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Chapter 14. The Bad Parts

The Web is a wonder of modern civilization. Unlike any other time in history, it’s now possible for people to instantly publish without the need for external approval, and the Web is a key part of how we achieved that state of affairs.

Unfortunately, like any system, the Web has flaws, technical limitations, and vulnerabilities. These are the Bad Parts. I discuss a number of them in this chapter, along with a brief explanation of how they should be used, if at all.

This chapter concludes with The Awful Parts, which should be avoided almost without exception.

The Numbing Nature of Internet Explorer (Especially IE 6)

The trouble with Internet Explorer is less a flaw of HTML and CSS than of an implementation, but the flaws in that implementation cast very long shadows. When Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001, it was categorically the best web browser available. Why?

  • It offered more and better support for web standards than any of its predecessors, mated with what was then the best DOM API support.

  • The rendering technology underlying Firefox, codenamed Gecko, was more than two years from maturity.

  • Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh claimed the most standards-compliant CSS implementation, but it used its own rendering engine and was hampered by a lack of market penetration and internal support.

  • Netscape was dying…because its best was to be found in Netscape 4.

  • Safari was unheard of at the time, and wouldn’t reach full maturity for four years. It took another year ...

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