Cross-Browser Layers, Part One
Subject:   Author's response
Date:   2001-06-01 18:21:17
From:   budi
In client-side programming there are always two things: W3C recommendations and market facts.
Both, as we have been witnessing, don't go hand in hand. Cross browser compability is not yet a thing of
the present. As new standards come in, it often takes years to replace the old ones entirely.
That's why a large number of Web sites still support primitive browsers that
only render HTML 3.2, years after HTML 4.0 was released. The Microsoft ASP.NET,
for instance, will still support HTML 3.2 when it is released some time
in the future. When you need to use a feature not recognized by some browsers,
all you need to do is let the code degrade gracefully in these browsers, as the
article shows.

Netscape 6 does not support layers. That is unfortunate because it means
there is no provision for backward compatibility. But, are layers dead?
Let's see what the market says. According to one survey
(, on 31 May 2001), Netscape
are used by 17% of users and 2.4% of them use version
6, giving it a 0.408% of the market share, more than half a year after it was released.
Old Grandpa Netscape 3, on the other hand,
is still used by 3.9% of Netscape users, years after it was supposed to be dead. The users of
Netscape 4.x is 92.7% of all Netscape users, or 15.76% of Internet users.
The percentage of Netscape 4.x, IE 4.x and above (those browsers that understand
"layers") is 93.76%, or 98.76% if counting other compatible browsers.

Layers are a nice technology that can be used for submenus, absolute positioning,
animation, etc. Killing them prematurely is a total waste.

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