different than it is now, and people would be more willing to pay for quality content. I'd certainly be willing to pay a small fee for monthly local movie listings, for example, if they listed EVERY local movie theatre, and listed them correctly and reliably. Unfortunately, moviefone.com and citysearch.com both have similar such problems. :(

    All of this is, of course, an opinion, just like yours. :^)
  • by thex23 (206256) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:56PM (#423336) Homepage
    It all depends on your audience, of course. For my "professional writer" site, I use vanilla HTML and CSS to keep things simple. It might not look great on everything, but you it works just fine in Lynx, and it's always readable. Designing for an audience that uses the latest tools is easy, but so is presenting content in a basic fashion.

    Obviously, a commercial site that expected to get every kind of user is going to have to break their back to make sure they support as many browser versions as practicable, while maintaining a sophisticated interface.

    But I don't see what the problem here really is at the top end: just generate your pages from a database and stick the content into a template for the browser/platform in question. What's the big deal? If it matters, you can do it. Was it supposed to be easy, too?

    We thieves, we liars, we vandals, and poets. Networked agents of Cthulhu Borealis.

  • by driehuis (138692) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @05:28PM (#423344)
    I recently needed to buy an airline ticket from KLM (http://www.klm.com). They had this lovely browser detect JavaScript, and because I always disable JavaScript until I get to verify the authors intentions, I got a blank screen. So, I got a blank screen, glanced quickly over the code and enabled JavaScript.

    Blank page.

    As it turns out, the JavaScript code checked for IE or NS on MacPPC or Win32. If you run NS on BSD/OS, they don't want to do business with you. Neither do they care about Amiga, Mac68K, Linux, WAP phones, well, anything they never heard of...

    Every three months they change the website, and every time I run into this, I point it out to them (at first to the webmasters, later to their PHB's). They usually fix it a few days after I report it, but they invariably screw it up when they bring a new site online and they fail to see that it's the kewl scripting that's the problem, not my browser.

    I don't care how the site looks. I want to buy an airline ticket. This concept is one I have not been able to get across, and they will not acknowledge it's their problem. Sometimes I can vote with my feet, sometimes I can't: that's my biggest frustration.

  • by TheDullBlade (28998) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @05:36PM (#423356)
    Standards organizations are a scam. A (relatively) small group of people get together and say "This is the way it's going to be from now on." It's bullshit.

    I've seen a lot of standards written, and rewritten, and rewritten, with never a fully-compliant implementation. No standards-body should ever release a standard without a fully-functional reference implementation; otherwise, the natural ambiguity of human language will always leave doubts about what is and isn't compliant. Standards are mostly useful when everyone who is expected to follow them has a part in making them (i.e. such as if all memory manufacturers get together and agree to make standard interchangeable chips); this is impractical for something like the WWW.

    The WWW was defined by the first web-browsers. There has, in fact, been no truly useful addition to HTML since the first few years of development. It has only had gobs of useless and annoying eye-candy piled on top of (obscuring and interfering with) the content and navigation.

    Every new browser worth mentioning still works with this original core functionality. This is the defacto standard

    Defacto standards compliance:
    -it works in every major version of IE and Netscape
    -you can navigate with images turned off
    -it works with Java turned off
    -it works with Javascript turned off
    -it works in Lynx

    It's not hard to make a web page that everybody can use. Avoiding all the new features will generally make a better, less frustrating interface, too.

    That's the problem: it's very easy to write good HTML. "Web designers" like to pretend that it's hard, that's what gives them a career. They sell flashy, expensive garbage that looks good to a manager viewing a local copy for the first five minutes. That's where the majority of the profit is, anyway. There's certainly a need for navigational interface designers and back-end programmers, but they hardly care about HTML features.

