... And all the other stuff

by Joe Gillespie — Apr 1, 1999

If the browser differences are not bad enough, when it comes to extending them with JavaScript, Java, DHTML, CSS and various plug-ins, the gap widens even further.

JavaScript implementation in the version 3 browsers is quite different. Not just the previously mentioned rollovers but all kinds of things to do with basic form handling can work in one browser and not the other.

Java is just about unusable on the Mac, it's not too hot with Windows NT either. Only Windows 95/98 and UNIX machines have a reasonably reliable Java. I have had to disable Java on both my Mac and NT Server through problems with slowness and crashing.

Plug-ins are platform specific. Some of the more common ones are available for Mac and PC but many others are not. Remember, using any plug-in whatsoever is restricting your potential audience very considerably and choosing to design a Web site that depends on the reader having a specific browser or plug-in is a decision that can't be taken lightly.

Cascading Style Sheets, the technology that has the greatest potential to improve Web page typography is severely hampered because of the differences in implementation between Netscape and MsIE.

Here is an excellent new resource about Cascading Style Sheets http://www.westciv.com/style_master/house/ which gives all the gory details.

In a perfect world, all browsers on all platforms would interpret HTML code in the same, consistent way and Web page design would be easy. In reality, ignorance is bliss and the more you know about Web design, the more difficult it becomes.

The moral to all this is that the simpler your design is, the less problems you are likely to have.

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