by DavidO
29 replies
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This will probably be no surprise to many of you technicians but since it surprised me it may surprise others too:

I recently took the plunge and "down"graded from Vista to XP. It was not as difficult as you often hear and I'm so happy with the improvement that I wish I'd done it a year ago instead of wasting the time trying to "adjust" to Vista!

But back to the point: Everything worked great after the new install but display quality was not up to scratch, especially text display. Then I also discovered that transparent png images on my site were displaying a colored background.

I finally discovered that IE6 does not support png transparency and that tipped me off. Of course, my older version of XP installed IE6. But when I upgraded to IE7 I also saw that my text and overall display quality improved immensely. I didn't know this before.

So if you are still using IE6, however unlikely, you'll get much better image quality with IE7 (or Firefox).

More importantly, many people out there are still using IE6 so if you use transparent png's on your site they will not be seeing them correctly.

Check this page for a way to fix this: Digital Web Magazine - Creative Use of PNG Transparency in Web Design
#ie6 #ie7
  • Profile picture of the author rlnorthcutt
    IE is tough to code for, and a pain in many respects... true that IE6 should be upgraded ASAP!

    If you really want a solid browser, go for FireFox or Opera... I personally like FF. Tons of features, fast and relatively lean. Install it and see how much faster it loads and how solid it runs.
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  • Profile picture of the author gimmick
    Very good points! IE7 is much better than IE6, but the beta IE8 is still very buggy, not recommended to upgrade til many things are fixed.
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  • Profile picture of the author yourseomentor
    Funny thing is that Microsoft doesn't even have any support for IE6 if you call in they tell you to upgrade to IE7.
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  • Profile picture of the author Trisha
    Actually, IE6 has helped me tremendously. I've learned to write solid, clean, valid code. But youre right, gotta have that png fix.
    Are You a Coach? Im looking for a few good people to test out my Coach Theme for free! I'll even help you set it up. I just need to know what bugs you find.
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    • Profile picture of the author HappyHeart
      Originally Posted by Trisha View Post

      Actually, IE6 has helped me tremendously. I've learned to write solid, clean, valid code. But youre right, gotta have that png fix.
      I'm surprised you'd state this. I learned coding first with IE6 too - just because I was't FireFox aware at the time. It was when I discovered FireFox and the other browsers that I realised how bad my coding really was. Well, I used FrontPage too at first - that didn't help of course...

      In many cases it's just not possible to create a 100% validated clean CSS code for any design that must render properly in IE6, because of the IE hacks you need to work around issues like disappearing sidebars, absolute positions behaving odd, navigation menu's with links all over the place etc.

      The png fix is the easiest part...

      So anybody still using IE6 - UPGRADE NOW!!!

      Thank you. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author awesometbn
    Thanks for the info about IE7. Just FYI about IE8, there are some features such as InPrivate that might cause problems for affiliate marketers who depend on third-party cookies. See this MSDN blog entry,

    IEBlog : Privacy Beyond Blocking Cookies: Bringing Awareness to Third-Party Content

    Given the massive marketshare enjoyed by Microsoft, a major change to their web browser privacy settings could make earning pennies from affiliate sales very difficult in the future.
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  • Profile picture of the author Teenage Genius
    Firstly, XP is better than Vista, you made the right choice i don't care what anybody says, i know a whole load experts who agree with me.

    (Although by the year 2011 all new MS OS programs will NOT work on anything bellow Vista, bare this in mind!)

    Personally i hate Internet Explorer, its the worst secured and slowest browser. Firefox is the one!
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  • Profile picture of the author wayfarer
    I am sometimes shocked how prevalent IE6 still is. Some estimates put it at roughly 25% of all internet usage! This is a ridiculously high number, considering that IE7 has been out for 3 years, and yet IE6, which is generally considered to be the bane of all web-developers, still is holding on for dear life.

