MozillaZine

Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to WebReview

Friday March 26th, 1999

CNet reports that WebReview's latest assessment of CSS1 compliance in release browsers puts Opera on top with 78%, followed by IE4 at 70.2% and Nav4 at 38.8%. Neither the M3 release of Mozilla or IE5 were assessed in the recent tally.

Contrary to the opinion of the study's author, Eric Meyer, who stated that Opera was "really very impressive, especially given its relative youth", a buggy 78% implementation hardly seems worth touting. As I've stated before on these pages, a browser that has is 78% compliant and buggy is as useful as a 10% compliant (but bug-free) browser. In fact, the 10% compliant browser is the better option, because no workaround code is required for implementation. However, the only browser that should garner any praise is the one that is 100% compliant, and bug-free in its implementation.

In addition, an interesting statement from the WSP that appeared in the CNet article is worth mentioning.

"The uneven deployment of CSS1 in major Web browsers over the last two years has caused Web authors great frustration and expense, and has won CSS an undeservedly obscure and difficult reputation"

From my experience watching the progress of Mozilla's CSS1 implementation, it seems that CSS's reputation for being difficult is deserved. Developers have had to search the CSS2 definition to clear up vagaries in the CSS1 definition. There is no reference CSS implementation *anywhere*, so developers are essentially guinea pigs and have to not only implement CSS1, but spend time and money working through all the inconsistencies that were not addressed by a reference implementation. It doesn't seem that the uneven deployment of CSS implementations has caused CSS1's reputation. If anything, CSS1's vagueness has had the direct result of limiting its adoption.


#1 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Gerard <gtm@riftwar.com>

Friday March 26th, 1999 11:05 AM

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Opera, IMO, is terrible.

1) not cross-platform 2) not free (freedom or free of charge) 3) ugly UI & it uses MDI 4) buggy

#2 That's 78% INCLUDING a bug penalty

by Jeff Paulsen <jeff.paulsen@poorman-douglas.com>

Friday March 26th, 1999 11:55 AM

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... for bugs related to CSS implementation. Properly implementing a CSS element was worth 2 points, doing it buggily was worth -0.5.

Opera is not my preferred browser. The MDI-ness bothers me - but it is small and fast.

#3 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by basic <_basic@yahoo.com>

Friday March 26th, 1999 2:55 PM

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Isn't it time moz show them how it's done?

#4 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by basic <_basic@yahoo.com>

Friday March 26th, 1999 3:18 PM

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Isn't it time moz show them how it's done?

#5 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by lauch

Friday March 26th, 1999 3:28 PM

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I always thought it was stupid to make a standard such as CSS1 and then get us all excited, then have the browsers that display the pages choose to only partially implement it. How are we supposed to design something and have it ACTUALLY work? I'm really looking forward to Mozilla making it to the release stage so I can have a page work for people!!!!

#6 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Blackhand

Friday March 26th, 1999 8:09 PM

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I'm sorry, but IE4 at 70.2% CSS1 compliance? Considering what I was getting in IE5 on the CSS1 test bed, I find that really hard to believe. Ok, maybe 70.2% if they implemented something but it didn't work right, that I could believe.

My $0.02 for Opera is that I hated the interface, and its not free, plus it my webpage doesn't work properly in it, even though my webpage looks almost perfectly fine in Netscape 1.22.

#7 Ditto that

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Friday March 26th, 1999 9:15 PM

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Opera's UI is indeed ugly, and why I should pay $30 for a browser that only barely beats IE is beyond me. Give it two months and the nightly builds of Mozilla will (fingers crossed :)) beat the tar out of opera in standards, user-friendliness and price. Also, Mozilla 5.0 will not make my Windows Explorer run at the speed of snails like IE5 does (DID).

#8 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Jonathan Abbey <jonabbey@arlut.utexas.edu>

Saturday March 27th, 1999 2:49 AM

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Man, it seems kind of unfair to diss Opera for being only 78% compliant when you mention Nav4 itself as being basically so much less compliant. I mean, come on, points for effort at least, huh?

#9 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by mozineAdmin

Saturday March 27th, 1999 5:15 AM

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I didn't mean to diss Opera only. Howver, they were the focus of the article.

However, I'm not giving any points for effort here, because the effort that Netscape, MS, and Opera Software made wouldn't even get them across the finish line in a race.

