Support of HTML Extensions
Occasionally we are asked if TrainWeb supports the Microsoft Front Page Extensions.
The answer is "yes" and "no". TrainWeb does not endorse the use of any HTML features that
violate the current standards as promulgated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
HTML Extensions, whether implemented by Microsoft, Netscape, or some other web browser or web
server company, are violations of the HTML standard.
It is important to understand that most HTML Extensions featured by Microsoft are not
supported by web servers from vendors other than Microsoft and are not supported by web
browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer. Thus, if you use the Microsoft Front Page
Extensions, then the web pages that you design will
not look the way you designed them to visitors using web browsers from Netscape and other
vendors. By the same token, most HTML Extensions featured by Netscape are not supported by
Microsoft Internet Explorer and pages that you design that include HTML extensions from
Netscape will not look the way that you designed them to
visitors who are not using the web browser from Netscape.
TrainWeb uses an Apache Web Server running under the Linux operating system.
The Apache Web Server is by far the most common web server used on PC based systems.
Unix and close derivatives such as Linux are the most common operating system used for
web servers. The Apache Web Server does completely support the current HTML standard.
In order to support the full range of Microsoft Extensions, a website has to be hosted on a
Windows NT Microsoft Web Server. If you use Microsoft Front Page to design your web pages
and use Microsoft Extensions, you are likely to run into difficulties when hosting them on
any web server other than one from Microsoft. If you call Microsoft to ask them for help
with your difficulties, they will usually tell you that you need to move your web hosting
to a Microsoft Web Server to solve your problems. This blatently reveals that the reason
for violating the HTML industry standards with "extensions" is to force web designers to
use software products from Microsoft! The goal is to get web designers to pressure their
web service providers to purchase and operate web server software from Microsoft. If Microsoft
were not violating the HTML industry standards, then web pages designed with Microsoft Front
Page would work fine on any web server that supports the industry standards. Thus, we plan to
continue to discourage all of the web sites hosted at TrainWeb from implementing features that
violate the HTML standard.
We encourage all web designers to avoid MS Front Page Extensions, Netscape Extensions, and
any other extensions that violate the current HTML standard. We strongly support the idea that
all pages implemented by web designers should look to the web visitor the way the web
designer intended, regardless of which web browser the web visitor is using and regardless of
which web server software is used by the ISP. This is the whole purpose of having a standard!
If the web pages that you design do not violate the HTML industry standards,
then your web pages will work fine on the TrainWeb server!
I still cringe when I see the graphic on a web site that says "This site looks best when
viewed with Internet Explorer" or "with Netscape". Basically the web designer of the site is
announcing that he has used HTML features that violate the HTML standard and his web
site might look lousy if you don't use the web browser prefered by the web designer. I tend
to feel a bit hostile toward web sites that want to force their preferred web browser on me.
TrainWeb does not display a "Best Viewed With ..." graphic but instead has taken the
Web Interoperability Pledge (WIP) and displays the following graphic:
The Web Interoperability Pledge (WIP) is a promise to adhere to current HTML
standards as promulgated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
I'd strongly recommend that you
to find out what the pledge is all about before you start using HTML commands in your web
pages that violate the standards that have been agreed upon by the web industry.
Both Microsoft and Netscape have added some features to their web browsers and servers that
make it possible to design web pages that will not look or work properly with each other's
web browsers nor with web browsers from other companies. These added features are what they
call "HTML Extensions". "HTML Extensions" sounds nice, like you are getting more for your
money, but a more accurate description would be "HTML Violations"!
An example might be like building a passenger rail car that has a 6 foot gauge. Such a gauge
would allow passenger cars to be a lot more roomy and be able to hold a lot more passengers.
You could claim that the 6 foot gauge rail car is "superior" to the "standard" gauge rail car.
However, with almost no tracks in this nation with a 6 foot gauge, you would be very limited
as to where you could use such a rail car! So, where an "extension" might at first seem like
something above and beyond the standard, it can actually turn out to be a detriment when you
end up with a final product that is incompatible with a significant amount of what is already in place.
Progress is wonderful, but it also helps when the designers of web browsers and servers come
together to agree on a common standard for the new features. In that way, web designers like
ourselves can continue to build web pages that we know will look the same to visitors
regardless of the brand of server hosting our web pages and the brand of web browser being
used by visitors to view our web pages.
We urge you to think twice before you endorse the efforts of any one vendor to attempt to
dominate the process of setting new HTML standards. When a vendor implements new HTML features
before they have become part of the industry standard, they are attempting to dictate their ideas to
us and the rest of the web industry. We endorse the idea that all web pages should work the
same on any brand of web server and with any brand of web browser that implements the latest
For your benefit and ours, we do want to stress one additional point: There are over 400 websites
supported on our webserver by almost as many web designers. We've had reports from very few of
these designers related to having problems designing pages to work on our server. There is one
exception: Web designers using Microsoft Front Page to develope their websites. We've had numerous
problems reported by designers using this tool. While almost all other web design tools produce
HTML pages that can be simply uploaded and downloaded from the web server, Microsoft Front Page
produces entire families of auxilliary files for ever web page designed. Entire sets of files have
to be correctly uploaded into a tree of folders on the server in order for such sites to work
properly. Any mistake in the uploading or downloading process can cause your website to malfunction
and it can be a bear to find and correct these problems.
We do have some people that are expert in using Microsoft Front Page who do seem to use this
tool to develope web pages for their websites hosted on our server without a problem. They seem
to know what Front Page Extensions will work under the Apache Web Server and which won't. But,
if you do not have such technical expertise yourself, I would strongly recommend using any web
design tool other than Microsoft Front Page.
Additional IE Problems:Microsoft Patch Repairs 6 IE Flaws
Security Flaws Found in IE 6.0
Apache Avoids Most Security Woes
IE 6.0: Big in Name Only
IIS: Stay or Switch?
Fed Up With IIS
IE, Apache Clash on Web Standard
eWEEK Labs discovers that Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5.0 and higher and its IIS Web server have a significant security
incompatibility--caused by how Microsoft has implemented digest access authentication--with other major Web browsers and with the
Apache HTTP Web server.
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