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Monday, January 21, 2008

Does my browser really matter?/Internet Explorer is garbage

I've been learning and applying content-out CSS design, which should pay off if I decide to change the site layout or color scheme. But so far it's been kind of a hassle, and it's Microsoft's fault. Note that I never jumped on the MS-hating bandwagon, or cursed Bill Gates' name, and generally have used Internet Explorer for Web browsing, rather than Firefox (or Netscape, back in the day). But when I started designing with CSS and previewing pages in various browsers, I finally learned just how much IE has sucked all these years. Different browsers display the same page in slightly different ways, which should be okay, but IE6 just does a bunch of things WRONG--for spacing and positioning, which are critical. And the worst part is, it's the most commonly used browser, so to ignore that fact would be a fool's play.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about: CSS: The Missing Manual is a great book with plenty of technical information, practical tips and, fortunately, hacks to handle browser problems; I recommend it highly. In the index under bugs->Internet Explorer, there are twenty different items listed. Compare that to two for Firefox.

So if you're using Internet Explorer, do yourself and all the CSS designers out there a favor and switch to Firefox/Opera/Safari. Okay, to be fair, IE7 is a big improvement, with much better handling of CSS, tabbed browsing, etc. But IE6 needs to be dropped... it's time to leave that bug-infested trash behind.

Update 2008.01.31 - Visual aid will clarify what I'm talking about here. Take a look at this comparison of screenshots. I used BrowserShots, a very handy free tool for Web developers, to generate the images:

browser screenshots

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