This section discusses various issues related to HTML, CSS and the portability thereof. We will also talk about the strategy in these matters as applied to GoBase.org, the website you're currently visiting.
The GoBase.org website is compliant to currently available standards for HTML (4.01) and CSS (1.0). Technical specifications of these standards can be found on the website of the W3 consortium. The code is frequently validated using both tidy as any of the online available validators to ensure the code complies to the above standards. One reason for these strict tests of the HTML code is to ensure the style sheets directives can be applied successfully. If the HTML does not validate, the browser will not be able to build a consistent object model for the page and consequently cannot apply the style directives onto the HTML elements (which will give highly unpredictable rendering effects in most cases).
|Compliancy is no guarantee for compatibility|
While compliancy to standards is an essential step in achieving compatibility, both over different platforms as over different browsers, it is not a guarantee the code will render the same when these parameters vary. For example, while the standards support the usage of <DIV> elements which can be styled and placed using CSS directives, browsers currently treat these elements quite differently, so except for some exceptional cases the usage of <DIV> elements has been avoided (at the time of this writing, ie. 2003-07-02). Positioning of block style elements is done using <TABLE> instead. This coding is more heavy but ensures portability.
So, there are no guarantees which means when developing HTML pages they should be tested in as many browsers as possible. GoBase.org is developed using Netscape-4.77. This is not a self-inflicted torture but actually a very good test for the code. When pages render well in Netscape, the first step towards compatibility is taken. The next browser tested is Opera-7 which is aware of both HTML and CSS standards and supports a large part of these technologies. The compatibility tests are concluded by trying out Mozilla and Internet Explorer. Explorer is tested last since it's very tolerant regarding mistakes in the code. For example, Explorer has no problems whatsoever with missing </TABLE> tags (frequently occuring on the web) while in Netscape this will result in the complete table being skipped.
|Actual browser compatibility|
Below you see icon representations of the GoBase.org main page rendered by various browsers on different platforms since
The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating
Click on an image to get the real-size image displayed in a seperate window. As you will notice the difference in rendering is minimal and mainly concerns the font and especially the size of the font. Differences in font size could have been prevented by specifying explicit font sizes in the style sheet but that would prevent the user of certain browsers to scale the page up or down so we deliberately allowed this as an acceptable incompatibility.
(Select a picture to open a window with the full-size version)
We're very interested in captures of the GoBase.org main page rendered in different browsers and on different platforms. Please resize your window closely to the sizes displayed next to the thumbnails to allow for an honest comparison of the various views. E-mail your capture (in any image format) to firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you also provide us with the following information:
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