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The debate has been going on over the last year or so about the continual support for Internet Explorer 6 – Should it stop or shouldn’t it. Finally this weekend, Google announced that it will begin to phase out support for IE6 as it identified the browser as vulnerable in the recent cyber attacks on Google in China. So it seems we have these attacks to thank for this.
Let me explain – As a developer, IE6 can cause all manner of issues and extra work, and when Microsoft announced last year that it would support it for at least another 5 years, I’m sure I wasn’t the only developer whose heart sank! To support IE6 when developing websites means a lot of extra effort, not to mention the fact that we can’t implement more up-to-date techniques without providing an alternative version for IE6 users.
Aside from this, IE6 has security flaws which haven’t gone unnoticed and it seems hackers made the most of these and were confident enough to attack Google.
So, this announcement from Google is welcomed by me and the rest if the developer community I’m sure, and it seems that now pressure is mounting for the browser to be phased out completely. Can we finally hope that that IE6 will be a thing of the past?
When it comes to developing websites and pages we could all use a little help now and then when it comes down to the real detail. Here are 10 useful tools to develop, monitor, evaluate or debug web pages.
Forms are common on a wide variety of websites and it’s important that they’re well designed and laid-out. There are many tools and extensions to help with this and one I came across recently is a free CSS form designer extension for Dreamweaver from DMXzone.
It allows you to create forms visually, using a simple drag and drop interface and a variety of CSS styles. It’s very useful for creating short simple forms and allows you to populate fields with default values such as days of the week or with dynamic values from a Dreamweaver record set.
There are however, a few things that could be improved with this extension. Firstly, the HTML mark-up isn’t 100% accessible as labels aren’t properly assigned to checkboxes and radio buttons (they have been implemented following an out-of-date w3c recommendation). It would also be difficult to manage a form with a complex layout with this extension, as the HTML mark-up is not really flexible and when new field elements are added, they’re automatically added at the end of the form (not within context) and have to be dragged and dropped into position. Also, the CSS produced by this tool isn’t cross-browser compatible.
So in summary, this is a useful free tool for creating short, simple forms, but to really be suitable for longer, more complex forms, the extension requires a few modifications. You can try it yourself by downloading the CSS form designer extension for free from DMXzone.
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