Re: Nonstandard HTML

Subject: Re: Nonstandard HTML
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 1996 17:59:02 -0800

On Fri, 19 Apr 1996 14:44:31 -0700, David Blyth wrote:

>I agree. Fortunately, most (but not all) Web browsers are
>downwardly compatible. If the HTML tag is not recognized,
>it is usually ignored with no change in formatting. This
>increases the percentage of market reached past 90%.

While most browsers will handily ignore tags they don't recognize (a
few still crash on some oddball HTML code), most designers that use
these tags don't pay any attention to how pages will look in browsers
that don't support them, and they end up being illegible to the point
where it would be better if the browser simply ignored the whole page.

Case in point: back in the "early" days of the Web (about a year and a
half ago), a local aspiring ISP formatted their entire pricing
structure page into then-new "tables"... which at the time were
supported only by the latest version of Netscape. With any other
browser, all a person got was a gibberish of numbers in an oversized
Courier font, scattered all over the browser window. Totally
pointless, totally useless.

My reason for being on that page, BTW, was to gather information on
corporate-account and dedicated-connection pricing from various ISPs in
town.

This one was stricken from the list at that point. Their loss.

Another case in point: "my" ISP recently updated their home page (their
initial /index.html) to include one huge graphic of a Sun SparcStation
with a clickable map, and the text underneath, "Welcome to <xxxxx>.
This page requires Netscape 2.0beta. Click here to download."

Great. So either I have to download and install BETA software
(generally a risky proposition to begin with), which may or (in this
case) may not run on my system, or I may not even get past your
homepage. Worse yet, if my browser doesn't support graphics or
clickable maps, or if I have graphics turned off for speed, the ONLY
thing I'll see is "Welcome to <xxxxx>. This page requires Netscape
2.0beta. Click here to download."

Great way to attract business.

>Unfortunately, not all browers even recognize HTML 2.0.

No, but at least supporting 2.0 will up your successful-connects rate
to 99.5% or so. :)

Hey, if you wanna make your page ultra-fancy and viewable by only a
small portion of the population, go right ahead... but if you're a
business trying to support and/or attract customers, you MUST cater to
the lowest (or at least second-lowest) common denominator, no?



Your friend and mine,
Matt
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