Hot Koehls

The more you know, the more you don’t know

This content is a little crusty, having been with me through 3 separate platform changes. Formatting may be rough, and I am slightly less stupid today than when I wrote it.
14 May 2009

IE: You're still doing it wrong

While working on the file manager section of the Fwd:Vault website, I decided to do a quick check on cross-browser compatibility. The following screenshots are of the same page using the same HTML layout, CSS definitions, etc… [gallery=1] At this point in my career, I don’t think words can express how much I utterly loathe Microsoft’s IE team (and Microsoft in general) for their completely overt dismissal of browser standards. But that won’t stop me from trying, so listen up, you morons. Building a website is an incredibly complex task, and that complexity increases almost daily. Today, all my sites include code written in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, and PHP (or ASP, JSP, etc). Nuance aside, that’s five languages! All intermingled to accomplish one goal: put a page in front of a user. On top of that, I have to worry about abstract concepts like SEO, caching, file sizes/load times, traffic stats, usability, server uptime, SSL, data integrity, backups, security…I could keep going. I have enough to do without having to worry about your browser — I check the others, I only worry about your browser — mucking up my display or breaking my Javascript. Less time spent dealing with browser compatibility issues equals more time building a better browsing experience, which is good for everyone, even you. Furthermore, I don’t like the notion of “pushing” a user toward or away from any given browser. As a web developer and webmaster, I am in the business of delivering my site content. Having to urge people to choose a better browser is a distraction at best, lost traffic at worst. From the perspective of my users, it’s better to just handle the problems quietly in the background. I think this same mindset is why you don’t see overwhelming support (yet) for movements like However, as my example above starkly displays, there are now four solid mainstream alternatives out there, and plenty of smaller options as well. That says nothing about the inroads of Mac and Linux into the OS market. How much longer do you think “IE inertia” will carry? In short, when it comes to HTML/CSS interpretation and display, IE should be in lock step with competitors. If you do that, you can essentially remove web developers from the browser debate, which is big for you because you’re not winning any popularity contests with us. Differentiate yourself from the competition by creating a better user experience, and let the end user decide. Of course I’m not holding my breath, so one of these buttons my end up on Fwd:Vault before launch

I haven’t decided yet…

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