Re: color: NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, and HTML3

Joe English (
Thu, 20 Jul 1995 18:10:54 -0700

[ rant follows; feel free to ignore ]

Benjamin Franz <> wrote:
> On Wed, 19 Jul 1995, Michael Johnson wrote:
> > See and then you can think about the
> > advisability of posting unproductive ranting to a working discussion group.
> Based on my reading of your pages, you don't consider BACKGROUND
> important enough to be in your product before 1.0 ships.
> Don't be stupid - it will sell more browsers than 85% of the things you
> marked as being on your fix before 1.0 ships list. Backward
> compatibility with existing documents is critical.

Speak for yourself. I for one wouldn't complain a bit
about missing all the gratuitous background images, gratuitous
font size changes, and gratuitous blocks of centered text
that have become so popular lately.

> > I'm not pissed off at Netscape because they have market share. I'm pissed
> > off at Netscape because I browse the web with my syntax checking browser
> > and encounter large numbers of lousy "Netscape enhanced" and just plain
> > broken pages, and it's largely their fault.
> So turn off syntax checking except when you *need* it. You are going to
> ship it with syntax checking turned off by default, right? Learn from
> Netscape's error of "You are submitting a form insecurely...."
> defaulting on. Don't annoy people unnecessarily.

Again, speak for yourself. I'd much rather see some indication that
the author of the page I'm viewing didn't bother to run it
through 'weblint' than repeatedly click on a link and wonder why
it doesn't do anything or waste time trying to figure out why large
chunks of text seem to be missing when it's all due to some minor
markup error that Netscape happens to handle differently than
the browser I'm using does. Better to flag bad pages as bad pages
and leave it at that than to try reverse-engineering what some
other more popular browser might do with them.

It's one thing to follow a "de facto standard" and include
all the Netscape enhancements in a new browser -- at least it would
be if those enhancements added anything of real value to readers.
It's quite another to attempt bugwards compatibility, especially
considering that Netscape's parser is buggy itself.

> > If I hear the oxymoron "de-facto standard" one more time I may come visit
> > you and throw up on your desk.
> VHS video tape (who out there still uses Beta? Hi! <Hand wave> (Technically
> superior - marketing loser). Doors opening into a house instead of out.
> Right handed scissors. [...]

How about some de facto standards from the computer world?
"R"T"F". Winsock. C++. MS-DOS and the 640K barrier. Windows 2
and the 640K barrier. Windows 3 and the 640K barrier. The 8086,
80286, 80386, 80486, and Pentium. Not to single out Microsoft and
Intel (though they really do know how to put the "backwards" in
"backwards-compatible"), how about NFS? OSF/Motif? C++ (again)?

Netscape 1.1 is an 800 pound gorilla. An upstart silverback
that wants to do things a little differently can only help the
Web in the long run. Following an ill-designed "de facto
standard" can only hurt it.