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HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 5th Edition by Chuck Musciano, Bill Kennedy

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Chapter 14. Netscape Layout Extensions

From the start of their enterprise, the developers at Netscape were at the forefront of browser design that addresses the needs of commercial interests. Throughout the years, they consistently extended HTML to provide authors with far more sophisticated page-layout capabilities than previous versions offered. With the advent of the Cascading Style Sheets standard, though, all this changed. Today, browsers are mostly standards-conscious, preferring to distinguish themselves through operational features, not extensions to the common document language.

In this chapter, we cover three features that are unique to Netscape Versions 4 and earlier: spacers, multiple columns, and layers. These tags lure the designer with exciting page-layout capabilities. Play with them as you will, but we warn you: they won’t ever become part of HTML/XHTML standards. They aren’t even supported by the latest version of Netscape. (Internet Explorer never supported them.)

So, in many ways, this chapter is an historical document, to be dug up and read by some future HTML/XHTML historian.

Creating Whitespace

One of the simplest elements in any page design is the empty space surrounding content. Empty space is often just as important to the look and feel of a page as the areas filled with text and images. Commonly known as whitespace, these empty areas shape and contain the content of your page.

Native HTML has no way to create empty space on your page, short of using a <pre> ...

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