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University Web Developers

I have recently become very frustrated with IE6's inability to handle PNG files. If you are a person that likes to use sharp great looking images, you'll find PNG to be the ultimate for web browsers. However, IE 6 and older can't render the PNG format. PNG is especially useful for semi-transparent images, which GIF can not handle. There are Javascript fixes, but not if the images ae in your css. There is also PHP workarounds, but this is long huge code, for which I say "why bother when you can do the following:

Instead of dealing with this problem (and many others for IE 6 and older). I'm giving up. Why when Microsoft has a very good browser in IE7, should web developers have to deal with those afraid of upgrading.

That brings me to my solution:

I created a div container with the id "ie" and set the initial css to display:none. Then I put the following in the head:

<!--[if lt IE 7]>
<style type="text/css">

#ie
{
position:relative;
top:5px;
display:block;
}

</style>

<![endif]-->

The container then contains the following html. linking the user directly to the upgrade location and is displayed in the appropriate location on the website:

<div id="ie">Please Upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ie/getitnow.mspx?wt_svl=10005WDHa1&mg_id=10005WDHb1">here</a>, to view this and many other sites properly</div>

Screw the user if they don't want to click a few links to get a much better browser (in usability, appearance, and for web developers) just because they are afraid ... ? I'm doing this from now on.

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Comment by Derek Tonn on January 23, 2008 at 1:24pm
Jackson,

Yep, I wish I could use 24-bit .png imagery and not have to worry about older browsers and IE6 too! There are still a decent percentage of people who are using it though (why they don't upgrade to IE7 I have a hard time understanding)...so it's hard not to provide at least some alternative options.

I sometimes get a little "sensitive" to the .png issue...since people will say that .png is not universally supported by all browsers (even 8-bit, non-transparent imagery)...and use that as an excuse to use .gif or [shudder] .jpg for all their drawn imagery in their web pages. Wastes a HUGE amount of time/bandwidth...for all those folks not blessed with T1/I2 connections.
Comment by Jackson on January 23, 2008 at 12:17pm
To Derek: The new browsers do support 24 bit .png. Yes, I do use quite a lot of semi-transparency, I don't like to use browser transparency because of the parent-child text problems. I like to be able to design the site before I make it. There are several instances in which the only way to make an image look the way I want it is to use 24 bit .png.

Currently, I am only using it for class websites, which only last a semester. However, the main site for my department is an old design that somebody else started. I have a fresh new design that would look sweet if I could use subtle drop shadows. The ONLY people who would see it incorrectly are those using old IE browsers.

To Samuel: The sites will still work just fine, it's just that those who have old IE browsers will see solid grey in sections where there is supposed to be transparency, that's all.
Comment by Samuel Kallen on January 22, 2008 at 1:37pm
I whole-heartedly support your killing off IE6 support. But, like Bill, I think you should offer alternatives.
Comment by Derek Tonn on January 20, 2008 at 10:03pm
Unless you are wanting to use alpha transparency in those .png images, I guess I'm not sure what the problem is. (?) It is very, VERY rare for nearly all but a very-few older browsers to not at LEAST support 8-bit .png. I still won't use 24-bit .png imagery outside of Flash embeds for issues of browser compliance...but unless you need alpha transparency OR are going to 24-bit or 32-bit color, I guess I don't understand the problem.
Comment by Jackson on January 16, 2008 at 6:31pm
I don't know what percentage, we run our own server and have not installed anything for statistics. What I do know, is that most of our Grad Students in the Chemistry are from all over the world. Therefore, it's safe to assume that some people from Bangladesh are probably not running state of the art computers and browsers.

Given the sheer volume of international people looking at my sites, it should be one of those better safe than sorry deals, but like I wrote above, I'm done with the workarounds.

I have a completely new design I'm planning on rolling out that uses all PNG formatted pictures. I was not aware of the transparency dilemma when I started making it. This is what prompted me to come to this resolution.
Comment by Bill Hunter on January 16, 2008 at 4:51pm
Ha ... you should be directing them to http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/

;-)
Comment by Bill Hunter on January 16, 2008 at 4:48pm
What percentage of your users are IE6?

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