Note to Netscape 4.x Users

Hey, what the heck is going on here? You claim to have upgraded your site, but when I look at it in Netscape 4, it looks like something from 1994. Is this some kind of retro kick? I thought a site update was supposed to look better, not worse!

The last time I updated this site, I voyed to move from the grisly world of tables and Physical HTML tags to the wonderful world of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Logical HTML tags (more about this here). The site rendered fine in Internet Explorer 5 and Opera 6, but only partially in Netscape 4. Netscape 4's support for CSS is quirky at best, and sometimes the browser would crash.

I mucked about with the CSS so that it would look better in Netscape 4, but then it didn't look as good in IE, and it failed completely in WebTV - as I discovered the hard way from an irate user who was nevertheless gracious enough to let me know. I played and played with it, using JavaScript to recognize browser types (which doesn't work in a non-JavaScript browser), but ultimately the design was so compromised that it no longer looked very good in any browser. Also, I had backtracked quite a way towards exactly the kind of torturous coding I had wanted to escape in the first place!

It was a difficult decision, but I finally had to give up trying to style the site for Netscape 4 and other browsers that do not support web standards. By using the @import function of the <style> tag (which older browsers do not recognize) to load the style sheet, I bypassed style completely for those old browsers. All that gets through is the logical markup of headings, paragraphs, links, etc., which provides the pages with structure and function.

In my defense, let it be known that this site will (hopefully) render on any browser, even Netscape 4 (please let me know if it doesn't!). No, it won't look fancy, but all of the content is accessible. Since this site is mainly content-based (rather than functional or entertaining), the style shouldn't matter that much. Many sites nowadays won't load at all on old browsers.

A final word to Netscape 4 users: I loved that browser as much as you do. It's more secure than IE, and for a time it was the most advanced browser on the net. However, the rest of the internet (including Netscape's newer versions) has moved towards open standards of accessibility, and the old non-compliant browsers are holding it back. If you've heard the horror strories about Netscape 6 and don't want to make the jump, consider Mozilla, which uses the same rendering engine but is more solid and streamlined, or Opera, which is also solid, small, and fast. For more information on standards-compliant browsers, check out the Web Standards Project.

Valid HTML 4.01 / Valid CSS
This page fully complies with the W3C standard for HTML 4.01 Transitional and uses Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Why does this site look so bland?

This site is designed to comply with current web standards - HTML 4.01 and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) - which separate style from content. Because your browser does not support style sheets, they have been "hidden" so that you only see the content and basic formatting.

Get more out of the internet and upgrade to a standards-compliant browser - check out the Web Standards Project for links to Standards-Compliant browsers

Copyright © 2000, 2002 by Ryan McGreal