Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog
Ray Drainville

In the past couple of months, two authors whom I admire have renewed interest in Dean Edwards’ confusingly-named IE7 script—a Javascript hack that makes Internet Explorer version 6 behave more like a standards-conscious browser.

The very title of Eric Meyer’s article—“Javascript will save us all”—suggest that we’re about to enter a golden age in support for the seven-year-old browser. And Jeremy Keith has recently advised people how to gauge when to use the IE7 script.

Well, I don’t know about you, but to me, this is more than music to my ears, it’s the equivalent of Bach being played on a glass harmonica right next to a chocolate fountain. But years of struggling with IE6 have hardened my defences. Since using Meyer’s CSS zero reset I’ve had great results with IE6—but only from the beginning of a site design I hasten to add. As I’ve written earlier the reset does little to fix a pre-existing design.

Dean’s script has popped up now & again over the years to tempt me again & again with its promises. But it’s nowhere near as well-known as you’d expect for something that gets such high praise from some very astute authors. Why is that?

Well, it might be because it doesn’t really do what you hope. It’s certainly nothing like a magic bullet. In fact, I’d recommend that you stay away from it. Why? Because you’ll have to go through the hard work of declaring a separate stylesheet for IE6 anyway: adding another script to the mix just adds more to the confusion of figuring out why something doesn’t work.

Both Edwards’ script and Keith’s recent article popped into my head because recently we’ve been working on the site of one of our favourite clients. In the course of making the site more amenable to search engine optimisation, it became clear that we should revisit the CSS of this, the last site we developed without the CSS reset.

The DD site as planned, in a standards-compliant browser

The DD site, as seen in IE6, based upon particularised CSS tweaks

The DD site, as seen in IE6 with Dean Edwards’ IE7 script

Now, it might seem like I’m cheating in the above examples: I removed the painstakingly-tweaked IE6 CSS when I introduced Edwards’s script. But I’m not. If I were to follow Meyer’s & Keith’s advice & used the IE7 script as a basis for my IE6-oriented work, I’d have a hell of a lot more tweaking to do, plus I’d have to cope with the rigmarole involved in dealing with someone else’s script.

So, take some advice: if something looks like it’ll magically solve all the problems that have consumed years of painful work, don’t bet your reputation, or your schedule on it.