Fighting with Internet Explorer, again

Monday, 16 November 2009

by Silumesii Maboshe

Developing websites is therapy for me. It allows me to exercise the artistic and logical parts of my mind simultaneously. It is also a great exercise of character. Technology has an uncanny ability to try one’s patience, sometimes.

The Leopards Hill Memorial Park website is a project I have had the recent pleasure of working on.

During the testing phase of the project, I discovered that my markup did not render as intended in Internet Explorer 7. Website testing has been a notorious challenge for me because I do not have regular access to a Windows machine. At one point, I would have abandoned Internet Explorer testing altogether but as a good friend advised “Microsoft: don’t fight the beast. You cannot win. Period.”

It’s funny because it’s true and for Zambia it is exceptionally so.

Here is what the site looks like in IE7 - the title is eaten up and the navigation menu displays as steps.

This is not what I expected.

This is what it should look like and does so in Firefox and Safari.

What the header and navigation should look like.

How do we fix this?

It is times like this that I appreciate the value of a University education. If nothing at all University has helped me create knowledge networks and give me different ways to look at and solve problems. There are two approaches I could have taken to solve this:

  1. Go it alone and debug and fix it
  2. Ask for help

Option 1 is the path I usually take but time was of the essence so I had to try something new. Google came to mind but this time experience came to the fore and I remembered a book by Dan Cederholm on styling navigation menus.

A quick search on Safari Books Online and voila! Solution found on in Chapter 2 on pages 30 to 37.

The result renders correctly in IE7, Safari and Firefox:

That's better.

Lessons learned

  1. Internet Explorer is a very big part of the reality of the web developer (despite how hard I try to differ).
  2. Test, test, test (I do, however, draw the line at anything below IE6).
  3. Asking for help is not a bad thing.