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I’ve been working away at making my web-based forum software as compatible as possible. Here are a few screenshots from some desktop testing I did recently.

This is definitely a prototype demo, where I configure it with the most polished theme and only screenshot the home-page, but I’m still pretty happy with where I’ve gotten so far.

If you disable scripting, Netscape and IE are quite usable, but I’m still fixing up many JS issues. Mosaic is also not able to use every feature.

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    Look at those old Netscape UIs. We had many fewer pixels, and yet had room to label the buttons and raise them so they’re obviously clickable.

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      It was never a question of pixels. The main reason why the bevel & emboss type of design disappeared was that if you have 10 nested GUI elements which are all raised, it starts to look silly. That and GUI fashion which is basically designer and manager moods that have nothing to do with usability.

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        They’re beautiful, aren’t they?

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        I’d be interested in reading a summary of what issues you had, and how you think the best way is to avoid them.

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          The biggest obstacle to old clients in my experience is HTTPS, with most of the web, with Google’s pushing, now being https-only, and thus inaccessible to older browsers. Ironically, google.com and the search remains accessible to most browsers.

          The second is probably new JavaScript syntax like === and try/catch, which cause parsing errors. JavaScript is generally designed in a way which makes it easy to do feature checks, so I can wrap everything in if(window.localStorage), but I can’t do that with ===. New syntax causes errors in older browsers, and I’ve had to rewrite certain things.

          I am using one third-party library, OpenPGP.js, which is heavy on new syntax and features, and I will have to selectively load it only for new clients, which I have not figured out how to test for yet.

          Another issue is that Mosaic considers > to be enough to close an HTML comment, not –>, meaning in-HTML scripts cannot include a > character. I noticed this before, and I found a couple of easy techniques in old JS books and by trial and error to work around this, but it meant combing through all of my JS and replacing if (a>b) with if (b>a), etc.

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            The biggest obstacle to old clients in my experience is HTTPS, with most of the web, with Google’s pushing, now being https-only, and thus inaccessible to older browsers. Ironically, google.com and the search remains accessible to most browsers.

            Why should that be an issue? You’d think that this would only be a problem, if you force-redirected HTTP traffic to HTTPS, but I don’t know why one should do that in your case.

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              It’s not an issue on my sites, but it’s an issue with almost every other website across the web at this point.

              One of the last holdouts was aol.com, until a year or two ago.

              If I didn’t have my own HTTP site, I’m not sure how I would log in to captive WiFi portals…

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                For other people’s reference, the site http://neverssl.com/ exists for exactly this purpose.

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                  Ironically, this page doesn’t display without javascript

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                    Which page? http://neverssl.com/ doesn’t use any javascript for rendering, the only js used is for the twitter button.

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          This URL is extremely hostile and not safe for work. My employer blocked this as porn which makes me really uncomfortable, both in the sense that my employer has a record of me clicking on such a link and the imagination what they think I’m looking up. Not a fan, I have to say.

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            The problem here is your employer (or on you for clicking it if you don’t agree with the domain). If you are that scared of repercussions you really should look for employment somewhere else. This sounds abusive.

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              It’s unlikely that a human is going to read the logs, but it’s awkward nonetheless.

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                yep, there’s a lot of businesses where this is the norm. It’s not so much that there is going to be repercussions but rather that you have to have the thought.

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              I apologize about that, I have worked places like that before.

              As an alternative, if you still want to look, you can try this URL instead: http://sm.chg.pw/

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                I don’t see the article on the site linked… :( It looks like some kind of forums.

                Edit: Oh, this is a link to the forums not the article. I went to “Cached” and all was well.

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              I like it! I’ve written a web-based Mastodon/Pleroma client that works in text browsers and older browsers. I use it with Lynx and w3m, and I’ve definitely had people write to me that they’ve used it with IE5 or with Netscape 3. The biggest issue I’ve had is TLS, actually. I’m running a public instance that only runs on HTTPS, and only on TLS 1.1 or higher, and people on ancient and unmaintained browsers can’t use it; they have to run a local copy of it on plain HTTP on the same LAN as their old browser.

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                In my experience, HTTPS is the biggest obstacle to Web accessibility.

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                  Is it the one called Brutaldon? I’ve started exploring it, and it looks very cool!

                  Thank you for writing and sharing it.

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                    Yes, it is brutaldon! Glad you enjoy it.