Posts Tagged ‘ie6’

Vindaloo Fart

Thursday, February 9th, 2012
CSSquirrel #92: Vindaloo Fart

Featuring Remy Sharp, Tantek Celik and Bruce Lawson, today’s comic would make the perfect premise for a sitcom. I think “Three Developers and a Squirrel” would have a very nice ring to it. The comic also looks at the stinky mess we’re going to put ourselves into if we fail to recognize the problems of the past so that we can avoid repeating them.

In a move that threatens to undo over a decade of hard work to drag web development out of the horrors of the “Great Browser War” and educate developers to make forward-compatible, standards-compliant websites, the CSS Working Group recently discussed the idea of all browsers adopting -webkit CSS properties. Yep, you heard that right. IE, Opera, Firefox… all using -webkit properties.

This step appears to be intended to guarantee that their browsers will properly render websites being made by short-sighted developers who only bother using -webkit properties for advanced and experimental features in their websites even when the other browsers have their own test implementations such as -o, -moz and -ie.

Short version: They’re considering giving up and handing the browsers of the world over to a bunch of standards-blind morons for short term compatibility gains in exchange for long term problems that will make the current version of Webkit be the IE6 of tomorrow.

I’m not a member of the old guard. In the nineties I was in high school and pretending to be in college while making personal websites that were just short of visually hideous but definitely counted as nauseating. I didn’t know better. But thanks to the efforts of too many dedicated and educating web developers to name I was exposed to the concept of “web standards” and went about the process of learning how to do things properly.

I also landed a sweet job at Mindfly and became a member of the professional web world. All thanks to web standards.

As someone who’s been working on websites professionally for the past five years I’ve had my share of struggles with IE6 compatibility. I hate that browser more than I hate most other things on the planet. Intellectually I know it was the bee’s knees in its era. I don’t care. Its era was a long time ago and being forced to keep sites compatible with it due to the lack of standards in its era is a direct cause of hundreds of hours of suffering on my part. I’m grateful that it is now all but extinct, letting me concentrate on dealing with modern or near-modern browsers with a lot less cussing, sweating and crying.

As it stands now, Webkit is a pretty decent browser engine. Chrome is snappy. I like it. I’m using it right this second. But it’s also only as good as it is today. If we stop bothering to properly style our websites with a forwards-compatible approach, using all available browser extensions for experimental properties as well as the non-extension version of the properties for when they becomes available, then we’re daft. We will be putting ourselves at risk of making today’s Webkit the rotting zombie in the room that we’ll be screaming at in terror ten years from now. We, or developers after us, will be wasting countless hours and drinking more heavily in response to dealing with thousands of poorly-made websites that require compatibility with the -webkit properties we shortsightedly hung everything upon.

We need to stop this.

Need more information? Need inspiration on how to help? Lucky for you I’ve got a list:

  • Read Daniel Glazman’s Call For Action. He’s co-chair of the CSS Working Group, and he knows that this is a very bad thing that needs to be stopped. He even suggests how to do it.
  • Also read Remy Sharp’s article on the topic and his suggestions on how to help.
  • Take direct action and help Chris Heilmann Pre-fix the Web, rooting out Github projects that have gone down the dark side and get them forked back into the light.
  • Get Bruce Lawson’s perspective on the vendor prefix issue, taking advantage of the wisdom he’s gained in trying to educate against this exact sort of problem. Also see the first reference of the dreaded vindaloo fart.
  • And please read Eric Meyer’s pessimistic, but perhaps realistic, assessment of the issue in Unfixed.

Whatever you do, don’t be apathetic. Don’t think to yourself that -webkit only sites are professional or even remotely acceptable. Because they’re not. It takes very little effort to guarantee forward-looking, cross-browser websites with the vast majority of most modern CSS properties. Doing anything less for the sake of ease is lazy, unprofessional, and going to cost someone a lot of money and effort in the future.

If you do decide to only use -webkit prefixes, watch out, because Bruce Lawson will vindaloo fart on you.

Comic Update: Robot or Not?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Today’s comic finishes (finally) the An Event Apart “storyline” that starts here, and has part #2 here. It features AEA speakers Andy Clarke, Nicole Sullivan and Ethan Marcotte. It also features Naepalm, the chinchilla alter-ego of Janae, one of my fellow Mindfly Web Studio designers. The comic also has a brief cameo by everyone’s favorite archaic browser complication: the dreaded hasLayout.

