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Chapter Three. The Trouble with Standards > CSS: The First Bag Is Free

CSS: The First Bag Is Free

The CSS1 spec had been issued around Christmas of 1996. A few months later, IE3 debuted, including rudimentary CSS support among its features. CSS support (entirely missing in Netscape 3) gave Microsoft's browser its first whiff of credibility at a time when Netscape Navigator dominated the web. IE3 supported just enough CSS to let you dump your nonstandard <font> tags and begin experimenting with margins, leading, and other rudiments of CSS layout. Excited by what they saw on Microsoft demo pages [3.10] touting its new browser's capabilities, many designers took their first plunge into CSS design—and soon came up gasping for air.

3.10. A page from Microsoft's 1998 CSS gallery (http://www.microsoft.com/typography/css/gallery/). Overlapping type and all other design effects were created entirely in CSS—no GIF images, no JPEGs. IE3 could display these effects; Netscape 3 (then the market leader) could not. The gallery's CSS used incorrect values required by IE3's imperfect CSS engine, and its overall standards compliance was nil, but the genie was out of the bottle. Having glimpsed what CSS might do, many of us never looked back.



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