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Will Browser-Neutral Web Soon Become Thing Of Past?

Cliff posted more than 13 years ago | from the history-repeats-itself dept.

Netscape 532

Psychotic Venom asks: "I do ASP development as a part-time job during school. ASP's not my first love or anything, but I don't have a great deal against it. I recently went to an ASP site and got this message and I just wonder what's really going on. I mean, I LIKE Netscape. I like having an option...and I thought that was part of the reason behind a server side scripting language. So are we all slowly being pushed out to the point that we really DON'T have a choice if we want to really do Web surfing? Are we going to have to keep IE on our machines to view anything Pro-Microsoft and Netscape for everything against it?" And after reading this, I suddenly found the words "Netscape-specific tags" on the tip of my tongue. Yes, the bad karma finally catches up with Netscape, but the browser market is a hell of a lot larger now than it was in 1995. Pretty soon we may see e-Commerce sites silently echoing this sentiment, upgrading perfectly valid HTML forms to ones that depend on client-side components that will only work on Microsoft (or Microsoft sanctioned) operating systems. If a few major players on the Web adopt similar practices, the standards-compliant Web, as we know it, will die. Can this be prevented?

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532 comments

netscape not supported (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#501839)

This is great, using Netscape at work and IE at home I can find out which sites are setup by arrogant idiots and make sure I never go on them when using explorer. Nice one ASPAlliance, long may you continue to make fools of yourselves.

Re:Well said shoeboy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#501840)

They've renewed that contract since they bought Netscape.

10% ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#501844)

At first I thought this guy was trolling, 90% for IE? *shudder* Then I found this [bostonherald.com].
Switch to Windows and IE? You'll have to pry Linux and Netscape from my cold dead hands.
On another note, it scares me to my core that 90% of the web may be surfing with VBS enabled.

Oh dear... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#501845)

Sites that do this are likely to piss off huge sections of their audience. I for one quickly head for the exit when I see the words "You need *browser X* to view this site...."

With the web becoming increasingly heterogeneous thw MS embrace and throttle philosophy could still yet backfire. MS are having trouble breaking into some of these markets (mobile comms, webtop boxes etc) and this certainly a good thing for competition and choice.

People who make implementation decisions based on today's proprietary technologies (and not open ones) are soon going to find life inconvenient and very expensive.

Remember, 5 to 10 years down the road the idea of the Internet being a purely desktop driven thing will simply be wrong and those of you/us (delete as applicable).who stick with the open philosophy will see payoffs.

XSL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#501846)

XSL is not a Microsoft specific technology. In fact it is about as far away from it as you could get, being the fact that XSL (and XML)'s main purpose is to allow exchanging of data between diverse platforms/applications.

You are being fooled (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#501847)

As there is no code on the opening page to check for the type of browser it can only be that he wants to check wether or not his site can handle being slahdotted. And get some free publicity too.

Re:Well, this isn't unfortunatelly the case (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#501848)

Yes, and WAP is a flop. On the other hand, NTT DoCoMo's i-mode phones have around 20 million users in Japan, up from 2 million just over a year ago. Why? Because it is packet based, and uses HTML.

Its been dead for years... (1)

grrussel (260) | more than 13 years ago | (#501849)

Its only when you stop using the Big 2, Nutscrape and Exploder, that you realize. Javascript code checking for NS,IE > 3 and rejecting all else. Embedded Java needing someones broken VM, or broken becase of someones broken VM. Single platform plugins. Specified fonts. New image formats. New markup (bastardised html, xml + variants, *script, DHTML, etc...) Alt tags missing text (and who isn't guilty?). CSS that works, um, differently every time you use another browser. And poor fallbacks for lesser capability browsers.

The table was the beginning of the end. IMHO. Blink, Frame and Marquee, Applet and more.

It can be prevented. Use server side where possible, cross platform client side where not, and proprietary as a last resort. But most importantly, use a browser from outside the big two to test your own works. Noone will change theirs if you complain - its up to you to fix your own and inpsire others to do the same.

Fwiw, Konqueror comes close to being adequate, with CSS, JS, and ns plugin integration, plus supporting realplayer very nicely. Its font handling is also goo. Text zoom, minimum font sizes. Its Java support is broken for me though.

Mozilla is too slow, and NS 6 too buggy. On an 800Mhz Athlon Linux system with 128Mb RAM too!

Opera is supposed to be quite good. And links is better than w3m is better than lynx for console (imho)

At least I know what the NS 4.76 bugs are, and it mostly works....

Roll on KDE 2.1 and konqueror.

Browser blues (1)

cesarcardoso (1139) | more than 13 years ago | (#501855)

First of all, I live in a country that Microsoft has a big and strong "convincing power" (y'know what it means), so most WebMoronMasters make their pages IE-only, and f*ck the rest. I know EXACTLY what the aspalliance's troll is saying, because is what people does here in .br.

Said that, I could say the following:

Sometimes I need to boot in Windows only to use IE. Yes, IE is a big big big crap - it only runs fast because IE is now the shell of the Windows 98/ME OS, so it has no stinkin' shell to make life difficult.

Netscape, unfortunately, has commited suicide. NS 4 is unbearable, NS 6 is buggy buggy buggy buggy (has anybody get fired because of this damn release?)

Mozilla is great... if you use a native UI like in Galeon. Mozilla's original UI is ridiculously slow - yes, blame it to cross-platforms UI, the guy who invented it should be shot to death - but if you use a native UI it's fast. Galeon is fast, VERY fast, even in my work machine (a lame-for-US-standards AMD K6-2 450 with 64MB RAM).

I've seen Konqueror and even used it (I don't use KDE because of their moron developers that, instead of working hard to stay in the edge, thinks that GNOME is only GNU marketing - GNOME 1.4 will surpass KDE 2.x), and I've yet to see all the marvellous things everybody tells about it. NautilusMozilla looks more promising.

Use konqueror (1)

DataDevil (1762) | more than 13 years ago | (#501859)

Hi,

konqueror, www.konqueror.org, is an integral part of KDE. If you want to use the technology without KDE, there is a project that builds the same browser without KDE.
Both have afaik IE/win* in their browser 'fingerprint', so both work on the site mentioned (which sucks bigtime btw and all asp users should be killed)

When I hit a site which doesn't work, I... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 13 years ago | (#501864)

Send a mail to all the addresses I can find and tell them that I'm off to a competitor who's site does work.

Seems to do the job.

Does this site block mozilla as well? (1)

Byter (11845) | more than 13 years ago | (#501880)

Of course, the submitter didn't give a link to where s/he was trying to go, so I can't really figure that out. From what I can tell, mozilla isn't really being blocked from that site on any of the links that I tried, and the blocking page talked about "Netscape 4" without talking about mozilla at all. Given that mozilla fixes most (if not all) of the problems that the authot was talking about, there really isn't an excuse to block mozilla users from the site. I think this was just a reaction (albeit immature) to Netscape 4's lameness. Of course, I don't agree with that approach. If a web browser is going to have problems with laying out a page, then give the surfers a warning "You're using Netscape 4.x, therefore, this page may look like crap, but it's not my fault", but still let the viewers get the damn page!.

