Eli Simpson

To IE or not to IE, that is the question

Yesterday I noticed that my site design was corrupted in IE 7, a symptom of the * html CSS hacks I was using to fix bugs in IE 5 and 6. IE 7 has fixed the parser bugs that made the hacks work, but didn’t fix all the problems in its CSS support that web developers use the hacks to fix, specifically its strange proprietary hasLayout property which causes all sorts of problems with even the simplest CSS designs.

In contemplating how to resolve the issue, I considered removing all hacks from the site and letting IE get its just deserts. This is my personal site and unlike my professional work, I’m under no obligation to spend my valuable time fixing issues with Microsoft’s primitive browsers, market share not withstanding. I must admit the temptation was very strong to punish IE users for continuing to use the insecure, buggy browser that causes me so much frustration in my professional life.

In the end, I (reluctantly) decided to continue to support IE, and took the approach of simplifying my design somewhat to need fewer hacks in first place, which is probably a good thing. I still may end up implementing some IE-only punishment in the future, such as an ad to download Firefox, Opera, Safari, or any of the other much better browsers on the market.

Hacking WordPress

I’m in the process of retooling this site with WordPress, a popular open source blog CMS. The code it generates is pretty decent (it validates at least) but as I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to markup I’ve been hacking and customizing it to get it exactly the way I want it. It’s a good excuse to improve my PHP coding skills, which I’ve been putting off for too long (been having too much fun with JSP, Struts, and JSTL that I use at work I guess).

WordPress still leaves a little to be desired in terms of the markup it generates, with too much hard-coded HTML in files outside of the theme directories. Optimally any markup generated by the application should be customizable so it can be easily changed at the the theme level. That being said, they seem to be on the right track in terms of attempting to separate the markup generation from the application engine, and are making progress with each new release.