Browser-specific HTML

Subject: Browser-specific HTML
From: Tom Obenchain <Tom -dot- Obenchain -at- MCI -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 12:46:00 -0700

If your audience is more concerned about individual user's rights than
uniform information, I'd say you're headed for trouble writing
browser-specific code. On the other hand, if you have the luxury of
knowing your audience, you may be able to go with browser-specific
code. I test my pages in Navigator, Mosaic and IE only. As I develop
for an intranet, I know that these three browsers cover my audience.

Know your audience and develop for that audience. If your audience
generally accepts one or two browsers, develop for those browsers and
push for consistency.

I have noticed that there are two soapboxes on to which people are
climbing. On the first are the folks who believe that bowing to the
lowest common denominator is most important. On the second are the
folks who believe that consistency of presentation and other standards
are necessary to make "cyber communication" acceptable to wider audiences.

These two views are incompatible! A reconciliation of these two views
will never happen. I believe that as the Web matures, consistency will
win the fight. This will leave a lot of "cyber individualists" upset,
but making the Web a medium for mass audiences WILL ultimately
limit individual choice on the desktop.


----------------------Reply Separator------------------------

Bill asked:
>
>Anyone have any thoughts on writing HTML to specific Browsers versus
>writing it to the 3.2 standard?
>
And Elsa answered:
>We write for the latest version (non-beta) version of Netscape Navigator.
>The Connect Schlumberger site is access limited, and we'll give clients the
>browser if they don't have it. Providing the browser provides some
>uniformity in what's displayed on the screen.

Even if you give clients the "correct" browser, how can you be sure they
take it and use it?

IM(not so)HO, writing to a specific browser takes away the best feature
of HTML -- it's not seamlessly cross-platoform anymore. Additionally --
(oh, waitaminit...) <soapbox> users deserve the right to control their
own desktops -- and that includes the browser software they use!
</soapbox>

Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com
-- The _Guide_ is definitive.
Reality is frequently inaccurate.

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