I think this is typical Slashdot alarmism: take an extreme edge case and state that soon everybody will be doing it.

BTW: From my own experience, there are a LOT more pages that disallow or deliberately try to crash Internet Explorer than there are pages that refuse to use Netscape. :P

Good news for DOJ and States, bad news for msft (1)

Snake (13761) | more than 13 years ago | (#501881)

The whole MSFT case was started because of the IE bundling.


If msft maintains it is not a monopoly, the DOJ attorney would simply have the judges go on the www.aspalliance.com site using ns or opera.

Search Engines Don't Use the Big Two (1)

Robin Lionheart (14795) | more than 13 years ago | (#501883)

Some people just don't get the point of writing for Web is writing content that adapts to all manner of users instead of trying to make the users adapt to your content.

Still, I wouldn't worry unduly about too many webmasters sharing this lack of insight. Their readership will dwindle simply because of a very important readership that doesn't use the Big Two: search engines.

So let them lock out Gulliver and Scooter and Mercator and LinkWalker and InfoSeek Sidewinder and other web crawling user agents which aren't MSIE or Mozilla. Such sites deserve to drop off the radar while the search engines send users to sites with information that anyone can view.

Custom browser tagline? (1)

Bartmoss (16109) | more than 13 years ago | (#501889)

In this specific case, just build a mozilla with edited browser type.

In the end, no, there is nothing you can do to prevent MS to use its domination of the Browser market to completely lock out competition. I mean there will always be sites open to all, but still it'd be bad enough.

But this is really what the MS Antitrust case boils down to. Stop MS from becoming a threat to the public before it's really too late.

Re:Stupid website design, but Netscape don't help (1)

Bartmoss (16109) | more than 13 years ago | (#501890)

Try opera. I admit I haven't tried the linux version myself, but opera 5 for windows is very nice. I only have one or two minor gripes with it; otherwise it's very neat.

Re:Works fine from Netscape on my Mac? (1)

Noctavis (42474) | more than 13 years ago | (#501917)

Try Netscrape 6.x... I'm betting you'll see something different. I actually tolerated NS until v4.7, but after that things began to get rediculous. Most especially, the addition of various Features without fixing the various problems that NS had in the first place. (Table support for instance... NS is still touchy as hell)

-Noctavis

Re:Get used to it (1)

Lev_Arris (60782) | more than 13 years ago | (#501939)

>and you should use Explorer (unless you're a real masochist) over Netscape.

Well, I have the exact opposite here: Somehow IE is completely unable to perform POST and GET actions correctly through our firewall/proxy and I end up submitting forms twice and/or having to refresh 3 times until I get it to actually show me the result page instead of an 'document contained no data' message. So using IE here is a real pain (Netscape just plain works, it does crash at times, sure but so does IE)

As for the sites starting to be MS only, did anyone notice that all of a sudden a lot of amateur pages are done using Frontpage? (just because they don't know or don't want to learn how to write HTML and/or do an FTP upload)

In addition to that, I must admit that Netscape is in a bad shape at the moment and I explicitly blame AOL for that. Let's be honest: If I download a browser I DON'T WANT AOL Instant Messenger to install itself with it. (in Netscape 4.x there's not even an uninstall option so I need to delete it manually) And if I want to have Real Player I'll go to www.real.com and download it, the same goes for Winamp, Shockwave and whatever other crap AOL has put into the Netscape 6 distribution. (It had about 8MB when I downloaded Preview 1 and now its 25!) And let's not forget the rushed launch of Netscape 6 which IMHO was a severe mistake, it simply wasn't ready yet and now it is giving Netscape a bad reputation which will be hard to make up again later.

Well ... I personally still use Netscape 4.5 and I will continue using it either until Netscape comes up with v6.1 (take the Gecko Engine, make the thing stable and throw out the bloated junk AOL added) or I get the hang of Opera. (Hoping that M$ won't be able to force me to use IE until then)

Greetings,
Lev

Re:If yer coming from slashdot, goto microsoft?!?! (1)

Drestin (82768) | more than 13 years ago | (#501965)

It's designed to prevent the slashdot effect. Unless you think it's fair that this little site should be hammered out of service until the story scrolls off the main slashdot page...

Code was changed to prevent /. effect (1)

Drestin (82768) | more than 13 years ago | (#501967)

Hehehe, this guy was smart, they aren't going to get slashdotted (and no one is going to see the original message) because the page was changed with this small addition:

if (document.referrer.toLowerCase().indexOf("slashdot .org")>-1)
location.href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie /";
else
....

Re:Well said shoeboy (1)

kiwaiti (95197) | more than 13 years ago | (#501984)

the fact that even AOL don't use Netscape says a lot about how awful Netscape is

In fact, AOL dont use Netscape because they made a contract with Microsoft to exclusively use IE for several years before they thought of buying Netscape. There are no quality issues involved there.

Kiwaiti

Re:www.shockwave.com (1)

mazur (99215) | more than 13 years ago | (#501986)

Same thing happens when you go to the Shockwave site [shockwave.com] from a Solaris system. So I'd guess it'll be the same for any Unix. So what's the matter, indeed? Is this an independant strategic choice or should we look in the direction paranoia is pointing? Since when is this happening?

Stefan, who will not mourn the loss of shockwave capability, should it come that far.
It takes a lot of brains to enjoy satire, humor and wit-

Well, this isn't unfortunatelly the case (1)

xmedh02 (100813) | more than 13 years ago | (#501990)

With more browsing devices, the manufacturers unfortunatelly tend to create new protocols. Look at WAP with mobiles. I would *love* to have HTML browser like lynx in my mobile, but instead I got WAP. It is very, very sad..

If yer coming from slashdot, goto microsoft?!?! (1)

sl8r (104278) | more than 13 years ago | (#501993)

Hehe, nothing like a clueless web dweeb. look at this, taken from said page of the story:

if (document.referrer.toLowerCase().indexOf("slashdot .org")>-1) location.href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie /";

For people who don't understand Javascript, that snippet basically sez "If the user is coming from slashdot.org, redirect him to the IE page of microsoft"... silly

Don't blame ASP (1)

karmma (105156) | more than 13 years ago | (#501995)

Part of my duties involve writing dynamic content sites using ASP for our corporate intranet and most of the users use Netscape. While some of the features (some methods within forms, for example) work better with IE than with other browsers, it's possible (and desirable) to write sites that are as "browser-neutral" as possible.

You can write really good Perl, or really crappy Perl - really good Java, or really crappy Java. It's the same with ASP and any scripting tool. It all depends on how you use it.

ignorance is bliss (1)

gaemon (106063) | more than 13 years ago | (#501998)

this problem is more apparent here in far east than the U.S. of A.

friends of mine in 'net service corporations always mention this problem. interesting thing is, although they(geeks in development) 100% want to make it browser neutral, often budget and time prevents them to do it. even server-side scripting other than JSP is nightmare, because not so surprisingly, most BOFH's in your ISP doesn't know how to setup things properly to run mod_perl. or php4. or even apache. every now and then my friends run to the ISP, just to fix the configuration errors, and help BOFHs compile gcc-2.97.

so, with limited resource and wasted effort, you must choose the biggest pie you can get. and what is it? IE, of course.

worse is, most PHB clients want their webpage look fancy on their own desktop. they want every fscking kinds of bells and whistles, even if that actullay lowers usability of their own site. and what browser would they use, do you suppose?

only when other browsers gain comparable usage popularity, this trend could be hindered. and that means better-than-IE at least. especially dealing with I18N, especially around these parts of the world.

not to mention horrible rendering speed of mozilla 6.

