Retro Coding: CSS and Netscape 4x

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. I am about to start on a quite large (and ever growing) site (with two
    implemented databases), lots of pages, (maybe) a discussion forum,

    Now here's the rub: the page has to function and look fairly
    decent in Netscape 4x browsers, too. Haven't coded with Netscape 4x in
    mind for quite a while, but there are several options I can think of
    right away:
    Code the entire page in a transitional tag soup, including lots of
    tables, gif spacers, etc. (Urgh!) That way, it'll look more or less okay
    on different browsers including Netscape 4x, but the code will be murky,
    maintenance will be higher, and I'd have to provide much more commentary
    as usual for possible follow up designers/coders. Anyway, that's clearly
    the way I would least like to go.

    Code two different pages, one for modern browsers, one for classic
    browsers. (Another Urgh! Highly impractical, completely inefficient and
    twice the maintenance work.)

    Or, and that's the option that at this point seems to me the most
    prudent option, is to code the site in strict XHTML 1.0 (or maybe even
    HTML 4.01... does it make any difference in Netscape 4x?) , use a basic
    set of tables for positioning, and then feed Netscape 4x a different
    stylesheet based on the stuff N4 understands, and try to get it to look
    halfway decent. To me, that seems to be the way to go at this point. I
    usually test sites in Lynx, too, to see if the basics are there even if
    all the layout's gone, so the site should be usable no matter what, but
    Netscape 4x should be considered when designing the site, as quite a few
    visitors will be using Netscape 4x on Unix.

    Has anybody else coded with Netscape 4x in the back of his mind lately
    and has anybody maybe suggestions/warnings/pieces of advice/mistakes to
    avoid/other stuff that I might/could/should consider?

    --
    Nicolai Zwar
    Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 25, 2004
    #1
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  2. Nicolai P. Zwar

    Spartanicus Guest

    "Nicolai P. Zwar" <> wrote:

    >Now here's the rub: the page has to function and look fairly
    >decent in Netscape 4x browsers, too.


    Proper marked up content looks fine to me sans presentation, users
    typically don't give a hoot for presentation, they want sites to work.

    Dezigners are the ones who typically have a problem with the idea that
    God forbid someone might not get to see their cherished "dezign", I
    suggest tackling that problem at the source (fix the dezigner).

    --
    Spartanicus
    Spartanicus, Jan 25, 2004
    #2
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  3. Spartanicus wrote:
    > "Nicolai P. Zwar" <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Now here's the rub: the page has to function and look fairly
    >>decent in Netscape 4x browsers, too.

    >
    >
    > Proper marked up content looks fine to me sans presentation, users
    > typically don't give a hoot for presentation, they want sites to work.


    Yawn... some people here could use certainly a bit originality in their
    replies... this type of answer has a beard longer than a dinosaur.
    Anyway, certain HTML coders here may not give a hoot about presentation,
    and you may not care about presentation, but having a well designed page
    is part of what pakes a site work for a user.

    > Dezigners are the ones who typically have a problem with the idea that
    > God forbid someone might not get to see their cherished "dezign", I
    > suggest tackling that problem at the source (fix the dezigner).


    Seems to me more as if certain hard core HTMLers are the ones that have
    a problem with the fact that the Internet is no longer a dry text
    information desert (like the sites they usually program themselves...
    often at Universities or informatics circles) but has become, among
    other things, a multimedia playground.
    In fact, if you would truly not care about presentation, you would't
    even have bothered to reply to this thread just to point out that you
    don't care about presentation. Obviously you do care about presentation.
    It's one thing to say that you don't care about presentation, it's quite
    another to assume that the rest of the world out there doesn't either.
    In this case, I have been hired specifically as a designer by people who
    know enough about HTML to code pages themselves, so obviously there's a
    market out there for people who do care about design.


    --
    Nicolai Zwar
    Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 25, 2004
    #3
  4. Nicolai P. Zwar

    Spartanicus Guest

    "Nicolai P. Zwar" <> wrote:

    >>>Now here's the rub: the page has to function and look fairly
    >>>decent in Netscape 4x browsers, too.

    >
    >Seems to me more as if certain hard core HTMLers are the ones that have
    >a problem with the fact that the Internet is no longer a dry text
    >information desert (like the sites they usually program themselves...
    >often at Universities or informatics circles) but has become, among
    >other things, a multimedia playground.


    No problem with that, but you are proposing to sacrifice proper markup
    for the sake of presentation on a marginally used badly broken UA, that
    is silly.

