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New Code for a New Job

Modern browsers are not merely newer versions of the same old thing. They differ fundamentally from their predecessors. In many cases, they've been rebuilt from the ground up. Mozilla, Netscape 6/7, and related Gecko-based browsers are not new versions of Netscape Navigator 4. IE5+/Mac is not an updated version of IE4/Mac. Opera 7 is not based on the same code that drove earlier versions of the Opera browser. These products have been built with new code to do a new job: namely, to comply as nearly perfectly as possible with the web standards discussed in this book.

By contrast, the browsers of the 1990s focused on proprietary (Netscape-only, Microsoft-only) technologies and paid little heed to standards. Old browsers ignored some standards altogether, but that did not pose much of a development headache. If browsers didn't support the Portable Network Graphic (PNG) standard, for example, then developers didn't use PNG images. No problem. The trouble was, these old browsers paid lip service to some standards by supporting them partially and incorrectly. Slipshod support for standards as basic as HTML created an untenable web-publishing environment that led in turn to unsustainable production methods.


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