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Netscape was never in contention, because it market share shrinks rather than grows and because it affiliated with AOL, which makes it not only my natural enemy. (I believe that AOL is like Microsoft in some of its actions and technology)
I found 3 great browsers:
All all free, superfast and as it turns out growing in popularity by exponential rates. So why hadnt I hear of them before? Well, simply put they are the workhorses of veteran net surfers and techies. They are also a threat to IE supremacy. Especially when they range in being 15-454% faster on any given day, no matter what net traffic is like.
There is only one problem. Most of us continue to build in favor of IE, almost forcing surfers to use OUR choices, rather than their own.
This led me to find the "all browsers" movement, which advocates that sites be built with more than one browser in mind, so that a user may choose whom he spends his money on or gets his freeware downloads from when he chooses a browser. And it makes sense. Why would I box my clients and their surfers into using Microsoft projects so I can do links without underlines or some other archiac feature that I "assume" can only be seen in IE, when in fact many browsers other than Netscape can handle IE features and surpass them without the file size or slowed net speed?
Opera users track, contact and plead with small and superlarge sites to revise sites so that they can continue using their favorite browser without sacrificing any feature that other users w/ other browsers may enjoy. Novel idea eh?
An internet with equal access and equal playing field for developers. imagine that....
Some links on the general subject that you may find interesting:
[devedge.netscape.com ] - Browser Detection and Cross Browser Support
[devedge.netscape.com ] - Case Study in a Successful Standards-Based Migration
The only thing I can't test it on is MSIE 4.0. I dread to think how bad my site looks in that.
I use Netscape 7.1 all the time. If I come to a site that blocks me because I use Netscape, or a site that isn't functional in Netscape then I always hit the back button on my browser and leave! ^_^
in any case Netscape's popularity is waning. Even as new versions come out the only significant users are those that are surfing with services like AOL. I have bought 2 new computers in two years. Neither came with Netscape. 3 years ago i bought a laptop and that one did. Funny how just a few years makes manufacturers say, "aah, its not worth it."
i dont build back to extremely old versions of IE. i think thats both anal and a bit oddball. afterall, if you are running a 15 year old machine, two things are probably true: you are not surfing a lot and the process is so laborous that you rarely engage.
BUT, i find that if i make something that looks good in Modzilla, Opera, K-Meleon then IE is pretty safe. If i want I can go back and add *tricks* for IE users, but i am to the point that I am about to go back and take off all references to *best viewed in* and replace them with *viewable in all browsers / no plug-ins necessary* --
thats right. i dont use flash anymore either. let me ask you this: how the hell do you expect a visually impaired surfer to use your flash product? ahh..never gave that thought did you? well, just so you know, they cant. however html allows special browsers and of course alt tags to aid handicapped users.
its all about usability, inclusiveness and providing room for small software manufacturers.
I have bought 2 new computers in two years. Neither came with Netscape. 3 years ago i bought a laptop and that one did. Funny how just a few years makes manufacturers say, "aah, its not worth it."
BUT, i find that if i make something that looks good in Modzilla, Opera, K-Meleon then IE is pretty safe.
If i want I can go back and add *tricks* for IE users