I hate Netscape 4

For some unknown (and for that matter, unknowable) reason, there are still enough people out there using that curmudgeon of days gone by, Netscape 4, for me to attempt to make a site that looks decent in such an archaic browser. Or so people would lead me to believe. And so I try. And every time I contemplate it, I discover another little thing about Netscape 4 that drives me insane. Today’s entry: stylesheet linking.

I could go on for days about how god-awful NS4’s Cascading Style Sheet support is, but let’s not go crazy here. In fact, the large majority of the time, I’d prefer to leave the ancient browser and it’s users (seriously… why would ANYONE still use Netscape 4?) in the arctic tundra that is a website without a stylesheet. They still get the info, and I don’t have to lose sleep and hair dealing with NS4’s idiosyncrasies. But I digress. Today’s beef is something that I only just discovered (as I said, I avoid NS4 like the plague… this site just serves it a dumbed down stylesheet). When linking to a stylesheet via a <link> tag in the header (instead of an @import, as I usually do), if you use the media=”all” property, Netscape completely ignores the stylesheet. Change that to media=”screen” (say, you have screen and print stylesheets), and it magically works. Bizarre.

If some could please give me a justified reason for anyone using Netscape 4 (or God forbid, Netscape 3!), and their expecting a smooth web experience, please… I’d love to hear it. If you even know someone who uses NS4, please, do me a huge favor. First, smack them upside the head (unless they are your grandma or something). Second, sit down at their computer, install FireFox or Mozilla (mozilla even includes a theme that makes it look just like NS4 in the interface area). Third step, remove all traces of Netscape 4 from the system. Fourthly, put a Post-It on the screen that says “Update your software at least once a year, please.” and include your phone number in case they need help.

And yes, I am completely serious.