When Written: Oct 2010
But IE9 is not a fast browser in real world use; it still hangs regularly and most annoyingly it does not allow you to scroll down a page until the whole page has rendered, unlike Chrome which gives back control to the user much sooner, and when even certain Microsoft web sites don’t work with IE9 that has to be the final straw! Sure it is an early beta but should it be so badly broken from the start? Perhaps Microsoft should give up and just use the open source WebKit, like Safari does, as their rendering engine, but so as to keep the enterprise customers happy still have IE6, but crippled to only run on intranet sites for all the legacy applications that were never updated? And a final ( for now) rant about IE9, what is it with the small address bar ? It is impossible to see what URL you are visiting, which makes it difficult to detect when you have left a site or spot a ‘spoof’ site.
Or is it perhaps we are supposed to give up this way of navigation and just trust to typing into search engines like Bing to guide us to the ‘correct’ web site? Being able to know the exact URL of a page that is causing a problem for a user is very important to the page’s developer, and having a browser obscure this by providing such a small address window is not helping things. One other area that can also cause problems is the use of URL re-writers in the web server. These can cause an extra level of obscurity if not used carefully. URL re-writers are used to seamlessly transform a complicated url like:
This second URL is easier for a user to remember and forward to others and it also helps the page’s ranking with the search engine as the URL is descriptive of the page’s content. But a problem would arise if the developer tried to look for a page on the web server called /currencyconverter/default.aspx as it would not exist. So whilst URL re-writing can be a useful technique it would make sense to document which pages you are using it on. Microsoft’s current web server IIS7 has several extra modules that can be downloaded for free and URL-ReWriting is one of them. Use with care, you have been warned!
There is a lot of buzz going around about HTML 5 and CS3, the web is alive with some very impressive demonstrations of some of the things that are possible with this new standard. Now whilst in theory anyone could build such sites with nothing more than a copy of notepad, back in the real world having some help from your developer tools is a welcome bonus and the sort of encouragement most of us need to start developing with a new technology. So it was with great interest that the other day there was an announcement from Adobe that there is to be a free add in pack for Dreamweaver that will provide code hints for HTML 5 and CS3 as well as some starter HTML 5 layouts to help you get started.
The Live preview feature in Dreamweaver which uses the WebKit engine to render your HTML code correctly within Dreamweaver is also being upgraded to enable it to preview HTML 5 code. Having code hinting for the syntax of the new HTML 5 tags is only a start of course, you still need to know how to put them together so you can produce that amazing web site that you have been dreaming of. Adobe have made a great start in enabling HTML 5 support in Dreamweaver as well as including a couple of example style sheets to learn from, plus some of the insert-able ‘widgets’ that are on their ‘widget centre’ are built with HTML 5. Even with all this I still feel that the improvements from CS4 to CS5 don’t really warrant the expensive upgrade costs.
Perhaps CS6 might impress? In the meantime the route to a tool to build dynamic web pages may be a tool like Blend or even a product like Xara Web designer, now there’s a thought, an HTML 5 CS3 design tool for under £40. As products such as Xara use their own vector format in the design environment and only produce HTML when asked to ‘publish’ the web site then one would imagine that it would be an easy job for it to generate HTML 5 code at this point. Of course this is for the future as not all browsers fully support all the new features of HTML 5 and CSS3 with IE9 currently lagging well behind. Currently the best browser for rendering such code is Apple’s Safari on both the Mac and Windows. I found an interesting set of tables showing the difference support for HTML 5 and CSS3 between the major browsers, take a look at ; http://findmebyip.com/litmus .
IE9 still lagging far behind in the standards stakes
Article by: Mark Newton
Published in: Mark Newton