Re:But most people... (1)

supersnail (106701) | more than 13 years ago | (#501999)

I do not know where he got his stats from but according to these surveys:

http://www.ews.uiuc.edu/bstats/latest.html

http://browserwatch.internet.com/stats/stats.htm l

IE has about 75% of the browser market so he, or any other site with an MS only policy, is turning away 25% of potential punters.

Turning away "lynx" users is just plain mean, as this is the browser of choice for blind and otherwise disabled people.

Cross my Browsers ! (1)

bushboy (112290) | more than 13 years ago | (#502001)

Cross browser compatability - what's that then ?

Oh yes, I remember, it's something you need to do that will take you 3 times longer than planned to do, lose your profit margin because of that lost time all so that 10% of web surfers can see your site, just so all the fancy animations, graphics and drop down menus will help you sell Monkey Nuts.

On a more serious note, I think ASP blows donkey-dick, so who gives an oxymoron anyway !

Perl and simple HTML - thats the way to do it !

ASP is evil I'm telling ya - evil !!!

Pareto theory. (1)

TheEnglishman (115028) | more than 13 years ago | (#502007)

Obviously, this company hasn't heard the idea that 20% of your customers provide 80% of income.
If a company excludes 10% of a population they might just find a few problems...

This is a subject that always rattles my cage - the web was brought about to allow a vast number of people to communicate, and now certain companies are trying to push closed source and/or proprietary technologies, or worse still subvert existing crossplatform systems with proprietary "improvements" (yes, I mean you, Microsoft).

Taking this slightly too far - is this also not an infridgement on our freedom to choose? Why must I be expected to run a system built to support Microsoft protocols/systems?
There are still plenty of other systems that are not Microsoft - especially in the server market I don't expect (or at least I hope) that this is not the way of the future.

This post seems to come across as an anti-Microsoft rant. It's not supposed to be, however most of the examples of this behaviour that I'm aware of do seem to originate from Redmond.

Hopefully the growing number of Linux/*BSD and other "alternative" OS users will make Microsoft sit up and think.

Paradox (1)

kwo (122720) | more than 13 years ago | (#502017)

That would certainly be a paradox as most of the world's web SERVERS run a unix variant.

Keep in mind that the world's largest media company, AOL/TimeWarner owns Netscape. Even though AOL users still get IE as the default browser I can't imagine the company purposefully designing websites that would not work on Mozilla/Netscape browsers.

IE is needed (1)

chrischow (133164) | more than 13 years ago | (#502028)

i use iCab all day but i bet at least once a day i'll need to use IE, usually for some commerce site. much of the time its because the site uses JS that was nice to add but not essential to using the site but they didn't degrade the site properly so u couldn't use the site with a browser that didn't support the (non-essential JS). its just laziness and arrogance. as a web developer i like to check pages i do in at least 3 different vendor's browsers. it doesn't take that long to check a site out.

HTML is too open to be closed (1)

michaelsimms (141209) | more than 13 years ago | (#502039)

It would be hard to close off the entire web to non-microsoft browsers. All they have to do down in mozilla-land is impliment the tags and browser identifier of IE and the world re-opens. And Im sure that if MS starts to completely ignore W3C standards, and sites on the web start closing off to netscape, thats exactly what the mozilla people will do (at least as a compile-time option maybe).

Re:Get used to it (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 13 years ago | (#502040)

> you should use Explorer (unless you're a real
> masochist) over Netscape.

Who said I had to use either? I use a variety of browsers, including text based (links). Users of Opera/Mozilla/Galeon/lynx are all gonna be pretty pissed if the web goes this way. The Internet, since it is based on open standards (in theory) shouldn't tie you to a particular vendor. The best browser should support the standards 100%. It shouldn't simply tack on bits that make it no longer a web browser. It starts to become a MS-Net-Info browser...

jh

Re:Server-side (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 13 years ago | (#502041)

>> I thought that was part of the reason behind a server side scripting language.

> Nope. Client-side stuff is for things that happen on the client-side (like menus and
> stuff), and server-side is for getting data from the server and doing things there.

> There's really no overlap, and with today's modern websites that demand snazzy effects,
> there's really no money to support crap like Netscape.

Mmm nice. Server side scripting does have the advantage of not relying on features at the browser end to some extend, so the guy had a point. But if it produces non-standard HTML as its output, then it's not going to work unless the browser supports those 'extensions'. Write good scripts that make no unreasonable assumptions about the other end's browser, and all is dandy.

Just put your anti-netscape opinion back in the closet, and start talking some sense. Snazzy effects can be acheived with javascript/flash, and if the browser doesn't support it, then you can have a less flashy site to fall back on. Then everyone's happy.

jh

Re:Well, this isn't unfortunatelly the case (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 13 years ago | (#502042)

I'm waiting until your bog standard phone can do telnet... ;)

jh

Re:www.shockwave.com (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 13 years ago | (#502043)

And this is from a company that has a flash browser for linux downloadable from their site. What's changed, this is a new one...

jh

netscape.com won't work with Netscape 6! (1)

stevie-boy (145403) | more than 13 years ago | (#502050)

Its not just me, netscape.com can't make it work either :-)

The evidence [xoasis.com]

The beta gave me an error: cannot open files of type text/plain :-D

Re:Nice troll Cliff (1)

UncleBill (147105) | more than 13 years ago | (#502052)

>It's patently obvious to anyone who knows how
>ASP works that this was done by the nice folks
>at aspalliance.com and not by Microsoft

where does anyone say that Microsoft did this and not ASPAlliance? As far as i can see, cliff just says that if this type of thing keeps going on then we may get sites which use browser specific extensions - in this case an MS browser - and the company that will probably come out top are MS, as they have a larger user base, and more proprietary extensions to their browser.

its not having a go at microsoft, but it is warning that before long we may have to have more than one browser on our machines if we want to view the web - instead of the almost needing situation we have at the moment.

Oh yeah, (1)

qabi (166693) | more than 13 years ago | (#502071)

XSL and data binding are really good examples of Microsoft (only) technologies...

Browser-Specific Pages (1)

herwin (169154) | more than 13 years ago | (#502076)

If you use a Mac, download icab [www.icab.de]. It supports them all and has versions for MacOS 9 and X. It's currently in beta, but it will cost you about $30 once it's released.

user agent (1)

brownja (184673) | more than 13 years ago | (#502087)

change your user agent setting to fake the site into thinking you're using IE and see how browser specific it really is. my guess is that the site will be mostly usable.

bah. IE only. (1)

Sakke (186027) | more than 13 years ago | (#502090)

I tried browsing the site as much as i could and only way to get that warning page was the link on slashdot. and I'm using linux netscape. so there you go.