#10 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Aleks Zawisza <awz@home.com>

Saturday March 27th, 1999 9:14 AM

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Dear mozineAdmin,

It's funny how you say "Microsoft blames their non-compliance on Netscape" because they say Netscape is even less compliant - which they are - and then you say that somethine MORE copliant is WORSE than something LESS compliant, whether it's Opera or IE.

This is BS, it's an argument I would only expect Microsoft to make. You're just trying to make excuses for Netscape because they happen to be less compliant (and for good reason, their browser was released much earlier and supported specs that were final at the time).

There are good excuses for Netscape's lack of compliance, and it's true that IE5 could be MUCH more compliant than it is, but saying that MORE is LESS is pure bullshit, and you have to be really creative to find reasons to justify that.

Your argument would work equally well against Mozilla if it didn't support 100% of ALL standards, which it probably won't. I can just see you come up some twists for your arguments then, explaining how MORE is MORE for Mozilla but MORE is LESS for IE. 99% CCS2 compliance is worse than 50% CCS2 compliance according to you!

Yeah. Let's not let our love of Mozilla blind us ok? I use Netscape 4.51 but I don't kidd myself by pretending it's for Netscape 4.51's blinding-fast rendering speed and complete standard-compliance.

#11 chill out

by take a pill

Saturday March 27th, 1999 2:19 PM

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God, shutup! You need to look at the "keep your replies friendly" section!

#12 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Saturday March 27th, 1999 2:27 PM

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Actually, I disagree. Netscape can use that excuse because it is a lastGen browser--IE can't because it is supposed to be a 5.0 nextGen browser. Why go to only 70% compliance with a standard that's over TWO YEARS OLD with a browser that's advertised to be the new hot thing? Because all MS will do is rewrite Gecko when it comes out, call it 5.1 and then bash NS some more. And I seriously disagree that NS won't be 100% CSS1 compliant--CSS1 is the % we're talking about here.

#13 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by mozineAdmin

Saturday March 27th, 1999 4:14 PM

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Aleks,

I don't believe you got the gist of my argument. Maybe I could have been clearer. The point I was trying to make was this:

No matter how compliant a browser is, if what it implements is buggy, it's part of the problem, not part of the solution. NN4.0, 4.5, 4.51, IE 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, Opera 3.0, are all part of the problem, not part of the solution, because what they do implement is buggy.

First, you state "...then you say that somethine MORE copliant is WORSE than something LESS compliant, whether it's Opera or IE"

I did not say that. I said that an 80% buggy implementation is worse than a 10% proper implementation. There's a difference between that and "more is worse than less".

Next, you stated, "You're just trying to make excuses for Netscape because they happen to be less compliant (and for good reason, their browser was released much earlier and supported specs that were final at the time)."

I did *no such thing*. I have never excused Netscape's lack of compliance. In opinion pieces from a few months ago, I tried to cut them some slack when everyone was pounding them viciously, because we had Mozilla builds that could verify their progress (which is clear, and impressive). However, I *never* made any statements trying to excuse Netscape's lack of compliance in their 4.x implememtations. If you think that's the case, please feel free to find any statements from me that support your contention.

Also, you stated, "There are good excuses for Netscape's lack of compliance, and it's true that IE5 could be MUCH more compliant than it is, but saying that MORE is LESS is pure bullshit, and you have to be really creative to find reasons to justify that."

I don't think you have to be creative at all. The fact is that a 10% compliant browser that handles that 10% perfectly *is* better than an 80% compliant browser that has a buggy implementation. Why is this? Because when you code for that 10% compliant browser, you have to use no workarounds and you won't have to rewrite that code later. You can't use all of the spec, but the code you do use will work in that browser and every other compliant browser that comes after it. When you code for the buggy 80% browser, you won't get the expected result in other compliant browsers that implement the spec properly, and when that 80% browser is fixed you will have to recode your pages again. See NN 4.0's DOM implementation (which came out before there was any finalized spec) and IE 5.0's DOM implementation (which is still wrong a year after the DOM spec is finalized). Both end up being curiosities more than useful implementations, because everything coded for them will have to be recoded for truly compliant implementations.

Finally, you stated that, "99% CCS2 compliance is worse than 50% CCS2 compliance according to you!"

This is a misunderstanding of my argument. If that if that 99% compliant browser implements the spec perfectly, then it is indeed the better browser. However, if it implements the spec in a half-assed, buggy way, and that 50% browser implements its 50% perfectly, that 50% browser is the better choice, IMO - for the reasons I stated above.

