About E Man\'s Site

Page updated: Mar 15, 2003

Night Of The Living Browsers

Why does this site look so bad!?

Because you’re using Netscape 4.x.

I’m not Joe or Jane Professional Web Designer, but I play one on the internet. Therefore, I do have an opinion about browsers, and as a warning, I’m about to share it right now.

But first, my qualifiers. The opinions I have about browsers on this page relate directly to how they render my website, and their functionality in my website. It has nothing to do if someone can use them to buy former dot-coms at eBay, or if they make your teeth whiter.

It’s really about how well my site looks with the browser, and indirectly, how well they conform to HTML 4.01 and CSS1. That’s because I’m trying to be compliant to those standards, and I have, with a couple of exceptions due to some browsers’ “quirks.” Okay—it’s also about some personal biases I have.

If you have any comments, please either e-mail me at:

Now, without further ado, the envelope, please...

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Macintosh OS X

For best rendering in the role of Browser in EMan’s World, the winners are:

  1. Safari Beta v1.0beta64—Tab-alicious goodness, for those that are into that kind of thing.

    Safari Beta v1.0beta48—Yes, I’m ranking this #1 just because it’s from Apple. Hey—it’s my website. It’s about the same performance as Chimera below. It lacks a couple of simple things, and so should be ranked about 3rd, but I’ll keep it up here anyway.

  2. Opera 6.0—I had originally ranked Opera 5.0 much lower, but with this version (released Dec 2002) I think it’s just about perfect. I can’t find any bugs in it on my website, and everything displays as it should. It even fixed that bug where the Euro (€ ) symbol didn’t show up correctly. The bonus is that it is very fast. Browsers are a personal taste thing, so browser recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt, but I think this is a very good browser for the Mac.

    Opera 5.0— I’ve just started using this browser, and I have to say I like it a lot. I have to admit I haven’t tried the OS 9 version of this, but for OS X, it seems to work well. I’ve only encountered a couple of issues with v5.0, like it won’t work with my scroll wheel. Otherwise, my site looks okay with it.

  3. OmniWeb 4.1.1—This is my favorite browser, and it does a good job on my website. My only gripe about it is that it’s a bit pokey on pages with tables, but other than that, it’s more than serviceable. That’s not necessarily the most rousing recommendation, but I still like it.

    OmniWeb 4.1 sneaky peek 47— Yay! As of sneaky peek 47, it finally renders my site correctly (more or less)! It moves up from last to first. This is currently my favorite Mac browser, but... it renders my site horribly. It doesn’t respect my margins at all. Older versions (v4.1 beta) didn’t even handle background in text at all, which rendered my heading completely useless. I’m still optimistic about its development, but I really hope OmniGroup gets it act together regarding this product and its adherence to the standards.

  4. iCab 2.8.2— I used this browser to tell me how compliant I am to the web standards, so I used it quite a bit when I was putting the site together. It better look good in it. This is updated a lot, but I’ve checked it up to 2.8.2.

  5. Chimera 0.60 (Navigator) beta(As a point of clarification, this browser is called “Navigator,” but the project is called Chimera.) As I write this, Navigator is up to v0.60, with nightly build updates between the official releases. With each release it gets more and more stable. This is the first version that I can use on a regular basis. Although it’s based on the Mozilla project, it is specifically for the Mac OS X platform. It’s faster than Mozilla, and looks better, in my opinion. As they say, your mileage may vary.

    Chimera 0.28 (Navigator) beta— I’m not exactly sure how best to rate this Mac-only browser. It is based on the Mozilla browser, but it doesn’t include all of the additional mass of Mozilla. The text is rendered (i.e., Quartz), like in OmniWeb, but unlike Mozilla or iCab. Not having the additional Mozilla mass makes this feel pretty snappy, although I encounter a bit of unstability issues (i.e., it crashes) every so often. Because of the rendering (see my browser criteria above), I’m rating this above Mozilla for the time being.

