quirks mode

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Michael Jaeger, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. Hi,

    I keep reading the term "quirks mode" more recently now, but I have to
    admit that I seem to be one of the unitiated. What does it mean?
    Can anyone of you guys out there enlighten me, please?

    Thanks,

    Mike

    --
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://www.majaeger.de
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Michael Jaeger, Apr 28, 2004
    #1
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  2. On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 17:23:37 +0200 Michael Jaeger posted:

    > I keep reading the term "quirks mode" more recently now, but I have to
    > admit that I seem to be one of the unitiated. What does it mean?


    Most modern browsers have two rendering modes. The Quirks mode render HTML
    like old browsers (i.e. Netscape 4, Internet Explorer 4/5). In standard
    mode they render the page adhering to W3C recommendations. The use of
    standard mode ist triggered by the presence of a document type declaration
    (i.e. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
    "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/DTD/strict.dtd">).

    see: http://gutfeldt.ch/matthias/articles/doctypeswitch.html
    see also:
    http://www.carsten-protsch.de/zwischennetz/doctype/einleitung.html


    HTH
    David
    David Christopher Weichert, Apr 29, 2004
    #2
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  3. Michael Jaeger

    Whitecrest Guest

    In article <c6qs85$d5i0d$-berlin.de>,
    says...
    > I keep reading the term "quirks mode" more recently now, but I have to
    > admit that I seem to be one of the unitiated. What does it mean?
    > Can anyone of you guys out there enlighten me, please?


    Basically, before there were standards, Microsoft wanted to move ahead
    with CSS, so they made the decision (since no one else would) that
    things should work a certain way. They moved ahead and gave everyone a
    CSS browser, that worked great.

    Then someone got together and said well this is the new standard, and
    RATHER than using something that was already used on 90% of the worlds
    browsers. They decided it would be best to define things differently,
    thusly fucking everything up.

    Quirk mode lets the browser switch from handling this CSS the old way or
    the new way. Playing with different combinations base on what you are
    trying to do will result in different looks.

    --
    Whitecrest Entertainment
    www.whitecrestent.com
    Whitecrest, Apr 29, 2004
    #3
  4. Michael Jaeger

    C A Upsdell Guest

    "Whitecrest" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <c6qs85$d5i0d$-berlin.de>,
    > says...
    > > I keep reading the term "quirks mode" more recently now, but I have to
    > > admit that I seem to be one of the unitiated. What does it mean?
    > > Can anyone of you guys out there enlighten me, please?

    >
    > Basically, before there were standards, Microsoft wanted to move ahead
    > with CSS, so they made the decision (since no one else would) that
    > things should work a certain way. They moved ahead and gave everyone a
    > CSS browser, that worked great.
    >
    > Then someone got together and said well this is the new standard, and
    > RATHER than using something that was already used on 90% of the worlds
    > browsers. They decided it would be best to define things differently,
    > thusly fucking everything up.


    No. What happened is more complex than that.

    First, NN4 and IE4 came out before the CSS1 standards were published, so
    both implemented CSS wrongly and incompletely, with NN4 being far worse.
    (The same can also be said for their compliance with the HTML standards.)

    Second, CSS support improved as the browsers were upgraded -- NN4.0x to
    NN4.5+, and IE4 to IE5 to IE5.5 to IE6 -- with IE remaining well in the
    lead, but still with many non-compliancy problems. In the meanwhile Mozilla
    and Opera were evolving, also providing better CSS support as they were
    upgraded.

    Third, a major factor impeding improved compliance was the need to maintain
    compatibility with older browsers: further improvements in compliance
    threatened to break many existing websites. To circumvent this problem
    Microsoft introduced DOCTYPE sniffing to decide how compliant IE should be,
    with some DOCTYPEs triggering quirks mode, where designers could expect IE
    to work much as it had in the past, and with other DOCTYPEs triggering
    standards mode, where designers could expect IE to work more compliantly
    with the standards. The Mozilla, Opera, and Safari designers made similar
    decisions, each adding DOCTYPE sniffing to their browsers.

    Fourth, further improvements in IE ended with the appearance of IE6 (its
    successor not expected now till mid-2006), but other browsers have continued
    in their quest to improve standards compliance, and have taken over the lead
    from IE.

