Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Conspiracy Against Users of Internet Explorer?

Several people have complained that the Virtual Manuscript Room does not support Internet Explorer, now recently James F. McGrath, who, with his tongue in his cheek, expressed disappointment that he could not find Fox Mulder and Dana Scully when he followed the link to the VMR (and "Münster X-Files"), although he had found one conspiracy:

Actually, there is one indication of a conspiracy on the site. It is a conspiracy against users of Internet Explorer. The virtual manuscript room web site is not optimized for use with Internet Explorer, although you can just barely make use of the site anyway.

Therefore I thought it useful to publish below the response made in the comments to previous post by Ulrich Schmid, one of the responsible person's for the VMR in Münster:

Since the issue of IE support comes up every now and then with regard to the INTF's NT.VMR, I would like to clarify our position on that.

1. For the first installment of the NT.VMR we had to meet deadlines and our limited resources did not include coding support.

2. We had to choose between supporting a rather limited range of functions and options for more than one platform or additional functions for just one platform.

3. Since it seems to be fairly easy to download one of the supported (free) browsers and we do not ask to pay for our service, we thought people could live with that for the time being.

4. For the next few months we have to meet other deadlines that leave little room for supporting IE in the nearest future.

5. Depending on the results from the next deadlines, we might be in a position (mid-2010) to set up a forum in which requests for additional functions and support can be placed and will be dealt with.

Ulrich Schmid


  1. Thx Ulrich.

    I do wonder who in their sane minds would use IE anyway :)

  2. If the site is coded to standards it would probably be more appropriate to say that Internet Explorer does not support the VMR. Besides, Internet Explorer users are already conspiring against themselves. :-)

  3. While I am a fan of Microsoft products generally, I find Firefox to be the superior web browser. If you are still using IE, consider changing! IE is no longer supported for a Mac at this point -- am I right?

  4. I use IE, although it gets frustrating sometimes.

  5. I haven't used IE in years, because it is non-standards compliant. For my own web pages, I found that it was too much work breaking the markup to accommodate IE.

  6. Perhaps the Institute could arrange to mail the files to those who still depend on IE on 5 1/4" floppy disks.

  7. I find it refreshing to see the pedulum swing. As a developer on Firefox, and a user of non-microsoft operating systems (and thus non-IE user). I find it nice to see a website optimized for cross platform browsers for a change:).

  8. Not sure why it is a "conspiracy" to not bend over backwards to accommodate a terrible web browser.
    those who work with web pages and web design for the most part despise IE. Use Firefox or Safari

  9. So... given Ulrich's comments, the options seem to be: 1) the INTF spend much needed money NOT on text critical work but on recoding to support IE OR 2) users of IE spend no money at all and download firefox or another compatible browser.

    Given that, option 1 seems like the clear winner. Why should IE users expect other people to spend money to solve their problem when they themselves could solve it on their own for free?

  10. I am wondering what exactly it is that makes a problem with IE. Perhaps/probably it is very easy to fix. From what I see, the files look quite simple HTML wise, so it should, in principle be no problem to make them platform independent.

  11. To be a little more specific: it is the reading mode of the NT.VMR where IE users are likely to meet awkward behavior, because the frames, that work simultaneously, are coded to a standard that IE would not support - if I may put it that way :-)

    The browse mode and the manuscript list should work ok in the IE.

    The reason why we appear slightly hostile towards IE users at the moment is that we are under review. And since we had trouble with the accessibility of the site earlier, we wanted to make sure that problems of accessing the full functionalities are not an issue in that process.

  12. "Given that, option 1 seems like the clear winner." --Ryan

    Not from where I'm standing.