The CSS Hack Rapture Is Nearly Upon Us

News that Microsoft will be auto-updating XP users to IE7 has been making the rounds, and is generally being seen as A Good Thing.

Such swift, mass adoption of a major upgrade will certainly be a unique experience to witness. I’ll be interested to see how well the user-base gets on with this forced migration to a wholly new interface. Users that have come to trust the Windows Automatic Updates to deliver them from security issues and stability problems may feel betrayed when their familiar browser is replaced with a shiny new upstart with no menu bar (at least by default).

Forced eviction may even help the cause of alternative browsers, seeing previously reluctant switchers take up Firefox or Opera. If you’re being forced out of your house, there may be no reason to stay in town.

As far as developers are concerned, we can’t be complacent about the need to test our work in the available beta (currently in Beta 3). If users are being strongly encouraged to upgrade via a High Priority update, we can’t rely on a slow steady adoption rate to cushion our own testing procedures.

Exploiting familiar bugs to workaround IE’s various CSS inconsistencies will no longer work in many cases. The star-html bug, used to target CSS rules for IE, has been fixed, although many of the inconsistencies it was being used to resolve remain.

I’ve yet to go through and test the various sites I’ve been involved with. If I develop a useful procedure for this, I’ll let you know, but I suspect it’ll just be grunt work. Luckily I separated the browser specific hacks from the main rules, so it shouldn’t be too hard to track them down and test the features they apply to.