    It's not just the PNG transparency support(which can be fixed with a bit of JavaScript anyway). Though it has problems of its own, IE7 is light-years ahead of IE6 as a web-browser, mostly in the area of CSS, which IE6 has several severe deficiencies, from glaring bugs with margins on floated elements, to a complete breakdown of the box model when a height is set on it, to overflow issues, to total lack of support for key selectors, and the list goes on and on.

    Fortunately, IE8 is supposed to be very standards-compliant, and everyone I know that develops for these browsers, including me, is keeping their fingers crossed. I do somewhat dread the possibility of being forced to account for 2 Firefox's, 3 Internet Explorers, Safari, Opera, and throw in Chrome also, since it isn't quite exactly like Safari in its rendering (though it uses the same engine, and is very close to the same)...
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveVista
    I found a website which discusses IE 7. Maybe you can find some useful information there.

    Unfortunately I am new here so I can post the link. But here is the URL:

    w w
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Moreno
    IE6 is outdated and potential a security threat to your PC i would upgrade ASAP.

    However unfortunately as you mentioned some people still insist on using it or if they are in a large corporate network they sometimes are not able to upgrade...

    As a result as a developer i find my trusty Dell Mini Netbook a great way to test IE6 as opposed to using MS Virtual PC, since it comes pre-installed with XP Home, they range in price from $250 upwards, not really a lot of money considering you can use for 101 things!

    Additionally I always use joomla to develop my sites and there are some very simple plugins that allow you to quickly implement the pngfix as well as add in a little security notice - telling the visitor to upgrade. Especially if a site is very feature rich - i dont want to be wasting time to try and code for a browser that is about to be replaced for the second time, unless of course the client wants to pay me for it!

    Sorry, I am too busy helping people to think of a cool signature!
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  • Profile picture of the author kdavies
    IE6 sucks and IE7 sucks too, just not as much. Fortunately Microsoft seems to be moving towards making a browser that's more standard compliant so that in future we should (fingers-crossed) expect that code that works in other browers should work in IE.

    BTW, have you checked out Apple's new Safari browser?
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  • Profile picture of the author dav8604
    XP > Vista yet IE6 < IE7. When coding IE6 is a pain, IE7 is a little more compliant for CSS. Eventhough I still have to use IE6 and IE7 hacks in my stylesheets in order to get my website to work in Firefox, IE6 and IE7. Go with IE7 as your microsoft browser but if i were you I would most definately download FireFox or Opera.
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  • Profile picture of the author krislisa
    i prefer IE7

    Please read the sig file rules

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  • Profile picture of the author audio90
    IE6 sux. But I still am keeping it because there are so many people using it, I need to check to see what it looks like in IE 6 for errors.

    Not that I know how to correct them, but at least I know.

    Best regards.

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  • Profile picture of the author virusoid1010
    IE6 must die! Opera for ever!
    But bitween IE6 and IE7 i choose IE7..
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  • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
    Now with the release of IE 8 is this even an issue?

    I'm serious, I have a design with a cool "Image Carousel" front end, kind of like the Mac OSX task bar. It's built with PNG images and of course I'm having issues with it in IE6. It works in every other browser, and I always test throughly on Windows, Mac and Linux - IE6 is the only only that has issues (it works fine but it looks ugly as IE6 can't render transparent PNG images).

    I've tried all the common "fixes"" for the issue but they mess with the code that I'm using to create the "carousel" effect. I'm considering building a transparent GIF version just for IE6, but I'm also wondering just how big an issue this is and if it's really worth the effort?

    Personally I'd never consider any version of Internet Explorer as my main browser (I waffle between Firefox, Chrome and Opera) but it is very important for everyone to test their site on as many browsers and platforms as you can (including mobile ones). You never know what your visitors are using to see your site.

