A rant on a web browser…

The following web post and my reply is from Jenn Dolari’s LiveJournal. I hope she doesn’t mind me posting it here, but I wanted to make my reply into a blog entry and I figured she wouldn’t mind if I presented the post to give some context.

Style and comfort for the discriminating crotch!

Websites that “punish” you for using Internet Explorer instead of Firefox or Netscape (usually by putting in malicious “Operation Aborted” javascripts or forcing our CPU cycles to run through the roof while brwosing) usually end with me still using Internet Explorer, and me not visiting your site anymore.


Single-browser support asshattery irks me more than anything else. As the old saying goes, “Code to standards, not to browsers.” It’s rare that I encounter a website that’s IE-only or Firefox-only, though. The only time I have encountered one that affected me was this one banking website I went to that temporarily wouldn’t let me in because it didn’t recognize Firefox and would only allow MSIE or Netscape 6 or higher. They must have gotten a lot of complaints, as that only lasted for a month or two.

As for what happened to you… it sounds like what happened when we first introduced V.7 of MK Online. (MK Online, for those not in the know, uses a CMS/forum/etc. written entirely in-house.) We wanted to add stuff like transparent PNG files and the like so that it would make switching themes and news headers extremely easy and painless for us. The only problem became the fact that even though Internet Explorer was the most used browser on the planet… it was also the only one that didn’t support the features we wanted. During that time CCShadow went from IE’s biggest supporter to its biggest detractor, because he was so pissed off that MSIE wouldn’t support standards several years old that other web browsers did.

Eventually we did keep it the way it was but had the site load a Java library for MSIE users that would implement the functionality that was lacking. However, it made the site run EXTREMELY slowly for IE users, and we got no end of complaints. We finally gave up and had to hack a new system together using ImageMagick that would merge images and whatnot when new headers were created, and get rid of transparent PNG files altogether.

My point is the fact that these websites might not be trying to “punish” you, but actually have good (but misguided) intentions: they’re trying to put their websites together as they see fit but are trying to work around MSIE’s lack of functionality. In the end, hopefully they’ll realize such shortcuts are rather detrimental.

Then again, even more hopefully, MS will put those damn standards in IE7. Personally, I think MS’s monopoly was one of the worst things that could have happened to web browsing. MS never saw a need to add newly developed standards until they got real competition in the form of Firefox, and these are standard that are several years old. The web might actually have been much more advanced than it is now had it not been for IE’s stagnantion.

(Sorry for the long rant, BTW… heh.)