I found a solution. IE 5.0 does do overflow: hidden just fine. So I can use an empty comment hack to set this rule in IE 5.0 and use the more correct overflow: visible in IE 5.5 and 6.

The pros: no horizontal scrollbars, no dropped columns.

The cons: 1-5 pixels (or so) of the text box containing the italics will get clipped and hidden.

Thank the maker for this blog. It gives me a place to rant about a specific problem. And when I do that it gives me an exercise to organize my thoughts. I can usually go find a solution after I bitch on here, and this time is no different. This overflow hack is working beautifully in IE 5.0.

Of course.. if you have hidden overflow, anything that normally goes beyond the borders of the column like, oh I don’t know, a drop down menu will be hidden as well. *sigh*

I did find another workaround that keeps the columns from dropping, but it leads to a horizontal scrollbar under certain conditions (viewport widths). But it’s targeted at IE/Win 5.0 only. So maybe that’s a decent compromise.

So my thought was/is to revisit Skidoo Too and update it, throw in a few new bits, maybe add a page of actual instructions on how to use and implement the layout. But first I wanted to rework the CSS and my traditional means for that is to simply start over from scratch.

So that’s what I’ve done. Immediately I find new ways to structure the markup (not major, minor changes really) and new ways to structure the CSS. This time I wanted to document as much as possible on all the bugs I encountered. Early in the process I’ve discovered something that’s a bit disheartening.

This is a bug, a very old bug, in IE that has regarding italicized text (maybe bold too? or even text-transformed text? never tested that). What happens is the width for a given line of text is calculated without figuring in the increased width of the italicized text. And as IE resizes parent elements to make their children fit, the parent of an block of text with italics will be increased in width to make room. In CSS layouts that are “pixel perfect” this creates a big problem. Floated elements (columns) are dropped down until there’s room enough to fit.

I had found early in the development of the original Skidoo that setting the overflow property on these floated elements resolved the issue nicely. But not.. it seems.. in IE 5.0. Even with the overflow property set the columns are still being pushed down.

Now the easiest solution is to simply not use italics at all, but that’s very unrealistic. So now what?

Under specific conditions all Skidoo-related layouts break in IE/Win 5.0. This is a bit frustrating. I can’t seem to find a workaround.

I know it’s IE 5.0.. it’s many years old and the number of people using it today have got to be relatively small, but still…


IE7 Menu Bar

There’s a way to put the menu bar at the top of the IE7 window. This page of IE7 tweaks includes a registry file which does the job. There should be an easier way to do this and there probably will be one in a later release, but small things like this show IE7 devs lost focus on usability.

Firefox 2.0

Firefox 2.0 is scheduled to be released this afternoon. The install files have already been found on Firefox mirror sites if you want to get the jump on things, otherwise just wait a few more hours.

Among the new features is a spell checker used on all textarea fields. If you misspell a word a dotted red underline appears. I think that’s brilliant. If you right-click on the misspelled word Firefox will give you a list of possible replacements. Tabbed browsing has been updated a bit with the ability to undo closing a tab. The history menu also has a recently closed tabs section now.

Looks like a solid release. Still miles ahead of IE.

IE7 Officially Released

Here it is:

Downloading and installing now. I don’t expect much difference to what we saw in RC1. We’ll see.


Well it’s installed. The software uninstalled IE7 RC1, then rebooted. Then downloaded and installed the new IE7. Then rebooted.

When I finally got my desktop back some of my desktop settings had been changed. My quick launch toolbar was gone and the resolution on my secondary monitor (I have a dual-monitor setup) had been changed to what it’d be pre-IE7 beta install.

Some of my IE7 RC1 settings stayed. Others, like anything relating to the really annoying phishing filter were reset.

I still can’t move the FILE menu bar above the navigation/address bar. That really annoys me.

All the bugs in IE7 I’ve been talking about in past blog posts are all still there, as you can see by checking the IE7 bug demo. It’s a bit dissapointing.

Essentially IE7 is IE6 with some cosmetic changes and some minor updates to it’s CSS parser and rendering engine. It’s still the same old buggy hasLayout-based engine it’s been since IE5. You’d have thought they’d of done more with the core of the browser given the time and resources the IE dev team had. Instead they just bloated it up with new privacy/security bits that are just annoying.

Tabs are nice. The zoom feature, which doesn’t just increase text size but increases the size of everything is nice. The “delete browsing history” feature is nice in that you can select what bits are deleted (cookies, history, form data, passwords, etc..) similar to FireFox.