I look forward to your explanations as to why a buggy implementation is better than a compliant implementation of an existing standard. *That* should be creative! :)

On a side note to Jonathan, who made a comment above yours:

I'd prefer to give no points to any of the past and present release browsers, because they're incomplete and buggy in their implementations of the standards. This goes for Netscape, MS, and Opera (and any other browser you can think of). Netscape got *wholloped* when people found out that the Mozilla 5.0 would not be CSS1 complete (before they moved to the new layout engine). I defended it on the basis that shifting to a new engine when a new release was about 3/4 of the way done was a bad financial decision, when work on the new layout engine would be continuing (and verifiable). Now that they have made the move to the new layout engine, any Mozilla bashing is really in bad taste, IMO. They've moved their release schedule by 9 months to a year to do the right thing.

If Opera's decision to release a non-compliant browser was a purely financial one, then I would give them the benefit of the doubt. I did for Netscape, and am willing to extend that kind of consideration to them.

#14 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Aleks Zawisza <awz@home.com>

Saturday March 27th, 1999 6:31 PM

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"I look forward to your explanations as to why a buggy implementation is better than a compliant implementation of an existing standard."

I will not try to explain this because I never said that.

My argument rested on the premise that a 70% compliance means that the 70% is handled perfectly.

What you're saying is obviously that IE's 70 or whatever % is a higher percentage than Netscape's 30%, but that Netscape's 30% is handled perfectly and IE's 70% is botched.

Now, is there really evidence that most of the 70% of IE's implementation is done wrong and all of Navigator's 30% is done right? If there is evidence of this then I see that your argument has value.

If you're just speculating that Opera has "a buggy 78% implementation", but you really don't know, then I'm not so sure. I don't believe that Navigator has all of its features implemented correctly either, and it does throw in proprietary tags that confuse people, just like IE does.

I didn't mean to sound inflamatory, but I thought you meant that a *well-implemented* 70% was worse than a *well-implemented* 30%, which to me sounds pretty ridiculous.

#15 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by arielb

Saturday March 27th, 1999 8:25 PM

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ack all the browsers today are terrible. I'm interested in mozilla because it means a better web in the future. I just don't see that with IE and Opera so until they get their act together, I don't pay much attention to them

#16 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by mozineAdmin

Saturday March 27th, 1999 9:04 PM

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Aleks,

You stated, "What you're saying is obviously that IE's 70 or whatever % is a higher percentage than Netscape's 30%, but that Netscape's 30% is handled perfectly and IE's 70% is botched."

No, I never stated that, and never even *implied* that. I really don't know how you even got that impression. My comparison between a buggy 80% implementation and a 10% perfect implementation was *hypothetical*.

I never stated that Netscape's implementation was 10% and perfect. That was a misunderstanding on your part. As I stated in my last post, *all* of the release browsers up to this point are buggy. Netscape's browser is no exception.

The point I was trying to make is that a buggy implementation is essentially worthless. That means that the CSS1 implementations in all of the browsers up to this point is essentially useless, except for experimentation and development in restricted environments (like intranets).

If a browser came out tomorrow with a 10% implementation that was perfect, it would be more useful in the long run than anything we've had so far.

I hope this clears this issue up.

#17 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Nick Rosier

Sunday March 28th, 1999 11:13 AM

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Either you support a standard or you don't! Saying e.g. you're 70% compliant with CSS-1 is BS: you're not. In my opinion, mozilla will support all current standards. I hope that the mozillateam will be smart enough not to implement new technologies in the future unless they can 100% compliant.

#18 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Aleks Zawisza <awz@home.com>

Sunday March 28th, 1999 3:53 PM

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"That means that the CSS1 implementations in all of the browsers up to this point is essentially useless"

Of course, but how do you go from that hypothetical argument to stating something clearly negative about poor lill' Opera like "a buggy 78% implementation hardly seems worth touting".

I mean, they've clearly made a big effort. The best out of an imperfect bunch is still not bad. We all tout Netscape for the things they do better than others, so why not give credit to another small browser when they clearly deserve some credit? I just think you're pretty hard on the other browsers for pretty "hypothetical" reasons.

#19 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by mozineAdmin

Sunday March 28th, 1999 4:33 PM

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Aleks,

Why does "a buggy 78% implementation hardly seems worth touting"? I've gone over this a number of times now, and I'm not going to do so again. Please see my previous responses for the thorough explanation. I'll leave it at that.

