A site in need is a pain indeed

by Francois Joseph de Kermadec

Related link: http://fjzone.org

As many of you know, I have spent quite a bit of time lately redesigning my web site, FJZone.org. This time, I tried not only to give it an appearance I liked but I also upgraded the code that runs it all to get rid of unnecessary tables and switch to an all-CSS layout.

This was all very well and, after long nights of work, I finally came up with something I was actually pleased with. All my Mac browsers were able to display the site properly and, according to W3C, it was perfectly standards-compliant... Confident that I had done my work, I put the site online and went back to my regular publishing and researching activities.

Well, this was too good to be true... A few hours later, one of my friends sent me a worried mail, explaining in a very convincing way that Internet Explorer for Windows was simply unable to view the whole thing... And by "unable", I mean "unable" : apparently, CSS, transparent PNG images and favicons are highly problematic with IE...

It was back to the drawing board for me and in a hurry... With the new site online, I couldn't really afford to keep it as it was. Of course, most of my readers do use Macs but I still felt bad for the few percents trapped in a Windows PC at work. I am pleased to report that, after re-writing the whole CSS layout, the site finally does display in IE : in fact, I "just" had to stop defining elements normally and only use a fixed number of pixels from the left margin... Sounds strange ? I can tell you it's as strange to write such code !

Of course, I realize that saying how non standards-compliant Internet Explorer is does not make an interesting blog. Nevertheless, these carefully planned incompatibilities made me realize what part of the Internet we are missing. To fully unleash the power of the Internet, creating sites and interoperable services should be easy. Thinking that the typical Windows XP PC running Internet Explorer is not able to display some transparencies (some of them are handled of course) or CSS positioning makes me wonder how much better (graphically and technically) the Internet could be and how much we are missing...

Until next time, dear Mac users, enjoy thinking different !

And you, have you experienced such issues first hand ?


2004-07-05 20:22:17
You might be interested in IE7--it's a combination of stylesheet and DHTML to fix some of the issues IE has with modern XHTML and CSS. It's not a silver bullet, but it does help with a good number of the peskier bugs.
2004-07-06 01:36:06
ever had a thought
about how maybe your Mac browser might have been wrong?

Sacrilege I know, but then I'm a known heretic...

2004-07-06 04:35:25
Did you friend...
Also warn you of the over use of drop shadows?

Type is only "cool" if its legible.

Lets not forget the importance of good typography as we explore web standardization.

2004-07-06 08:28:00
ever had a thought
Either the web site conforms to standards, or it doesn't.

Either the browser can handle the current standards, or it can't.

The only "wrong" here would be to claim a browser supports the standards, but really doesn't. Anything else, Mac vs. Windows etc., doesn't matter to the argument.

2004-07-06 13:34:28
Did you friend...
Hi !

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to send me your feedback, I really do appreciate it.

When designing the site, I tried to use drop shadows to add depth and visibility to the main titles only. Would you think that they make reading them more difficult, you can turn them off by using a CSS file.

Of course, I will continue looking into it. Thanks again for your feedback !


2004-07-06 13:34:37
ever had a thought
Hi !

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to post, I really do appreciate it.

Of all the current browsers I tested, Internet Explorer for Windows was the only one experiencing such difficulties -- even Internet Explorer for Mac OS X displayed the images properly. This is why I am referring to "Windows PCs" particularly.

Of course, I realize that this issue depends more on the browser used than the operating system and I am not saying that Windows in itself is at fault.

I hope this answers your questions and concerns,


2004-07-06 13:46:03
Hi !

Thank you very much for forwarding this link to me, I really do appreciate it.


2004-07-14 14:10:24
Transparent PNG Solution
At least a partial solution... Using PHP or Javascript you can fix some versions of IE to handle transparent PNG.