    --
    Spartanicus
    Spartanicus, Jan 25, 2004
    #4
  5. Spartanicus wrote:
    > Proper marked up content looks fine to me sans presentation, users
    > typically don't give a hoot for presentation, they want sites to work.


    Design does matter, or CSS wouldn't exist at all. Content is king, and
    the web shouldn't be a "multimedia playground", but pages should
    generally be pretty.

    I don't care too much about NS4 for my own sites, so I just hide all
    stylesheets from it, but this
    http://www.saila.com/usage/layouts/nn4-layouts.shtml has a list of
    all-CSS layouts which claim to work in NS4.
    Leif K-Brooks, Jan 25, 2004
    #5
  6. Spartanicus wrote:
    > No problem with that, but you are proposing to sacrifice proper markup
    > for the sake of presentation on a marginally used badly broken UA, that
    > is silly.


    Let's say this page is being made for college students at a college
    where (like most) old browsers are heavily used. "Proper markup" would
    sure be nice, but if using old hacks is the only option which will make
    the pages look pretty, why not use them?
    Leif K-Brooks, Jan 25, 2004
    #6
  7. Nicolai P. Zwar <> wrote:
    > Has anybody else coded with Netscape 4x in the back of his mind lately
    > and has anybody maybe suggestions/warnings/pieces of advice/mistakes
    > to avoid/other stuff that I might/could/should consider?


    A lot of people simply don't code with NS 4.x in mind because it's a broken,
    old, non-standard technology. If you make your page with proper, structured,
    logical markup, you can style it with CSS and hide the style sheet from NS
    4.x so it won't break the code. This method uses the @import rule.

    <style type="text/css">
    @import url("mystyle.css");
    </style>

    Without the style your page should (theoretically) maintain usability and
    readability for those using a technology 6 years behind the times.
    --
    Michael Wilcox
    mjwilco at yahoo dot com
    Essential Tools for the Web Developer - http://mikewilcox.t35.com
    Michael Wilcox, Jan 25, 2004
    #7
  8. Leif K-Brooks wrote:
    > Spartanicus wrote:
    >
    >> Proper marked up content looks fine to me sans presentation, users
    >> typically don't give a hoot for presentation, they want sites to work.

    >
    >
    > Design does matter, or CSS wouldn't exist at all.


    Indeed.

    > Content is king, and
    > the web shouldn't be a "multimedia playground", but pages should
    > generally be pretty.


    Of course, content is king, but sometimes design or multimedia _is_ the
    (main) content. While I would say that the web shouldn't be a
    "multimedia playground" _only_, I do believe that multimedia on the web
    has its place and purpose. I accept that there's a multitude of Users
    out there with a multitude of different attitudes and demands.
    Obviously, the W3C page caters to a different audience than Barbie.com,
    yet they are both part of the Web, both have their purposes, and I've
    got no problem with that.

    > I don't care too much about NS4 for my own sites, so I just hide all
    > stylesheets from it, but this
    > http://www.saila.com/usage/layouts/nn4-layouts.shtml has a list of
    > all-CSS layouts which claim to work in NS4.



    Thanks, that's quite helpful. I already have reference books in which N4
    compatible CSS tags that supposedly work in N4 are listed, but it's very
    practical to have an HTML doc at hand. I agree, personally I have
    dropped N4 already quite some time ago. Now I have to re-install it to
    check what can be done with it. Are there problems when installing
    Netscape 4 on Windows XP that already has a Netscape/Mozilla
    installation? Anybody knows?


    --
    Nicolai Zwar -- http://www.nicolaizwar.com

    "I don't post off-topic digests. I consistently ask the antagonists
    what their postings have to do with classical music, which happens to be
    the topic of this newsgroup."
    (Dr. David J. Tholen, Astronomer, in his "Antagonists Digest, Volume
    2452972, posted in rec.music.classical)
    Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 25, 2004
    #8
  9. Nicolai P. Zwar

    Spartanicus Guest

    Leif K-Brooks <> wrote:

    >> No problem with that, but you are proposing to sacrifice proper markup
    >> for the sake of presentation on a marginally used badly broken UA, that
    >> is silly.

    >
    >Let's say this page is being made for college students at a college
    >where (like most) old browsers are heavily used.


    Wanna bet that this isn't the case?

    --
    Spartanicus
    Spartanicus, Jan 25, 2004
    #9
  10. Spartanicus wrote:


    > No problem with that, but you are proposing to sacrifice proper markup
    > for the sake of presentation on a marginally used badly broken UA, that
    > is silly.


