June 17, 2002

Webby Shenanigans

A few interesting web-related things were going on while I was gone.

First, the new redesign of Yahoo! is causing quite a stir. Mainly it’s people yelling about how it still isn’t valid HTML. Oh well. That’s what you get when you’re one of the biggest web properties in the world, and you have to look the same in Netscape 1.0 as Mozilla 1.0.

But anyway. I found out from Simon Willison that Micah S Sittig has done an XHTML/CSS redo of the redo. It’s a nice thought, nice execution, but it kind of falls down on the job. It looks good in Mozilla, okay in IE, but it lands right on its face in Netscape 4.x. In fact, it rather nicely does the job of proving why XHTML+CSS won’t fly as long as 4.x browsers are still out in the wild. I guess it all comes down to an individual’s definition of “nicely degrade”. I’m sure this isn’t a Yahoo! manager’s idea of “nicely”.

Next up is Amazon. Another hot target, Anil Dash did a really nice version of it that validates and looks damn good in Netscape 4. Ralph Brandi jumped in and turned it into XHTML, and still lookin’ good in Netscape. Steve Clay jumped in, but he couldn’t resist the temptation to use <div>s instead of <table>s. Oh, sorry. Better luck next time. Does not degrade “nicely”. Can’t win them all, I guess.

So, the ruling from the bench: XHTML/CSS is the wave of the future – up to a point. CSS1 can happen right now, if the big managers get behind it. But tabled layouts are here to stay, at least for the afore-mentioned big boys. There’s no way around it; most people’s idea of “degrading nicely” just isn’t “nice” enough when 5% of your audience is counted in 5, 6 or even 7 digits.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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