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  • Profile picture of the author webarts
    IE is tough to code IE7 is better than IE6
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  • Profile picture of the author DanielFonda
    I would have to go with ie7.
    It's a newer version. None the less I prefer firefox. It's much better.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andre Wally
    IE is not "making it" today, the best thing for you to do, especially if you are designing webpages. I would recommend Firefox, Chrome or even Opera, they are more secure than IE and have more to offer.
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    • Profile picture of the author ziffgone
      One major thing to remember when coding for any version of IE, and if it's forgotten you will only experience headache, after headache, after headache, and that is the inclusion of a DocType. More info Here.

      I find that EVERY version of IE absolutely needs the DocType specified at the top of the web page in order to retain Standards Compliance, (specifically the "strict" DocTypes), otherwise IE seems to always fall back on it's default rendering engine, the "We'll do whatever the h*LL we feel like" engine.

      The best way to tell if your browser is rendering according to W3C Standards is to design your site using a DocType of the Strict variety. Once done, if you can remove that DocType tag from your web page, your design should not change, otherwise your browser is not defaulting to be Standards Compliant.

      I've designed sites viewing it in Firefox and have omitted the DocType accidentally. Site finished, or close to finished, I load it up in IE only to confounded by the mess it presents me. But as soon as I add the Strict DocType, everything renders normally, or close enough to normal only a few specific IE tweaks are needed.

      Originally Posted by mywebwork

      Now with the release of IE 8 is this even an issue?
      Absolutely, it's always an issue. The thing is, even though a new version of IE comes out, Microsoft doesn't include it in Windows Updates, only fixes for your current version. As such, many people aren't even aware a better, more secure version of their browser is out there. As a web developer, you are always attuned to this, but the everyday surfer, many of which don't even like computers, aren't aware of browser upgrades.

      As wayfarer says above, even though IE7 has been around for 3 years and now the IE8 Official release is out, approx. 25% of all web surfers are still using the deprecated IE6.

      I personally don't design for IE6 at all, in fact I think we as web developers, even though people generally don't like being told what to do, should detect the browser being used and if IE6 is found, display a warning instead of our pages. Something like "Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer 6, for your own safety and the safety of your network, we suggest you upgrade to IE7 or IE8" (linked references of course)

      That's my 2 cents.

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  • Profile picture of the author CaffeinatedWorld
    When it comes to browsers I think it's like this:

    SAFARI 4 - 100% standard complilant - very cool looking - very slow
    CHROME - Very cool, very fast, very buggy Still a lot of issues. And as for a browser using WEBKIT it has a lot of issues.
    OPERA - Fast - that's important On the other hand has many issues with more complex appliactions
    FIREFOX 3 - The ultimate solution - I personally prefer CHROME but FF3 is better
    IE7 - Crap - Hard to code for - sometimes does very strange things
    IE6 - When it comes to displaying websites besides the PNGFix I like it better then IE7.

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  • Profile picture of the author sodevrom
    In my oppinion IE6 should be upgraded asap to 7. Bouth are bad, but IE7 is a bit better than IE6. One of the reasons is that it has tabs native.
    I recommend using Opera. I have been using it for over 4 years now and it works great.

    Good luck
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    • Profile picture of the author HappyHeart
      There's a Dutch website that lists all people/companies who publicly have declared they stop supporting IE6: (meaning: we're quitting too)

      Does anyone know if there's a similar English initiative?
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  • Profile picture of the author GMatthers
    IE 7 works for me. But besides firefox punes all.
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  • Profile picture of the author GMatthers
    IE7 is better then ie6 offcourse it has tabbed browsing. but i preffer mozilla firefox
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    • Profile picture of the author jeniferdesauza
      Its fairly common for IE7 to prevent Movie Maker from working.(It always starts with an error message.)This was the case on my computer.I found that when Sony Picture Package1.5 and WinDVDCreator2 were installed along with IE7 this will always occur.I tried installing these programs on another person's laptop and the same thing happened.I uninstalled IE7 and run IE6 again.IE7 messes up HP Director too but there are fixes for that that do not involve uninstalling programs.
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  • Profile picture of the author unsmashed
    There is a workaround to display transparent PNG files in IE6 - it is a HTC file you need to link to.
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