#20 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by arielb

Sunday March 28th, 1999 8:39 PM

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so...will mozilla support 100% of CSS2 and xml links? I hope so

#21 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by rgelb <nospam@nospam.com>

Sunday March 28th, 1999 10:23 PM

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I think you guys are missing a point of the Opera browser. It is designed to be lightweight, so that you don't need the latest and greatest hardware to run it. NS 4.5 takes about 4-6 seconds to come up on my P2-400Mhz, while Opera comes up about as fast as Notepad. I don't even want to guess how long it will take to load NS on a 486. Anyways, some of my relatives (who are generally not into computers) just want to browse the web and see what all the hype is about. They are not about to replace their 386 or 486. That is where Opera comes in.

#22 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Aleks Zawisza <awz@home.com>

Monday March 29th, 1999 8:30 AM

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Ok, I still think you don't understand where I see a problem with your statement. I don't dispute that a *buggy* 78% implementation is not great, but a 30% *buggy* implementation isn't any better. If you're bitter about Opera being buggy, you should be equally bitter about Netscape being buggy, and you're not. You may think that an imperfect 78% is as worthless as an imperfect 30%, but you don't say "well, Opera at least *tries* harder", you just diss them for not being perfect.

And regardless, Mozilla better be 100% compliant and not have a single bug, or else it won't make it up to your tough standards. I think you have pretty high expectations, and personally I hope Mozilla meets them but I won't hold it against Mozilla developers if they don't.

#23 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by mozineAdmin

Monday March 29th, 1999 9:02 AM

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Aleks,

Ok, this is my last time through this.

You stated, "If you're bitter about Opera being buggy, you should be equally bitter about Netscape being buggy, and you're not." Where did you get that impression? That's just simply not true, and you have *nothing* to back that up. In fact, you'll find much in my previous responses to you that go contrary to that opinion.

Opera's only mentioned in my news item because someone dared to put an article out stating that one browser was "leading" the pack. That's just nonsense. Why should I give praise to the leader in a group of racers that petered out before ever reaching the finish line?

"Well, the race is over, and Opera almost made it, but collapsed 3/4 of the way to the finish line, followed closely by IE, with Communcator coughing up blood at the halfway mark. What an effort from all our participants! Maybe next time someone will make it the whole way around the track! Well, let's go home... no medals to give out today."

It could've been Opera, it could've been IE, it could've been Mozilla. Opera just happened to be the one about which the misinformation was being spread.

Next, you state, "And regardless, Mozilla better be 100% compliant and not have a single bug, or else it won't make it up to your tough standards."

If Communicator 5.0's CSS1 compliance isn't 100%, you're damn straight I'll be pissed. They've been stating *for months* that they would be 100% compliant in CSS1, DOM level 1, and XML 1.0. If they back down after that, screw 'em. I have better things to do with my time than put my support behind a company that makes promises they refuse to keep.

So, does that sound like I'm being easy on Netscape? I have high expectations, because they let me have them.

#24 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by zontar

Monday March 29th, 1999 10:59 AM

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I have a lot of admiration and respect for the Opera folks. For plain vanilla HTML 3.2 and images, it's great. However, Opera's JavaScript implementation is woefully substandard. It also barfs all over the Box Acid Test even worse than IE 4 or NS 4 do, and that's saying something: <A href="<http://www.erisx.com/jd/mozilla/screenshots>">---</A>.

#25 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by zontar

Monday March 29th, 1999 11:02 AM

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Here's that link again:

<http://www.erisx.com/jd/mozilla/screenshots>

dear admin,

Could you PLEASE do something about the way URLs are being parsed here? It's quite annoying.

Thank you.

Z.

#26 CSS1 difficulty? HA!

by CPT

Monday March 29th, 1999 5:53 PM

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"Developers have had to search the CSS2 definition to clear up vagaries in the CSS1 definition. There is no reference CSS implementation *anywhere*, so developers are essentially guinea pigs and have to not only implement CSS1, but spend time and money working through all the inconsistencies that were not addressed by a reference implementation."

Hello, AMAYA!, Hello ARENA!

Do these names mean anything to you?!?! I was surfing with Arena in '96 and it gave me better CSS than Netscape 4. Do you guys get ANY of your information from anyone besides netscape?

Try reading the CSS pages at the W3C (<http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/> .) It's pretty clear. The only vagueness is where netscape and IE implement things either incorrectly or not at all.

