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(state as of 16. Sep 2003)

What is This?

You deserve an explanation for those two standards I'm commited to use from now on: XHTML 1.1 and CSS (2). These are recent, but no way completely new standards of the w3c, which aim to improve the web from both sides: the author content creation and the user view. That is a difficult task, because at the moment no browser at all supports those and the other standards mentioned below completely without any exception. But it seems possible, to create such pages though, which can be reasonably viewed with all noticeable browsers with some care; but this means not, that you will have the same experience or view with all browsers!

So you will get the most of these new pages with two browsers only, which come closest (i.e. close enough for my purpose) to that aim... But even text browsers will still work on these pages (hopefully in an acceptable manner, so you may complain, if they don't).

The Standards

Why we need to use open and portable Standards

The goals of those open standards are to enable all people viewing and using the web, independent from their physical capabilities (think of handicapped people too!), their chosen operating system and ideally also independent of the chosen browser (that is the hardest part to accomplish). This makes the vision of the world wide web for everyone without discrimination of any kind viable, leaving some other obstacles like language barriers (which can be overcome with these standards too, but which requires a lot of additional work) as the only ones. And we have to avoid non-portable and especially proprietary (non-)standards for the very same reason: they are beyond public control, and often using unnecassary obstacles therefore. For example it should be the aim, to substitute the proprietary flash format with w3c's SVG format (XML based).

The list I want to be supported by all Browsers

Browsers revisited

Here some additional aspects are included too, like user friendliness, speed, security, privacy and reliability. But the primary goal is still that from above: true support of the required standards. And I have more pages regarding web browsers, which you might find interesting. An OS hint is given in braces too (availability).

Recommendable Browsers

There are just two (or maybe three or more, depends on counting), the best two out there:

  1. Opera 7 (Windoze and GNU/Linux, and on some others like Solaris, FreeBSD; on the Mac still version 6): the best CSS support out there at the moment, only very minor deficiencies like text-align with a chosable character, the only (already since version 6 at least CSS counters) browser supporting all link rel attribute values (though it doesn't load automatically prefetch and next URLs), considering its superior speed it is at now definitely number one. It has even extended stylesheet handling build in to watch own or several build in ones on demand (useful for developers too).

  2. Mozilla (all OSs, some other derivatives use the same Gecko engine): no CSS counters support so far, incomplete table CSS support, but since v1.3 the only one to support next and prefetch as defined already many years ago before the advent even of HTML 4(!). Some relatives like Mozilla Firebird (formerly Phoenix), current Camino builds as Galeon support also these newer features, while others like Netscape 7 or Beonex are somewhat behind, still using v1.0 as code base. Mozilla offers (aside from a similar alternative stylesheet model as in Opera 7, but slightly less flexible and elaborate) a number of unique features, which even Opera 7 doesn't have like XSLT support, DOM inspector, JavaScript debugger (Venkman) and some more, but those features are more often used by developers than by the majority of browser users. After years of leadership in the w3c standards support race even against Opera, we can expect considerable improvements likely in versions 1.5 and 1.6, which may reverse or equal the race with Opera (7) again. Only limited SVG support can be found in some (not all!) builds so far. Meanwhile Mozilla supports also link rel attributes with an extra bar like Opera 7.

Not (so) recommendable Browsers

Browsers not to use at all

M§IE 6 (Win only, v5 on Mac is mostly even worse): lacking XHTML 1.1 and no correct mime type support, lack of some standard entities like ' (apostrophe: '), broken and incomplete CSS support even for major attributes (for example position: fixed), no MNG support and partly broken PNG support, uses JScript instead of ECMAsript and additional non-standard proprietary extensions like VBscript and ActiveX, very buggy and insecure (especially but not only ActiveX), no adequate privacy protection, not user-friendly (but evil webmaster friendly) at all; finally it is an illegal monopoly tool of the Redmond mob, designed to offend open standards in a manner to prevent other browsers and other OSs to get the same view of the web by trying to stop webmasters from testing with much more w3c compliant browsers: maximum monopoly abuse.

Netscape 4.8 and older (all OSs but Mac OS X): very dated browser, so nearly no CSS support, many entities missing, no XHTML support, even important HTML 4 features like IFrames missing, own JavaScript extensions, not covered by ECMAscript, no DOM support, no unicode, no SVG, MNG or PNG transparency support and somewhat insufficient privacy protection by too general configuration options.

OmniWeb 4.21 (Mac OS X only): despite it has good PNG support, the rendering engine is about as bad as the Netscape 4 one --- and the CSS support is totally incomplete and broken still in v4.21, you will not have fun using it on these pages! (even less as with Netscape, which is at least better behaving in regard of unsupported CSS)

Concluding Remarks

This is a fairly short account due to the complexity of the topic. But either way, some final remarks go here...

OSs not mentioned so far

There are rarely used, dying and dead (AIX, Amiga, OS/2 and the classic Mac OS) operating systems, which I have not mentioned so far, but some will get a few short remarks:

A Glimpse into the farer Future

What to come? This is often the hardest part, I know. Probably the XML (r)evolution will make the web even more a standard compliant and useful place for us all; this in already on the way with XHTML, SVG and more to come. Maybe the hardly used XSLT or a similar approach can extend the device independent way of presenting data... This is still not achieved in a satisfying way at now (for example Mozilla since beta 0.91 and much later IE 6 are the only browsers to support XSLT for now). And it is important, that w3c conformant browsers like Opera and Mozilla beat incompatible ones like the monopoly utility of Windoze to make this really happen!

Finally try this page to view with the correct mime type(s) (at time of adding this line only Opera 7 and the Gecko based browsers as in limited way Safari (KHTML 3) cope correctly with it), opposed to the traditional text/html induced tagsoup (quirk) mode:

mime type application/xhtml+xml (w3c recommendation)

mime type text/xml (less preferable, but much more correct than text/html)

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remarks, questions etc. to: stefan.urbat@apastron.lb.shuttle.de public key

(URL: http://www.lb.shuttle.de/apastron/xhtmlcss.html)