    The main point is that I have to design (yep, design) pages that will
    work and look good in both modern browsers and N4. If you know of a way
    to achieve that with fully compliant code and no layout tables at all,
    I'm all open to suggestions. It's not as if I don't give a damn about
    valid, accessible code myself.
    As I have said, I do not wish to code tag soup if it can be avoided, but
    NS4 compatibility is at this stage more important than W3 validity (and
    it's not so "on a whim" but because a larger than average portion of
    Users of this site will be using this very browser on Unix), so there's
    the rub. I believe that using a basic table set (as simple and with as
    few cells as possible) to position things and then feed different
    stylesheets to modern browsers and NS4 is the most reasonable way to
    achieve that goal, _and_ the code will be even valid. I'm even aiming to
    achieve strict and not transitional code if that is in any way
    reasonably possible, so believe me, I do give a damn about accessibility
    and Web standards, I'm just not religiously zealot about it. In fact, a
    basic layout table set creates practically no problems, not even for
    browsers such as Lynx (I test all my pages in Lynx, too) or other
    browser implementations, such as screen readers. So it seems the
    reasonable way to go. But the bottom line is that these pages have to
    not just to function (any well structured HTML document will do then),
    but to _look_ good in NS4, as the site itself will have a largely
    presentational purpose. To solve this problem is why I've been hired.


    --
    Nicolai Zwar
    Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 25, 2004
    #10
  11. Spartanicus wrote:

    > Leif K-Brooks <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>>No problem with that, but you are proposing to sacrifice proper markup
    >>>for the sake of presentation on a marginally used badly broken UA, that
    >>>is silly.

    >>
    >>Let's say this page is being made for college students at a college
    >>where (like most) old browsers are heavily used.

    >
    >
    > Wanna bet that this isn't the case?


    You pretty much lost. It's not so much college students, as it will be
    scientists and researchers, but a large part of the visitors _will_ be
    using Netscape 4x on Unix. That's a given in this project.



    --
    Nicolai Zwar
    Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 25, 2004
    #11
  12. Nicolai P. Zwar wrote:
    > Are there problems when installing
    > Netscape 4 on Windows XP that already has a Netscape/Mozilla
    > installation? Anybody knows?


    Shouldn't be.
    Leif K-Brooks, Jan 25, 2004
    #12
  13. Nicolai P. Zwar wrote:

    > Are there problems when installing Netscape 4 on Windows XP that already
    > has a Netscape/Mozilla installation? Anybody knows?


    My test box has a Windows NT partition that includes 6 different versions
    of Netscape side-by-side (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7) as well as Mozilla 1 and
    Mosaic 0.6, 1, 2 and 3. They all live very happily together.

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me - http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/?page=132
    Toby A Inkster, Jan 25, 2004
    #13
  14. Leif K-Brooks wrote:
    > Nicolai P. Zwar wrote:
    >
    >> Are there problems when installing Netscape 4 on Windows XP that
    >> already has a Netscape/Mozilla installation? Anybody knows?

    >
    >
    > Shouldn't be.



    I just checked out some of the links of the link you provided, Leif.
    Very helpful stuff. Seems that, while Netscape 4 is hopelessly behind
    the times when it comes to stylesheets, there are still quite a few
    things that can be done with it. Thanks again.


    --
    Nicolai Zwar
    Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 25, 2004
    #14
  15. Nicolai P. Zwar

    Jeff Thies Guest

    > > Are there problems when installing Netscape 4 on Windows XP that already
    > > has a Netscape/Mozilla installation? Anybody knows?

    >
    > My test box has a Windows NT partition that includes 6 different versions
    > of Netscape side-by-side (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7) as well as Mozilla 1 and
    > Mosaic 0.6, 1, 2 and 3. They all live very happily together.


    Wow , NS1!

    Curious, when did tables come into existance? Was it NS3? or NS2.

    Jeff

    >
    > --
    > Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    > Contact Me - http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/?page=132
    >
    Jeff Thies, Jan 26, 2004
    #15
  16. Nicolai P. Zwar

    Steve Pugh Guest

    "Jeff Thies" <> wrote:

    >Curious, when did tables come into existance? Was it NS3? or NS2.


