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Browser Platforms

Each recipe includes a browser compatibility rating. The rating provides version information for only three browser platforms: Internet Explorer for Windows, Internet Explorer for Macintosh, and Netscape Navigator. When the rating for IE shows no particular distinction between the Windows and Macintosh OS platforms, both OS versions are covered. The number following the browser brand is the first version in which the recipe will work. The discussion section may include additional variations that work with either older browsers or only newer browsers.

Compatibility ratings indicating Netscape 6 or later also apply to the Mozilla browser and other browsers built with Mozilla (and the Gecko rendering engine). Mozilla 1.0.1 equates to Netscape 7, so recipes rated for Netscape 6 or later apply to all Mozilla releases at least since 1.0.

Other browsers, such as Opera and myriad others with yet smaller installed bases, are not shown in the compatibility ratings. Some discussions specifically address Opera, and by and large the recipes from Chapter 1 through Chapter 7 will work in Opera 5 or later. Where Opera has more substantial problems is where the recipe dives into W3C DOM techniques. As of the release of Opera 6, the browser does not offer sufficient DOM scriptability for many tasks. If Opera is a significant share of your installed base, you can try to make the scripts work for that browser or treat it as unscriptable. Throughout this book, you are encouraged to write scripts that degrade gracefully in nonscriptable browsers. Use those safeguards to protect Opera users from more advanced scripting tasks.

A new browser from Apple, called Safari, may become influential in the Macintosh market, perhaps replacing Internet Explorer as the dominant browser on the Mac OS X platform. Safari, built atop an engine called KHTML, is in beta release at the time of this book's publication. It is foolhardy to script around bugs in a beta browser, so it would be unfair to rate recipe compatibility for Safari or any unfinished browser. One can only hope that new browser engines follow the standards implementations of their more experienced brethren to ensure script compatibility across a multitude of modern browser brands.

This book's focus on the W3C DOM in later chapters may seem to exclude a lot of older browsers (although the DHTML library in Chapter 13 is backward-compatible to Netscape 4). As demonstrated by many talented scripters on the Web, you can script your way around a lot of buggy behavior to force an application to work on almost any scriptable browser (to a point). For the sake of code-listing simplicity, however, this book elects to stay in the modern mainstream of final release browsers.

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