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      Things are moving fast in browser land. Which means there are a lot of different makes and versions around. Standards are evolving rapidly too, making things even more confusing. Only the latest browsers support the latest standards. And none of them supports any standard completely. Different browsers interpret the code you feed them differently. And all of them have proprietary tags, which are only understood by one type or brand.
    This leaves a web designer with a daunting task. You have to take all of this into account. You could stick to the standards, like HTML 4.0. But this could give severe problems for people with version 3 browsers. They may not be able to view your pages at all. And even if they have the latest browser, it's no guarantee they will be able to see the page.
    You will have to make an estimated guess what your visitors will use. My guess is it will be a version 4 browser or better. Chances are they will mostly use either a Microsoft or a Netscape browser. For security and stability reasons a lot of internauts will have switched off JAVA and/or JavaScript.
    You will have to take all of this into account when designing web pages. Roughly this means no HTML 4.0, no CSS (style sheets), no JAVA, no JavaScript, no browser specific extensions. If you do, make sure your pages are useable in older browsers, or at least don't look bad. A feature known as graceful degradation. Your pages are allowed to loose something in older browsers, but they should still work.
    Lately there's a lot of fuss about adhering to the standards, like HTML 4.0, Javascript 1.2, and CSS 1.0 or 2.0. And another 'standard' seems to pop op every month or so. Everyone seems to want to reinvent the web. I don't think standards are really all that important. Sure it would be great if all browsers would work the same and comply with all standards. But they don't, and probably never will. To me it's more important my pages are visible and usable in the most used browsers. I wonder why there are no validators for that.
    For now it means you will have to test your pages in different browsers. I have Netscape 3 and 4.76 installed, Intenet Explorer 5.5, and Opera 5. It is not possible to install different versions of MSIE, otherwise I would have a copy of MSIE 4.0 installed too. Sure it's a lot of work. But your visitors don't care if their browsers don't understand your pages. They'll just move on to another site they CAN view. And no one has ever won an argument with a customer.
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