Internet Explorer’s Selective Understanding of CSS

I've decided to take a gamble and Windows Update into SP2 and beyond again. I've done it a number of times in the past, to disastrous results (a system that's flaky even by Microsoft standards, crashing every few hours). I've been living at pre-SP2 for a long time, with a machine that crashes only every few days, but lately it's gotten worse. I made the mistake of using IE to see something that didn't seem to work in Firefox, and I wonder if I picked up something bad, because the machine seemed much more flaky after that.

So, I did a full Windows Update (having to reboot a miraculously-little three times), upgrade to IE7, and ran Microsoft's anti-spyware Windows Defender. It didn't find anything amiss, and I haven't crashed in the 8 hours since, so maybe things are okay this time? I won't hold my breath, though.

Anyway, so now I'm preparing a web post with more fall foliage pics from my trip yesterday, and in testing with IE7, I realize that if you don't have a <DOCTYPE> declaration, it doesn't understand some CSS, but oddly, does understand some. Specifically, I noticed that it doesn't understand padding ascribed to an image, but does understand margin. This seems..... odd.

Here's a test that should look fine on this page, because it has a DOCTYPE:

(See this blog post for information about this CSS test)

Three images with red borders, each within its own green-background div: the only difference among them is that the center image has a margin, and the right-most has padding (the left-most has neither).

In upper-left——— Should be Centered ———
no margin/padding margin:20px padding:20px

If both margin and padding are understood, the image should be centered within the center and left-most green boxes.

However, if you view it on a standalone page without a DOCTYPE, it suddenly no longer recognizes the padding, so the right-most image is no longer centered within its div.

The solution is to include a DOCTYPE for all pages, such as:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
<html xmlns="">

But this just seems silly to me, and of course, Firefox and Safari don't have such a selective understanding of CSS.


One comment so far...

The DOCTYPE thingy is what disables the automatic bug emulation mode that Internet Explorer uses for backwards compatibility.

— comment by Peter Lund on March 31st, 2007 at 10:52pm JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink
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