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Ahhh the Memories

I'm getting a few hits from Dave Winer about this problem again. He likes to link to posts from the same day in years past. It was my first link from a mainstream blogger and it pretty much got me hooked on link trolling. ;) hehe

So what's happened with this problem? People are still running into it (with old versions of MT presumably) -- I can tell by my hit counter. Just goes to show you: don't underestimate the reach your software can have, it'll bite you. This was a particularly silly booboo too given it affected Internet Explorer, a browser with over 90% market share at the time.

What was the root of the problem? A broken implementation of a standard: a bad library plus poor checking by the developer equals unhappy end users. It wasn't the CSS coder's fault that IE broke the spec, but it was his fault that he didn't verify it. Read my previous post today for more of my thoughts on issues with third-party libraries.

Oh and by the way, let's not forget that there was another IE-specific problem with that CSS stylesheet too. MovableType is a great product but those kinds of errors in a default stylesheet were just not cool. Lesson learned.

Posted at April 26, 2004 at 07:59 AM EST
Last updated April 26, 2004 at 07:59 AM EST

Perhaps we should try to look at what the standard really is. I looked it up, and this is the best fitting definition I could find:

Something, such as a practice or a product, that is widely recognized or employed, especially because of its excellence.

Now, all jokes aside about IE's excellence, I'd have to say that IE is the standard. It is the most widely employed browser by a long shot, and just because somebody else says that stuff should be done some other way, it doesn't matter, because IE is what everyone uses.

The best thing to do when designing web pages, is to use the standards, and then test. To make sure it works in IE and Mozilla.

It's kind of equivalent to designing a Java application and assuming it works on all platforms. You should test it on all the platforms you want it to work on.

You really shouldn't assume that following standards will produce perfect results, as no browser out there adheres to the standards 100%.

» Posted by: Kibbee at April 27, 2004 03:04 PM

In this case the brokenness had nothing to do with standards. It was just a broken web browser feature.

» Posted by: Ryan at April 27, 2004 08:20 PM

I should clarify: the feature being displaying absolute divs properly.

» Posted by: Ryan at April 27, 2004 08:55 PM

off the subject, but you might find it interesting....

Project Myth Breaker: Help Deliver the Facts about E-Voting to your

VotersUnite.org Launches a Nationwide Grassroots Campaign Challenging
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The campaign was launched just over a week ago, and already volunteers in 27
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Facts in the booklet include:

- the real scoop about Help America Vote Act (HAVA) misunderstandings
- examples of recent election disasters
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- alternative HAVA-compliant voting systems

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Download "Myth Breakers for Election Officials," at
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Is your county covered? Check here:


Come join and make your vote count!


» Posted by: peter at April 28, 2004 05:17 PM

How many readers of this site are Americans? Seems to me this electronic voting fiasco is exclusively for americans. Do we have this problem in Canada too. Are people trying to switch it over to something electronic. I thought we got by well enough with the paper we usually use.

» Posted by: Kibbee at April 29, 2004 07:54 AM

That just seems like blog spam... some spammers know how to make posts using popular sw like MoveableType. Not only do you get spam in your inbox now, but on the blogs you read! Yay! Gotta love progress...

» Posted by: Jim at April 29, 2004 08:48 AM

Search scope: Web ryanlowe.ca