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Dynamic HTML in Action
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William J. Pardl

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wednesday 07.12.2000
browser snobbery


once again while surfing a webring i got shut down. why? because the page was not only created solely for the i.e. viewers enjoyment, but the coding was so bad for netscape there was no way to find the webrings and move on. i understand that there are a lot of i.e. users out there. that's why i code my pages to be viewable in BOTH i.e. and netscape, even though i am almost a pure netscape user. browser snobbery is just unacceptable on the net now days. this goes for the netscape only crowd as well as the i.e. only crowd. both groups are guilty of blatantly ignoring the other browser just because they don't prefer it. even web designers are guilty of this, losing customers for their clients because, now read this carefully, not everyone uses the same browser.

this is an astonishing revelation to some, i know. i know this because of all the i.e. only or netscape only web pages i have visited, especially recently while traversing a few particular webrings that seem preferential to i.e.

i.e. pages are particularly a totally unenjoyable experience. while a netscape only page can look like total crap in i.e., it is still viewable. but an i.e. only page, particularly one with music and built in front page, has a tendency to crash in netscape, or just be such a mess that the smallest amount of navigation is impossible. yes, we need standards on the web that all browsers will cover (and no, netscape 6 isn't the answer), but until we have them, code for the major browsers AT LEAST.

better yet, code for opera. it may not let you do a whole heck of a lot, BUT it certainly won't crash anything when you view it in a different browser!

i used to not be so irritated by this browser snobbery on the web. but then, it didn't seem so bad until lately. now we have all these cool new scripts and codes we can use, some which work better in one browser than in another, and a lot of people have decided that these new codes and scripts are THE way to go in web design. funny thing is, some of the BEST pages on the net have very FEW bells and whistles and new fangled scripts. they load faster, are easily viewed in both browsers, and have a cleaner over all design. bells and whistles make great accents, but when they become such an integrated part of your design that you must completely ignore one browser to implement everything, it's time to rethink your design.

unless, of course, you don't mind losing the traffic. because you will. your netscape only site will not impress the i.e. user, and your i.e. only site will not only not impress the netscape user but also risks crashing their browser. neither will wish to return. and they will recommend to their friends that they not visit either.

no, i am not the queen of design. no i don't know everything there is to know about either browser, web design, fancy scripting or anything else. i am just a user who is aggravated because when i surf a ring i end up having to figure out ways around a dead end site. your site may be cool to you and those who share your browser preference, but there are a heck of a lot of people who will be just as aggravated as i get when a site is so specific to a particular browser that i can't see or go anywhere.

i can hear it now. "if you (or they) were smart, you would use MY browser. and if you don't, then tough luck!" THAT is browser snobbery and it doesn't belong on the web (in addition to showing a brain stagnation as you refuse to learn and grow with the net). regardless of how you feel about your browser versus the other browser(s), there IS more than one browser and that isn't going to change any time soon. so if YOU don't start considering more than just your preferred browser, it's YOUR tough luck when your site gets a bad rep somewhere because it wasn't browser friendly.

in the end, it's not my loss. it's yours.

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