Tag Archives: IE

Internet Explorer 9 to Render Pages with WebKit

In a surprising turn of events, Microsoft announced that the upcoming Internet Explorer 9 would render pages with WebKit, the open source rendering engine developed initially by Apple. (Google’s Chrome browser uses WebKit, as does Safari.)

CEO Steve Ballmer declared the move to be “a wonderful strategy that will finally place Internet Explorer solidly ahead of the competition.”

The change was unexpected, given the company’s long history of less-than-perfect support for web standards and general disapproval of open source software, though the move to WebKit may be the start of a new, friendlier Microsoft.

Web designers have been voicing their approval, though surprisingly there have been a few opposed to the change of rendering engine. One company in particular, a design firm known as Plaid Mango Design, claims that the move to WebKit will cost them 40% of their income, which is made primarily from the extra fees they charge to develop CSS hacks to enable Internet Explorer to render their designs properly.

Bazinga! April Fools!

Getting Around IE’s Lack of Min-Width Support

Min-width is a useful CSS property that, as it’s name suggests, sets the minimum width of an element to a specific pixel width (or em or whatever). It’s very useful.

The problem? Microsoft. Internet Exploder doesn’t support the property. Instead of ranting about Microsoft’s pathetic browser, I’ll skip to the solution…

First, make sure you have an IE-specific stylesheet to put all you IE hacks in. It makes it easier to manage things, and it makes sure hacks like this don’t stop your CSS from validating. (Believe me, this one will.) Include it in your page head like so:

<!--[if IE]><link rel="stylesheet" href="ieislame.css" type="text/css" media="all" /><![endif]-->

Next, add something along the lines of this to the file:

#mydiv { width:expression(document.body.clientWidth < 850? "850px": "auto" ); }

Just replace both instances of “850” with the minimum width you prefer.

Not too hard, but it shouldn’t be necessary.


I recently came across an intriguing script while trying to find a fix for a CSS bug. It’s called IE7.js, and it claims “to make Microsoft Internet Explorer behave like a standards-compliant browser,” and to fix PNG transparency in IE5 and IE6 to boot.

Are you just a couple of scripts away from never again having to find a workaround for an IE CSS bug? Probably not. I haven’t had the time to test the script extensively, but the test pages look promising. It will make things a lot easier for you, but I doubt it will magically make everything work flawlessly in IE.

IES4OSX – Run Internet Explorer on Your Mac

Internet Explorer, a.k.a. the Web Designer’s Plague, unfortunately, isn’t available on the Mac. Many will say this is a good thing, but for designers, or anyone who makes many changes to their template, Internet Explorer is pretty much mandatory for testing. So many people use IE that you can’t afford to have too many major bugs in the behemoth browser.

There aren’t many options for the large amount of Mac-using designers. To test a site in IE, your choices are pretty much limited to either using a PC, or using a virtual PC setup, like VMWare Fusion. If you have a PC on hand, good for you, you’re covered. Otherwise, you’d probably go for VMWare fusion, which costs $80 plus a $189 Windowss XP license. (Or you could just get the WinXP license and use the BootCamp software Apple provides with OS X 10.5) Rather pricey, though, isn’t it?

Luckily, there’s another option out there, albeit a buggy and hacked-together option. It costs $0.00 though, so who cares if it’s a little buggy?

IES4OSX allows you to run several different versions of Internet Explorer on your Mac, for testing designs, or using sites that refuse to work in your preferred browser. It’s a little buggy, it relies on X11, and it takes up a bit of CPU power. But it seems to render pages correctly the same as IE does.

So if you’re not using a Mac yet, here’s another reason to switch… :D

Internet Explorer 8: The Next IE5?

I installed the Internet Explorer 8 beta a few days ago, and I’ve tested some sites in it. So far, I’m not really impressed. It seems to pass the ACID2 test, but there are plenty of rendering bugs that drive me crazy…and they had better be fixed by the time the final release is out.

I’m very well aware that the browser is in beta, but I can’t help but be worried about this. Some pages seem to render worse than ever, and I can’t help but think “Are these bugs, or some sort of ploy to keep things as they’ve been?” It’s not really in Microsoft’s best interests to be fully standards compliant, after all.

Here are just a few examples of the render bugs I’ve noticed:

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On IE8’s Controversial “Standards Mode”

Internet Explorer version 8, to be released later this year, will, by default, render web pages the same way as IE7. If the meta tag <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8" /> is detected in a page’s header, it will render in the new ACID2-compliant mode. This is a bad idea, for several reasons.

First of all, Microsoft, again, is trying to force us to build web pages for IE specifically. If the X-UA-Compatible tag is not found, then a page will not render in the standards-compliant mode. So, basically, you’re having to specifically instruct IE to follow the standard, which it’s supposed to follow anyway. Does that make any sense? No. It seems like another ploy to maintain their monopoly. After all, if most pages work in any browser, there is less reason for people to continue using IE.

Microsoft claims that the meta tag exists so manually-updated web pages won’t break when IE8 comes around. Manually updated? If you’re still doing that, you’re just asking for trouble. Take this as an opportunity to move away from a manually-updated site. While you’re making your design standards-compliant, install a CMS, or at least start using PHP includes. Also, as Bb’s RealTech said:

“The argument for this tag is actually the number one argument against this tag: those people with hand crafted pages are not going to be willing to hand edit each page to make it standards compliant–why on earth would they hand edit each of these pages to add this tag? As for being able to test a site against a version of a browser–this site looks good in IE7, but not IE8, or some such nonsense–when are we finally going to actually commit to standards? Not just as browser vendors, but as web page designers and developers? More importantly, as people who use browsers to surf the web?”

Instead, IE8 should check the DOCTYPE. If it’s XHTML Strict, then use the standards mode. If it’s HTML transitional, or absent, use the IE7 engine. I’m guessing that a lot of the people who would run into the problem Microsoft talks of wouldn’t be using XHTML. It’s much easier to manually-update HTML than strict XHTML after all. Or IE8 could validate the entire markup in-browser, and if it’s not standards-compliant, render in IE7 mode, and display an icon to show that the page isn’t compliant. At the very least, they should make the standards-mode default, and have the meta tag specify IE7 mode instead. Microsoft needs to base their trigger off of an existing feature of (X)HTML, rather than inventing proprietary tags.

Edit: I wrote this post before Microsoft changed their minds. You read my mind, didn’t you, Microsoft? But couldn’t you wait until the post went live?

Is IE5 Dead?

Internet Explorer version 5 was released on March 18, 1999. It has almost been nine years since its initial release, and two more versions have followed.

We all know that IE5 is a buggy piece of software with fairly awful standards support, though it was significantly better than its predecessor IE4. It’s no secret that I’m no fan of Microsoft’s browsers, but I do have to grudgingly admit that they’ve come a long way.

I was comparing stats on a couple of my web sites recently, and I wondered: Do we need to continue supporting Internet Explorer 5? There have been two major versions released since, and nine years is a long time in computer years. To put it in perspective, look at this timeline:

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