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NetMechanic Says Netscape 6.0 Not Fully DHTML Compatible

NetMechanic Inc. this week announced that administrators of sites that utilize Dynamic HTML (DHTML) scripts need to be aware that the latest release of the Netscape browser, version 6.0, is causing significant incompatibility problems.

Since the browser was released in April, it has been triggering a backlash from users because of its handling of Dynamic HTML.

NetMechanic said it is releasing information about the problem in the hopes of preventing Web site developers from unknowingly becoming the victims of browser incompatibility, one of the most significant problems faced by those who manage a Web site. The main cause of incompatibility on a Web site tends to be a lack of the resources that are required to continually view and test a site using each of the many available browsers.

Netscape officials could not be reached to comment on NetMechanic's charges.

NetMechanic's online maintenance tools, such as its HTML Toolbox version 2.0 help to identify such browser incompatibility issues along with other maintenance problems, removing the burden of diagnosis from the person in charge of the site. Sites that use typical cut-and-paste DHTML scripts from a script archive can resolve browser compatibility issues by searching for newer versions of the script or by contacting the author of the script.

DHTML scripting enables the use of JavaScript to dynamically change Cascading Style Sheet properties--allowing the use and display of hidden, visible or animated parts of a Web page. These scripts enable effects including drop-down menus and scrolling text. As more people have adopted the use of newer Web browsers, cut-and-paste versions of these scripts from sites such as JavaScriptSource.com have become increasingly popular with developers.

Mozilla.org is the non-profit group that supervises the Navigator browser's development. The group decided not to support the older, non-standard versions of the Document Object Model, or DOM. This is the cause of most of the problems with DHTML scripts under Netscape's new browser. Since the browser is still a preview release, backward compatibility issues may be corrected at the time of the official release date. If you are interested in verifying that your code still works, you can download a copy of Netscape Navigator 6.0 from the Mozilla Web site.