Category Archives: browsers

Open-Source Gone Bad

I stand by (and blog on) open-source languages. They’re customizable yet robust and come with an extensive library of public documentation. More often than not, a quick Google search can help you get through that epic wall you’ve been bashing for hours. Feeling innovative? You can always see the “what if” attempts made by other programmers across the web. This open collaboration is key to pushing the envelop and finding new means of development. Sounds so lovely, right? Well, I’m feeling obligated to note the downside due to the nuances battled in a recent project.

Here’s the thing with open source — You’re making yourself wide open to dealing with inconsistencies and, even worse, blatantly incorrect code. Logic, though primarily 0/1 or TRUE/FALSE, can easily conform to a programmer’s style. There may be one right answer, but many ways of getting there. That said, you may have immediate access to great code and ideas, but you’re likely to spend some time getting that programmer’s style to conform to your own within your projects. Oh, and the whole “this isn’t even right” portion of this example.

I downloaded a new installation of CakePHP and found some great Bootstrap/ACL plugins and helpers to get the site to be super responsive and equally secure. Yet, I kept hitting walls with some of my forms; they would not validate properly despite using the same code as in other, working projects. Let the debugging begin.

Hours later, I realize the issue derives from the improperly formatted parameters in an example created by the plugin developer. ::sigh:: So much time assuming it’s a database or structural issue. Nope! Just a simple inclusion that hoses the entire functionality. Moments like that are a key reminder that open source has its fair share of nuances and disadvantages. Be sure to always weigh the pros and cons of a priced solution, as time can quickly cost more than an upfront payment.

Mid-project realization: double-check all browser validation capabilities before destroying the validation in your project. More browsers are intervening with front-end validation (HTML5) so be sure to add the “novalidate” parameter to your forms to maintain your own error message:

<form method="post" action="/foo" novalidate>

Otherwise, you will see a generic alert with browser-oriented colors and text. Still debating if I appreciate this feature or not. Front-end validation = good. Browser-controlled styling and text = not so hot. Baby steps.

Happy coding!

Stop it, IE, just stop…

“Internet Explorer: The number one browser for downloading another browser”

I was nonchalantly scrolling my news app today when I came across this lovely tidbit: “Users report that Google fails to render correctly in IE11 on Windows 8.1”

Seriously?! Google?! I’m used to the normal IE antics; the png hatred, the different pixel renderings, the over-the-top session/cookie settings, the hundreds of CSS conflicts, etc. etc.

But GOOGLE!? Now it can’t even Google right!? I couldn’t help but laugh before wincing at the thought of the inevitable walls I’ll hit in the future. I then used a [totally fine, Chrome-based] Google search to pull up many more fun articles. Apparently IE11 is hating on the Exchange Server OWA, too! Isn’t THAT entertaining. What’s cute is how positive each article becomes by the end, as they all conclude with a work-around or some half-assed fix. Isn’t that just the nature of IE? “Now, we know this is pretty annoying, but we’ve made a walk-through on how to fix it!” Sure, I’ll just add that to the extra CSS files I have to toy with for multiple, inconsistent versions of IE. THANKS!

Before this becomes a full-on IE bash fest, I’ll make note that I do understand a lot of reasoning behind some of our favorite IE nuances. The folks at Microsoft are trying very hard to be secure and locked down. I do enjoy a company that tries hard to keep my info from others, but not when it seriously sacrifices the usability of the product itself. This post is reminding me to log all of my known IE work-arounds to date since I so often have to recall them. I guess the ultimate security is NOBODY USING IT AT ALL, but I’ll go on a limb and say that’s not the ideal case.

So the browser wars will rage on with the new IE in town, but I’m not so sure the punches will be aimed at the blue corner too soon. The good news is that IE use is still rather low, but there are many browser stat sites that can claim that IE is still king of desktop and mobile combined. (I’ll go ahead and argue that these stat sites are backed by Microsoft itself). You know you need to up your game when you feel obligated to make a site like this: The Browser You Loved to Hate

Please note the ‘d’ is grey on the actual site; this tells me they know better than to make it past tense. Oh, and I wanna remind everyone of their huge ad campaigns that were featured on TV and…MOVIES THEATERS!? ::cough DESPERATE cough::

I digress.

I honestly hope that someday Microsoft can come flying out the gate with a super successful version of IE. Gotta keep the browser wars full of competition and one-uppers. For now, I’ll keep an eye on Chrome vs. Firefox and enjoy the new jabs from Safari.

Happy coding!