    The bottom line is that no browser is 100% in compliance with standards,
    that successful browsers have become more compliant with each new version,
    that Microsoft has recently lost its lead in standards support, and that
    further improvements in IE are stalled, awaiting the next major release of
    Windows.
    C A Upsdell, Apr 29, 2004
    #4
  5. On Thu, 29 Apr 2004 10:04:58 -0400 Whitecrest posted:
    >
    > Basically, before there were standards, Microsoft wanted to move ahead
    > with CSS, so they made the decision (since no one else would) that
    > things should work a certain way. They moved ahead and gave everyone a
    > CSS browser, that worked great.


    Although this is true, CSS was not invented by Microsoft, but by the W3C.
    Microsoft moved ahead with IE 3.0 (in August 1996) before CSS had become a
    stable, i.e. reached recommendation status (which was achieved by December
    1996). Hence their implementation was different from the final official
    version. (They also implemented XSLT ahead of time).

    Whitecrest makes it sound like this early adoption is good, and it is
    probably so for those who are keen on seeing a technology preview. For the
    web at large however this was a clear take-over bid by Microsoft and it
    seems (at least for the time being) a successful one. It also seems that
    we are still not writing in some Microsoft Web Language and the existence
    of alt.html is proof that an independent web with open standards is
    desirable and the community behind this desire is alive and kicking.

    Netscape had been working on its own stylesheet language JavaScript Style
    Sheet (JSSS) at that time and when it became clear that their proposal was
    going to be turned down by the W3C in favour of CSS, they implemented the
    CSS syntax into their already advanced though unfinished JSSS engine. (For
    this reason CSS does not work at all in NS 4 when JavaScript is off).
    Unfortunately the CSS implementation of NS 4.x turned out to be very poor.
    In IE 4.0 Microsoft addressed some of the problems with CSS and IE 3.0,
    but the new module responsible for displaying CSS (code-named "Trident")
    was also not completely in line with the W3Cs recommendation.

    > Then someone got together and said well this is the new standard, and
    > RATHER than using something that was already used on 90% of the worlds
    > browsers.


    Someone was together already and Microsoft's own Thomas Reardon was among
    the participants.

    > They decided it would be best to define things differently,
    > thusly fucking everything up.


    The CSS recommendation unfucked rather than fucked. If the W3Cs work had
    been so bad

    a) Microsoft would not have moved in their direction

    and/or

    b) the Web community and free developers would not have moved in their
    direction.


    Regards
    David
    David Christopher Weichert, Apr 29, 2004
    #5
  6. David Christopher Weichert wrote:

    > On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 17:23:37 +0200 Michael Jaeger posted:
    >
    >> I keep reading the term "quirks mode" more recently now, but I have
    >> to admit that I seem to be one of the unitiated. What does it mean?

    >
    > Most modern browsers have two rendering modes. The Quirks mode render
    > HTML like old browsers (i.e. Netscape 4, Internet Explorer 4/5). In
    > standard mode they render the page adhering to W3C recommendations.
    > The use of standard mode ist triggered by the presence of a document
    > type declaration (i.e. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML
    > 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/DTD/strict.dtd">).
    >
    > see: http://gutfeldt.ch/matthias/articles/doctypeswitch.html
    > see also:
    > http://www.carsten-protsch.de/zwischennetz/doctype/einleitung.html


    David, Whitecrest,

    thanks for your helpful explanations. I will check the links right away
    to gain some deeper insight into the matter.

    Mike

    --
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://www.majaeger.de
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Michael Jaeger, Apr 29, 2004
    #6
  7. Michael Jaeger

    Karl Groves Guest

    "Michael Jaeger" <> wrote in message
    news:c6qs85$d5i0d$-berlin.de...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I keep reading the term "quirks mode" more recently now, but I have to
    > admit that I seem to be one of the unitiated. What does it mean?
    > Can anyone of you guys out there enlighten me, please?
    >


    http://www.google.com/search?q=quirks mode

    -Karl
    Karl Groves, Apr 29, 2004
    #7
  8. "David Christopher Weichert" <> wrote:

    > Most modern browsers have two rendering modes.


    Well, that's what they say, without actually describing the differences
    or even the exact conditions of triggering them. In reality, they have
    different modes, and the doctype sniffing foolishness is just one
    feature, possibly with more than two alternatives.

