Posted in Microsoft

Still throwing tables

On the one year anniversary of the article: Throwing Tables Out the Window, I thought it appropriate to reveal some behind-the-scenes info regarding the Microsoft example discussed in the article.

When I published that article last year, the words and advice contained within were welcomed warmly by large numbers of people. The article was translated into at least eight different languages, and continues to be referenced in other writings and in academic curricula. On the flip side, the same article was also the cause of flaming, accusations of ignorance, and general vitriol thrown my way, claiming I was over-hyping CSS and deceiving the multitudes of its capabilities. Those claims were voiced more loudly when readers couldn’t find any proving example code whatsoever. Those who refused to let go of their old ways assumed that I fabricated the entire case study. continued

Microsoft advances

Seen the Microsoft home page recently? Some remnants of the previous design are still visible, but a large portion of the design changed significantly. The most pleasing thing to see is actually what’s under the hood though.

A huge drop in the number of tables used to lay out the page (my count is seven tables — that’s down from 40 tables previously), not a spacer gif in sight, all the proprietary attributes and identifiers in the links are gone, most of the bulky JavaScript the previous home page used is stripped out, and the HTML now weighs in at a lean 11 KB. continued

Throwing tables out the window

Those who were at Digital Design World in Seattle this year saw me present a session titled, “No More Tables, CSS Layout Techniques“. In that session, we reviewed proper use of tables, and a few pointers for styling them with CSS. Then we turned to tableless layout, reviewing examples and an overview of the two basic approaches (positioning and floats). continued

IE Factor, exemplified

After writing about the IE Factor several days ago, I thought I’d detail a specific example which had me pulling out my hair last week. I’ll also provide the solution I came up with. As I stated Monday:

Tweaks that should have worked had no effect, prompting me to try things that made absolutely no sense to try.

continued

The IE Factor

I relate it to a driving experience. One in which I drive to a certain destination often enough, that I become more and more familiar with the route that takes me there. I learn the best streets getting to and off the freeway system, every exit along the way. I know the interesting segments, the boring stretches. Most importantly, I start to recognize traffic patterns, and can predict the areas of congestion that will slow me down. No matter which route I take, there’s usually one portion of the trip where I know I’ll slow to a crawling pace. Some routes can’t be avoided, and the delays they bring must be factored into the total time I think the trip will take. continued

Firestarter

News.com staff writer Paul Festa draws more public attention to Internet Explorer’s lack of full CSS support in Developers gripe about IE standards inaction. Paul uses Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer, and Jakob Nielsen as sources for quotes about Adobe’s move to partner with Opera to improve CSS support in GoLive. In doing so, he nails the issues, shedding a brighter light on the lingering problems with Microsoft’s overly-popular browsing application. IE is a decent browser, but its shortcomings make it a dead-weight which is holding back forward-thinking web design and development. continued

IE/Mac, rest in peace

With the confirmed news that Microsoft is ceasing development of Internet Explorer for Macintosh, a wave of sadness sweeps through the web design and development community. Three years ago, I was only getting my feet wet by messing around with style sheets, constantly frustrated that Netscape 4 wouldn’t do what the CSS spec said it was supposed to do. IE5/Mac provided my first opportunity to dive head-first into CSS and begin to realize its potential for designing on the Web. To friends on the Microsoft Mac Biz Unit who poured years of their lives into this product, my condolences. IE5/Mac, you raised the bar, and certainly served us well.

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