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Saved from insanity by Microsoft (kind of)

Tel: 0800 542 9764

I’ll apologise in advance to our Mac users, this one is for Windows users only I’m afraid :|

As most of you won’t have noticed, IE6 appears to have a problem with a couple of pages on our site – normally this wouldn’t be a huge issue, but as these pages were all in the customer support section it’s not so good. The problem is that IE6 for some reason is messing with the layout box model on those pages (they use the exact same style-sheets, and the same problem occurs even if we move the Twitter feed etc.), so what happens when the style-sheet says to use a -357px margin-top, is that the content gets bumped behind the top banner, making it unreadable – not good at all.

The other major problem, is that we have no machines that we can sacrifice to run IE6, and installing a virtual machine is time consuming, however Microsoft have come to the rescue (well, not quite, seen as they created the problem that is IE6 in the first place) with a tool called Expression Web SuperPreview for Internet Explorer – not a snappy title, but non-the-less, a very useful tool. SPIE as I shall refer to it now allows you to preview any site as if it were viewed in IE6, IE7 or IE8 – all without having to install them on your PC.

At 18MB SPIE is a very useful little tool for free and well worth downloading if you’ve got to keep support for IE6 users, it’s not the fastest thing in the world, but it’s better than having to find a machien (real or virtual) to put Windows and IE6 on to. As a side issue it is quite scary when you realise some of your IE6 users are using IE6 at work, and they work in a bank, or other institution where you’d think they would take browser security a little more seriously, but that’s a topic for another day.

In the meantime, I’d best get back to working out exactly what IE6 is having a problem with on the site.

4 thoughts on “Saved from insanity by Microsoft (kind of)

  1. Paul

    Last I checked it wasn’t any good for anything but display issues. You couldn’t test out function.It is still a big help though.

    The virtual machines they provide for virtual PC are a bit of a pain but they do work well once set up if you have the right type of pc. However even then you have to get past scary messages about it not being supported (virtual PC)if you’re in windows 7.

    I think I’m just going to ditch support for it where audience allows. Just got to decide where the threshold for that support is.

  2. admin

    Still no functionality unfortunately, but it’s just helped me work out a few kinks for IE6 and IE7 – although I’ve still not got to the root cause of the problems with IE6 and a handful of pages, when the rest are fine, but at least they work again now.

    The rest of the site looks as it should (and there was no effort put in for IE6, as we thought from our stats we were safe to stop support for it), so IE6 hasn’t been too much of a pain with the exception of this one issue – but then we’re not doing lots of interactivity via the site.

  3. Magnum

    I must be getting old, 18mb, small, sheesh I remember running systems that had smaller hard drives than that. :)

    As for IE6 it should be buried and forgotton.

  4. admin

    lol, by today’s standard 18MB is tiny – my camera churns out files that size for each photo, lol. I remember DOS 6.22 coming on 3 floppy disks, those were the days.

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