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Friday, September 8, 2006

Web: Floating Links in Internet Explorer 7 RC1

There is a nasty bug in Microsoft Internet Explorer Release Candidate 1 which torpedoes hundreds of valid XHTML pages at Fourmilab and doubtless millions of pages elsewhere on the Web. A document which contains links within objects such as tables which are floated to the left or right of the document will be displayed as if they were links but will not, in fact, be clickable. This is the same regardless of whether the link target is text or an image.

The following links demonstrate this problem in both XHTML 1.0 Transitional and Strict documents, stripped down to the minimum required to manifest the bug.

XHTML 1.0 Transitional
XHTML 1.0 Strict

The “Validate” link at the bottom right should submit the document for validation by the W3C validation server and, indeed, it does so with almost every other browser (including Internet Explorer 6). With Internet Explorer 7 RC1, despite showing the link as clickable, you can click until Pluto is once again closer to the Sun than Neptune and nothing happens.

Yes, I have reported this bug to Microsoft, but I shall not repeat the experience, which was as humiliating as embarking on a domestic airline flight in the United States: the process required me to download “file transfer” software (as if I didn't have far more competently implemented alternatives already installed), then it wanted to me log in with a “Microsoft Passport” (yeah, right) account, and finally allowed me to submit the bug report anonymously, voluntarily disclosing my E-mail address since I take responsibility for all of my actions on the Internet.

Posted at September 8, 2006 23:58