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Monday, May 21, 2007

Internet Explorer Bungles Ordered Lists with Width

Consider the following very simple XHTML file:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<title>Exploder Bungles Ordered Lists with Width</title>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type"
    content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
<style type="text/css">
    li {
        width: 90%;

You'd expect this to output a list of three numbered items, like:
  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
But of course expectations don't count for much when it comes to users of Microsoft's lame attempt at a Web browser, “Internet Exploder”. Here is a screen shot of this file rendered with the current 7.0.5730.11 release of Internet Explorer on Windows XP.


If you remove the width specification from the style of the list items, or replace it with margin specifications to approximate the same effect, Internet Explorer appears to remember how to count and numbers the items correctly. Here we have the flagship Web browser of the world's largest software company, with the largest installed base, failing in the task of adding one to a number.

Now, we all make mistakes, and no software ever achieves a state of perfection. The real test, however, is how rapidly problems are fixed once they are identified and documented. How does Microsoft perform by this criterion? Well, about as well as you'd probably guess. It turns out that this problem was first reported in July 2005, almost two years ago, and is present in versions 5 and 6 of Internet Explorer, as well as the recently-released version 7, with all subsequent patches installed. Such is Microsoft's couldn't-care-less attitude to standards compliance and fundamental correctness of their products that I wouldn't expect this to be fixed any time in the foreseeable future.

Posted at May 21, 2007 18:48