A Designer’s IE 7 Wish List

If I told you that Internet Explorer sucked, I’d be walking in the footsteps of about 100,000,000+ others out there on the web who are using browsers like Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Mozilla/Camino to get their daily dose of the internet. Fortunately, I’m here to give the heads-up that Microsoft has just released IE 7 Beta 2, and you can dive right in!

From a designer’s perspective, I hope that IE 7 is a big step towards more harmony on the web. The sad truth is that although FireFox is gaining a massive head of steam, it only recently eclipsed 10% of the worldwide browsing market.

Contrary to what you may read elsewhere, I typically don’t have that much to complain about with IE despite the fact that I’m a web designer (we’re supposed to hate it the most). I mean, sure, you have your typical semantic bug or two, but generally speaking, the differences are minor (I can hear the gasps now). Lately, I’ve only had to institute one CSS hack for IE for every 60 element definitions – that’s not too bad. Also, the hack almost always involves a floating element or a vertical margin, which is something that we in the field have come to accept with IE.

For all you geeks out there, here is specifically what I’m looking for from the new IE:

  • Proper horizontal margin rendering: IE 6 fails this miserably, and I’ve had to adopt the use of horizontal padding as my “standard” for current designs. When horizontal margins become available (and consistent) across different browsers, we designers will be able to knock out a few lines of code on centered backgrounds and things like that. Ooooh. Aaahhhh.
  • Consistent vertical margin rendering: 8px of vertical margin in Firefox is not necessarily 8px of vertical margin in IE. Wtf? Can we not agree on a pixel?
  • Better element inheritance: If you specify a style for the a element, it doesn’t cascade through the :visited, :active, and :hover pseudo states in IE the same way that it does in Firefox…Yet another thing that keeps us all up at night.
  • Box widths and overflows: This is my biggest gripe with IE. On this site, for instance, I have something like 406px (I know – I designed stupid sizes because I hardly knew my stuff at the time) of width for placing pictures in my posts. Thanks to IE’s weirdo rendering, however, I have to make absolutely certain I make my pics 1px smaller than the box width (another idiosyncrasy), or else IE bumps my gray sidebar (on the right there) down below the content box. If you exceed the allowable width in Firefox, it displays the contents anyway without blowing the alignment of the rest of the page. Oh, and I’m familiar with the overflow property – I just think this is a stupid facet of IE.

I’m going to give IE 7 the ole’ test drive over the next week to see if I’ll either be looking forward to or dreading the future.

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