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Getting Your Blog Ready for Internet Explorer 7

“Details on Microsoft Internet Explorer CSS Changes for IE7″ from the IEBlog is an updated list of all the supposed CSS bug fixes for the next version of Internet Explorer.

In the long list of fixed IE bugs are resources to help you test your web page designs for the next version of Internet Explorer:

We have provided a set of documentation and tools to help you transition your pages to IE7:

Finally, as we’ve talked about before, we have a Web Developer Toolbar, which is a great aid during the development and debugging of a website.

I applaud the Microsoft Internet Explorer team for finally getting things done that should have been done over five years ago, though I’m also ready for new bugs that may appear requiring more oddball fixes. This means increased testing and monitoring of the browser bug experts blogs.

More importantly, I’m worried about backwards compatibility. Come on, folks, how many people around the world are really going to race to get Internet Explorer 7? Well, they won’t have to race. According to a lot of rumors coming from Microsoft, it will be forced upon all Windows XP systems through the automatic updates.

Yet, what about the fact that a majority of international users are still working with Windows 98, WindowsME, or the first Windows XP, a highly buggy version? Or not working with any Microsoft operating system, having made cheaper or open source decisions? Even more are using illegal versions of Windows, so upgrading Internet Explorer risks exposure.

Mozilla Firefox has also put a huge dent into Internet Explorer’s market, as have other Internet Browsers. For many, IE7 will have to do a song and dance and wash windows, literally, before they will go back to IE. But because they are still using Windows XP, the installation and upgrade will go ahead, adding who knows what else to their system, even though they never or rarely use Internet Explorer.

So I worry about my web page designs, hoping the new Internet Explorer will honor backwards compatibility.

Internet Explorer 7 Will Ignore Old Browser Hacks

In “Cascading Style Sheet Compatibility in Internet Explorer 7″, IE developers explain that the old browser hacks will continue to work in IE7 because they will be ignored.

For example, for previous versions of Internet Explorer, you could use * html followed by code that ONLY talked to Internet Explorer. So you would have two versions of instructions. The one that worked for the rest of the browsers and the version that worked only for Internet Explorer.

By ignoring the * html instructions, Internet Explorer 7 will then only read the version that worked for the rest of the browsers. So if your web design included two versions to accommodate the various browsers, IE7 shouldn’t impact your layout or design. If you didn’t, and only designed for IE, then you will have to produce another version of your code to make it work in IE7. Such has been the problems working with buggy browsers.

This creates a form of backwards compatibility, but I still take a wait and see attitude. I’ve traveled and taught Internet and Web programs internationally for many years, and I think I have a pretty good idea of the technology the average users is using.

Don’t throw away all your IE hacks immediately. If IE7 ignores them, then leave them there for the rest of the world who will not be using Internet Explorer 7. In two, three, or five years, you can remove them. You might even have more to replace them. Be patient with this, web designers. Wait, watch, and pay close attention.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

4 Comments

  1. Posted October 7, 2006 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Really you can never completely abandon the hacks. Even after the 2 to 5 years there will still be people who use antique browsers. Because of this post I glanced at my browser statistics and I was shocked to find that someone had IE 3 and Netscape 3 still. IE5 and 5.5 (which are about 8 years old) are still used frequently enough that commercial sites have to work for them. While I get 10 times as many visitors with IE 6 than I do with either IE 5 and 5.5, with trends the way they are we have a good 4 – 5 years before we can even consider removing hacks. Of course this is assuming we aren’t forced to create more and more as newer browsers can do more.

  2. Posted October 11, 2006 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Personally, my blog works far better in IE7RC than in IE6. In IE6, it’s a total mess and I’m currently disabling stylesheets through JavaScript so that it will at least be readable.

    Not that it working in IE6 really matters that much anyway. I’m not making money from it or anything, so visitors will just have to accept whatever capricious decisions I make concerning it.

  3. Posted October 17, 2006 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    No, no, and no.

    I don’t agree with this. Why should we designers worry about our themes’ compatibility with IE7? Isn’t it their job to deal with backwards compatibility? (provided that our code is supposed to work)

    I’m quite sure now, the browser wars never really ended. They just passed to a new phase, I’m guessing the cold war.

  4. Jakob E
    Posted October 31, 2006 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see the problem

    IE7 is far better than previous versions of IE when it comes
    to W3C compliance. It’s only a problem if you dug yourself
    a hole making your designs rely on IE or created a mess using
    css hacks.

    You should always design with common standards in mind and not
    rely on browser bugs to fix your problems. This is exactly what
    you do when using css hacks.

    What you should do is:
    Start by creating your design in accordance with the W3C semantics
    both (X)Html and Css.

    Then fix the IE problems using conditional comments to control the
    includes of overruling styles. Conditional comments are available
    from IE5… Prior versions are – in my opinion – obsolete.

    Best, Jakob E

    Links:
    ___________________________________

    CSS validatior:

    http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/

    Markup validator:

    http://validator.w3.org/

    More on conditional comments:

    http://www.quirksmode.org/css/condcom.html


7 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] The article continues with a list of some of the changes and new features IE7 will have, which include updated CSS behavior and fixes of many IE browser hacks. As I wrote recently in “Getting Your Blog Ready for Internet Explorer 7″, IE7 will ignore your old browser hacks, but how it responds to all CSS instructions is still a little less clear. [...]

  2. [...] In related IE7 news, Lorelle VanFossen is writing a nice series on “Getting Your Blog Ready for Internet Explorer 7.” This is a more techy view, talking about CSS, among other things, but if you’re a geek or geek-wannabe like me, this is for you! by Sabine @ 7:05 am. Filed under Blogging tips, Blogging Issues   [link for this post] [...]

  3. [...] Getting Your Blog Ready for Internet Explorer 7 [...]

  4. [...] Getting Your Blog Ready for Internet Explorer 7 [...]

  5. [...] claim that all IE hacks could be done away with to get ready for IE7 was a joke. Removing them made your site break with older versions of Internet [...]

  6. [...] Getting Your Blog Ready for Internet Explorer 7 [...]

  7. […] Lorelle gibt kurz vorm Startschuss des IE7 noch einige Tipps, wie man WordPress-Blogs und -Themes auf den IE7 vorbereiten kann: Are WordPress Themes and Plugins Ready for Internet Explorer 7? und Getting Your Blog Ready for Internet Explorer 7 […]

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