Yesterday I installed IE7
Yesterday I had set myself the task to check our Zope application with the new Internet Explorer 7, out now relatively fresh. The IE7 update is being "pushed" onto consumers by Micro$oft it seems, but our customers come more from the corporate world, so in going through a few days of logs, I didn't spot any visits from the new Internet Exploder. Installing IE7 on the VirtualPC instance was an interesting experience though. Oh, about the CSS? It's almost fine, but it left me angry for a simple reason...
The good thing with VirtualPC is that I made a copy of the "PC Image" before starting, so I will have IE6 around for testing too, and if anything went wrong, I would have a starting point. The bad thing is of course that it's a bit slow. The "PC Image" didn't have Service Pack 2 (hey, it gets only used to look at web pages in development, why bother?), so I had to start a new personal and intimate relationship with "Windows update". I didn't even have an idea where that was. Now I know and I know it's slow (even slower on VirtualPC of course). Getting IE7 to work took me about 4 to 5 hours, doing multiple dances with "go-to-update/choose/download/restart/repeat". I was still able to do other stuff while watching the progress bars, since after all I use a Mac - and Windows is just this funny thing inside one window.
Come on, IE7 team!
After the update I went through the customer area of our site. There are a few things that need correction. So instead of having to check our CSS in Safari/Firefox/IE, we now have to check in Safari/Firefox/IE6/IE7. No, we don't bother with IE5 or IE5.5, and we do check with iCab from time to time, because of it's support syntax checker for html and css.
The problems were all in areas where we had to work around stupid Internet Explorer bugs. So how do correct that now? An internet search revealed, that the IE7 blog asks people to remove the usual IE hacks from CSS files. Great. Instead they are offering conditional comments in the html headers to use a specific stylesheet for specific versions of IE. Wonderful.
Could I ask those IE blog guys some simple questions? Where have you been 2 years ago? Or the last few years for that matter. Why didn't you speak out when people started looking for hacks to solve these problems, when they started to publish ugly stuff based on combinations of bugs in your products? I remember days and days of searching the web for yet another problem that had to be worked around, and finding yet another weird hack to copy-paste into the style sheet.
Why didn't you speak out about the hacks then?
Why didn't you comment on those blogs publishing those hacks? Why didn't you write the authors, telling them: `This is the proper way to do it, and it will work for all future'? Don't you think they would have listened? I believe they would have picked up the proper way and would have published it for everyone to use, just like they do now.
For us, the solution is simple. We work on just this one web application right now. It's a web application, so I can update exactly one html page (to be exact: one Zope PageTemplate) and include another stylesheet file or two. But I don't want to know how much time and money will be wasted on other sites to run after this mess.
Sometimes with things like these, I ask myself: I have to strive hard do my job right, why do some other people seem like they don't have to do theirs? In my job I have my own standard (not that it's too high, I won't claim that). But appart from that, customers and workmates will run after me if things are not done properly. I simply have to do my job right. I sometimes don't have the impression that everybody operates with that kind of scale. And right now I don't exactly have the impression that the IE team was in there on that level for the last few years.