Printing Crochet me Pages

Printing has been fixed since Monday. Great thanks to everyone who was patient and gave me feedback about their problems.

Feel free to stop reading beyond this point; I'm going to give details that may qualify as FAR too much information.

As Crochet me has been a labour of love for over a year, and has grown in popularity at a rate both shocking and remarkable, it has not always gotten the technical love it deserved. The original site had the simplest layout, a combination of tables and cascading style sheet (CSS) styles. But using tables for layout is passé in the web coding world, and the current issue's redesign finally relies on CSS for the layout (except for one small part).

**Updated** A brief bit about web browsers. These programs exist for the sole purpose of reading web code (html, php, asp, cfm, etc.), interpreting it, and displaying the resulting web page for your surfing pleasure. Because part of the job of the browser is to interpret the code, it's possible for, say, two different browsers to display the same code in slightly (or wildly) different ways. That's why some font sizes look different if you view the same site in different browsers. Or why some sites look totally screwed up (chances are they look just great in another browser). A few years back, some smart and dedicated web enthusiasts got together to try to mount the seemingly insurmountable task of creating a set of standards that would result in all browsers interpreting valid code in a similar way. Web site makers would agree to write valid code, and browser makers would agree to support all of this valid code in about the same way. This, in theory, would lead to an internet where no sites would look screwy and all people could benefit from all sites. It would be a worldwide web utopia. The standards have come a long way, but that utopia is still a long way off. Ok. **End of update**

If you've been a web tinkerer for a few years, you may remember Round 1 of the browser wars back in 1998-99. That was when Microsoft's Internet Explorer swooped in virtually undetected and blew Netscape out of the water. POW! Seemingly overnight, IE became the standard. And for years it held well over 90% of the browser user-share.

That is, until Firefox came along last year. Just as seemingly overnight, it went from an obscure, open-source browser loved by early adopters and computer geeks, to IE's new nemesis, beloved by mere mortals and crafts bloggers the world over. And just as I jumped on the IE bandwagon in '98 without looking back, so have I now jumped on the Firefox bandwagon guilt-free. It's simply a better browser.

So what does this have to do with printing pages from Crochet me? The only people who had trouble printing were among the 80% of readers who use IE (specifically, those using IE Version 6.x). And the reason you had trouble is that IE6 has a bug when it comes to handling certain types of CSS layouts. (This, dear readers, is why it can cost so much to hire a web designer. Web designers have to keep up with what each type of browser and each browser version screws up, so that they can tweak their perfectly good code to work with those evil browser quirks.)

The moral is: Crochet me can now be printed by users of IE6 because I went back and redid the site's layout. And the reason I will continue to urge you to ditch IE in favour of Firefox is that IE just doesn't play nice with web standards, and it's about time we let the IE people know that's just not okay. Plus, I just think you'll like Firefox better.

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