Thursday, July 12, 2001

The Devil's in the Details

It's axiomatic that the little things in life can be the ones that matter most. I just finished an hour-long battle with Internet bloody Explorer bloody 5.5, which centered around it's "Open in New Window" behavior from the right-click menu of a hyperlink.

I have over years of surfing become used to Netscape's OiNW behavior: a new window, the same dimensions but offset down and to the right from the original, containing the file indicated by the selected URL. Not difficult, right? How hard would the gifted, highly-paid and stock-optioned coders at Microsoft have to work, when marvels of elegance (seriously) like the Visual Basic IDE and the Windows 95 Explorer have their genesis in Redmond?

Internet Explorer 5.5 finally does it - the first IE to do so reliably. But, oh, we couldn't give this to Rich on the first try. No, first we'll tie its behavior to the "Reuse browser windows when opening shortcuts" setting, so if checked, IE will occasionally open a "New Window" URL in one of the oldest windows on the screen. When that's fixed by unchecking the setting, we'll make it so that when using the Links bar (which I have in Netscape forever), it'll always open Links URLs in a new window, often leaving an empty browser behind.

OK, to fix this one we grab the "IE 5.5 Service Pack 1 with Internet Tools." Which breaks OiNW completely. Doesn't open a new window, doesn't grab the URL. Just broke. Kaput. Gone.

OK, search the Web. Follow two wrong turns that do nothing. Finally, it turns out the IE55 SP1 uninstall program has an option to repair an IE55 installation. Considering all I did was a normal install, something as drastic as a repair shouldn't be necessary, and why would one go to the trouble of coding a 'repair' facility instead of just FIXING THE %$#@ INSTALL PROCESS? It's just the way of their people, apparently.

Repairing the pristine new install seems to have fixed the problem.

All is well in browserland.

I'm fine. Really.


No comments: