A long time ago (in 1985), I worked on the very first e-commerce program. It was called MOSIS, www.mosis.com, and allowed people to get integrated circuits fabricated over the internet. It was sponsored by DARPA. It was before the first browser and first web page (1990) existed. See A Little History of the World Wide Web for details. I wrote a significant amount of the MOSIS software. It worked in a simple and reliable way. (It used e-mail and ftp).
Then the web came. I remember loading Mosaic, and seeing content interactively. Next came Netscape, Opera, Internet Explorer, Mozilla and many other browsers. Along with the browsers were several standards to display information. See Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) Home Page I even wrote some commercial CGI scripts (in C) for web browsers. Along with the standards, a number of browsers had incompatible extensions. This was not a great problem, as early web programmers tested their software on all the available browsers, and under different operation systems.
Then Microsoft decided to destroy Netscape. They started to give away Internet Explorer. They made it full of features as well as even more security problems than Netscape had. Microsoft captured a huge market share of internet browsers. There were lawsuits, and the like. Now, most tools to make web pages assume that the browser is Internet Explorer, and generate web pages that are illegal in many ways.
It is easy to understand a simple, non-commercial web site using these tools. They are cheap, easily available, and most web site 'programmers' are clueless. I forgive them for their cluelessness.
The real problem is the commercial web sites. They are in business to make money. If people can't use their site, they lose business. Companies like United Airlines, and American Express. They are stupid, and costing their owners real cashola. Every time I find a commercial web site with a problem, I sent them an email message explaining the problem. To date, one has replied, but they didn't understand that the problem was with their site. When I told them to try it with Mozilla, they didn't seem to understand how to do it.
For example, if you see a message like 'We have detected that your browser does not allow cookies', and you don't know what cookies are, rest assured that the web page is broken. Likely, some programmer specified somewhere a list of good browsers, and if your browser isn't on the list, you will get some obscure error message, and the page won't work.
There are some systems like cell phones and computers running GNU/Linux, Solaris and the like, that simply can't run Internet Explorer. I guess these people simply can't use these non-portable web sites.
If you have comments or suggestions, Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Created with gnu emacs and template-toolkit, not some sissy HTML editor.
both have significant security issues.