    So let's turn the tables. Everybody use Lynx!
    ---
  • by hyoo (155460) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @04:06PM (#423376)
    I've written javascript like this before but it was more along the lines of:

    If it's netscape 4 on Win32 or Unix do X
    If it's netscpae 4 on mac do this
    If it's netscape 6/ Gecko do this
    If it's IE do this
    etc

    This was a real pain in the ass to write but...

    Hint: you can remove the "if it's ns6/gecko" section since you browser would have already crashed if you are using mozilla.

  • by The Man (684) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @02:59PM (#423418) Homepage
    for me to upgrade my browser. Netscape hasn't supported sparc*-sun-linux since 4.51. Someone, please tell me, how am I to upgrade to NS6 when AOL can't be bothered to telnet over to their sparclinux system and type make for me? I'd very much like to rid myself of this down-rev, POS browser and get something that looks like the authors have at least heard of the W3C. But until either AOL gets its collective head out of its collective ass, or Mozilla runs for more than 10 seconds between crashes, I can't, really...
  • by JanneM (7445) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:00PM (#423425) Homepage
    Some users (like vision impaired -- or people using small handhelds) need to be able to get text only content. There are really no excuses not to provide data in a text-only format.

    Second, JavaScript is a _bad_ idea. A quick check reveals that the percentage of users not using Javascript at all was 20% in 2000, up from 14% in 1999. This is of course due to pop-ups and to the irritating habit of overriding user preferences that we all know and love, but also because it is more and more common for companies to filter out javascript at their firewalls.

    I understand the reasoning behind their concerns, but as a practical matter, many web sites do _not_ wish to alienate more users than they have to (though some obviously does not understand this).

    /Janne
  • by mashy (135839) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @05:49PM (#423438)
    backwards compatibility is a must. it's gotton bad over the years with all these table, java, image crazy webpages.. sure it's sometimes nice to have that smooth curvy border that changes colour and dances around when you move the cursor over it, but I've noticed the amount of real content going down with the increase of all this visual content. there are exceptions but lately the web has become cluttered with this junk people think is pretty. call me old fashioned but I (and I'm sure much of the slashdot community) use lynx for most of my web browsing. It's quick (or at least it used to be in the days before scrolling through 500KB of formatting/positioning pieces was necessary) for getting to the meat of a page, and in general I just prefer reading plain text in my own font and size without the distraction of everything else. now these days I've pretty much had to accept the fact that it's not always easy to do that anymore, especially on some of the big popular sites today, but I can still always count on the few web designers who understand the importance of writing html that anyone can use, and often sacrifice some of the visually pleasing elements for some usefulness.

    now comes a campaign to rid the world of this important compatibility factor so a bunch of WYSIWYG web designers can whip up dirty broken code that everyone can see as they wish it to be, while invalidating millions of users with valid standards-following browsers. the web was not designed to be a TV set, but a useful way of linking resources together. anyway I've said enough..
  • by 0xA (71424) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:00PM (#423440)
    I've written javascript like this before but it was more along the lines of:

    If it's netscape 4 on Win32 or Unix do X
    If it's netscpae 4 on mac do this
    If it's netscape 6/ Gecko do this
    If it's IE do this
    etc

    This was a real pain in the ass to write but it needed to be done some some funky tables our designer came up with looked right. Turned out to be a really cool looking site. I can't imagine turning to my PHB and saying, "This person is using Netscape 4, we're not going to sell them anything". I would have been fired sooo fast.
  • by iElucidate (67873) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:03PM (#423456) Homepage
    You may want simple, or complex, or weird, or whatever, but the fact is that this increased fracturization of the internet is destroying progress. FUD perhaps, but by God, if I have to write another stupid page with four different ways to do the same thing just so that I can support every browser out there, I am going to shoot someone. Four levels of nested tables makes sites absolutely evil, but that is what you must do if you want to maintain layout compatibility. Even then, it still breaks like crazy on older browsers. I think that if we don't have a concerted effort to get everyone to update to a 5.0 or equivalent browser, and soon, we will face an even bigger problem - new standards are just not backword compatible, and soon half the pages on the net will be accessible to only certain browsers. How are we going to improve the web landscape if we cannot even use the new standards, for fear that no one will be able to see them? I mean, DHTML is still rarely used, a few years after its release, becuase so many 3.0 and worse browsers are out there. If you really just want plain text and crap layouts, go back to Usenet. The web is all about stylized content. I mean, have you looked at Slashdot's HTML lately? The insanity must end!
  • by User 317207 (317207) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:05PM (#423461)
    Supporting the newer web standards does not mean that support for the lower-end would disappear. Indeed, newer HTML versions are better for accessibility purposes than older versions.