    > The Quirks mode render
    > HTML like old browsers (i.e. Netscape 4, Internet Explorer 4/5).


    No, it just means that newer browsers intentionally imitate _some_ of the
    erroneous behavior of the older browsers.

    > In standard mode they render the page adhering to W3C recommendations.


    That's what they might want us to believe, but in reality, "standard"
    mode only means that the browser does not intentionally misbehave the way
    that they do "Quirks" mode.

    > The use of standard mode ist triggered by the presence of a document
    > type declaration (i.e. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML
    > 4.01//EN"
    > "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/DTD/strict.dtd">).


    Most probably, but that's not the only case.

    > see: http://gutfeldt.ch/matthias/articles/doctypeswitch.html


    Well, _there_ you can find some detailed information on the conditions of
    triggering the intentional errors (aka "Quirks mode").

    But unfortunately there is no good compilation of _what_ the "Quirks
    mode" _causes_ in each browser. It has even been said, almost
    authoritatively, that the "Quirks mode" _should not_ be documented!

    A rule of thumb: If you get an old document, do _not_ change its DOCTYPE
    declaration to one that may trigger "standard mode". When you write new
    documents, use valid markup according to specifications unless you really
    know what you're doing, and use a magic incantation that triggers
    "standard mode".

    As an example, if a document has used the nonstandard
    <table height="..."> construct, the layout will fall apart in most
    browsing situations if you add a standard DOCTYPE _or_ a DOCTYPE
    declaration that refers to a customized DTD.

    (Don't try to make sense of it. There's no rational reason why a browser
    should stop interpreting nonstandard markup that it knows well, just
    because a document incorrectly claims conformance to HTML 4.01 syntax,
    i.e. claims that the nonstandard attribute isn't there, _or_ refers to a
    DTD that describes the syntax used.)

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    Jukka K. Korpela, Apr 30, 2004
    #8
  9. Thank you for the corrections Jukka. I'm always impressed with the
    accuracy of your answers. Your erudition puts me to shame.


    Kind regards
    David
    David Christopher Weichert, Apr 30, 2004
    #9
  10. Michael Jaeger

    C A Upsdell Guest

    "Michael Jaeger" <> wrote in message
    news:c6thu7$g72vm$-berlin.de...
    > David Christopher Weichert wrote:
    >
    > > On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 17:23:37 +0200 Michael Jaeger posted:
    > >
    > >> I keep reading the term "quirks mode" more recently now, but I have
    > >> to admit that I seem to be one of the unitiated. What does it mean?

    > >
    > > Most modern browsers have two rendering modes.


    The Mozilla-based browsers and Safari have three mode: quirks mode,
    almost-standards mode, and standards mode. For more see:

    http://www.upsdell.com/BrowserNews/res_doctype.htm#a02
    C A Upsdell, Apr 30, 2004
    #10
  11. Michael Jaeger

    Jeff Thies Guest

    > But unfortunately there is no good compilation of _what_ the "Quirks
    > mode" _causes_ in each browser. It has even been said, almost
    > authoritatively, that the "Quirks mode" _should not_ be documented!
    >
    > A rule of thumb: If you get an old document, do _not_ change its DOCTYPE
    > declaration to one that may trigger "standard mode". When you write new
    > documents, use valid markup according to specifications unless you really
    > know what you're doing, and use a magic incantation that triggers
    > "standard mode".
    >
    > As an example, if a document has used the nonstandard
    > <table height="..."> construct, the layout will fall apart in most
    > browsing situations if you add a standard DOCTYPE _or_ a DOCTYPE
    > declaration that refers to a customized DTD.


    Is that about the worst of it? (The table height, which I've never used).
    The quirks mode documentation I've read makes little sense to me. This
    really seems to be mostly abourt satsifying IE5 in a few odd circumstances.
    THe Netscape and Opera quirks mode seem even more arcane.

    Jeff


    >
    > (Don't try to make sense of it. There's no rational reason why a browser
    > should stop interpreting nonstandard markup that it knows well, just
    > because a document incorrectly claims conformance to HTML 4.01 syntax,
    > i.e. claims that the nonstandard attribute isn't there, _or_ refers to a
    > DTD that describes the syntax used.)
    >
    > --
    > Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    > Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    >
    >
    Jeff Thies, May 5, 2004
    #11
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