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RE: "somebody needs to blink first"


From: John Foliot - bytown internet
Date: Feb 21, 2003 11:25AM

> I so wish I could agree with that (since I agree with most of the
> rest of your commentary during this thread)... but consider the
> educational institutions, non-profits, and sheer numbers of
> economically disadvantaged who may not have the option of
> switching to a newer browser?

Which begs the question - why? How is it acceptable that educational
institutions (in particular) would continue to use flawed software,
especially since a free replacement is a download away? (I do not accept the
argument of long download times over dial up connections either - Netscape
7.02 is available as a free CD with a minimal shipping charge of $3.00 USD
in the States, International orders are $11.00 or $12.00 USD [*1]) If a
high-school discovered that a basketball standard was fundamentally flawed,
they would replace it in a heart-beat; why should it not be the same for
software? Ditto for just about any institution; I personally find it
unacceptable that large institutions (governmental or not) cannot upgrade
browsers in a timely fashion - they don't seem to have a problem upgrading
and applying patches to other basic tools like email clients every time the
next "I Love You" virus hit's the web....

Netscape 4.7 is over 3 years old now (Sept. 1999 [*2]), the W3C standard of
HTML 4.01 was release on Dec. 24, 1999 [*3], making the browser
non-compliant to even a 3 year old standard (which I might also add is
*almost* 2 versions behind current standards, as XHTML v2.0 is in draft form
now) . No, frankly there is no excuse save one - developers continue to
coddle the beast and so there is no reason to change - "if it ain't broke
don't fix it". Well it is "broke", so let's do something about it!

> I often find myself in the ironic
> position of saying that we can't just forsake users of NS4x when
> scoping requirements for a lot of our govt. projects for those
> reasons... as much as I'd like to not have to deal with the
> vagaries of legacy browsers or older AT agents... it would be a
> massive disservice to the public to arbitrarily shut them out.

...but the thing is, by coding to the STANDARD and not fudging to NN4, my
final content is actually *more* accessible because it degrades properly
over older browsers (it's real "sweet" in Lynx for example, which means most
screen reading technologies love it too). May not "look" as pretty, but
it's structurally and semantically correct - which provides *WAY* more
accessibility than laying something out in nested tables 5 levels deep.

> Of course, in private practice/business I'm more flexible - but
> even then, it's a matter of graceful degradation, versus conscious
> disregard...

Oh, I don't consciously seek to shut them out, but if given enough reason to
do so, users of this antiquated and flawed technology will seek to do
something about it. It's a chicken and egg scenario, but the cycle needs to
be broken by somebody and I'm usually in a pissy enough mood to take it on
<grin>. In one particular instance I've even stuck my neck **way** out by
offering to personally assist seniors or the disabled with the upgrade [*4]
(in a given geographic area - and I freely conceed that this is not in
general a practical solution)

I sympathize with users who for whatever reason are still "obligated" to use
NN4.x, but if all of a sudden 40% or 50% of the websites they needed to
access for work were "broken" because of the browser their lazy (or
overworked/underfunded) IT department is unwilling to replace, you'd see
action mighty quickly don't you think? It's not the home users, it's the
big lumbersome institutions which have not kept up with the times, so I say
let's give them an incentive.


[*1] http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/download.jsp
[*2] http://www.blooberry.com/indexdot/history/browsers6.htm
[*3] http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
[*4] http://www.dougthompson.ca/accessibility.html#note

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