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DocTypes and Browsers

DOCTYPE is a means of specifng what syntax a web page uses, no more, no less. Browser makers made a decision to base web page-rendering on DOCTYPEs. They were in a pickle...How to support Web pages written for previous generations of browsers that were not standards-compliant while at the same time supporting the newer standards-compliant browsers so they came up with a method of using DOCTYPEs to switch between standards mode and quirks mode. DOCTYPE switching is a toggling mechanism invented by Todd Fahrner in 1998 that lets browser makers support standards without breaking sites built the old-fashioned way.


As for browser support-- well, this section all about using browser flaws to an advantage. Though the premise of DOCTYPE switching is simple, IE’s Standards mode differs from that of Gecko browsers like Mozilla, Netscape, and the user agent formerly known as Chimera. In true Standards mode, Gecko browsers assume an inline model for images, which can have unexpected consequences for some hybrid (CSS + table) layouts. To make things easier for designers, later Gecko browsers (Netscape 7, Mozilla 1.01+) added an “Almost Standards” mode that works like IE’s Standards mode. Of course there is more to it than that.

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