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Backward Compatibility

What do developers mean by “backward compatibility?” If you ask them, they'll say they mean “supporting all our users.” And who could argue with a sentiment like that?

In practice, however, “backward compatibility” means using nonstandard, proprietary (or deprecated) markup and code to ensure that every visitor has the same experience, whether they're sporting IE2 or Netscape 7. Held up as a Holy Grail of professional development practice, “backward compatibility” sounds great in theory. But the cost is too high and the practice has always been based on a lie.


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