Scripting for 5th Generation Browsers and Beyond | WebReference

Scripting for 5th Generation Browsers and Beyond

Scripting for 5th Generation Browsers and Beyond

By ( Eddie Traversa )

The release of NS6 has been a hotly debated topic on the 'Net. At the center of this debate have been claims of lack of functionality and usability. To an extent these claims are accurate as the browser does have some usability issues, e.g. non-functional rollovers, as one example. However, approaching Netscape 6 from this negative perspective and focusing on the things that do not work is a limiting viewpoint. It is limiting because 'we' as Web developers tend to lose sight of the bigger picture and consequently do not focus on what the browser can do in terms of coding practices.

This bigger picture entails a Web that allows developers to code by a singular standard. Herein lies the beauty of Netscape 6, a standards compliant browser, a factor that often seems to get lost in the usability debate. Consequently, for the first time on the WWW, developers can mostly focus on coding by a singular standard rather than having to work their way through a number of conditional JavaScript statements to cater to different browser requirements. I say mostly, because there are still some specific situations where DOM switches that cater specifically to Internet Explorer 5+ and Netscape 6 need to be provided, e.g., detecting a browser's height and width. In the main, though, a Web developer's focal point can be centered upon coding by a singular standard, which represents a considerable improvement in coding techniques.

While I understand that catering to Netscape 4 for commercial reasons is still essential for many Web developers, I think it is equally important to understand that the future (emphasis on future) of the Web does not lie in providing backward compatible solutions catering to proprietary technology. Rather the future of Web development seems inherently tied to coding by a singular standard as evidenced by browsers beginning to adopt more W3C recommendations than at any other time in the history of the WWW. Consequently, it is imperative to begin to understand how to code for the leading browsers of today.

Which brings us to the purpose of this article. In this article I would like to expose the reader to some coding methods that cater to Internet Explorer 5+ and Netscape 6+. Hopefully, the coding examples provided here will serve the function of whetting the appetites of Web developers and make them more eager to embrace the dawn of a new era.


Created: August 16, 2001
Revised: August 22, 2001