Kids today. (1)

Deanasc (201050) | more than 13 years ago | (#502105)

I am in charge of getting a website up for a small club at my college. I have a freshmen doing my HTML because I can. Trouble is he's a die hard MSFT fanatic. His work looks nice on IE but at times actually crashes Netscape. It all comes down to the way he was taught HTML. He doesn't know any of the Netscape specific tags. He does know how to twist IE to do what he wants. It's like pulling teeth to get him to accept people like to use Netscape. What I want to know is would you hire him to do your website in the real world?

But most people... (1)

dpmdpm (201076) | more than 13 years ago | (#502108)

The creator of the site has fallen into the common misapprehension that excluding 10% of visitors is acceptable. 10% doesn't sound like a lot, till you realize that it's 10% of a very large number of potential visitors. It's not coincidence that the most successful sites on the web go out of their way to be accessable to all. Let's all club together and buy these people a copy of "Designing Web Usability"...

Re:Get used to it (1)

abdulwahid (214915) | more than 13 years ago | (#502130)

The fact is that Microsoft make better software than everyone else

Really, you haven't a clue.

Microsoft write stuff with the pure intention of making as much money as possible. They aren't interested in quality or functionality. They are just interested in making money. That is why they worked so hard on IE. They wanted desperately to kill off their competition. However, if you look at things like Microsoft Word you will see that little has changed since Word 6. Wow! It underlines my spelling mistakes in red and gives me a list of corrections. It annoyingly changes what I write to what it thinks I should have written. Apart from these minor things, only the file format has changed since Word 6. (To force people to pay more money for an upgraded version).

And their software is crap. Admittedly not all of it. But in general there are major flaws in alot of their products. For example, at home I have three machines. Two linux and one Windows. The Linux boxes have never had to be re-installed for 4-5 years. Sure, I have upgrades some of the hardware and software. But the disk hasn't been formatted since the orginal install. Comparing this to the Windows machine which I have re-installed completely about 5 times in the same period because it has become so unstable. And you know what, the only thing that I have on the Windows machine is Windows itself and MS Office. In other words, the only software I have on it is written by Microsoft.

And then you want to try to convince me that they write good software! Everybody knows that Windows means endless re-boots and re-installs. It is just pathetic. Last week I had to re-install windows and with in 3 days of use (again MS s/w only) the machine unexpectedly hangs every time I start IE. What the fcsk!.

The brain dead guys who insist on trying to make out that MS are doing them a favour by writing crappy buggy windows and its "family" of software are just in a dream world. I suggest these people actually try out some of the alternatives instead of being so blinded.

Re:Browser-Specific Pages (1)

barrd (217581) | more than 13 years ago | (#502134)

No current support for CSS (Style-Sheets)... uderwize I would use it...

Re:Oh yeah, (1)

kosipov (218202) | more than 13 years ago | (#502138)

Neither XSL and particulary not data binding are Microsoft only. XSL has been in development for ages by W3C and the official MS BS on the topic is the borrow and extend approach to the standard. Data binding is a concept that can be implemented under any programming environment, Microsoft or not.

When this happens on a business page... (1)

JemalCole (222845) | more than 13 years ago | (#502147)

...all you have to do is send them a nasty-gram that they lost your business. Enough nasty-grams, and they'll switch.

Sheesh, think before you post such a dumb question.

Short answer... (1)

Eminence (225397) | more than 13 years ago | (#502150)

Can it be prevented? No. Browser wars were won by Microsoft a long time ago and right now it looks like there is not much we can do about it.

Re:Short answer... (1)

Eminence (225397) | more than 13 years ago | (#502154)

Commenting myself, but...

The browser wars are over, but right now the battle for the transaction world begins. Microsoft's .NET is all about it and if others won't do something about it (and especially the Open Source community is very weak when it comes to XML & stuff related to it) then in three years time most business systems would speak to one another using Microsoft's architecture of "web services" etc.

Yah, the article's a Troll, but here's another one (1)

imadork (226897) | more than 13 years ago | (#502158)

I think everyone here at /. knows that platform and browser independance is a thing of the past -- you're preaching to the choir here.

With so many proprietary web extensons around, you almost have to write two or three versions for every page you write. Cross-multiply this by the major platforms and Operating Systems, and I'm glad I don't design Web Sites for a living!

I hope the MS hackers from a few months ago replaced the next version of IE code with Mosaic. (or Lynx!) And while you're at it, Please do the same for Netscape, because it sucks worse, OK?

Re:HTML Compliance - "Gotta get back in time" (1)

billybob2001 (234675) | more than 13 years ago | (#502161)

I made the effort to be pedantic, and pushed all the pages through the w3c validator service.

Nice in principle, but the HTML 4 spec is ahead of both NS and IE who don't really need to comply with the standard, because they each see themselves as de facto.

Just because it's valid HTML according to w3c, doesn't mean the big players saw it as important to implement in their browsers.

Open Source XML weakness (1)

fscking_coward_2001 (236799) | more than 13 years ago | (#502163)

>and especially the Open Source community is very >weak when it comes to XML & stuff related to it

ummm ... ever looked at http://xml.apache.org? I'm developing apps with this stuff every day.

Targetting slashdot? (1)

griffinn (240043) | more than 13 years ago | (#502166)

The rejectNS.html file has the following code:

...
<Script Language=JavaScript>
if (document.referrer.toLowerCase().indexOf("slashdot .org")>-1)
location.href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie /";
else
...

I'd say this guy's pro-IE, anti-NS and anti-/. too.

Perhaps soon Microsoft will start helping Netscape (1)

OnanTheBarbarian (245959) | more than 13 years ago | (#502178)

I doubt that Microsoft will continue this course of action.

Reading that article about how Microsoft is up to 86% market share (and still rising), I wouldn't be suprised if, in the next couple years, that Microsoft itself starts trying to make life a little easier for Netscape users. Why? Same reason that they've bailed out Apple and other, safe, weak competitors.

99% market share in the browser market isn't that much better than 86% for all practical purposes, and brings the attention of the Federal Government rather sharply.

Well said shoeboy (1)

buttfucker2001 (257167) | more than 13 years ago | (#502191)

> I've seen the same thing done by linux sites but with ie users as the targets.

Exactly. But in that case it's not justified because these people are just being anti-MS because they don't like success. Whereas this case has got absolutely nothing to do with being anti-AOL (the fact that even AOL don't use Netscape says a lot about how awful Netscape is), and everything to do with a justified commercial decision, pages like this [pla-netx.com] (ways to torment IE users) have everything to do with jealousy and are unjustified.

It's time non-Microsft users realize that the world has left them behind.

Re:Opera (1)

buttfucker2001 (257167) | more than 13 years ago | (#502192)

That's inaccurate. Opera can pretend to be different browsers by changing the browser name reported to the site, but it's rendering engine doesn't change.

