Microsoft Valentine

by Chris Kenton on February 14, 2005

I just spent 50 hours bowing down to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Why? Because there’s an obscure bug in IE 6.0 that makes cascading style sheets blow up if you don’t sprinkle salt over your left shoulder, spin around three times, and sing, "I Love Bill, I really, really do."

I couldn’t figure out why a site I was building kept "disappearing" content whenever you adjusted the size of the IE browser window. Entire blocks of content would just disappear. Not in any other browser, just IE. I went on a wild goose chase over the course of two weeks, tracking down possible culprits–and reminding myself in the process why I don’t program for a living. I don’t know who the patron saint is of programming, but you could probably recognize him by the missing tufts of hair and the vice hold he’s got on a cigarette.

The bug was what is known in CSS circles as the floating div bug. Essentially, if you have an element on your page that floats, it can’t touch the edge of the container it’s in or the page will blow up. I know, that’s obscure. Think of it like this: Don’t touch the crack or you’ll break your mother’s back. In the world of Internet Explorer, that’s actually a real threat.

I don’t know about you, but I switched to Firefox and haven’t looked back. If you haven’t, please, please switch. If everyone switches away from IE, Microsoft will have to update it with a quality initiative, and I won’t have to bow down anymore to a browser that is no longer worth the code it’s written in. </rant>

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