But it’s all been done before, with the exception of the built-in phishing filter you won’t find anything groundbreaking in IE7. And to be honest I don’t think the phishing filter is groundbreaking, I think it’s going to prove ineffective in time. It’s annoying when you use it so users will eventually turn it off and then it’ll do nothing at all. It probably won’t catch “0-day” phishing sites, and I think it’ll provide a false sense of security for those who do have it enabled. Grandma might be more willing to provide information over a web form on a site that IE7 doesn’t explicitly state is a phishing site. I don’t want grandma to get lazy and let her guard down when she’s surfing the web. She needs to remain suspicious of every site that asks her for any information at all. Will she let her guard down because of IE7’s phishing filter?

If Microsoft were really interested in preventing such things I’d much rather see some sort of education program. Maybe once-a-month have IE pop-up with a message that brings the user to a site or page that talks about some small section of safe browsing, like phishing, or spyware, or whatever. With the kind of userbase IE has I think such an approach would reach a large number of people. And by educating users on what “phishing” means rather than just throwing on some tool called a “phishing filter” when half their user base probably doesn’t even know what that means, could really make a difference in keeping users safe, really safe, from malicious websites.

It’s the one thing everyone seems to skip. Education. I’m part of a security team where I work and every month we meet and go over what we’re doing to help increase and/or maintain a high level of security. The one thing I have to keep bringing up at each meeting, the one thing everyone very quickly forgets, is education. Everyone wants to install new programs that will protect users from themselves. The problem with that is as attacks (social and computer) evolve, these programs will not (or at least lag-behind the evolution). An educated user would be more ready and more easily adapt to the evolution of these attacks than a program.

But nobody seems to really care about educating users on safe computing practices. Nobody wants to try. And that, more than the this release of IE7, is depressing.

Ruthsarian Menus : It's Official

Ruthsarian Menus are officially released. Woo!

I’ve put together a bit of a write-up on the system although it’s the stylesheet where all they key bits are. Lots of detail on bugs I encountered and how I worked around them, etc..

I need to actually re-read what I typed up later today, after I’ve been away from the topic for a little while. I just wanted this thing “officialized” as soon as possible.

In other news I sent yet one more e-mail off to Microsoft about bugs. This time it was about the rounding errors I’d come across in the past.

I actually got a response!

From the MS mail server saying one of the two guys I was given contact info for was no longer able to receive e-mail.

But then I actually got ANOTHER respopnse! This time from a real person! He told me that this bug was going to be around a while and definately there in IE 7’s final release. He made mention that the CSS spec doesn’t cover how rounding should be handled; said he hadn’t looked at what Mozilla was doing, but had some idea how Opera handled it.

Oh well.

At least I know there’s a real live person at the other end of that MS e-mail address I was given.

Good Enough

rMenu is pretty much ready. I’ve thrown in the last few bits to get IE7 working properly.

I’ve decided to use negative top margins for vertical positioning of dropdowns to workaround iCab’s problem with initial rendering of elements positioned with the top attribute.

However the Opera pre-7.5 positioning bug that affects right-aligned horizontal menus I’m leaving and won’t be fixing, at least not right now as I can’t find any easy way to do it. I’m not bothered by this because 7.5 is a few years old and most Opera users will have upgraded by now.

iCab I wanted to fix because it’s most current version has this bug and I felt it important to get at least most current version of the more popular browsers working with this menu system.

I have already incorporated this new menu system with Tank!. I just need to create a quickie utility stylesheet for the two-column setup used in the main column of Tank! because what’s there now doesn’t work in IE 5/Mac. The two-column setup on the rMenu demo page does work with IE 5/Mac so I’ll just copy it over and Tank! will be ready to go.

And then I’ll be done with it for now and move onto something new. I’m not sure what yet. All I know is I’d like to either try something that’s visually interesting but doesn’t use so many boxes, or go for some radical design. Just something new. I won’t know until I’m half way designing it what it’ll be.

CSS Discuss is back up and running and my post to the list about rMenU went through. Number of responses: 0. So I’m on my own. The Opera 7 issue I’m going to ignore because I doubt there are many 7.23 (or earlier) Opera users still out there and because there probably isn’t a real fix. iCab I’ll toy with and see if I can work around it’s rendering bug. Opera 9.02? I don’t know. The menus don’t break, you’re just forced to move over the text in the buttom in order for the link to work. Maybe it’s a z-index thing? I”ll play around and figure it out myself.