Mozilla Position on Layer tag

In a recent posting to the Mozilla Layout newsgroup, Eric Krock has outlined the official position on supporting the LAYER tag introduced with Netscape 4. The tag will be supported as static HTML but will not be available via Javascript, forcing anyone who has written Netscape DHTML to rewrite their code, although anyone who uses object detection for layers should be ok. The good news is that Eric has reaffirmed the commitment to standards, recommending that developers stick to using the DOM and CSS. In particular he says:

"W3C DOM support is the solution and the light at the end of tunnel for developers who are now struggling with cross-browser development. Browser vendors must commit to fully support W3C standards. When they do, developers will at last be able to write once and run anywhere. (This is especially important if we think long term. Do we really want to be writing conditional code forks in 2010?) There was an earlier plan to ship a Nav5 based on the old 4.x codebase (the Gromit project) without full HTML 4.0, CSS1, and DOM1 support and to delay robust standards support until a later release. However, the developer community sent a clear message that they would prefer that Netscape delay the release in order to base Nav5 on Gecko and get the standards support right. In particular, held a petition drive asking for this and got over 7,000 signatures from developers. Netscape listened, changed plans, and is doing exactly that."
He finishes up by saying what a difficult decision it has been to make and
"While upgrading Nav4 DOM-based content and apps to the W3C DOM will be a significant undertaking for those developers who used the Nav4 DOM, the biggest remaining problem for developers long-term and going forward is that the other major browser vendor has not to my knowledge committed a date or version from which it will fully support HTML 4.0, CSS1, and DOM1; until IE is DOM1-compliant, developers will have to write twice--once to the W3C DOM, and once to the proprietary IE DOM. I urge developers who are struggling with cross-browser development to make their voices heard and get the other vendor to match Netscape's commitment to supporting HTML 4.0, CSS1, and DOM1 from a specific browser version number and time frame."


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