It’s been a long journey to crank out these three comics, which highlight some very important points. First, continuity in a web-design commentary webcomic is difficult at best. Second, that cheese tidal waves represent the best of all possible worlds. Finally, that An Event Apart: Seattle was an awesome extravaganza and Janae and I are still trying to squeeze out all the drops of precious information we absorbed into Mindfly’s waiting arms.

One of my favorite presentations was Ethan’s Dao of Flexibility, which discussed adaptive layouts and fluid grids in detail, opening my eyes to the real power of the world of media queries. I’ve been tinkering away in my acorn-filled lair since the conference, working away at a new design for this site that harnesses these arcane techniques for my own dark purposes. From time to time, I have to pause and laugh with evil glee.

Thanks, AEA.

We’ll now return to my regular schedule of making fun of HTML5 politics and Opera.

Comic Update: Do Browsers Dream of HTML Sheep?

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Today’s comic, the first in a small An Event Apart related storyline, features Andy Clarke, Nicole Sullivan, Pete LePage and Naepalm in a future where rogue browsers must be “retired” by browserrunners.

It touches on what people may find hard to believe: Microsoft (like us) wants IE6 to die, already. In less than two hours after I post this, Pete LePage is going to get in front of the AEA audience and tell us that very thing.

I’ve got to get back to listening to more awesome speakers. Enjoy! (And if you’re at AEA, feel free to say hi to the guy in the CSSquirrel shirt. I don’t bite.)

Comic Update: So Say We All

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Today’s comic is a bonus, bringing the count for this week to a nearly unprecedented two. I know, such generosity on my part staggers the mind. The comic also seems like fodder for some form of novelty t-shirt. I’ll get right on that.

Like most people that make websites, I heard of the funeral held for the cantankerous, ancient and malformed IE6; a funeral doubtlessly inspired by Google’s announced discontinuation of support for IE6 in many of their products this month. Like even Microsoft itself, I’m glad that there’s another nail in the coffin of this undead browser that still clings to the computers of many, many web users.

I realize that, funeral or no funeral, IE6 isn’t gone. Not yet. There’s entirely too many people still using it, making it unsafe to simply pile in the dirt over its head. But for me and my amazing coworkers at Mindfly Web Design Studio, it’s as good as dead. Seizing the opportunity provided by Google’s announcement, I pitched an idea taken from one Andy Clarke, Brit rockstar: Let’s stop explicitly supporting IE6, and feed it instead a universal, generic stylesheet for all sites. Those users who visit a site with IE6 will still get what they’re looking for, just in a more modest package.

Being hip designers on the cutting edge of awesome, they naturally all agreed with me. The hours once slavishly chained to the moribund beast in the woods now will be devoted to more fun tasks, like convincing clients that random pictures of their children will not increase online sales of tractors.

Today’s comic’s title is a reference to the Battlestar Galactica equivalent to “Amen” for those few of you not as deep in the sci-fi geek rabbit hole as yours truly. (This came directly from a great idea by Shaun Inman regarding “Six” that I failed to implement due to time.) It acts as a solemn affirmation of what’s being spoken.

So let’s get solemn: IE6 is dead to me. Let’s move on without it into the modern era web. So say we all.

Posted at Mindfly: Web Developer Weems and the Case of the Multiclass Bungler (AKA, IE6)

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Nothing keeps you more humble in your industry than learning an important job-related detail, then discovering shortly thereafter that everyone else has known for years. For the past few months I’ve been experimenting with “OOP CSS”, taking advantage of mutliclassed elements to reduce stylesheet size and increase CSS reusability (after attending this presentation by Nicole Sullivan at Web Directions North.) Within the past couple weeks, I found some major roadblocks to using this technique with IE6 when being incautious about how the rule descriptors are ordered: IE6 majorly bungles multiple-class descriptor support.

To get a better view of what I’m speaking about (assuming you’re not already familiar with it), go check out the post I wrote at Mindfly about this very issue: Web Developer Weems and the Case of the Multiclass Bungler (AKA IE6).