Chad Perrin: SOB

5 March 2006

IE: Incompatible Environment

Filed under: Geek — apotheon @ 10:55

Once again, Internet Exploder makes its presence painfully obvious while doing web development.

I’m working on an open source development project. We (the people on the dev team) are putting together a web application — something like a content management system on steroids, highly modular. We’re using an autonomous decoupling architecture (thanks for the term, Chip), wherein the system as a whole uses configuration and modules to determine overall architecture. One might say the API is the architecture. Everything else changes, depending on how you set it up.

Over the course of about four days last week, I put together a view/interface mockup meant to give us something to work toward. That interface design is what is most likely to be the needed interface for the first implementation of the thing when we’ve got a fully operational death star.

So, four days putting together a standards-compliant, elegant, easily configurable back end for the interface, and . . . then I tested it in IE. Internet Explorer. Internet Exploder. Intensely Egregious. Imminently Evil. Incompatible Environment.

Incompatible Environment. It is the web developer’s nightmare. Four days of working on this, and it was broken in IE. Apparently I forgot some of my hard-won knowledge of how limited IE is. CSS positioning and dimension properties are turned into rotting hamburger by IE.

I fought with it for another day.

Finally, I threw it all away and recreated the thing using embedded tables for primary structure. The end result: even that wasn’t enough. I have to toss out some of the div and span based layout and basically replace all layout control with tables if I want standards compliance and the needed appearance any time soon. Doing this would make ease of custom configuration much more difficult to achieve, would cause the back-end code to increase dramatically in bloat factor, and would make the design considerably less usable in a text-only browser.

There are reports of the increased standards compliance of IE7. We’ll see what we get when it comes out. Even so, though, we’ll still have to deal with IE6 for a long time to come. Whatever insipid twits at Microsoft decided that standards compliance wasn’t a priority have made some of life much more difficult for those of us who have to do web development professionally.


All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License