Web Site “Script Errors”

Fred, A friend showed me last night a problem that he doesn’t know how to correct (neither do I). His ISP is sbcglobal.net –   (commonly called ATT but really Southern Bell. SBC bought out ATT, not the other way around.) Anyway, whenever he goes on line to sbc, he gets a script error. Apparently sbc uses some form of Internet Explorer since the script error concerns IE. (My friend prefers Netscape). How are script errors corrected?
 
Thank you. A PLUS subscriber, Bill Cline

In this context, a script is a kind of simple program embedded in a web page. Script errors show up in a browser, but are actually in the coding of the web page itself. If you’re visiting a web page that contains script errors, only the person who created and maintains the page can fix the errors. It’s not something site visitors can do anything about.

It’s annoying for site visitors to encounter a problem they can do nothing about, but it’s one of the things that drives site owners nuts, too: Trying to make pages work with all versions of all browsers is virtually impossible, except for the simplest, plainest pages.

Making the pages standards-compliant is the answer, but even that’s not as simple as it might seem. There are formal standards— those officially approved by bodies such as the W3C ( http://www.w3.org/ )— and "market standards." For example, when Netscape was the browser market leader, page designers had to design for Netscape’s special ways of doing things, even when that diverged from the "official" standards, simply so that the majority of site visitors (who where then using Netscape) would have an acceptable experience.

Now, Internet Explorer is by far the top dog in the browser world, so site designers have to design for IE’s way of doing things, even when that diverges from the "official" standards, simply so that the majority of site visitors (who are using IE) will have an acceptable experience.

Both kinds of "standards" are valid in their own way. The official standards matter more in the long run, but current market standards matter more *right now.* (Purists may disagree. But IMO, it’s just not practical to say "I’ll design a site that I know won’t work for 85% of the world’s current browsers; but it won’t matter, because I’ll be on the side of Goodness, Light, and Official Standards…." <g>)

With the coming of IE7, IE will come into much closer compliance with official standards. More and more sites will be reworked to be OK with *all* the major browsers. But it won’t happen overnight: It’s a *lot* of work to overhaul scripts and such for each new round of standards and generation of browsers…!



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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.