    It does mean that support for the old, buggy, non-standard shit is reduced. Good news all round, IMO.
  • by mattdm (1931) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:06PM (#423476) Homepage
    I'm posting this from Mozilla -- not Netscape 6. And I know a lot of people out there use Konqueror. Both of these browsers aim for complete compliance with modern web standards, and it'd be ridiculous for them to be locked of sites by silly javascript.

    I'm pleased to notice that the proposed methods of browser detection and redirection actually utilize modern functions and see if they work -- sort of like <NOFRAMES>. So, first of all, obscure but modern browsers will "just work". And perhaps more importantly, older browsers (and special-purpose ones, like text-speech) could transparently be redirected to pages designed for that technology level.

    As a compromise between users who want to stick with their old browsers and designers who don't want all of their time stuck in a quagmire of old-browser esoterica, I'd suggest that the redirection page should be a plain-text version of the content, with a footnote note that compliance with certain standards is required to view the fancy web page.
    This is less heavy-handed than just pushing people away, and yet still gets the message out -- and doesn't take nearly as much time as it would to generate a distinct complete HTML site.

    --

  • by Restil (31903) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:07PM (#423485) Homepage
    So what's wrong with Netscape 3.0? Sure, it might not load any pages with any kind of javascript on it anymore, but really, don't you think thats MY problem? If I don't access your site because you choose to make it more complex than I am able to access, then that is YOUR problem and shame on you for not providing an adaquate alternative. Certainly, you don't HAVE to, and if I REALLY need to see your page, I will. Older browsers have certain features that make them ideal. They take up less space, they're a LOT less bloated, they load faster, and in some cases, they're a lot less bug ridden.

    So I'll use whatever browser I damn well please.

    -Restil
    restil@alignment.net
  • by yerricde (125198) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @06:01PM (#423486) Homepage Journal

    The original goal of Web and HTML was to be platform neutral - now I'm being told that I need one of the approved browsers in order to sites.

    The point wasn't to reject all browsers but a select few. The point was to reject a few bad browsers (read IE 4 for Windows and Netscape 4.x) that are known not to conform to standards, known not to degrade gracefully when presented with content they don't recognize, known not to be accessible to the physically challenged, and known not to be fixable by the community.

    I use conforming HTML 4 on my own pages and see no reason why I should have to support user agents that don't handle conforming HTML in a "nice" way.

    If you're running Netscape 4, upgrade to Mozilla 0.8. Now.


    All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.
  • by Arandir (19206) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @06:50PM (#423493) Homepage Journal
    If they're talking about not supporting Microsoft of Netscape extensions to HTML, I'm right behind them. But if they're talking about not supporting HTML-3.2, then screw them!

    I like C++. It's great. But if I have a project that doesn't need objects or templates, then I'll use just plain vanilla C. Likewise, if I don't need any HTML-4.0 constructs, I won't use them, and resort to HTML-3.2 instead.

    And I'm certainly not going to put in any ECMAScript telling the user that I disapprove of their personal choice of web browser!
  • by mattdm (1931) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:10PM (#423518) Homepage
    Have you looked at Mozilla recently? It's very stable. Some problems with SSL sites, but other than that, I haven't had a crash for weeks.

