Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Comic Update: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Quirky

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Today’s comic expresses my love affair with cheesecake, which is perhaps the most inappropriately named desert ever. It is not a cake, my friends. It is pie. Cheesepie, if you will… although that sounds like some sort of cheddar-filled crust with that title. The comic also features Pete LePage as a Microsoft stand-in, being subjected to the horror that is Quirks Mode.

I know we’re up to IE8 now, and IE9 is deliciously around the corner somewhere, waiting to pounce upon us. We’ve reached a point in our lives where many of us web designers can now tell IE6 support to bugger off… and actually get away with it. But IE7 still has an unfortunate market share, and in Mindfly Studio‘s case it’s something we still actively support for clients because they have enough users of that variety to make it a worry.

Most of the time, this isn’t an issue. We are, dare I say, good at what we do. But there are times where we’re required to use certain antiquated CMSes for a client that can’t switch out of that environment… and the problems begin to kick in. Code you can’t completely control is bound to be code that is going to repeatedly kick you in the nuts.

Gentlemen, I like my nuts.

Last week I spent almost two full days having the boys repeatedly booted by a hotel reservation CMS’s code that was making my best attempts at goods practice CSS and HTML look instead like what happens when you stuff a stick of dynamite in a sock packed with rancid meat. No matter how I tried to wrestle things around, IE7 was determined to kick into Quirks Mode, doing the most unexpected, unusual things to my layout.

I eventually got better, but I’d very much like to email a shovel to either the CMS’s manufacturer or Microsoft with a note explaining where to shove said farm implement.

To those of you trapped on corporate intranets forever, let me say how badly I feel for you. I can only imagine that this is your daily toil, your repentance for some unspoken crimes. But for the rest of us, let me say how glad I am that we can see an end date out there for Quirks Mode and it’s foul, reprehensible style-mangling.

P.S.: Wouldn’t Pete make a great representation of mild-mannered Bruce Banner? (Cue Lonely Man)

Comic Update: IT Job Security vs Google Chrome Frame

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Google has presented us with yet another gilded offering meant to enhance the web experience for the masses (which appears to be a web experience involving their rendering engine): Google Chrome Frame. If you want to get the sales pitch then watch Alex Russell, one of Google’s engineers, explain it here.

I’ll sum it up for you: Google Chrome Frame is a plug-in for Internet Explorer, that makes it act like Google Chrome. Why would we want this? Well, mainly because IE (especially the older versions), is a wee bit (or a lot) behind on standards and features implementation.

The stated reasons by Google for this act of charity are summed up with making websites cooler for users, and making lives easier for website creators who often have to do some bizarre things (which only rarely involve goats, mayonnaise or unbuttoning pants) to make a website look proper on Internet Explorer. This is especially true with the older versions 6 & 7, which persists on too many people’s computers like relatives that just don’t know when to get the hell out after a holiday celebration. So with this plug-in, users have fun and developers save money. Hooray!

Well, in an ideal world. But in an ideal world I’d be typing this post from my veranda overlooking my palatial, lakeside estate.

The fact is, there’s a reason that IE6 and 7 still exist in the wild in such large numbers. It’s not because Microsoft is attempting to keep them going. Quite the opposite, in fact. They’ve even had programs where they offered to feed people for every download of IE8 they had.

The reason for these legacy browsers is that your grandmother is scared of pop-ups, so hasn’t upgraded a program since the mid-nineties. Also, and more culpably, there’s apparently a large number of major corporations that have IT departments that are unwilling or unable to upgrade from IE6 to something made in the last ten years.

When you think of these misanthropic individuals, claiming to be tech experts while clinging to the halcyon days of FORTRAN, you have to ask yourself this question: are these the sort of people that will let office drone Mr. Smith load a plug-in on the computer in his cubicle?

I’m going to bet that more often than not, the answer is no. Today’s comic explores the conundrum of facing a Luddite at the helm of your corporation’s IT department, guest starring a frustrated Alex Russell. (For fun, watch his Google Chrome Frame video again, and look at his facial expressions. Jeremy Keith sums up what you see here.)

Assuming that somehow you could get the IT departments of America to reverse course, the second requirement for Google Chrome Frame to work is adding a meta-tag to your web pages to support it.


Didn’t Microsoft try to sell us this a while back, with a resulting mob of violence? Why yes, yes they did. As it doesn’t seem to be widely adopted, I’m not sure I see any reason to expert website creators to flock to Google’s banner to do the same thing. I know I won’t bother.

But frankly, I’d rather serve IE6 a “gracefully” degraded experience anyhow.

Ultimately, for this plug-in to save the world, or at least the web, it needs two very unlikely scenarios to occur. IT departments need to lose their fear of upgrades, and website creators need to start adding tags to their markup to serve a single browser (well, a single plug-in on a single browser). That’s easy… right?

Google, thanks for your honest effort. But I don’t see any compelling evidence that will lead me to believe that you’ll succeed  in turning stubborn people around where Microsoft failed. You can lead a horse to water, but…

Microsoft: Font Format Bullies?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

On Monday I made a post over on the Mindfly blog about the travesty that is Microsoft continuing to go their own way when it comes to web standards. In particular, it appears that rather than following the standards in the CSS3 Web Fonts Module in IE8, they’re instead going to continue to push forward with EOT, their proprietary embedded font format that they’re just now beginning to open up.

And surprise, they’re expecting the rest of the Internet to follow their lead.

I’m not going to repeat in detail the rant I made on the Mindfly blog, but I can’t help but feel that despite security issues related to font embedding that Microsoft is going about things the wrong way. Does font embedding need to be secure so font makers aren’t screwed? Yes. Does Microsoft need to decide for the rest of the world what that method is? No! Whatever happened to embracing standards?

I’m curious about other people’s views on the subject. Is Microsoft’s version of @font-face (and it’s insistence upon EOT fonts) a better path than the W3C’s version of @font-face (as currently seen in Safari)? Is security a good excuse to ignore standards?

A Sane Microsoft in a Crazy World?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

(this is reprinted from my workplace blog here where it was originally posted.)

Either Microsoft came to its senses, or I’m going crazy. I haven’t decided which yet, as it’s still early in the day and the caffeine hasn’t kicked in. In a surprise annoucement Microsoft declared that contrary to their prior decision on the matter they’d be making Internet Explorer 8 support advanced standards by default. Their now infamous meta tag will still exist, allowing a site’s developer to choose instead to target their site for an older version (such as IE7), but those who fail to do that will have their sites render in as up-to-date a fashion in IE as they would in any other browser.

Reactions vary, with critics either skeptically stating that Big Blue is doing this due to recent EU legal conundrums or are caving in to mass complaints of the developer community. On his part, Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer, says “Microsoft recently published a set of Interoperability Principles. Thinking about IE8’s behavior with these principles in mind, interpreting web content in the most standards compliant way possible is a better thing to do.