lucy24 - 9:13 pm on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)
But Seriously Folks...
One site I visit regularly was created in 2001 and, to the best of my knowledge, has never been touched since then. Wait, I tell a lie. Someone stopped by in early 2009 and added a Google Analytics link. Can't begin to imagine why, since they haven't otherwise set foot in the place since 2004-ish. (That's the datestamp on most files, and they're so close together, I think they just changed servers. The typos and bad links have definitely been there since 2001.)
The layout is constructed entirely out of nested tables. A page I pulled up at random had them nested four deep. It's done by pulling in assorted .inc files (the overall form is .jsp, a language I don't know) that each make their own tables to fill in the required spot. There is no CSS, and the original designers don't seem to have known the "border" attribute. Any table cell with a visible border is expressed as-- so help me, I'm not making this up-- a nested table consisting of outer cells with, say, width 3px and background-color dark blue, while the content goes in the middle cell.
Hm, what else? It assumes that the only browsers in use are Netscape and Internet Explorer, so the code is written as "if...else..." with no third option. Sometimes Netscape is called "Mozilla", which is fun if you're in Firefox or similar.
Generated-page encoding varies between UTF-8, Latin-1 and-- really-- 1252 (Windows-Latin-1).
Punch line: the page displays as intended, and the interactive stuff still works-- except for a few trivial details. Such as, um, the sound samples don't play (the code is browser-specific), and one form of text input doesn't work unless you do a convoluted workaround involving lying to your browser about the file encoding.
Oh, and the entrance page asks a question that has been irrelevant since around 2004, but fortunately it defaults to the right answer.
Cheers for backward compatibility. Wonder how much they're paying the webmaster?