Microsoft Hacking Microsoft?

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Microsoft’s websites have traditionally been very heavy on their use of tables for layout, something that CSS2 was designed to replace. Tables should be used for tabular data presentation, and most implimentations of tables on the web are for laying out graphics and columns and such, not for their intended purpose.

Today (01/05/06), coinciding with CES Microsoft released an updated version of their Windows Vista website which is layed out entirely using CSS and DIVs. That’s big news for Microsoft.

Funny thing, to make their fancy new website look “right” in Internet Explorer 5, they had to apply the classic MSIE5 voice-family hack. “This hack allows us to prematurely close a style rule in IE5x PC because of a bug in its CSS parsing code.”1

Here’s a rule taken directly from their stylesheet:

#t-header {
 position:absolute;
 padding-top: 114px;
 width: 314px;
 background-image: url(images/logo.jpg);
 background-repeat: no-repeat;
 overflow: hidden;

 /* WIN IE5 hack */
 height: 114px;
 voice-family: ""}"";
 voice-family:inherit;
 height: 0;
 }

So, by utilizing this method, not only does Microsoft seemingly admit that MSIE5 does not fully support CSS2, but they would rather every web developer in the world rely on the MSIE5 hack (themselves included) — rather than just “fixing” MSIE5.

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