Monday, April 13, 2009

IE6 CSS Fixer automatically applies IE6 specific hacks to style sheets

Internet_Explorer-logoLast week I covered a few ways how web developers and web masters can use their websites to educate ignorant Internet Explorer 6 users by displaying straight, to the point upgrade messages to visitors using IE6. But even if they do so, unfortunately, web designers still have to make sure their sites are reasonably usable in IE6. And that means hours of frustrating fixing and debugging.

I was struggling with similar problems with this site. The site template I’m using has been heavily modded and tweaked to suite my needs which resulted in the loss of the original cross browser compatibility the template had, particularly in IE6. The result was that I was left with a site that looks crooked in IE6, and I wasn’t sure how to fix it for I’m no expert. Then suddenly out of the blue, IE6 CSS Fixer landed on my lap.

This online tool is simply amazing. All you have to do is copy your style sheet and paste it in a box and click on the button “Give me my ie6 fixes”. In less than a second it gives you all the fixes you need to solve most of the IE6 layout issues, and know what? It works! It isn’t perfect and you may still need to apply some tweaks here and there, but it does the bulk of job for you.

ie6fixer

IE6 CSS Fixer works by not trying to make the design look the same in IE6 but fixing the core issues that make IE6 misbehave. As the developer explains,

There is a big difference between making a design look the same in IE6 and fixing IE6's CSS behavior. Many out there try to do the first thing. They start adjusting CSS values for widths, paddings, margins and whatnot, to make their design behave as it does in other browsers. While the end user won't notice the difference, this way of working is hardly flexible.

So rather than mend the design, it is better to simply force IE6 into submission. There are a couple of rules and fixes that will make IE6 behave like it should, which has the incredible benefit that late changes in your main styles sheet won't affect your IE6 fixes. If you simply mend a design, each change in the main style sheet file might invalidate one of your fixes, making debugging even a bigger chore.

IE6 CSS Fixer fixes 5 main bugs present in IE6 and it’s surprising how these simple 5 tweaks solves most of design issues. But the real pain is hunting down these bugs as they can occur multiple times on the single style sheet. IE6 CSS Fixer is godsend, as not only will it locate these bugs for you but also apply the necessary fixes saving tons of your precious time.

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