This is not a review of Internet Explorer 5.5 - HTML with Style | 3 | WebReference

This is not a review of Internet Explorer 5.5 - HTML with Style | 3

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This is not a review of Internet Explorer 5.5

This is not Just a Bug. It's Straight Out of Starship Troopers

I'm not exactly delighted about the design of HTML with Style's front page. In fact, I've been wanting to get around to changing it significantly for a while now. However, I was pretty confident that it was useable and informative for everyone. Nothing too complicated, nothing too flashy. A little introduction, a couple of links, a form used to sign up to our newsletter. Hey, I've even gone overboard and included 4.5 kilobytes' worth of a logo. All of that hard work and dedication (if I say that often enough I even begin to believe it), and the end result is... well, why don't you see for yourself?

HTML with Style as seen through Internet Explorer 5.5  for Windows
HTML with Style as seen through Internet Explorer 5.5 for Windows [
Full-sized image]

As you can see, said page (as seen through IE5.5/Win) was unreadable, as the left column partly obscured the right column. I have since introduced a quick-and-dirty workaround in the style sheet used in the page so it's no longer the case, but the techique previously used to lay out the page (described in HTML with Style Tutorials 18 and 19) is a technique compliant with the HTML 4.0 and CSS2 specifications, which works with (amongst others) Internet Explorer versions 4.0, 5.0, Navigator 4.0 and Gecko.

What causes this error is (surprise) a bug in IE5.5/Win, which causes the coordinates for the absolutely positioned column on the right (the stuff with the green background) to be incorrectly measured. The seasoned HTML with Style reader will probably sigh and say "Ho hum, another bug in Internet Explorer". What is disturbing, however, is not that a new bug has appeared in good ol' MSHTML.DLL, but that something that was done right before is now FUBARed. This sort of flies in the face of Microsoft's claims of standards-compliance.

Not wanting to make a judgment based on a single occurrence of non-compliance, I went on to run IE5.5/Win through a few tests to determine its level of CSS2 compliance. But before I go into that, let's take a look at a few oldies but goldies.

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Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: August 03, 2000
Revised: August 8, 2000