I've done a good bit of web pages CSS and tables, and when there's been a problem, it's almost always on the Netscape side. Mozilla 5 may clear up these problems when it's released (when? end of the year?), but in the here and now it's really easy to beleive that Opera trounces Netscape in CSS (haven't tried Opera myself, but I have tried IE, and it beats Netscape in CSS compliance.)

And yes, being the leader of the pack is a good thing. A lot of people here imply that NS is just as good as the others, since none are 100% compliant. I live in the real world, where few things are 100% and that extra 40% can be nice.

I still think Netscape could have given us a 100% compliant browser with 3.x if they had not tried to shove proprietary crap like Java-script style sheets and LAYER down our throats.

#27 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by mozineAdmin

Monday March 29th, 1999 6:06 PM

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I don't believe Amaya and Arena are 100% compliant implementations. Please feel free to correct me.

#28 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Tuesday March 30th, 1999 3:26 AM

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Uh, hello! mozAdmin did not say 30% buggy was better than 78% buggy! They said 10% PERFECT was better than ANY percent buggy!

#29 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Tuesday March 30th, 1999 3:45 AM

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Writing for a browser with a 78% buggy implementation will take more rewrites later than writing for one with a 10% perfect. And I don't remember anyone implying Netscape was better, rather we're implying that IE and Opera are not solutions to the 4.x browser nightmare, but rather just adding to the problem for anyone who writes for them.

If you think we're implying Moz5.0 WILL be that answer, then you're right. But no one ever defended Netscape 4.x as being better than IE or Opera, they just stated that "really very impressive" was maybe not the right description for Opera, especially when it's the one browser of the three you are expected to actually pay for.

As for Moz 5, they should have a beta this summer, hopefully, and be ready for commercial release by, cross your fingers, this fall.

By the way I just got a hold of (free) Mosaic For Dummies. WOW, what a flashback! Here's an excerpt from the chapter "Ten Assorted Mosaic Clones"

MOSAIC NETSCAPE: This version of Mosaic comes from the company that recruited Marc Adreessen, the developer of the original Mosaic program. This is one product to watch because it promises features optimized for 14.4 Kbps modems, native JPEG support, enhanced memory caching, and more.

"One to watch," at least, is still true both then and now.

#30 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by Jacques <jsteyn@up.ac.za>

Wednesday March 31st, 1999 4:46 AM

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I have been following the discussion... One point I wish to make is that if a browser is 70% compliant, it consequently is 30% not compliant. So what? This does not mean anything. Someone (Truman?) said "Lies, damn lies and statistics..."

A more meaningful survey would have been to check compliance for the most commonly used CSS1 properties. For straight forward documents all three these browsers support most of the properties. It is only when you get to less common properties where there are problems. Example, Netscape messes up negative margins, but how many documents need negative margins?

But then again, I do agree that it is shocking that after more than 2 years beyond the release of CSS1 (on 17 December 1996) there is still no compliance.

#31 Ten percent

by CPT

Wednesday March 31st, 1999 6:13 PM

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Another question I have is this: where is this 10% perfect number coming from, Mozadmin? Are you saying that Netscape implements 10% of CSS1 PERFECTLY and totally disregards the rest? Cause, you know, I have this web page with a table in it ...

#32 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser, According to

by mozineAdmin

Wednesday March 31st, 1999 7:44 PM

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CPT,

As I stated before, that 10% was hypothetical. As you may notice if you read the piece, I *never* stated that I was comparing Opera to Navigator. I was comparing a buggy 80% implementation to a perfect 10% implementation. That's all.

#33 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser - but CSS is n

by bobo <stmoss@jps.net>

Saturday April 3rd, 1999 12:16 AM

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I could give a flip about CSS, but then I don't work on the web anymore (gone since Netscape 0.9).

The reason I'm in Opera right now is because IT DOESN'T FREAKING CRASH, no matter how many pages I browse at a time.

Ta!

#34 Re:Opera Now Most Compliant Browser

by Dave Fisher <Dave.Fisher@null.net>

Wednesday April 7th, 1999 4:22 AM

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I tried Opera, I tried IE5 & Netscape 4.5 too... Why is NS and IE soooo HE-UGE ??? Opera is less than 2meg and VERY fast... ok, it doesn't support tons of stuff like ActiveX and Java (I think) but stuff like that slows down the pages and sites seems to be ripping that stuff out...

... now if only it wasn't so damn ugly...