Re: Re. Nonstandard HTML

Subject: Re: Re. Nonstandard HTML
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 13:16:18 -0800

On Tue, 23 Apr 1996 12:14:07 -0700, David Blyth wrote:

>>The issue, as far as I'm concerned at least, is not leaving out fancier
>>tags just because not everyone can use them, but in making sure that
>>you don't RELY on those fancy tags, because the data they encompass may
>>end up not being visible to someone whose browser doesn't support them.

>If HTML 2.0 were sufficient, there would be no reason for HTML 3.0 or
>style sheets (which looks like it may not get into HTML 3.0).

Read the emphasized word in my statement above. THAT is the keyword to
what I'm saying. I'm not saying HTML 2.0 or 3.0 should be "sufficient"
or that you should use only what's "sufficient", only that you
shouldn't RELY on proprietary extensions to get the message across, or
a fair portion of your audience may not GET the message.

>>The problem is, the more the different communication media (ie. the
>>browsers) stray from that standard, the smaller your audience becomes,
>>as the split up into different browser camps.

>Funny thing, what. As languages mature, they split into dialects.
>And the more dialects you know, the better you can communicate.

Only problem is, David, the users are not the ones that need to
understand your "dialects"... their browsers are. Sure, a single
browser that supports ALL the Netscape, Explorer, Mosaic, HTML 2.0 and
3.0 tags would be an amazing "multilingual" communicator. As far as I
know, though, one does not yet exist. And even if it did, adding a
little "click here to download" button is pointless unless it's
available for all the major platforms in use.

>>If you design for the single largest percentage, you'll be designing
>>for Netscape, but even those numbers are shrinking

>As I mentioned in another post, Netscape has shown a sharp, vertical
>drop from 79% of the entire market all the way down to a crummy 78%.
>I'll start worrying about it when they get down to merely dominating
>everyone at about 60%. Say in 6 months to 1 year or more.

As other have pointed out elsewhere, even assuming a mere 1,000,000
"average-use" web surfers out there, you're still directly catering to
only 780,000 people and leaving out the other 220,000. It depends on
your target audience, of course, but if you're doing a commercial site
(advertising, support, etc.), it seems to me that would be a number
worth worrying about.

>I agree that this is a problem. And I agree that this may eventually
>make my job harder. I disagree that following the formal HTML 2.0
>standard will modify Netscape's or MicroSoft's behavior. It won't.

No, but it WILL mean you alienate fewer end-users. And those ARE the
people you're designing for, aren't they?



Your friend and mine,
Matt
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"Maybe all I need, besides my pills and surgery,
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