Little fun things

January 29, 2003

I’m working on another project website and part of that is dealing with an internet company providing information on their site, hidden from the fast that they’re presenting it on their servers.

We’re going through their list of requirements and they *demand* that the template we provide for our site works in Internet Explorer 4 and yep you guessed it, Netscape 4.x. I’m not too happy about this, so I raised a question or two about supporting a five year old browser. But they have offered to drop the requirement, since we get less than 3% from that browser.

Oh and they don’t support Macintosh, they did offered to tweak the designs to work. I explained that I’ll be the beta tester for this and if it doesn’t look good on my computer, then we have work to do. So it looks like testing again under VirtualPC and my various Mac systems I have access to.

It’s one of these things that has me really worried. I’m going to spend a week and a half making a special template based on the current design, and then ship it off to have programmers add ColdFusion tags to it. So, in the interest of playing nice with programmers, I also need to make sure I comment my code. I’ve already deduced that, if I had a pure CSS layout, I wouldn’t be able to send it off…as they probably wouldn’t support it. All of their content is in a table layout and the next version will be skinnable through stylesheets.

So while all of this is in my head, it’s really a pisser to support 1997 technology on a 2003 website. I used IE 5 as my main browser from early June 1998 developer betas until I upgraded to IE 6 in January of 2002. IE 5 has a strong user base, despite being really a 5 year old browser. But to support IE 4, with the early betas going back to April of’97, is just a letdown. Think about it…a 6 year old browser dictating what web designers use.

I’m going to use that website design until December of 2004. I knew this from the start, so I implemented technology that allowed me to (as of Jan 03) be up-to-date, but also downgraded features for today’s browsers. I’m using XHTML and Stylesheets to help the site gracefully update as the browsers change. I also had to use tables, to support yesterday’s browsers. It’s a trade off. I really want to change the layout to CSS, it was initially a plan for a Summer update, but it’s just not going to happen.

Maybe in February of 2004 some virus will sneak across the internet, seeking out 4.0 and older browsers and effectively melting them down. Web designers will gather for a worldwide collective rejoicing as users of the now dead browsers will gather in the back room of a Shoney’s sorrowfully downing onion rings and Half-O-Pounders, lamenting that they eventually had to upgrade from Windows 95 and System 7.5.