I hate to say it, but Mozille Firefox isn’t as good at rendering pages as IE is. And that’s the main point for what a web browser is supposed to do.

Oh, it’s superior in many ways, like security purposes and such. And Gmail seems to run a lot faster in Firefox than in IE. Too bad in only 1 day of using Firefox I have already managed to find another situation where IE works right and Firefox does not.

(The first situation was reading slashdot: I have trouble grabbing window edges so I always make my edges 5px thick instead of the standard 1px thick. Firefox incorrectly counted the thick border as the edge of my window, which made CSS position definitions 5px off, which meant that when I read Slashdot.org, the grey sidebar overlapped with the news articles. Yucky.)

This situation is a crying shame, because IE is annoying me currently by trying to re-install a critical piece of Office XP that I removed. Yet, I still will be forced to use it because IT WORKS. What a shame. The background is: I have a script called “image-index” which generates a temporary HTML file that contains all the images in the current directory. I’ve been using this for various image management purposes for a good 6 or 7 years. The script has suited me fine, but now I have to update it to work with Firefox. Or specifically make it use IE instead of the default browser (My default browser is Firefox currently).

When a program is supposed to assist me, but instead makes me to work, then it is having the oppositte effect. It’s wasting my time instead of saving it.

How hard is it to parse this HTML (Firefox=Wrong, IE=Right):

img href=”c:\a.jpg” mce_href=”c:\a.jpg”   

In my head, I know what is. “Show the image at c:\a.jpg.” I can render it in my HEAD! And what does Firefox do? It shows the word “a.jpg”. IE shows the image.  

The quibbletrons will doubtlessly inform me that backslashes are not valid HTML for indexing a file. And yet, that IS the filename, I am using this on a local machine, and IE is smart enough to realize that I MIGHT BE USING FORWARD SLASHES. I am not a heathen for using a backslash in HTML This is a local file on a local machine. No webservers are involved. Addressing is absolute, not relative. Yet Firefox is too lazy to even bother looking to see if that file really exists.

Most people will miss the point of this posting entirely. But my point is thus: Computers must serve us, not the other way around, and they must DO WHAT WE MEAN, even when we break the rules a little bit. Strict adherence to all standards merely thwarts things from becoming mainstream by restricting the group that can properly use them to an elitist group of ubergeeks. Things need to work and they need to work as the user intended, even if the user is an asshole like me.

The computer geeks will disagree because they want strict adherence to standards so that things can be uniform. But look at Unix? It’s the least uniform OS there is. 32 flavors at some points in time? Even Windows does not have those many flavors, and Windows has much greater interoperability between versions than unix does. (We sure as hell never need to recompile our kernel, or consider what window manager we are using before compiling something.) HTML is another language like English. Sometimes things, like the word “ain’t”, are not syntactically valid, but they become de facto valid nonetheless.

Imagine having a conversation with someone who refused to acknolwedge what you said, simply because you used a word that was not in the dictionary, like “Ain’t”. That’s what my conversation with Mozilla Firefox was like today. Time to edit my image-index script I guess…

 Update: I am a full-time firefox user but this IMG issue still annoys me in 2006!