HTML Styles and Browsers
I always try to write HTML so that it can be sensibly viewed on
text-only browsers such as Lynx.
Yes, I scatter colours, fonts and the odd image around to make life
more interesting for those with flashier browsers, but I try to ensure
that no information is contained in these features. Taken with my
dislike of frames, this should mean that the pages can be viewed by
any browser which discards unknown tags.
Sadly, my bookshelf
search uses tables for layout tweaks, which Lynx will report as bad
HTML before displaying them more than adequately, Arena has all sorts
of problems with and messes up the form, and Grail will just curl
up and die at. It doesn't work properly with Internet Explorer either,
because IE handles forms so badly. We know how to work around this one,
but in this case, I haven't done so. Tough. If you're having problems
with some other browser, I would appreciate knowing.
Some people wonder why text-only web browsers should be supported. I
know of three good reasons:
The Campaign for a
Non-Browser Specific WWW has more information. It would wrong
of me to label my pages with one of their "Best Viewed With Any
Browser" logos when I know it's not true, but, in principle, I
support the sentiment.
- Because people may choose to use technology which is best suited
to text-only display. Until recently, this included me (monochrome
laptop running Linux with no X server), so I am very sympathetic to
this viewpoint. The thought of a web browser on a plam-top/PDA may
sound ridiculous, until you consider the possibility of a text-only
version. If the information you require is textual, you should be
able to access it in a textual manner.
- For bandwidth purposes. Be nice to people with slow connections,
and every one else, by minimising the amount of graphical traffic on
- Because people may be using text-only technology for reasons
other than choice. Braille "displays" exist, and should, in
conjunction with a textual browser, allow access to the web.