Re:Short answer... (1)

s0meguy (265470) | more than 13 years ago | (#502202)

I used to think that, but the more I work with web tv-type services (including online games consoles and anthing else that uses a TV set) the more I realise that as those services catch on web developers will be forced to stick to standards, or they'll be limited to just one platform.

90% vs 10% (1)

wuggle (302927) | more than 13 years ago | (#502205)

I've seen similar stuff and heard people argue much the sam thing a number of times. What these dorks are failing to recognise is that 10% of the browsing population is A LOT of people these days, and it is blinkered in the extreme to think of this section as insignificant.
Also to be remembered is of the 90% who do use IE, man of them turn off or even not install many of the features, such as Active X controls, java scripting or cookies, mostly for security reasons.
Finally, there's the rising world of IA's. Microsoft's offering in this field uses IE 4.1 for chrissakes. Hardly the cutting edge of their technology.

Re:Well, this isn't unfortunatelly the case (1)

Captain Daveman (305684) | more than 13 years ago | (#502212)

Just by way of some sort of corollary (though by no means exact), what about AOL? For years they existed solely as an online service, with little to no actual "Internet" content at all... then all of a sudden the web exploded and there were more TCP/IP apps out there than they could replicate within the AOL service (Napster for one, though I don't honestly know if that came before or after AOL started including TCP/IP functionality).

Anyway, this would stand, I guess as an example of a successful service/software provider having to go more open in response to economic forces. Even though (I think) they were the leader in the online market (market being defined... widely) at the time.

The real stastic that should be looked at, instead of browser market share, is the design preferences of developers, right? If Joe Web-Developer decides all of his stuff is going to pedantically W3C compliant, does it matter how many people are using MSIE over NS? The developers, it seems to me, are the ones you have to win over, not the consumer, for this nightmare vision to come true.

I got rejected with NS6.0, Opera 4.0 AND IE5.0! (1)

sveinb (305718) | more than 13 years ago | (#502213)

I tried them in that order, from the same IP address. Opera can identify itself as Opera, NS or IE, and got rejected as all. Even IE5.0 under Windoze got rejected ("Sorry your browser is not supported by this site"). Is this a hoax or what? P.S. My windoze box uses a Linux box for IP forwarding.

Re:HTML is too open to be closed (1)

Trenjeska (306132) | more than 13 years ago | (#502220)

Sure Opera 5 has this too but... that swiss guy at cern that developed html i can faintly recall he created html as a solution to view documents cross-platform?

Re:When I hit a site which doesn't work, I... (2)

drsoran (979) | more than 13 years ago | (#502231)

Well it certainly works for e-commerce sites. Businesses are't going to stay in business long if they blatantly tell their customer base to go piss up a rope. If a site doesn't work with my browser I simply buy from someone else. Usually the price difference is negligible (or even lower!) anyway. A bad web site that doesn't work well with a variety of cross-platform browsers just urks me to no end. The web is supposed to be platform independent!!! That's the WHOLE FSCKING POINT! If we wanted to tie it to one OS, Microsoft could've designed some proprietary application that browses over Netbios or some such ungodly protocol and uses whatever-their-buzzword-of-the-day technology is. Ah well, what can you do? Bitch and moan I suppose, or just go elsewhere. The owners of the business should be informed that they lost a customer because of the proprietary nature of their web site though as well.

Client-side standards are improving (2)

yoz (3735) | more than 13 years ago | (#502246)

This is a common complaint among developers who want to do relatively advanced dynamic stuff on the client-side - Netscape 4.x (which is still the most common Netscape in use, AFAIK) doesn't give the developer nearly as much as IE 4 does (let alone IE 5), and what it does, it does badly.

Put yourself in the shoes of the developer: You want to do a web app that does nifty UI stuff (because the standard HTML form controls don't cut it for anything other than the most basic interaction). You also want to do lots of live updating on the page without having to go back to the server, which is a reasonable request since you don't want to slow down the user nor overload your server. Netscape 4 makes it a complete pain to do this stuff well, and its API is almost totally incompatible with IE's. You're obviously going to want to cater to as large a share of the market as possible, so you go for IE, thinking you'll do a Netscape version later. (And even if you do get around to attempting the Netscape version, half of the time you'll give up out of frustration)

The usual argument against all the above is that as a conscientious web developer you should be sticking to established, open standards and not falling into the trap of using browser-specific features implemented by greedy companies who just want to get ahead in the web features game. Ironically, it's been my experience that Netscape had always, up until NS 6, been the worst offender here - for every new tag that IE ever stuck in, Netscape did two. And IE's implementations of existing standards have pretty much always (from IE 3 onwards, anyway) been more compliant than Netscape's. So bear that in mind before you start your usual rant against Micro$haft.

Anyway, the situation regarding sticking to standards is definitely better than it was. XHTML + DOM + ECMAscript + CSS2 gives you a ton of flexibility to do almost anything, and the IE 5 and Mozilla support for these is pretty good. Of course, you still have to do client-specific code if you want to do anything outside the browser (e.g. interacting with the rest of the client machine, which a trusted web app might want to do) and the arguments about how to implement this securely (or whether to implement it at all) are still raging. (Java Plug-In + signed applets is probably your best bet at the moment)

In other words, I believe the situation is going to get better, not worse, especially since the way it tends to work is
  1. web browsers have new useful features added due to developer demand (useful as opposed to the features that get banged in due to an order from higher up, hated/ignored by all, and then quietly removed two releases later - hello, IE Channels!)
  2. the W3C tends to follow suit once they see there's a large amount of developer demand
  3. the browser makers move to implement the standard, since they've learnt the hard way that ignoring this is a bad idea

and these days, the browser makers actually go as far as submitting a standards proposal for the new stuff too, which is, of course, what they should have been doing in the first place.

As time goes on the standardised browser feature set gets more and more capable, which means less demand for new features, which means things can settle down. I hope.

BTW, for web developers looking for a nice cross-browser (works in NS 4) API to do dynamic stuff with, check out Dan Steinman's DynAPI [dansteinman.com].

-- Yoz, using too many brackets as usual

Yes, netscape sucks, but.. (2)

larien (5608) | more than 13 years ago | (#502253)

Yup, Netscape is crap. I did up some pages using CSS2 and NS really barfed on them; black text on a black background is not good. I had to do some server side mojo to get it working.

That said, sites should attempt some kind of browser agnostic approach; there are some users for whom IE just isn't an option; linux/Unix users (let's ignore IE for Solaris/HPUX; it's even worse than NS), phone users (as someone mentioned elsewhere), etc. You are effectively telling these people they aren't good enough for your site.

If someone pulled that on me, they'd get a mail telling them to wise up and if they didn't, they'd just lost a reader. This is especially true of shop sites; if you are excluded from that site by dint of browser choice, email them to let them know why you won't be shopping there and you won't be recommending it to your friends. Vote with your credit card!
--

Stupid website design, but Netscape don't help (2)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 13 years ago | (#502261)

OK so the designer of that website is an idiot, but Netscape hasn't helped - NS4.7 hasn't been updated for years, and NS6 is a sick joke.

