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Technical Faqs

1. What web browsers is this site actively designed to support?

Currently the list includes Internet Explorer 5.5/6.0, Mozilla 1.7.3+, and Opera 7.54+, Konqueror, and periodically Safari (I don't own a mac, but I test it when possible). While those are the only browsers that I actively test any browser that supports html 4 and some basic CSS ought to be just fine.

2. Do you support the Netscape browser?

If you are asking about 6.x or 7.x it should look fine since it is based upon the Gecko rendering engine that Mozilla is based upon. Netscape 4.x will have some clear rendering differences and is frankly too old (rendering engine from 1998) and unpopular (less than 1% of users) to bother to test for Netscape 4.x any longer. I personally suggest all Netscape users to upgrade to Netscape 7.2 or Mozilla (Firefox or the Mozilla suite) unless they are running an older machine that wouldn't run a Mozilla based browser very well (PII or older).

3. Do you plan on designing or testing your site for other browsers?

If the browser uses Mozilla's Gecko core (30+ browsers; too many to list here) from anytime in the last 2-3 years I am certain that the site will look the same as the current Mozilla due to the simplicity of the site. Most of the other browsers are either obsolete (NCSA Mosaic, HotJava, webtv, etc) or have too little market share to bother testing. Periodically we do get a few hits from older browsers, but the market share is less than 0.5% in the browser stats for this site and virtually ever other site as well.

4. What browser should I use to best view this site?

The html is so simple that all of the browsers in the test suite look virtually the same. Personally, I suggest against using a non-IE browser for general web browsing, but that is just to avoid the problems that have plagued IE in recent years.

5. Why do you have some of you site in PDF format?

This site uses Adobe's PDF format as a printer friendly format so that any user can print articles or recent extemp topics without all of the other unrelated parts of the page (site navigation, etc) from being along with the content or the article. Some of the older practice topics are not in PDF format only because so few people probably have much use for topics older than 6 months. Using PDFs allows the user to print content exactly the same on any machine that can read a PDF unlike html or any other format. In addition, support of Adobe's PDF format is so universal (MS Windows, MacOS, Linux, and virtually any OS that that has a port of ghostscript) that PDF is the best format to create a print friendly format file that virtually anyone can read. Unless you are browsing the site on some type of embedded system (the now obsolete WebTV/MSNTV, or something similar) you can almost certainly view a PDF. Heck, you can even view PDF's using DOS! If you dislike the Adobe Acrobat viewer for Microsoft Windows you might consider trying the Foxit Reader. Those using Mac OS X or better should just use the builtin Preview application included with the operating system, which the last I checked loaded PDFs faster than Adobe's viewer.