    Recent builds have very good performance, too. Takes 10 seconds to start up, but once it's running it's pretty snappy.

    --

  • by Silas (35023) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:14PM (#423571) Homepage
    From the article: "If the web page is valid and you can't view it in your browser, the problem is your browser," said WaSP steering committee member Dori Smith. "Our goal is not to promote one browser maker's product over another; we are urging users to upgrade to any browser that does a better job of supporting standards than the one they're using now."

    Now, I'm a professional website developer, and I have my fair share of frustration in building websites that are generally accepted as "standards compliant" but that can't be rendered properly by many people (sometimes even our clients, on their own machines).

    But, the approach of these folks seems too harsh and too subjective. They're basically saying that "our desire to use standards is supremely more important than your [lack of technical experience | shortage of time | computer's limitations | appreciation for simplicity. ]"

    It's not that these things can't be overcome in time - they can, and they are being overcome. But to suggest that, starting right now, someone shouldn't be able to look at a website with whatever client software they want is akin, in my mind, to saying they shouldn't be able to publish on the web unless they adhere to a certain set of guidelines. That's scary.

  • by ryanr (30917) <ryan@thievco.com> on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:15PM (#423580) Homepage Journal
    If it were possible to kill off old, bad standards then we would have shot FTP in the head and left it to rot in a ditch long ago.
  • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@CURIE ... minus physicist> on Saturday February 17, 2001 @10:05PM (#423587)
    Linux is number one on this guilty list, in my view.

    I worked for a company who donated my time help a school get online. I rounded up every machine and took stock in them- they were all Dell 486/33 Slimline machines. They had no room for expansion, no real upgrade options - and the school is 3 years from being able to replace them.

    So the first thing is I got a bunch of PCI network cards donated. That helped bunches, of course.

    Next I got a big Linksys hub donated, and that helped. After my company wired two labs and all the class rooms, I started playing with the actual boxes.

    They had 250 Mb hard drives, 32 Mb of RAM, 1 Mb onboard video, and 14" monitors. I worked with various distros, finally choosing Debian (Mandrake and SuSe wouldnt even run due to Pentium optimizations).

    After 2 solid weeks of tweaking, I couldt get any combo with Netsacpe 4.x and X11 working with any decently usuable performance. I tried "downgrading" to the original version of NS 3, but still, it was sad. Mozilla, took minutes to load and minutes to draw a simple page.

    Finally I thought that maybe Windows 95 would work. I installed the orignal version, patched it with all the new fixes from Windows Update, and then installed IE 5.5.

    I was surpised at how much better it ran than X11/Netscape. The boxes are usuable as browsing stations and to access the school's web-enabled card-catalog and refence guides. I setup a nifty donated box to run Linux and do NAT on the DSL line, plus run a webmail server, and now the school is crusing without much troble.

    But what sucked is that we had to use a Windows environment on these machines. I locked them down as tight as possible, and they are pretty much useless except for browsing and email, but that is better than what they had before (no internet, no money, no wiring). Linux/X11/Netscape really sucked on these machines. The video was slow, network activity was slow, and browsing almost not worth the effort. The machines performed much better using the Windows 95/IE 5.5 setup.

    The sad fact is, that Mozilla will likely be either #1, or #2 for compatibility, but schools and people who could benefit from the freeness of it won't because of its footprint, speed, and size on slow older machines. This plan to upgrade people's browsers will lead older users to favor IE - IE will run on a 486, and on alow end Pentium (100, 133, 166) compare it to Mozilla or even Opera. IE is the only usuable one of the bunch - and its memory and space requirements are minimal.

    So whats the deal here? I know I could have used a text browser, but what good is that for students wanting to visit online galleries and encyclopedia's? And this new push to force upgrades, what can people with older boxes do. The Mozilla engine (yes, I tried Galeon) is a pig, and people with older machines can't swing its requirements. This leaves them with being forced off the net or away from mainstream sites - or to turn to IE.

