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Specifying Browsers

Whether developing a regular Web site or an online learning application, most difficulties are caused by the major browsers having different implementations of Web technologies. Although the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides HTML specifications, browser manufacturers either ignore the specifications or interpret them in different ways. You’ll need to weigh the makeup of your target audience along with the technical requirements of your eLearning application when specifying the browser types and versions.

HTML 4 and Version 4 Browsers

HTML 4 began being implemented in IE4 and Netscape 4. Browser versions have continued to increment, while HTML 4 (specifically HTML 4.01) remains the last HTML specification from the W3C. The version 4 browsers did not implement the entire HTML 4 specification and continue to catch up to the W3C recommendations. It is coincidence that the HTML specifications version is the same number as the browser versions.

Designing for version 4 browsers remains a common browser specification, targeting the fundamental DHTML capabilities of the first browser version to implement the HTML 4 specification. Many Web applications are created specifically for IE 5, IE 5.5, IE 6, and Netscape 6, and some teams will choose to specify new browser versions as they are released.



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