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Wow what an eye opener...kinda like the web tv viewer. What I found however, was the rendering problems were due to the stricter adherence to the w3c standard and less "forgiveness". When I dug in I quickly spotted the simple errors and cleaned them up and then everything was fine.
I think css is becoming the glue that you can use to make your site as browser compatible as possible.
I'm so impressed with the potential, that I started devoting an hour a day to studying the O'Reilly CSS book. I don't want to learn CSS the way I started in HTML, accumulating bad habits I'll need to break later, just hacking around hit and miss.
I can't wait till everything becomes that strict and standardized... after a few months of adjustment, my job will become much easier.
I need to start on the discipline kick again and get back to studying feverishly. I spent a year on the books and got up to par and now it's time to "kick it up a notch". I definitely want to learn PHP/MySQL and the css thing will be a big factor in the whole process of making it all seo friendly.
I've been using the MSIE6 preview lately, and I notice that it accomodates more non-standard code, even as it also supports more standards. The Netscape 6 approach seems to be "if it's not standard, I won't render it", making it more of a litmus test for proper coding.
The average user will probablyt prefer Explorer, and not appreciate all the current site designs that blow up on NN6. But the designer can use Netscape as a better "tester".
Right now it looks like MSIE will continue to dominate the market. I could not recommend N6 to my mother, for instance, even though it cam pre-installed on her new e-machine.
regarding flash: those are minor problems that can be fixed, either by developers or in later releases of the studio. i think a lot of flash development, now, is bad because it is done by designers who don't really understand the medium, and don't think beyond visual effects. but when some smart developer really pushes flash, integrates it with a non-trivial backend, thinks of just how to advance interface design, the frustrating x-browser issues and silly use of useless browsers (ns<6 and opera) will kill serious "html only" development
Alternatives keep things healthy, and I find Opera to be a highly viable alternative. I hope we never end up with only one way to render a website. IMO, that's the road to stagnation, no matter how comfortable it may be.
Couldnt agree more with you about Flash, it is an excellent tool and has only been given a bad name through poor design (Im not talking graphics design).
In the furture we will see most of the problems with indexing etc wiped out as Macromedia overcome the obstacles.
Do you have a URL which explains z-indexing?