Written 8~11~99

    Netscape has just lost my last shred of respect.

    Let me start by saying that I was once a die-hard Netscape user. I resisted even trying Internet Explorer for a long time, but finally one of my Microsoft friends made me take it for a spin. Since that day, I've used IE for all my browsing, although at first I thought the differences between the browsers were mainly cosmetic, look-and-feel variations.

    Then came some work-related Netscape frustrations (which I don't think I'm allowed to discuss, suffice it to say Netscape crashed a lot) and I began to form a negative opinion of Netscape. Still, I didn't cast any aspersions on Netscape users... I respect their anti-Microsoft stand even though I don't believe in it myself.

    But I can't do that anymore because I'm too tired of all the things that are wrong with Netscape. Here is a list of my specific complaints:

      Style sheets don't entirely work. I got all excited about how easy style sheets can make web site design when I recently redesigned this site. I used a cool font (specifying a generic alternate, of course) and color, and it looked goooood. In IE, that is. I discovered later that Netscape only displays half of my tags properly. The "H1" tag works fine; font, color, size, and all. Tags like links and "H2" work partially: the links are not underlined, which is correct, but they do not change color properly. The "H2" link, on the other hand, gets the color right but does not italicize like I want. The most vexing is the "body" tag. The background color is set properly, but nothing else is. Not my font or color, not even the generic font type! (I want sans-serif, but serif is displayed.) It makes my web site look uncohesive and poorly designed, and there's nothing I can do! (See this page for a detailed chart about what browsers support which tags.)

      Netscape is too picky about tables. I have two beefs here. First, if you leave the "border=0" attribute out of your table tag, the grid of your table will be visible as if you had been using cellspacing. My website looked hideous (in Netscape) for over a week as I tried frantically to find out what was causing this. Here is a sample of such a table, without and with the "border=0" attribute (view with Netscape to see the difference):

      cell cell
      cell spans both

      cell cell
      cell spans both

      My second table-related complaint is that if a table cell contains no text, it will not be displayed with the background you specify. I often use tables to position things, which uses empty cells a lot. And I have found no other way to keep those cells from being displayed wrong than to put a character in that cell that has a font color that is the same as the desired background. What a pain! Again, here is an example:

      The left cell above
      has no text but should
      have a green background.

      filler cell
      The left cell above
      now contains some
      green text.

      General pickiness. IE is much more forgiving than Netscape of HTML mistakes. Forget to close a table cell, leave off the lower right cell of a table, things like that, and IE figures out what you meant to do. Netscape does not and goes strictly by the code.

      Caching irritation. Netscape has a very powerful cache. By this, I mean that even after hitting "reload" (or even shift-reload), changes to a page are often still not displayed. (The cached version is displayed instead.) This makes for much added effort when one is trying to perfect a web page. I have to go in and manually empty the cache every time I want to see my changes. The only workaround to this is to set the cache to zero - but then, of course, everything loads much slower and it defeats the purpose of having a cache at all.

    For all these reasons, I have stopped giving Netscape any benefit of the doubt. If you are viewing this page through Netscape, it looks nothing like I intended - do you think I would choose plain black serif text? Please, take a look in IE and see how nice my site can really look.


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