HTML 3.2 and Netscape 3.0 / Introduction | WebReference

HTML 3.2 and Netscape 3.0 / Introduction



HTML 3.2 and Netscape 3.0

This document can be thought of as a living reference to the current state of HTML and Netscape. It started life as somewhat of a diatribe against "Netscapeisms," but has grown along with the author as he's realized that Netscape and other innovations like Explorer are the real future of the Web. The W3C has also realized that dictating HTML standards with out of date specifications is futile. Codifying the current HTML state of the art that is interoperable is their new approach. Thus Wilber and soon Cougar.

This document is based on the HTML Specifications from the W3C, Netscape's own documentation, and the author's own experience. It is a synthesis of these separate elements, distilled down into syntax and examples. The obscure SGML used in the HTML 3.2 DTD is replaced with straightforward examples and syntax that you can use in your own pages.

The May 1996 HTML 3.2 specification closely matches the capabilities of Netscape 2.0 and Explorer 2.1, the current state of the art at that time.

HTML 3.2 aims to capture recommended practice as of early '96 and as such to be used as a replacement for HTML 2.0 (RFC 1866). Widely deployed rendering attributes are included where they have been shown to be interoperable. SCRIPT and STYLE are included to smooth the introduction of client-side scripts and style sheets....

- From the HTML 3.2 DTD

Very few formerly Netscape-specific tags or attributes (NHTML) are absent from HTML 3.2. Elements like CENTER, FONT, CELLPADDING/ SPACING, WIDTH, BORDER, and even SCRIPT and Java applets are all accounted for in this new "widely deployed" version. Thankfully, the BLINK  tag is still absent. Tags that were introduced after the specification came out (MULTICOL, FRAMEBORDER, BORDERCOLOR, etc.) are of course not included. As recent history shows, these tags have a habit of appearing in subsequent HTML drafts, so they are also covered.

In fact, the next version of the HTML draft (code-named Cougar) will probably include the popular FRAME tag:

The frame tags will probably be added once we have an agreed definition for them.

All the major tags and attributes are discussed, with proper and improper use shown through examples. The intent is to provide a practical guide to HTML 3.2 tags that actually work with popular browsers. There are still a few exceptions to total HTML 3.2 compliance, for example Netscape 3.0 does not yet support the ALIGN attribute of the TABLE element. For transition situations like these, alternatives are given which work universally.


Comments are welcome


Revised: Aug. 30, 1996