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March 24, 2005

Make IE standards compliant

As most web designers and developers know, Internet Explorer pales in comparison to other internet browsers like Firefox, Opera, and Safari when it comes to support for web standards like CSS. But thanks to a man named Dean Edwards, there is an easy solution now that solves a lot of the problems with Internet Exploder.

Most web designers and developers are faced with a dilemma: either code your web pages using only the parts of the CSS standard that Internet Exploder supports, or use browser detection to provide an alternate version (that IE supports) to Internet Explorer users. Neither “solution” is very attractive.

Indeed the situation looks grim with no hope for the (immediate) future. This was going to be a thorn in our side until either Microsoft decided to update their browser and add support for the missing pieces, or until enough people quit using IE, thereby eliminating the need for developers to support it.

Then along came a brilliant genius named Dean Edwards with his IE7 project. Dean has written a set of JavaScript functions that make IE behave like it should and add support for many of the CSS standards that it has been lacking. All web designers and developers have to do is download the scripts to the web server and then add a single reference to them in the HEAD section of each page’s HTML code.

And then Internet Exploder magically recognizes new CSS properties and selectors and behaves like a true standards compliant browser!

Yesterday I implemented the IE7 fix on this web site and was astonished at how easy it was to do and how effective it worked. I was able to remove all of the CSS hacks I’d created for IE to make it display the site correctly. It also enabled my portfolio page to look and function like it does in all other browsers. (Previously I had to provide an alternate layout and functionality to compensate for IE’s lack of CSS support.)

I would strongly recommend IE7 to any designer or developer frustrated with IE’s lack of support for CSS. Thanks, Dean, for providing such an excellent solution to a problem Microsoft has been avoiding for years now.

Posted at 1:52 PM in Web Development