IE7 Beta 2 is out for developers to test

IE7 Beta 2 is now available for developers to begin testing. I’ve been suggesting on the web standards group mailing list that people need to begin looking beyond 2005 and start coding for IE7 and 2006. That doesn’t mean you design for IE7 and hack for Firefox. No, it means you can begin using more sophisticated CSS rules. Here’s a very brief summary of what I’ve seen with IE7 Beta 2 so far.

Rolling out IE7

Microsoft has an aggressive agenda to upgrade people from IE6 to IE7. By the end of Fall, we should see a significant percentage of our web site visitors using IE7 and by the end of the year, the majority of our traffic will be IE7. Those without IE7 are machines with illegal copies of XP, people with XP Service Pack 1, and those that don’t accept Microsoft service updates.

Use real CSS

If you are working on a site now, begin using real CSS.

  • Use child selectors, first-child, attribute selectors, etc.
  • Hover your list items and more. IE7 supports the hover pseudoclass on more than the link.
  • IE7 offers full support of alpha transparent png graphics, so begin using them as well.

Forget what you knew about “* html”, those hacks now belong in a style sheet that is introduced via a conditional comment. They are gone, kaput, zilch. Sure, they’ll still work on IE6, but you’re going to have one heck of a nightmare keeping track.

Test Sites

I am a big fan of All that malarkey (Andy Clarke). However, his site is full of special rules for IE6 and its a great testing ground to see what IE7 chokes on and what it does as good as Firefox, Opera, and Safari. If your site is fairly hack free, you probably won’t notice a difference going from Firefox to IE7 Beta 2. Start hunting around and finding the errors.

What is still broken on IE7

There are two major issues that I have with IE7.

  1. No generated content. You can’t use CSS to add checkmarks to visited links, clearing containers spans, etc.
  2. Double float margin still exists. This can be fixed by adding display:inline to your floated objects when this problem occurs.
  3. While I haven’t been able to nail down the specifics, there seems to be some bugginess with positioning absolute/relative.

I’m sure there will be much better analysis of this launch by PositionIsEverything, Quirksmode, and the IE7blog. I hope these scribbled notes help you move forward. IE7 is a good thing. It’s not perfect, but damn it sure is nice to ditch the son of suckerfish javascript, class=”firstitem”, haloed transparent gifs, et al.

I forgot to mention, IE7 replaces IE6 on your computer. You need to have an extra computer to continue testing your pages in IE6. If you only have one windows box, I’d suggest keeping IE6 on that and just program for Firefox, et al and placing your IE6 hacks in a conditional comment linked style sheet

CSS, Accessibility, and DOM for fun and profit

There comes a time when we move from doing something because it’s fun and exciting to actually having to make some money with it. We all remember the joy of walking the DOM for the first time, challenging the first-child to a match of borders, or even playing peek-a-boo with our precious little title attribute. But when does that playful joy turn into a realization that money sits behind them there divs?

Looking back fondly

christmas photo of the Drake family, ca. 1975Several of the standardistas out there have been sharing their joyful memories of their ventures into the big ol’ world of moolah with nary but a Dreamweaver on their back. Great advice is out there for the pickins. Sure there’s a mixture of demanding bosses, forever late paycheques, and brain-dead art directors. But ah….the glory of it all.

Yes, my dear… there is a big world of hacks out there for you to climb. Grab a friend and start climbing, for soon enough you will be on top and have the opportunity to reach down and pull someone else out of the valley of the table-goo. Ask questions and begin providing answers. Maybe next year, you will be the star on top of the standardista chrismahanakwanza tree.

Standards-based web development resources made even easier

Chris Pederick of the all mighty Web Developer Toolbar mentioned a great service today on his blog. Rollyo allows you to create your own personal search page that is super easy to build.

I’ve jumped at the chance to build a firefox toolbar to search the best standards-based resources available (and my site to boot.) I simply created a Rollyo page and then created the Firefox search plugin to use it.

I don’t have time to create the super-easy javascript link right now, but here’s how you can install it in two minutes.

  1. Download these two files: standardistas.src, standardistas.gif
  2. Place them in your program files/mozilla firefox/searchplugins directory
  3. Restart Firefox.

Or…

Visit the new Rollyo – Standardista page and click on the Add to Firefox link on the right sidebar. This approach will give you a generic Rollyo icon in the search box.

Summary

In one simple search you can get the relevant information from all of these sites without having to swim through thousands of extraneous results.

I’ve added more standardistas to the list:

The Future

I begin working with Yahoo! in a week. I had planned on building a page using their search API in the near future. Go ahead and download this Firefox toolbar plugin. I will be adding this to the mozdev archive and when I make the new Yahoo! version, your toolbar will actually update itself. As Christopher Lowell would say: “How cool is that?!”

Firefox search plugin for www.alistapart.com

Everyone has their bible. For some, it is the Holy Bible, for others, something not quite so reverent. As a child, our family life would come to a screeching halt when our bible arrived in the mail. Being the youngest, I usually got the National Enquirer after it had been scanned, read, and laughed about by the rest of the klan.

I’m all grown up now and my bible and gods are no longer the gossip rag and celebrity stalkers. Instead, I look up to my Rock Gods, such as NoMeansNo, Drive Like Jehu, and Ethel Merman. The omniscient National Enquirer has been replaced with web sites such as AListApart.com.

The AListApart path to enlightenment

Hardly a week goes by without doing a search on alistapart for the path to this or that standards-based method. A couple months ago, I created a search box plug-in for Firefox to make it much easier.

With the blessing of Jeffrey Zeldman, I present to you the www.alistapart.com search plugin for firefox.

Sorry to any IE users out there. I must have uploaded a bad copy of my permalink page last week and the formatting is botched. I’ll fix this tonight. Being that this is about Firefox, hopefully only a few people noticed it.