[Edit: Life is getting much better these days with IE 9 beginning to support standards and be consistent as Firefox and Safari (and now Chrome and there is always someone on Opera)]
Usually, I start out creating my designs for this site by testing them in Safari (yes, I am a Mac user… so consider this my first contribution to the holy war of mac vs pc). I also test Mozilla on the Mac/Windows and feel that if it looks good in those two I am generally on track. Eventually, I get around to checking in IE on Windows and then IE on the Mac (although, I don’t know why anyone would still use IE on a Mac). Here, I typically find some fatal flaw that IE just craps on. If it were not for the fact that Windows forces users to use IE (software update with Moz, I don’t think so), most everybody would have chucked it a long time ago. Now, only due to the security lapses in IE, has Firefox (Mozilla’s light and fast version) begun to claim some users back from IE… but you still have to use IE. And most users still do…
The point I am trying to get to… is it is getting extremely annoying to have to rejigger a design because IE treats the box model differently than every other browser available (well the ones that recognize css at least). So far I have been able to avoid using the IE box model hack in the designs I created for this site, but splok came very close. As I put the menu on the left instead of the right and it took a little artful padding to get the navigation from getting pushed down to the bottom of the page visually in IE.
As I typically do the design work at home on the weekend for this site, I do not have a windows system to check things. So I get into to work on Mondays, and during lunch I take a quick peek at my site to see how busted it is in IE. This is such a drag… I guess I need to fix the old cheapo windows box (the pwoer supply went bad, again!) at home or buy VirtualPC. But I use windows so much at work that I resist the thought of using it at home on my Mac, bleh. And since my site is not all that important, it doesn’t matter if it is busted for 90% of users for a little while.
But I do take the matter seriously, for when it comes to my workplace, I follow the opposite process… I first work to IE on windows and then figure out how to make things work for all the other browsers. Since, for business it is crucial that things work in IE first, although that only reinforces the “must use IE” principle. Personally, if a businesses web site works only in IE, I will try to avoid their services and/or not buy products from them.
At any rate, if you are a Windows user and you haven’t switched to using Mozilla or Firefox for browsing, do so now… the link is below. If you are a Mac user, use Safari… If your mac won’t run Safari (you haven’t upgraded to OS 10.2+) at least get Mozilla (or Firefox, it will run on OS 10.1+). If your Mac is still running OS 9, tell whoever it is that gave you that system to think about upgrading it. If you can’t afford to upgrade your mac, consider Linux. There are a couple of decent distros out there that are no less difficult than windows to use. For anyone who says Linux is more difficult than windows, well, they live in fantasy land.
The only thing easier in windows vs linux, is that the software/hardware vendors usually make their drivers for windows first. After that it is all the same. I once read an article by a guy who couldn’t get sound to work in Linux (Linux’s Achilles’ Heel). He maintained that windows was easier because the sound just worked… I just laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. I am somewhat familiar with sound on Windows (95/NT/2000/XP), since I have had to set up Windows Media server and encoder and let me tell you, sound on Windows is no picnic. My fav is when sound just won’t work no matter what I do… me oh my, Macs are easier than Windows because sound just works. Based on his premise, Windows is not ready for the desktop! Truthfully, Linux is ready for the desktop… just look at all the marketing coming out of Redmond about how Windows is cheaper even though Linux is free. Linux is ready for consumers who can’t afford Macs and don’t want to be tied to Windows. Well, that should be enough to generate some heat… or maybe not… as no one reads my site anyways… just get Firefox will yah, so I don’t have to write anymore stories like this… alternately here’s a message to MS… just fix IE (and all the previous versions that people still have installed).