Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Growing Pains and Browsers

Why can't the browser writers make html and the DOM behave according to a standard? By now you'd expect standardization, but no, they apparently still don't get it. Just this morning I've butted my head against more three differences between IE and Firefox!

1 - Table Cells. IE formats table cells painfully. After an input text field, a break pushes a large vertical space while Firefox doesn't. To try to solve this, if you instead put the broken text in the following row, in IE the row height isn't based on size of the text in the cells while it is in Firefox.

2 - Page caching, Ajax and Radio buttons. If you update a text field on a page using Ajax in Firefox and reload it, and if the page contains radio buttons, their state is switched - you can get it right by doing a shift-reload. IE doesn't mangle the radio button state.

3 - Input text fields and focus events. In Firefox, entering a return key will cause a focus change, while in IE it doesn't.

Some of this can be solved through extra coding, while some can't. Perhaps I ought to be less critical, but it just seems like things should be a lot cleaner and just work consistently, independent of the browser choice. It just seems to me that it shouldn't be that hard to get right.

It begs the question of whether such a behavior standard even exists. Maybe it's time for the web development industry to form a browser certification group to create and push such a standard, and evaluate different browsers. Even if it had no real clout, it'd be nice to have a list of inconsistencies for each browser, and possibly a recognized set of workarounds to get the rest of the way.

I hate whining, but I can't be the only one feeling this pain.

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