Hacks, Workarounds, and Troubleshooting






Introduction

When designing for the Web, developers historically have used hacks and workarounds due to browser limitations.

The mid-1990s saw a proliferation of such workarounds, among them single-pixel GIFs, font tags, and nested tables, just to name just a few. Although the CSS 2 specification became a recommendation back in May 1998, browser vendors have only recently fully implemented the standard in their products. This gap in time of browsers without CSS supports to browsers with full or near-perfect CSS implementation means a handful of browsers that most people use have poor CSS support.

To overcome the bugs in popular browsers that have this poor CSS support, web developers have once again resorted to using hacks and workarounds to successfully achieve web page designs.

Even though problems may be solved by using newer versions of browsers, web developers may need to use hacks or workarounds to deliver the appropriate presentation to their audience for many reasons.

Unlike web developers, most people don't automatically upgrade their browsers each time a new one is available. They tend to stick with the browser that's on their computer because it works fine and will get a new browser only when they purchase a new computer. Also, IT departments in many companies lock down the systems to prevent individuals from upgrading software applications on their own.

For web developers struggling to polish their designs, this chapter covers techniques on how to deal with browsers that have spotty CSS support. Included in this chapter are methods to hide advanced style sheets from Netscape Navigator 4, deal with Internet Explorer 5.x for Window's unique interpretation of the box model, and more.



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