Mozilla breaks javascript (if you tell them about this they refer you to a snotty page about how they are the only browser that works and it's everybody else who is wrong... yeah right), and HTTPS locks it solid every time.

Someone needs to write a decent browser. All I want is something that supports HTML4, XHTML, CSS, SSL, etc. and *doesn't fall over every 2 fsking minutes*. Currently only IE does this. Sad but true. If it wasn't for VMWare I'd have to boot into Windows to browse!

Re:Stupid website design, but Netscape don't help (2)

Raul Acevedo (15878) | more than 13 years ago | (#502265)

Completely agree, the latest Mozilla 0.7 build is a huge improvement over M18, and in terms of performance, over 0.6 also. I don't know what they did, but it's a hell of a lot faster.

And, I highly recommend galeon [sourceforge.net]; it's a GNOME browser, built using Gtk, but using the Mozilla rendering engine of whatever Mozilla build you have installed. Much faster than running the full Mozilla, but with all the Mozilla standards support goodies.
----------

HREF="javascript:openWindow('target.html')" (2)

Forrest J. Cavalier (16105) | more than 13 years ago | (#502266)

There just seem to be more and more sites using javascript when plain HTML would work just fine.

Is using HREF="javascript:openWindow('target.html')" someone's idea of a joke? Not quite the same as excluding a browser, but similar needless exclusion of audience.

Is this the fault of the authoring tools or the web page authors, (or both?) (Hint to all you "drag-n-drop" web authors: HREF="target.html" would work fine.)

(I browse with Javascript and Java off because of security concerns, in case you are wondering.)

RocketAware.com [rocketaware.com] - 30,000+ links to reusable open source software and the FAQs, references, and Q&A you need to use it.
Check out the category tree of AskSlashdot! [rocketaware.com]

So when was the last time... (2)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 13 years ago | (#502277)

you took time to compose an e-mail to the Webmaster of a browser-specific site? Did you make it clear that you would not be doing business with them because they were forcing you into one kind of browser? If it wasn't an e-commerce site did you mail them anyway and complain? I say this because only if there's a consistent stream of complaints against this kind of thing will anything get done.

Sites reap what they sow (2)

cshotton (46965) | more than 13 years ago | (#502284)

The practice of limiting sites to access by a single browser is a self-correcting problem. Companies that undertake deployment of these sorts of sites will get precisely what they deserve. Here's why.

First, it's safe to assume that sites deployed to support a single browser are a result of a conscious choice. And that choice was likely driven by a technical inability on the developers' part to create a site that was functional across multiple platforms. If it was my site, I'd get new developers because there's no technical excuse of any substance to argue for single browser support.

Second, companies that deploy sites like this are relegating themselves to something on the order of only 25% of the potential market they'd otherwise reach. Here's the logic that escapes people who limit sites to IE5, for example.

Assume that Microsoft platforms account for 80% of the hosts connected to the Internet. Furthermore, assume that the 65-35 split between Microsoft and Netscape browsers persists and that of the remaining approximately 52%, only about half are OS versions or CPUs capable of running IE5 with the others being out of date, running AOL, etc.

Making a conscious decision to exclude 75% of the Internet seems absurd when you do the math. But a room full of lame Web developers can convince non-technical management of a lot of things. Apparently, writing a single browser web site is one of them. Fortunately, companies that pull this stunt probably won't last long in the marketplace.

Definately a troll (2)

a2800276 (50374) | more than 13 years ago | (#502287)

Use the source damnit! Says it right there:

if (document.referrer.toLowerCase().indexOf("slashdot .org")>-1) location.href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie /";

The page displays the same way on IE as on Netscape, i.e. if you're coming from /. it will redirect you.

An old, old argument (2)

mwdib (56263) | more than 13 years ago | (#502288)

This issue - cross-browser compatibility - has been around forever. From the early days of "This site best viewed with xxxx" to FrontPage sites where JavaScript errors abound, this has been argued and discussed to death.

The most cogent discussions -- see Jakob Nielsen.

The bottom line:
- web sites that customize for a single browser or platform lose readers/customers. It's up to the site/company to decide how many customers they want to lose.
- too much customization will eventually backfire.
- public institutions (e.g. universities, etc) based in the US are bound to provide electronic accessibility to the disabled. There haven't been too many lawsuits yet, but there will be more. Browser customization works against accessibility.

Yawn.

doesn't mean anything... (2)

alterneight (96724) | more than 13 years ago | (#502302)

with mobile phones, web appliances maybe finally looking more viable, WebTV and all that, I think this is just a plain wrong assessment of where we are. The browsing world is getting more diverse, not less. Major commerce sites won't want to lose WebTV users' purchasing power.

I'm pissed off at all sites that don't use... (2)

Sir_Winston (107378) | more than 13 years ago | (#502304)

I'm pissed off at all sites that don't use standard HTML or scripting when possible. I know that ASP gets much more complicated, but the same principle applies that it isn't too difficult to do standard stuff that can work in most browsers.

One of the most annoying things I saw lately was that, when I went to eBay to complain about being spammed, I decided to take a quick look at their privacy policy. So, I clicked on the link, and it gave me a mostly-blank page. There were a couple of lines about their regs, but that was it. So I clicked on links for their policy from all over the site--same page. Come to realize, from looking at the source. that the page used such badly formatted BS that if wasn't rendering properly. I mean, it was a simple page, they could have used plain old HTML for the whole damned thing, but no, they had to go and muck around. And sadly enough, I was using IE 4.0 at the time, and it wasn't displaying the policy, just the couple of lines intro mentioning the policy which I had no idea was hidden on the page. If you can't even make text that will render on IE 4.0, of all things, then there's something wrong with you. There was nothing there that couldn't have been done in plain HTML.

Naturally, I complained to them. I hope they've fixed something as important as their privacy policy, so that every user can see it. But somehow I doubt it. More and more pages are doing BS like this. For example, the Wired article referenced in the Steve Jobs story below wouldn't render very well, because it wanted me to download an ActiveX object that my security settings wouldn't allow. Maybe on non-IE browsers it doesn't try to slip in the ActiveX, I don't know, but it's annoying that they were using it in the first place...

unprofessional (2)

onnerby (110231) | more than 13 years ago | (#502305)

Doing HTML/javascript that works on all DHTML-compatible browsers (IE4+, NS4+, Mozilla, etc) is not so hard. There are several free javascriptAPIs that can manipulate layers and stylesheets for all browsers (Most programmers creates their own after a while) so there is defenetly no reason not using one of them.

If you have access to serversidescripting of any kind (ASP,PHP,JSP,etc), then it becomes even easier. Making a serversideAPI to generate the right layer-tag and include the right stylesheet is done in 5 minutes to a professional programmer.

Please dont fall into the microsoft-trapp doing exacly what they want.

New opportunities (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 13 years ago | (#502315)

This can actually be a good thing. So, IE and Netscape grow appart more and more, this is free economy, right? The users want to be able to browse any site with a single browser. A new player will come along and will release a browser that can do everything that Netscape and IE can do, or at least will do most of the stuff from both and will allow plugins, and if advertised properly, many users will install that browser. Free market.