    One of Mosaic 2 alphas. Earliest Netscape support was in 1.1

    Steve

    --
    "My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
    I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

    Steve Pugh <> <http://steve.pugh.net/>
    Steve Pugh, Jan 26, 2004
    #16
  17. Nicolai P. Zwar

    mike jones Guest

    > Of course, content is king, but sometimes design or multimedia _is_ the
    > (main) content. While I would say that the web shouldn't be a


    Content IS king, as you say, and if I were still using NS4 in the present
    day, that's all I would care about - that I can read what the page is trying
    to tell me. So my advice would be to do all your content first (as you would
    anyway, I'm sure) using divs and spans and whatnot (NO TABLES for layout)
    use your unordered lists for your links and all that jazz. Make sure it
    makes sense without stylesheets, just markup, and then leave that for the
    NS4 users while you work on making it look good for the later browsers. You
    could always apply a little alternative style for NS4 but forget about
    trying to position this exactly there and all that, it's not worth the
    trouble. So long as it looks clean and is easy to use, I'm sure the NS4
    users will be happy as pie.


    > check what can be done with it. Are there problems when installing
    > Netscape 4 on Windows XP that already has a Netscape/Mozilla
    > installation? Anybody knows?


    I've installed NS4 with NS6 already installed and that was fine.
    mike jones, Jan 26, 2004
    #17
  18. mike jones schrieb:
    >>Of course, content is king, but sometimes design or multimedia _is_ the
    >>(main) content. While I would say that the web shouldn't be a

    >
    >
    > Content IS king, as you say, and if I were still using NS4 in the present
    > day, that's all I would care about - that I can read what the page is trying
    > to tell me. So my advice would be to do all your content first (as you would
    > anyway, I'm sure) using divs and spans and whatnot (NO TABLES for layout)
    > use your unordered lists for your links and all that jazz. Make sure it
    > makes sense without stylesheets, just markup, and then leave that for the
    > NS4 users while you work on making it look good for the later browsers. You
    > could always apply a little alternative style for NS4 but forget about
    > trying to position this exactly there and all that, it's not worth the
    > trouble. So long as it looks clean and is easy to use, I'm sure the NS4
    > users will be happy as pie.


    To not worry about the design for NS4 and just deliver plain markup for
    this browser is not an option; the site will have a largely
    presentational nature and a plain old black and white doc look won't do.
    (They wouldn't have hired me to do that anyway... they know their HTML).
    I agree with you that before everything, an HTML doc should make sense
    without stylesheets, but some pages will require special plug-ins, there
    will be password protected areas, a discussion forum (one that has to be
    usable with NS4, too), so while I again agree with you that I shouldn't
    worry about positioning everything _exactly_ on the screen, I cannot
    risk to have things positioned completely at random. Keep in mind the
    site will have a presentational nature.


    >
    >>check what can be done with it. Are there problems when installing
    >>Netscape 4 on Windows XP that already has a Netscape/Mozilla
    >>installation? Anybody knows?

    >
    >
    > I've installed NS4 with NS6 already installed and that was fine.


    Thanks. Super.

    --
    Nicolai Zwar
    Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 26, 2004
    #18
  19. Toby A Inkster wrote:

    > Nicolai P. Zwar wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Are there problems when installing Netscape 4 on Windows XP that already
    >>has a Netscape/Mozilla installation? Anybody knows?

    >
    >
    > My test box has a Windows NT partition that includes 6 different versions
    > of Netscape side-by-side (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7) as well as Mozilla 1 and
    > Mosaic 0.6, 1, 2 and 3. They all live very happily together.


    Super. Thanks. I was worried there might be some conflicts because of
    the Mozilla name, either when installing or when de-installing later on.

    PS: Just for the heck of it: can you still get a copy of Netscape 1,2,
    or 3 anywhere? Or Mosaic 1 or 2?



    --
    Nicolai Zwar -- http://www.nicolaizwar.com

    "I don't post off-topic digests. I consistently ask the antagonists
    what their postings have to do with classical music, which happens to be
    the topic of this newsgroup."
    (Dr. David J. Tholen, Astronomer, in his "Antagonists Digest, Volume
    2452972, posted in rec.music.classical)
    Nicolai P. Zwar, Jan 26, 2004
    #19
  20. Nicolai P. Zwar

    Steve Pugh Guest

    "Nicolai P. Zwar" <> wrote:

    >PS: Just for the heck of it: can you still get a copy of Netscape 1,2,
    >or 3 anywhere? Or Mosaic 1 or 2?


    http://browsers.evolt.org/

    Steve

    --
    "My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
    I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

    Steve Pugh <> <http://steve.pugh.net/>
    Steve Pugh, Jan 26, 2004
    #20
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