Unspoilt by Progress

23rd April 2005

Users of Microsoft Internet Explorer may have noticed that this site looks a little, uh, “minimal” in your browser — minimal in this case being a polite word for broken.

Sadly, despite having been involved in creating the CSS specs and being one of the first browser vendors to add CSS support. In recent years Microsoft, for whatever reasons, have allowed Internet Explorer to fall behind it’s rivals in support of web standards. The result is the latest version of Internet Explorer on Windows has deeply lacking CSS support and the parts it does implement are riddled with bugs and inconstancies. In addition to the horrible CSS support it lacks other useful technologies such as PNG’s with alpha transparency and XHTML. At least it looks as if IE 7 is taking some steps in the right direction.

Dealing with Explorer rendering “quirks” at work takes up far more time than I would care for, however solving these issues is a necessity since there is no way a commerical site can appear broken for the majority of web users. However for a personal site that has little point other than being a place for me to write down some quite insignificant things I don’t think this is such an important issue. So here I decided to take the opportunity to use some things I would never get a chance to use on a commercial site. Things like CSS selectors, generated content and of course PNG transparency, then see how well IE was able to keep up.

Unfortunatly, though perhaps not unexpectedly, the short answer to how it keeps up is “not well”. In fact it deals with things so poorly, the raw unstyled HTML is preferable to the “styled” page. Fortunately Microsoft invented Conditional Comments which are a real help here — though somehow I doubt this was Microsoft’s intended use for them… With conditional comments the styles can easily be hidden from IE, leaving it with the plain HTML, whilst the “Downlevel” browsers can be left alone to get on with things. At some point in the future I’ll probably add some simpler alternate stylesheets that IE can cope with, or maybe IE 7 will catch up. However for the time being minimalist chic is in.

Permalink. Posted on 23rd April 2005 in Browsers, Web Standards.

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