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Miss Behavior to You

Along with CSS snafus, early browsers could not agree on a common way to facilitate sophisticated behavior via scripting. Every scriptable browser has an Object Model stating what kinds of behaviors can be applied to objects on the page. Netscape 4 sported a proprietary document.layers model. IE4 countered with its own proprietary document.all model. Neither browser supported the W3C DOM, which was still being written. Developers who wanted to apply sophisticated (or even basic) behaviors to their sites had to code two ways to cover these two browsers. Supporting earlier browsers (backward compatibility) required more code and more hoop jumping, as described in Chapter 2.

Prior browsers could not even agree on a common scripting language. Early on, Netscape invented JavaScript, promising to release it as a standard so that other browser makers could support it. But for some years, despite their promise, Netscape held onto the secret of JavaScript, viewing it as a competitive advantage. (If Navigator remained the only browser that supported JavaScript, why would anyone develop for a less powerful competitive browser, so Netscape reasoned. In their place, Microsoft would likely have done the same. In fact, Microsoft did the same thing with their proprietary ActiveX technology.)


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