    I love Mozilla, but even on my various PII and K62/350 boxes its a dog. Hence, I post this very message using IE 5.5
  • by BenHmm (90784) <(ben) (at) (benhammersley.com)> on Saturday February 17, 2001 @03:24PM (#423674) Homepage

    Think of it...

    You're a website owner/designer who wants to get as many people to see your site as you possibly can (so that they then go on and buy stuff/click on banners/laugh at your jokes/post first).

    Someone comes to you and says, "Listen Mr Webmaster, we're sick and tired of people not cooperating. Put some scripting into your page which makes your customers disappear if they have the temerity to not want to see sites as your designers dream of making and persist in not wanting to spend a couple of hours downloading our new bloat"

    and you say,

    "No, bollocks, I want as many people as possible to see my page/buy my books/read my posts, and if my designers can't be arsed to make a page that the biggest possible audience can see, then that's my problem. It's nothing to do with my customers."

    Imagine a bookshop not letting you buy their books until you'd completed a literature degree. Do you think people would go to another store?

    Do you know of any sites where the same content CANNOT be found elsewhere?

    Do you think these sites are going to make it actively difficult for potential customers to come and see their stuff?

    nope. didn't think so.
  • by q000921 (235076) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @11:07PM (#423684)
    I do agree fully that web sites should not use IE or NS-specific features. But to conclude from that that people should therefore be forced to upgrade is wrong.

    People have lots of legitimate reasons for not upgrading. Their hardware may not support it. They may not be able to pay for it. They may be on a slow connection or wireless device. And they may need special accessibility features.

    Any web site that relies on the presence of the complex web features is broken. Sites should be able to render fine with no JavaScript, no DOM, no pixel-accurate positioning, and no graphics even. If they want to offer a graphically overburdened site in addition to a plain one, that's fine, but that should be an option.

    Most old browsers are perfectly serviceable for rendering plain HTML and graphics. If someone with an old browser comes to a web site, the site should fall back to its plain version. It shouldn't complain or hassle the user.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @07:59PM (#423700)
    > Look at a book (I'll avoid the sarcastic description of what one is...), they've been around for centuries, and are still quite popular for communicating information. Now, notice how the book is laid out; is it artistic? No.

    You have obviously never heard of the field of typography. Yes, books are artistic. Type design (nevermind the layout design) is an entire field unto itself. Just because YOU don't notice it, doesn't mean there isn't any artistry there. One could claim that means it's been done well - it's not getting in the way. That actually makes my point.

    Then there are the non-fiction, reference type books. Lots of design there - the table of contents, appendix, glossary, illustrations, and so forth. I've seen many an otherwise-great book get a thrashing in reviews for badly-done TOCs and appendices.

    There is also artistry in writing. Well, there is if it's done well. I'm about to have my first article published in April (on Internet privacy), so I like to think that I know what I'm talking about!

    Whether _most_ web pages exist to further artistic expression, or to communicate information, is not the point. Using proper design is KEY to communicating one's message - whether that message be informational only, or creative in some way. Proper design enhances that process. 'Artistry' doesn't mean lots of Flash and javascript pop-ups by default. I just want to have the option to use such technology.

    Pop-up windows don't kill people - people kill people!

  • by warpeightbot (19472) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @09:12PM (#423701) Homepage
    If it were possible to kill off old, bad standards then we would have shot FTP in the head and left it to rot in a ditch long ago.
    I dunno, most modern FTP clients and servers I'm familiar with seem to do OK.... they support passive mode, resume, recursive directory get, and such like... seems to have aged gracefully to me.

    Now, if you want to password protect something, it's a Bad Idea, but for general purpose anonymous file distribution and retrieval, I don't think it's so bad. Keep It Simple, Stupid, I always say.

    --
    I remember when we had 300 baud, dummy terminals, and UUCP, and LIKED it.

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