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Do You Really Need All Those Scripts?

By Bob McElwain
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2004

I often use Internet Explorer (Ver 6.0) on my main system, with Win XP. However, as a consultant I prefer using Netscape (Ver 4.78) to visit client or potential client sites. Since many no longer check to see how a page looks in Netscape, I can often point out some changes to help Netscape users better enjoy the site.

As an aside, it's true that earlier versions of Netscape Ver 6 would not run for many who tried them. However the current version, 6.2, is working for most now. To write as if Netscape is a dead horse is a grand design error.

While not true even six months back, I am now routinely running into pages that simply will not load in Netscape. In those cases I have been able to check, the culprit is a script of some kind that won't run with Netscape.

To include such a script on your site is pretty silly, to put it bluntly. It's easy enough to check to see what browser is in use. If you haven't tested the script on that version, don't run it. Or write your code in such a manner that a failure doesn't halt the download of the page.

There's another trend in scripts that has negative implications. More and more pages are using more and more of them. Collectively they can slow download speeds, even on high speed connections. Each script must be processed by the host server. And this can slow things down during times of peak demand on the server.

There is no point to using a script you can possibly do without. Certainly none you feel compelled to use can be allowed to crash a download. This amounts to throwing visitors away. Can you really afford to do so?

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