KillerSites Blog

Internet Explorer 7 breaks commonly used CSS hacks!

February 17, 2005

It looks as though IE7 will be breaking many commonly used CSS hacks and thus many Web Standards based pages – this adding credibility to my articles critical of the overly zealous Web Standards movement.

Direct from the IE7 blog:

“We’re starting to see the first round of sites and pages breaking due to the CSS fixes we have made. We would like to ask your help in cleaning up existing CSS hacks in your pages for IE7. It is has been our policy since IE6 that under quirks doctype we will not make any behavioral changes so that existing pages will continue to render unmodified, but under the strict doctype we want to change behavior to be as compliant as possible with the web standards. For IE7, we introduced new CSS functionality (see Chris’ blog post for the full list) and cleaned up our parser bugs. This leads now to several CSS hacks failing. If you are using IE7 (you are MSDN subscriber or received a copy at the PDC) you may notice major sites breaking due to the use of CSS hacks and the strict doctype. ”

In a nutshell: the forward compatibility argument is now proving to be flawed (as I’ve been stating for a long while) and now many of these Web Standards based websites will have to be updated to work in IE7! So much for forward compatibility…

What is the ‘forward-compatibility’ argument?

One of the mantras of the Web Standards movement is the idea that if you build your websites to standards, your sites will work for years and years without the need to change or update your websites – forward compatible.

Sounds good, except for the fact that for many Web Standards based layouts to work, people have had to to use hacks that rely on flaws in Internet Explorer.

NOTE: Since IE is the dominate browser with 70-80% market share, you have to make IE your priority.

The major flaw with the hacks is that they rely on things that are broken … a bad idea since in time they could likely get fixed.

I’ve questioned the use of hacks more than once, and have been attacked for it. The point is, now that we know IE7 will break many of the hacks, this confirms my position.

The irony:

The irony is that people who use table-based (quirks mode,) design, will not need to make any changes to their websites for them to work in IE7 and all the major browsers.

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As I stated several times: when you ignore reality ‘in the field’, you’ll likely get burned.

The IE Blog post:

Stefan Mischook

“Do only what makes sense, and not one thing more.”