Here's "this message" from the ASP site (2)

Sara Chan (138144) | more than 13 years ago | (#502317)

The ASP site with "this message" will likely get Slashdotted; so here is the message:

Sorry, the browser you currently use is not supported by this site. This column focuses on Microsoft (only) technologies (take data binding and xsl for example) and, as an
intranet applications developer, I dont see any reason for me to bother myself with works of horror such as netscape (no offense, its a fact).

This site's traffic (as well as the world's) is 90% Internet Explorer, I wont bother with compatibility issues over a misely 10% who use an inferior browser.

In order to view this resource please switch to Internet Explorer 4 or higher.

ASP Alliance [aspalliance.com]
Complain

- Dagon

HTML Compliance (2)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 13 years ago | (#502318)

Surely that's something that all too many people are sloppy about. The only commercial site I've written, I made the effort to be pedantic, and pushed all the pages through the w3c validator service. If anything was non-standard then it didn't go in.

I'm against using Javascript for essential sections of the page. Anything that is even borderline non-standard, has to merely make the page look in some way nicer, but no detract from the functionality. To make a page simply reject the browser fullstop goes against the cross-platform model that the Internet and its users should subscribe to.

What percentage of pages actually meet the DTD? It'd be a pretty sad figure if you ask me. Admittedly it would help if browsers properly supported the standards... jh

Ugly lapidation (2)

f5426 (144654) | more than 13 years ago | (#502321)

This article is very trollish. A DEEP LINK to an out-of-context web page. Don't know how he got there. When I go to the site <http://www.aspalliance.com/dagon/> with my Mac OS X Server Omniweb, I read it without problem. Do this message appear for every netscape user ? For mozilla too ?

On the main point of browser compatibility, it is pretty clear that if the guy want to show client-side scripting that will not work with netscape. On the same vein, XUL is not working well on IE. So what ? Should those XUL sites be lapidated by slashdot ?

Otoh, he is clearly a netscape hater, as he reject netscape but accepts any other browser.

Btw, it is totally unfair to put a slashdot link to a page where there is a mailto: url. The guy is going to get megabytes of junk from clueless /bots.

PS: I just checked, mozilla is rejected too. Looked at the site with IE too. The guy is a windows advocate that want people to use VBscript. IMHO, it is its right.

Cheers,

--fred

Re:Ugly lapidation (2)

f5426 (144654) | more than 13 years ago | (#502322)

Cool to reply to myself.

> PS: I just checked, mozilla is rejected too. Looked at the site with IE too. The guy is a windows advocate that want people to use VBscript. IMHO, it is its right.

PS/2: I just rechecked, and the guy if fact advocates *not* to use VBScript but JScript. It is just that he doesn't want to support Netscape. Doesn't change my position. Putting a almost direct link to a mailto: link from slashdot front page is unfair.

Cheers,

--fred

Once upon a time... (2)

Metrol (147060) | more than 13 years ago | (#502323)

...I was reading about this new browser rendering platform that Netscape was working on. It was going to be fully standards compliant, and highly configurable. Sounded like a great concept for leveling out the playing field for browsers so no one company could control the standards.

What we got was Netscape 6, and 3 years of "it's only beta software" excuses from Mozilla. Heck, even in tonight's build (yeah, I still bother to look at them once in a while) there's yet another table layout problem. For crying out loud, I'm not talking about XML, CSS, or even DOM issues. I'm talking about freaking standard HTML tables!

This evening I was working on fixing a Mac all up with a new OS load and installing the software this user needs. While getting everything tweaked in I got my first look at IE 5.0 for the Mac. Rarely, and I mean rarely, am I impressed with stuff on the Mac platform. I just sat there and played with this thing for about an hour. Aside from the fast rendering and the stuff I'm used to seeing on the Win version, the feature set was outstanding. That, and with the fonts loaded up from IE, the pages looked exactly like they do on Windows.

Aside from occasionally checking out a Mozilla build, the only real competition I see going up against IE is KDE's Konqueror. I don't think the KDE folks have a perfect replacement for IE yet, but by gosh they sure are getting there faster than anyone else on the playing field. Unfortunately with it's being tied to just Unix it's influence on web standards is directly tied to the success for Linux and BSD's at the desktop. By the time either get enough market share at that level MS will be the web standard. That's on the very loose assumption that they're not already.

Sorry about being so hard on Mozilla and all. I just feel like the project and their promises really let us all down. Even if a super bitchin' Moz 1.0 does result from all that effort, the world has long since moved on.

Re:Get used to it (2)

Metrol (147060) | more than 13 years ago | (#502324)

As for the sites starting to be MS only, did anyone notice that all of a sudden a lot of amateur pages are done using Frontpage?

Kinda back to the #1 application on my wish list for *nix. A decent GUI HTML editor. Man, if I could get a suitable replacement for Dreamweaver and Homesite for my FreeBSD box, NT would be something I'd only use on occasion. No, Emacs is not a solution for anyone but the most hardcore of the Meta-Esc-Esc-Ctrl-X F crowd... ack!

So long as MS is putting out this cheap and easy to use editor, they'll be controlling the kind of code that is produced. The browser issue is only half the equation.

Re:Short answer... (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#502326)

True for now, but when the 21 million AOL users upgrade to the version using Netscape instead of IE and find that many pages don't work, they're going to be a bit upset.

Re:Works fine from Netscape on my Mac? (2)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 13 years ago | (#502328)

Try to open an article from the FAQ (left menu on main page). It'll show the FAQ overview, but will refuse to show the single FAQ article that is currently there, with that lame rejection message.

What's more, the following bit of Javascript code now seems to be added to the head of the rejection page:

if (document.referrer.toLowerCase().indexOf("slashdot .org")>-1) location.href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie /";

Hmmm. Cute.

(BTW, Slashdot seems to insert two spaces into that code for some reason.)

- M., another Netscape/Mac user

<redundant>So, this guy is perfectly okay with locking out 10% of his potential customer base? I would not want him as a web designer.</redundant>

The web will stay netscape friendly! (2)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 13 years ago | (#502331)

In order for this horror story of forced IE usage the big media and stores need to adopt microsoft only (or heavily favored) web pages. If joe schmuck at aspalliance uses a microsoft only web page the reaction of netscape users is likely to be go shove it.

Yes, even technically unsophisticated users will have this reaction. These people don't want to have to upgrade they expect the technically literate to fix it at their end. It is only when sites they need to access do this that their might be a change.

But if I run a real commercial site what percentage of my cost is in html coding? Probably far less than 5% and for significantly less than double that amount I can get 10% more buisness. For simple economic reasons I will still support netscape. Moreover the harm is probably larger than just a 10% loss of sales. Many sites on the internet are close to indistinguishable from their competitors, for instance the price difference between bn.com and amazon.com in books probably isn't that significant to most people so if they find they can't access amazon from their friends computer or the computer down the hall they very well might switch...thus not counted as part of the 10% netscape users they still are negatively influenced.

