Dueling Banjos
FAQ: Browsing Tips for Bob's Rock Shop
(No Extra Charge for the Editorial and Political Commentary)
Oh Drat These Computers...

Bob's Rock Shop uses Netscape enhanced extensions to HTML and also requires a browser with Java support for complete rendering. The Shop's pages are designed for browsing with Netscape Communications' Netscape Navigator® V2.0 or later. Among it's many features, this very popular browser supports use of GIF 89A ("animated", transparent" and "interlaced" GIFs), inline JPEG images, and "extended" HTML tags used for fancy page-formatting and graphics features that are not all available with other browsers, some of which may produce rather bizarre page formatting because they do not parse or properly render Netscape HTML extensions.

With the release of Internet Explorer® 3.01 (3.0? Don't ask...), Microsoft has finally stepped up to the plate to play ball in Netscape's league, and now the real and perhaps final "Browser War" has begun. I used to fret over using HTML extensions that were not part of the current, official IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) HTML standard. I figured man was punished enough when God revoked our language standard and we shouldn't presume to further his work by creating WWW sites in other than IETF's lingua franca. But for better or worse, it has become clear that the "market" and not the IETF is the driving force, and it has set the defacto HTML standards and will determine a lot of other internet stuff as well. So I fret no more. It makes me more happy to go with this flow. Lots more bells and whistles to play with...

The bottom line for now is that if you're not browsing the Shop with Netscape Navigator V2.0 or a later release, some of the Shop's page formatting may look somewhat odd to downright strange and misfigured. If you're using the 16-bit (Windows 3.1) version of Navigator 2.0 you won't have Java Support, but I've provided alternate content for the applets that will help keep you from missing them too much. Navigator 1.x browsers are no longer recommended as they won't render the Shop's animated GIFs and will have some other occasional formatting problems. If you insist on using Lynx, Cello, or something similar to browse Bob's Rock Shop, sorry, but you've got a serious problem... ;)

Regardless of your browser, the Shop's pages are laid out for optimal browsing with SVGA graphics at an 800x600 screen resolution with 256 colors or more. If you use a lower resolution such as 640x480, you will often not be able to see entire images without scrolling, and your browser will sometimes wrap lines of text or images that were intended to be viewed as a single line. If you have the adapter and video ram to use resolutions and colors exceeding 800x600x256, you will obtain best browsing results at the Shop by using 800x600 resolution with up to 24-bit (16 million) colors.

Most of the specimen images in the image gallery can be viewed in their entirety without scrolling at 800x600 resolution with Navigator or Explorer, provided you switch off the optional tool bar, location window and directory buttons. These options obscure part of the browser's "field of view" when they're on. Turn them off while browsing the Shop, you won't need them while you're here.

Don't forget the brightness and contrast controls on your monitor. You may want to twiddle these a bit to make sure they're optimally adjusted for your ambient conditions as you begin to browse the specimen images.

If you are using Netscape Navigator V2.0 or later and screens of 800x600x256 or more colors and things still look odd to you, you may want to check and reselect some of the browser's default values over your own selected preferences for things like fonts, colors and images. In general, the Shop's pages are laid out to display properly with Navigator's default preference settings. You should have your color preferences configured to use colors from the document. Here's the recommended fonts, colors and image configurations shown as Navigator V2.02 dialog boxes:

As for the immediate future, the Shop now uses Microsoft Explorer 3.01 in addition to Navigator Gold 2.02 and 3.0 for test browsing, and intends to tread the common ground between the Netscape and Microsoft browsers for a bit and watch which way the flow goes. While Microsoft has been embarrasingly slow on the draw with Explorer, it has the resources to withstand the terrific beating Netscape has administered it on the WWW with Navigator and other products. As long as Bill Gates continues recovering from his Borg delusions, Microsoft is now positioned and bound to make some headway in advancing on the virtual high ground.

As Explorer clients visit more frequently, the Shop will focus attention and support for its widgets accordingly. Who's going to win the "Browser War"? I'm pretty sure the market will determine the ultimate outcome, which means the browser users and content providers are bound to reap some rich technology spoils and a cooler web and browsers either way. There's even a possible stalemate and stand-off. I just read of a new plug-in for Navigator that functions to support Microsoft's (now open-standard) Active-X control technology...

I just love a bloody good fight, how about you?


Welcome Page

FAQ List

Table of Contents

bkeller@rockhounds.com