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Browsers

The CSS saga is not complete without a section on browsers. Had it not been for the browsers, CSS would have remained a lofty proposal of only academic interest. The first commercial browser to support CSS was Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 3, which was released in August 1996. At that point, the CSSI specification had not yet become a W3C Recommendation and discussions within the HTML ERB were to result in changes that Microsoft developers, led by Chris Wilson, could not fore-see. IE3 reliably supports most of the color, background, font, and text properties, but it does not implement much of the box model.

The next browser to announce support for CSS was Netscape Navigator, version 4.0. Since its inception, Netscape had been sceptical toward style sheets, and the company’s first implementation turned out to be a half-hearted attempt to stop Microsoft from claiming to be more standards-compliant than Netscape. The Netscape implementation supports a broad range of features – for example, floating elements – but the Netscape developers did not have time to fully test all the features that are supposedly supported. The result is that many CSS properties cannot be used in Navigator 4.


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