  6. Mozilla 1.1—This is another browser that improves with each release. What is special with this browser for me is the tabbed browsing. This was the first browser that I used that had this feature, and I really like it. It generally renders everything well in my site, so I don’t really have any complaints.

    Mozilla 0.9.7— Okay, I admit it. I kinda like the name. It also seems to render my site in a pleasing way to me, especially on a high-resolution monitor. I’m using version 0.9.7 as I type.

  7. Internet Explorer 5.x— I admit that I didn’t really want to rank this so high, but it’s true that it does display most everything about as I would expect. There are just a couple of issues (like the right border being under the scroll bar), but otherwise I can’t complain.

  8. Netscape 6.2.1— I know—this is essentially identical with Mozilla, in terms of its rendering engine. Still, it’s a 30MB download, compared to 10MB for Mozilla. I have noticed that some tables render wrong with Netscape, but correct with Mozilla. I’m not sure if the versions are exactly the same, but the difference exists nonetheless. (As I write this, version 7.01 is out for Netscape. I’ve played with it, and looks pretty much like v6.2.1. (*shrugs*).

Just a couple of notes. Please set your browser to 96dpi. I know this can be done in Internet Explorer 5.x and iCab.

I haven’t tried the AOL browsers, and if you’re an AOL user, please remember that you can use whatever browser you like. Finally, I just want to say something to users of older Netscape browsers:

Netscape 4.x is the most annoying browser in the world!!

This website looks awful in Netscape. To make it worse, Netscape’s legendary bugs are both random and arbitrary. For instance, I haven’t been able to figure out why some tables are centered and some are not when viewing them in Netscape. It boggles the mind.

But why shouldn’t one use Netscape, you ask. Because it crashes for simple things, as mentioned here. Some versions of 4.x are also not Y2K compliant. Hopefully you can find a browser here other than Netscape 4.x to meet your browsing needs.

If you must use Netscape, I recommend Mozilla or even Netscape 6.2. If you’re not able to change your browser from Netscape 4.x, you can still view this site, but then please excuse how it looks.

What I find really funny is that I designed this site originally to look good with Netscape 4.x. I was so naïve.

For Macintosh 9.2.2 and earlier users, the list above is still valid, except for OmniWeb, which isn’t available prior to OS X.

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I haven’t tried all browsers in the Windows world, but here are the few that I have used.

  1. Mozilla 0.9.7— Like in the Mac version, this seems to render my site pretty well. I only have a few issues with it, nothing that really bugs me.

  2. Opera 6.0— I really like Opera. I see some occasional display issues, but otherwise it’s pretty good. It also doesn’t seem to display the Euro symbol (€ ). And the banners are annoying.

  3. Internet Explorer 6.0— I’ve only tried this version on XP, and v5.5 on NT. It does this annoying thing my right margins, where it’s okay without the scrollbar, but with the scrollbar, it eats up my right margin. I hate to admit it, but 6.0 is reasonably compliant, and works with pretty much all the things I need.

  4. Netscape 6.2.1— There is still that table issue between Netscape and Mozilla. Tables don’t quite render correctly in Netscape.

  5. Netscape 4.x - Evil, bad, ack, spit, bad, bad, bleah, yuck.

Please just let Netscape 4.x fade away and die the ignoble death it deserves.

Okay—maybe ignoble is a bit harsh, considering it was at one point the leading browser in the world. But its time has passed, and let us move on.

But why shouldn’t one use Netscape, you ask. Because it crashes for simple things, as mentioned here. Some versions of 4.x are also not Y2K compliant. Hopefully you can find a browser here other than Netscape 4.x to meet your browsing needs.

What I find really funny is that I designed this site originally to look good with Netscape 4.x. I was so naïve.

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Linux / Other

Sorry, but I don’t have a Linux box running yet. Nor do I surf with my cell phone, or use a text-only browser. When I do find out about these things, I will report back here.

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This Site Was Designed and Built on a Macintosh

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Page created: February 1, 2002