Webmaster Logo.Learn HTML and CSS.  
Click to see the benefits of becoming a member.Read the current issue of Almost a NewsletterCool webmaster products.Contact us.   Log in to the webmaster's member area.
About This Q & A
This is one of dozens and dozens of Questions and Answers found in the members-only area.

We entertain one subcriber question about "webmastering" problems (broadly speaking) in each issue of Almost a Newsletter. We'll either answer the question or try to point the person in the right direction.

The questions and answers then get archived in the members area.

Webmaster's Q & A
Question: In the previous issue of AAN you mentioned a browser displays web pages in "quirks mode" if no Doctype is used. What is quirks mode?

- Submitted by Anna M.

Answer: Once upon a time there were two dominant browsers, Netscape and Internet Explorer. When CSS first came out, the two browsers offered poor support, and the support they did offer often didn't match each other. As newer versions of each browser came out the support for CSS got better, and the browsers even began to treat the standards in similar, if not the exact same ways.

Now, many years later, most browsers support CSS very nicely, but browser vendors had a problem that needed to be solved.

In the old days, there were millions of web pages that were written when CSS support was very spotty, and even HTML wasn't always rendered according to standards. Webmasters had to use all kinds of tricks to make pages display similarly in the major browsers. The problem for vendors was, if browsers only supported the standards, millions of old pages would be negatively affected; yet, if they didn't change, new web pages that were written according to standards wouldn't be supported properly.

The solution most vendors settled on was that browsers would display web pages in one of two modes, standards mode or quirks mode. If webmasters use a DOCTYPE, the browser will display their web pages in one of the standards modes. If webmasters do not use a DOCTYPE, and older web pages didn't have a DOCTYPE, the pages display using the quirks mode.

And everyone lived happily ever after. The end.

As a member, you'd have access to dozens and dozens of subscriber submitted questions, many that you may need answers to yourself. You can hunt and hunt the web for the answers, or you can just come here and find many of your questions answered in one place.