So you say you want a web page huh? The latest and greatest technology of course! Nothing but the best for you! You tell all your friends about it. You're proud of your accomplishment. It has everything. You use some Java, some Java script, throw in a few animated gifs and some pics you scanned so everyone can see you, of course! You've got the latest, hottest hi-speed connection around, so it loads like lightning! Of course, your friends aren't really as "up" on the latest stuff as you are so you'll really impress them! Uh... as long as they have all the plug ins for the old browser they're using and can see that stuff. The most widely used modem today is (finally, but by a slim margin) a 56k, so it's no big deal if it takes them four days to load your page right?
Well, if you're the only one that can see what's there... what's the point?
Have you ever gone to a page and noticed the little "best viewed with Internet Explorer"? Or "best viewed with Netscape version 893.423.434.235"? There is a reason for it. The author wrote it for the particular browser he is telling you to view it with. So if you are viewing it with a different browser, you probably won't be able to see it the way it was intended to be seen. That's a major problem today. Netscape has lost the lead as far as the browser wars go, but not by a great margin. In order to write for both of these browsers, you must make some compromises. If you can see it with one browser, but not another one, you simply should not write it. Sad but true. I won't mention AOL's browser which is another real disaster. And you haven't lived until you start worrying about webTV! Let's not forget Mosaic and Cello! At this point in time, I feel that it will be at least another two years before this mess is straightened out. Once there is a standard (if ever) it will be a fairly simple matter to write pages.
Ok, stop screaming. The way technology is running today, it can't take two years you say? Probably not. But... we should not forget that ISP's generally send out software that is outdated. If the person just signing on gets this software he most likely won't upgrade it for another year simply because they really won't know they can. And once they find out they can... they won't know how! So even if/when coding becomes standard, we still have to wait for the viewer/customer to catch up!
So if you're out there worrying about how to get that ActiveX script working, the flash to spark or the Java to perk... don't bother. The people in the real world aren't really ready for it yet anyway.