The way I see it as an intranet developer, the problem is not as much a lack of support of layout standards in HTML or CSS. The problem is that there are no usable standards for adding interaction to web pages. And this is the problem cited in the story, if I understand it correctly, because of a bug in Netscape's implementation of kludges applied to the HTML (layout) standard to provide some degree of interaction.
Here's the thing: the commerical part of the web is not as concerned about presenting static documents (what HTML was first designed for, and the only thing CSS is good for), but to use the web and browsers as a widely available/easy to maintain client-server system. They want interactivity.
The problem is that it takes a huge effort to properly implement these godawful kludges, and even if all the browsers in the world supported these standards correctly, us programmers are still left with substandard APIs for implementing usable interactivity into web pages.
We desperately need a usable and coherent public standard for adding interactivity to web pages.
The solution is to create and implement more usable standards, preferrably following the XML and DOM models just like in the case of SVG, and create two sets of programs: plugins to implement XML-based standards geared towards specific functionality, and browsers that provide accessible harnesses where these plugins can run and interact with each other. We need xhtml + svg + xforms + css + ecmascript, separate cooperating plugins for each, and browsers to support these plugins.
And that is yet another problem with Netscape. Having been involved with writing a plugin for Netscape and IE, I can assure you: it's easy to write one for IE, hopeless for Netscape, there are just too many bugs.
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