Re: Nonstandard HTML

Subject: Re: Nonstandard HTML
From: Yvonne DeGraw <yvonne -at- SILCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 10:02:59 -0700

Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA> wrote:

>I think my point may have been missed. When I claimed
>Netscape had 90% or so of the market, I wanted to emphasize
>the 10% that were left, not the 90%; I don't know where the
>rest of you set your cutoff point, but ignoring 10% of your
>potential market strikes me unwise at best.

If you pay attention to the ways various browsers treat non-standard HTML,
you can use non-standard features while still supporting most other people.
Most browsers ignore tags they don't understand, so if you picture your
page without the effects of the extra tags, you can design pages that work
in many browsers.
Just because 10% of the market can't see backgrounds, font size changes,
and so on isn't a reason not to use them.

You should test your pages with multiple browsers to make sure you aren't
causing some people serious problems. Also, think about what browsers your
audience uses. A general consumer audience has a higher concentration of
people who access the Net through AOL, etc. A high-tech audience is
probably using Netscape and Mosaic more.

Of course, this method requires extra awareness. For example, if you want
to use Netscape frames, make sure you put all the same information in the
<NOFRAMES> block. This is extra work (unless you are generating the pages
somehow), so you should think about it before deciding to use frames. Also,
don't use JavaScript for critical functionality.

The W3 has been unable to make progress on approving the HTML 3.0 draft --
probably because there was too much in one spec. However, many worthwhile
parts of the draft have been adopted by browser/authoring tool makers.

Yvonne DeGraw, Technical Services o Web Authoring
yvonne -at- silcom -dot- com o Technical Writing
http://www.silcom.com/~yvonne/ o Database Design and Publishing
Tel: 805/683-5784 o User-Interface Design
(Check out my "NanoTheater": http://www.di.com/Theater/Main.html)

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