Re: Netscape v NCSA, Progress?

Kee Hinckley (
Tue, 18 Oct 1994 16:14:11 +0100

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> They just repeat over and over, "Yes, we admit that hundreds (thousands?)
> of people want formatting control, but they are all wrong, and SGML/HTML
> is content not format so tough." So what should I do when the open
> standards group insists on a standard that is not what our customers
> (the ones who will indirectly be paying my salary) want?

This is an old problem. Eight or nine years ago this battle was
being fought over user-interface design tools. I'd say formatting
won there.

There's no question that format independence gives you a lot of
portability and flexibility. However web-page construction is in the
end a design art just like page-layout or graphic-design work. It's no
longer just document transferal and portable formats. And if you talk
to professional designers you will find that they *don't* enjoy saying
to the client, "Well, it'll look like this if you use this revision of
this software, but on that software it may look different, and over
there it may look different again." They are designing an image, and
they have a definite idea of how it should look. The more format
independence you put in, the more difficult you make their job.

On a slightly related note, someone asked what the big deal about
Netscape was. The biggest deal for me was not having to explain
over and over to my clients that the problems they were seeing were
specific to their particular version of the NCSA browser (usually
on the PC) and there was nothing I could do about them. It's clear
that Netscape has a much larger set of common code between platforms.

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Kee Hinckley 617/721-4671

I'm not sure which upsets me more: that people are so unwilling to accept
responsibility for their own actions, or that they are so eager to regulate
everyone else's.

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