HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
1.5.1. Nonstandard Extensions
It doesn't take an advanced degree in The Obvious to know that distinc-
tion draws attention; so, too, with browsers. Extra whiz-bang features
can give the edge in the otherwise standardized browser market. That
can be a nightmare for authors. A lot of people want you to use the
latest and greatest gimmick or even useful HTML/XHTML extension. But
it's not part of the standard, and not all browsers support it. In fact,
on occasion, the popular browsers support different ways of doing the
same thing.
1.5.2. Extensions: Pro and Con
Every software vendor adheres largely to the technological standards.
It's embarrassing to be incompatible, and your competitors will take
every opportunity to remind buyers of your product's failure to comply,
no matter how arcane or useless that standard might be. At the same
time, vendors seek to make their products different from and better
than the competition's offerings. Netscape's and Internet Explorer's ex-
tensions to standard HTML are perfect examples of these market pres-
Many document authors feel safe using these extended browsers' non-
standard extensions because of their combined and commanding share
of users. For better or worse, extensions to HTML in prominent browsers
become part of the street version of the language, much like English
slang creeping into the vocabulary of most Frenchmen, despite the best
efforts of the Académie Française.
Fortunately, with HTML version 4.0, the W3C standards caught up with
the browser manufacturers. In fact, the tables turned somewhat. The
many extensions to HTML that originally appeared as extensions in
Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are now part of the
HTML 4 and XHTML 1 standards, and there are other parts of the new
standard which are not yet features of the popular browsers.
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