No One Knows Less About the Web Than Microsoft

Every web designer in the world knows that Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is by far the worst browser available. It is the least secure. It has the worst feature set. It has by far the worst implementation of all web standards, most notably CSS. It has full access to the operating system’s core libraries (on Windows systems) and is still not the fastest or best. There is no excuse for this. They simply don’t care, nor do they care their apathy holds the entire world back in the stone ages technologically.

Microsoft IE version 6 is literally famous for being the worst browser ever made. Every designer has to make a pivotal decision in their work: “Will I support IE6 or not?” Every single designer knows about this issue. Getting into the list of CSS bugs is pointless because there are whole sites devoted to this laborious topic and have been for well over a decade. The whole web community has been gnashing their teeth against IE since version 4, and nothing has changed in later versions.

I bet most non web designers don’t know all of what it takes to design a page. It should be easy. HTML? CSS? Jquery? PHP? Whatever else technology with a standard, recommendation or language? Fairly cut and dry. Most of a designer’s job is to make an ordinarily simple page work in IE, writing all sorts of convoluted code to accommodate it. Seriously. No exaggeration. This is actually true, and it’s ANNOYING! Sometimes it can be fun to challenge oneself to write cryptic junk to work in IE… but it gets old when you want to make something look cool or use a nice feature that’s been in web technologies for many years that IE can’t do.

There is thankfully a movement out there where people are FINALLY throwing in the towel, giving up supporting IE fully in their designs. They’ll display a message like, “You need to update your browser” when IE is detected. In order for designers to visualize their stylistic and functional dreams, this is necessary. And it’s about time. Unfortunately Microsoft is also notoriously the worst and last to implement an auto-updating browser. Which means that those who have ancient browsers will not get updated automatically (or at least notified of an update) in the background like all the others.

Because IE is built into Windows, most people simply use it. Some people don’t even know there are alternatives out there, like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and the like. You name a browser, and I can pretty much guarantee that it’s better than IE.

K, old news, I know. And what I’m about to add to it is old too… but I didn’t really read up on it until now.

Outlook, yet another Microsoft invention relating to web technology (an email client, duh!), is also GARBAGE when it comes to displaying rich content like HTML. A few years ago I started noticing that when I sent an HTML email out, and someone forwarded it back to me with a response… it looked like crap. I know the standard thing that when you forward a rich email, it adds a bunch of junk lines and spaces and loses some features and images. That’s kinda what I thought was happening until I started using Outlook as my primary client at work.

The HTML emails look like junk as received initially, even though much care is taken to use old table design and minimal basic CSS (unfortunately this is necessary for MOST email clients).

Guess what? Outlook 2007 and later versions SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASED (not increased, as you would think) their CSS support from their own previous versions of Outlook (which were already the worst among others in their support). This is documented fact that Outlook 2007 has far worse CSS support than version 2003 and all other previous versions. Version 2010 has the exact same sickness.

Here are some shocking links that tell of how bad the situation is in Microsoft Outlook:

Sigh… the web technology team at Microsoft needs to give up the ghost and let the world progress on its own. They are holding everyone back.

By the way, if you didn’t figure it out already, ban using Microsoft Internet Explorer and download a free alternative, like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, anything. They are all FREE, better, faster, more secure, and web pages will simply look better and function properly on them (except for the occasional badly designed page that uses Microsoft proprietary features – which is NEVER beneficial or necessary).

I Like WordPress OK

This is my first experience using blog software besides my own since retiring my blog on esotropiart. Everything on that site was hand-coded and behind the times because of my lack of investment in it. I always knew I could develop a good interface for administration, but I lacked the time (or perhaps just the desire) to do it.

A couple years ago I played around with Blogger and had a mirror of my blog automatically published to my Blogger account, which was hosted on my own shared account (a technological option offered at the time). I’m not sure what Blogger is like nowadays, but I definitely like the WordPress interface more than what I remember of Blogger.

I have also experimented with a couple other CMSs like Drupal and Joomla. Both are hideous from the getgo as far as usability goes. Their interfaces are too low-level and unspecialized. It’s basically not possible to do anything practical without first installing a bunch of nested and complicated add-ons. The terminology in many CMSs isn’t sensible either. WordPress is far in advance of any of those other options for getting content on a page quickly and easily. It’s geared around blogging, which just so happens to be what I want to do anyway. Of course, there are also many add-ons for WordPress that probably make it just as versatile as the other CMSs. Therefore it appears I’ll be sticking with WordPress for now.

I have to admit it’s refreshing to just type what I want to say, without worrying about any special encoding. I wish I had the time to program my own specialized CMS that is built to do exactly what I want (and nothing more). Quite honestly, however, I prefer to benefit from the work of others right now. I’m not interested in getting back in the pattern of spending hours on the computer every day. There’s many good reasons to distance oneself from being absorbed by computer usage. Yes, I need this outlet: this literary, journalistic, spiritual and personal expression. Even so, I am limiting myself to what I feel is a healthy amount of time spent (wasted) on these ridiculous machines by focusing on what I feel are profitable and efficient uses. I’ll write more on that topic later.