Moreover, as everyone who has bought a microsoft computer in the past 5 years has gotten a free IE the use of netscape is a sign of greater computer savy, or at least of longer internet usage. These people are therefore probably more likely to purchase goods and recieve their information off the web thus making that 10% cost even more.

Finally the standardization effect cannot be ignored. If more of my friends use amazon than bn I too am likely to use amazon. Therefore giving away 10% of your business to your competitor may very well result in a much larger loss

Browser-specific tags (2)

cthugha (185672) | more than 13 years ago | (#502337)

I have absolutely no problem with browser-specific HTML. But the whole point was that if you did use non-standard tags, you should code your site in such a way that it would degrade nicely when rendered by browsers that didn't support the funny markup (the div tag is a nice example of this, I think, although I'm not sure). Frames may be evil, but at least you had the noframes tag.

I realize that this is probably impossible now, but lack of standards compliance is ultimately the fault of the people who create the unfriendly pages, not some insidious conspiracy by Microsoft/AOLTimezilla/whoever. If some e-commerce site makes a transgression, the best way to fight it is not buy stuff from that site, and e-mail them telling them why they're not going to get your custom.

Sorry, I probably should have put all that in rant tags.

Die JavaScript, die! (2)

kyz (225372) | more than 13 years ago | (#502347)

Can this be prevented?

Yes, just turn off the worthless and lame JavaScript. Only *real* Java is a powerful enough client side system to be worth enabling. All JS does is add unnecessary bloat to a web client, and everything it can do (OK, not including DHTML) can be done far more simply on the server side.

Coincidentally, turn off JavaScript, and viewing that site [aspalliance.com] no longer leads to the anti NS rant.

Re:netscape not supported (2)

donky (306139) | more than 13 years ago | (#502351)

I think I can assume from this that you have never developed a web site with a reasonably complex layout. While netscape may be a very usable web browser, getting stuff to lay out the way it should can be a nightmare. A few Netscape users seem to think that having their browser supported by every web site is their right. Its not as easy as that. Unlike you I have had to make sites browser compatible. Richard.

AOL/Mozilla is the only hope (3)

Raul Acevedo (15878) | more than 13 years ago | (#502354)

AOL is the only thing that will save the web from becoming IE-only. This is because AOL will eventually switch to Mozilla, which will force everyone to accomodate it. Hopefully this will mean a better world where web standards are followed more closely, given that by the time this happens, IE and Mozilla should have excellent standards support.

Yes, I'm sure there currently are, and always will be, standards compliance issues, but by the time AOL switches to Mozilla these will be for the most esoteric and cutting edge features, so for most sites, they will hopefully not be too bad. Even at this point, the latest Mozilla and IE support is supposed to be excellent.

Note that it's only AOL's use of Mozilla that will make Mozilla mean anything. Without AOL adopting Mozilla as its default browser, Mozilla will be relegated to the likes of Netscape, Opera and Lynx... no, I'm not bashing Lynx and Opera. It's just the truth that they will simply not be on any large commercial site's radar screens. They will not do anything to stop the tide of sites converting to IE only.

Some say that web access for other devices will help this situation, but I doubt it. The display needs and platforms for PDAs, cell phones, and whatever are so different that companies will code entirely different interfaces for those devices, instead of hoping that their HTML will work across all possible devices. This actually makes sense. Architecturally the "right thing" is to do the usual content/presentation separation, e.g. XML as the data stream and JSP/ASP/PHP for standard web display, WAP for wireless, etc.
----------

Works fine from Netscape on my Mac? (3)

throx (42621) | more than 13 years ago | (#502356)

I'm having no problems browsing the site from Netscape 4.6 on my Mac. That's about as non-MS as I could manage at the moment. Are you sure about your results, or did you just pick a page from the search engine to get slashdotted?

www.shockwave.com (3)

CiaranC (69596) | more than 13 years ago | (#502358)

It appears that your operating system is not supported by shockwave.com. We support the following operating systems: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0 (or later), and Mac OS 8.1 (or later).

Have a look at what you get if you try to call up shockwave.com with a linux box.

Re:Stupid website design, but Netscape don't help (3)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#502359)

Go to this link [redhat.com]
and download mozilla-0.7-3 and psm and all your complaints are resolved. BTW do you have an example of a page that breaks JavaScript, as I haven't seen any since M17.

Before it gets /.ed (3)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 13 years ago | (#502360)

The text on that site is Sorry, the browser you currently use is not supported by this site. This column focuses on Microsoft (only) technologies (take data binding and xsl for example) and, as an intranet applications developer, I dont see any reason for me to bother myself with works of horror such as netscape (no offense, its a fact). This site's traffic (as well as the world's) is 90% Internet Explorer, I wont bother with compatibility issues over a misely 10% who use an inferior browser.

In my book the guy's a fucking arrogant dweeb.

He has certainly every right in the world to target whoever he wants, but he might consider a message that doesn't blurt to the world that he's full of it.

But then I mostly use Lynx [browser.org] most of the time anyway.

Nice troll Cliff (4)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 13 years ago | (#502361)

It's patently obvious to anyone who knows how ASP works that this was done by the nice folks at aspalliance.com [aspalliance.com] and not by Microsoft. You can use ASP to build netscape and opera friendly sites with no problem. You can also use mod_perl and apache on linux to build sites that reject netscape clients and only allow ie.

I've seen the same thing done by linux sites but with ie users as the targets. It's not new and it's not likely to become popular as it alienates customers.

Finally you'll note that the URL is http://www.aspalliance.com/dagon/rejectNS/rejectNS .html
Dagon is a demonic fish god that was worshiped by the heathen cananites. This smacks of the actions of a lone satanist rather than a major corporation. Although I would expect satanists to like mozilla, the mascot is a demonic fire-breathing lizard after all.

--Shoeboy

Did Beta Bitch Like This About VHS? :) (4)

grantdh (72401) | more than 13 years ago | (#502365)

I have argued many times with web developers about ensuring that web sites will work with any browser. It was easier to win the argument when I was the boss, but I'm still managing to prevail as a consultant :) Some simple reasons are:

1. A well designed & implemented web site which works on all browsers is more robust, better planned and easier to maintain.

2. It doesn't take much effort if you know what the hell you are doing!

3. Alienating even 5% of your potential audience is not a good idea if it doesn't take much more effort to make it right for "everyone" (don't forget, one happy person tells another, one pissed off person tells as many as they can :)

4. The "top sites" are coding for all browsers - if we use them as examples of good design, why not extend that to implementation as well?

Basically, those who can't be stuffed to write "generic" sites are lazy non-professionals who are taking advantage of an "easy out" argument.

Unfortunately, I do not see much progress towards a more balanced client-side of the web. Most office & personal installations are using IE (hey, it comes with the OS, installs out of the box, seems well integrated, hmmmm - bit of a no brainer - I just want it to work, I don't care who makes the engine - etc etc etc). The ones using non-IE browsers are those using alternate platforms - usually people with Unix workstations or a grudge against Microsoft :)

Until the non-Microsoft browsers are less than 0.5% of audience, though, I will keep recommending that people code for them. One can only hope that they will claw back enough marketshare to be taken seriously...
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