I know a few of you who read this blog do some coding and web development. Me too–though usually only as a favor to friends who will then have to suffer through my partial knowledge of what makes the web tick. A case in point today with my friend Farrell’s website¹.
Farrell gave me my first job in TV and we’ve been friends ever since. I’m not sure how the guy who gave me my first job is younger than me, but he actually is. It seems unfair.
I worked on Farrell’s site with his input modifying a WordPress theme until it did what it was told and Farrell was happy. WordPress is blogging software, but it’s also great to build non-blog sites.
You know what? The site looks pretty damned good. We patted each other on the back and got set to let it fly in the ‘real world.’
At work I wanted to show what I’d done to a co-worker whose site I’d also helped. I opened up Internet Explorer, called the site and…. OMFG it was broken! It looked awful. It was the first time I’d used IE with the site and there was obviously a big problem.
I’d done all my dev work on Firefox where the site was perfect. Google’s Chrome browser also showed the site as designed. Internet Explorer…. grrrrrrrrrr.
Designers know IE is an awful, standards non-compliant browser. The fact that it’s on virtually EVERY computer makes that academic. You have to design for IE–period. That I hadn’t run the site through IE was a big mistake on my part–inexcusable really.
I’ve been working through the problem little-by-little examining the site with diagnostic tools now built into IE and added-on to Firefox. Tonight I found the problem. It was “–!>” placed a few characters from where it should have been. That combination of characters “–!>” tells the browser it’s come to the end of a disregarded area (like comments or, in this case, old code I didn’t want to use and was afraid to delete).
I know Farrell wanted the site last week. It was frustrating to be so close and yet so far and unable to find this teeny little problem. Now it’s good to go.
I suspect most devs have similar stories.
¹ – It can take 24-48 hours for the website’s DNS listing to float through the Internet. If you get some sort of ‘not found’ error, try later.