Website Wonders

Gift Store, McCarthy, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

I’m a Mac user. Tried and true, a bonafide Mac user. As such my efforts at web design are often in vain because of the difference between the Apple and the Windows platforms. Often there’s some discrepancies between how they display certain code. Part of what my recent post about Web Validation had to do with this subject, though it was less specific to the PC/Apple scenario. The Web Validator is basically a way of setting a standard so that browsers and platforms will display coded websites as they’re intended to be displayed. Which is cool. Well, kinda sorta cool – I have some issues with standardised anything, but overall, in this case, it’s probably a good idea.

So, I spent several days working on my site, digging through code looking for attributes and moving bits and pieces of text around to make my site valid code (XHTML, to be exact). I was so proud of myself I even wrote that blog about it. So then, within days, a good friend emails me and comments that the drop down menus aren’t working correctly in Internet Explorer 7.0. I checked them on my Apple, and they worked fine in Safari, in Firefox 2.0, in IE5.5 and in an older version of Netscape. Each browser displayed the menus almost identically. The menus are on pages that are declared valid XHTML code. And yet they don’t display correctly on IE7.0. I then hear they don’t display correctly on some PCs using Firefox (I’m not sure which version of Firefox). So I spend countless hours searching for info on this. I used Dreamweaver, probably the most commonly used and well known web design software out there. I validated the pages with the w3 validator. And yet some platforms and their browsers won’t display a simple drop down menu correctly (or not at all). There should be tons of info on this, right? I mean, surely when IE7.0 or Firefox 2.0 came out, lots of people suddenly had their menus not working correctly? So I dig and dig and find nothing about this so-called “bug”. I email some of my most web-savvy learned friends and ask their opinion. Nothing. I post on the Dreamweaver forum, and most people agree I should just ditch the menus and go with something else for navigation. But not me, I’m stubborn to a fault. Finally a helpful administrator from the forum points to what she sees as possibly a source of the problem. I had indented some of the sub-headings, listed under main headings, using the dash “-“. For some reason IE7.0 would display the dash but not the rest of the text. For example, I would have a menu kind like this:

Adventures
– Hiking photos
– Kayaking photos

etc … and all they could see was:

Adventures

Somewhat problematic, wouldn’t you agree? So I take the chance on a gamble, and I remove the -. And wouldn’t ya know it, they worked fine. Problem solved.

There you have it. Don’t use a – in your text if you’re using any kind of javascript, because apparently PCs stumble upon such trickery. Apparently someone as ignorant as I am in the ways of web stuff can create valid pages of code, pages that meet web protocols and standards and the folks at Microsoft are unable to.

So now I have to go in and redo all my pages. I’m gunna be busy for a while folks. See ya later.

Cheers

Carl

PS – Oh yeah, the photo. This photo shows the main street of downtown McCarthy, in the heart of Wrangell St. Elias National Park. This is the only gift store in town. In fact, it’s one of about 3 stores in town. Total. How cool is that? More photos of Wrangell St. Elias.

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