RealTime IT News

State Of The Web Report Decries Browser Incompatibilities

The foundations of the Web are becoming increasingly shaky due to browser incompatibilities, according to a report released Friday by the Web Standards Project.

The World Wide Web Consortium has been a standards body for the Web since the Web's inception, but key Web standards remain incompletely implemented. This has caused developers to choose between excluding part of their potential audience, or creating costly workarounds. As a result, according to a report by Jupiter Communications, almost two-thirds of top 100 Web sites are presented in multiple versions, adding at least 25 percent to the cost of developing these Web sites.

Even as Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Navigator browsers have continually seen improvements, they've failed to meet the needs of the Web. Internet Explorer 5.0 features marked improvements in support for core Web standards over the last version, but still doesn't fully support them. While it supports most of HTML 4.0 and XML 1.0, it has serious difficulties with Cascading Style Sheets 1.0 & 2.0.

Navigator 4.x provides limited support for CSS 1.0 and very little support for other key Web standards, although it offers decent support for ECMAScript, commonly known as JavaScript. Netscape intends to correct these problems and achieve 100 percent compliance with these standards by using its new Gecko rendering engine, which is the mechanism which converts HTML and other code into what site visitors see on their browser.