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IE4 differs from IE4 with tables ?!?!?

DeZaak asked
Last Modified: 2010-04-09
I have to support IE4.0 and IE.4.01 and up when building HTML-pages. My problem is that a well designed page doesn't work well on IE4.0, but shows well on IE 4.01 and higher. Please visit http://www.zaak.nl/start/channel.html to understand what I'm talking about. This page should be fully fixed width (width=640) but for some reason the left column (starting with the text "De Zaak ABC voor ondernemers") shows twice the width I gave it on the "older" IE4 browsers. As a result of that, the main TABLE starts at WIDTH=640 and somehow gets about 740 when one of the nested TABLEs starts.
You may lookup the code to see if I made any errors. Unfortunately all the comments in the code (and the texts) are in Dutch, but since it is quite well made up, I think it must be well readable.

If you encountered this problem as well and you know a solution for it, please let me know. If you know any references to this problem or if you know references to differences between IE 4.0 and IE 4.01 (like what's fixed and what's a known bug and so on), please let me know as well.

Webmasters from "De Zaak"
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are you using just IE?  If so, have you considered Cascading Style Sheets?  With it you can position items ith absolute values...

Just looked at your site... It is VERY well designed and like you said, the HTML is well formatted... I could not see anything wrong with it myself... Too bad it isn't in English.  I would like to see what it has to offer... Just cannot read Dutch.


Thanks for the compliment.
I can tell you in English (and in short) what we offer, although you probably don't need services: we offer support to medium and small business on all parts of it. Like legal stuff, taxes, special discounts, credibility checks, special software and so on. But all in Dutch and all in Holland.

Do you have the possibility to view the page with an older IE4 browser (like 4.71.xxx or older)? Then you can see what I mean with the strange behaviour of the left column. It really gets twice as BIG! It's for the MSN.COM "upgrade" with channels and they ask to support ALL IE4's (and higher).

Any idea?

Webmasters from De Zaak.

I want to take a look at it with Netscape 4.0, and it prompt crashes Netscape
after tried twice, i took my very old ie2 and took a look, first of all, the script did not
got commented out, so it poluted my screen, second, there is a > somewhere in the
value of the options THIS IS VERY DANGAROUS because my IE thought the option ended there, and probably netscape's crash is related too . so please use an other symbol than ' > '



I'm sorry for your crashes... I should have mention that NS crashes with that page, although I don't know yet why. I'll have to work on that, but I'll probably make another page for NS, because there are too many differenties.

I didn't comment it out because I was quite sure only IE4 would get to it (not the right way, I know, but it is still in "beta", 5 min after postin this it will be commented, so you might try again, although I use things not supported by either NS4 or IE3 and older). I don't know if you are aware of the new MS project about Channels, but that's where it should (in the end) be used with. In short, the new Channel approach of MS, starting with the release of IE5, is to make MSN.COM the homepage of the new browsers and to direct the old channels to the Favourites menu. On MSN.COM people can make their own customized homepage with parts of pages provided by participating companies, like us (sigh). The items on the customizable homepage will be called (confusingly) "Channels" and the links on these channels refer to pages specifically designed to receive clicks from MSN.COM.  The page "channel.html" will be a template for these pages. That's why I'll only receive (in the future) hits from IE4/NS4 and higher. The official release date of this will be around sept. 15.

Thanks for the tip about ">". I thought it wouldn't matter because the greater than sign is in a string between quotes. I'll have to edit a .pl script when I change it, but it's a good suggestion and I'll make it.

Thanks for your ideas.

Webmasters from De Zaak


Some research I did may ease you answering the question. The versions I mentioned are actually (I didn't know that before) IE4 and IE4.01. I thought these where minor updates, but since now I understand that all IE versions start with a "4" and then a dot, a number, a dot, a number, a dot a number. Like: 4.72.2106.8 equals IE 4.01.

This is the whole bunch:
4.40.308         Internet Explorer 1.0 (Plus!)
4.40.520         Internet Explorer 2.0
4.70.1155        Internet Explorer 3.0
4.70.1158        Internet Explorer 3.0 (OSR2)
4.70.1215        Internet Explorer 3.01
4.70.1300        Internet Explorer 3.02
4.71.544         Internet Explorer 4.0 Platform Preview 1.0 (PP1)
4.71.1008.3      Internet Explorer 4.0 Platform Preview 2.0 (PP2)
4.71.1712.6      Internet Explorer 4.0
4.72.2106.8      Internet Explorer 4.01
4.72.3110.8      Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
5.00.0518.10     Internet Explorer 5.0 Developer Preview (Beta 1)

I'll also change my question to make it easier for others.

BTW: MS support (not surprisingly) didn't know this!

Webmasters from De Zaak


Edited text of question

This is not a solution, DeZaak, but a concern. IE4.01 fixes some security problems with IE4.0. Is there any way you can encourage the users you support to upgrade? For their own benefit and for your sanity...



I will do that anyway, but most of the targeted (business) people have just a 28k8 modem and in the past we already learned that they don't like to try to get 17Mb from the Web. That aversion is also due to very high telephony-costs.
As a result I can't rely on the people downloading the latest IE version. ATOH I'm also obligated to support IE4.0 (sigh), otherwise we won't get a certificate from MS :(

Webmasters from De Zaak.

Have you checked into the IEAK (IE Administrator's Kit). This would allow you to customize IE with your logo, start page, whatever, make CDs and distribute. Cost: FREE! I checked and it is available in Dutch (the website hasn't been updated, but if you go to the How to Get It link...)


Still doesn't solve your problem, but I hope it helps you do what you have to do...



Thanks, I'll look it up.

Webmasters De Zaak.

Hello DeZaak Webmasters,

Took a look at your site too, and since I can read Dutch (because I am dutch), the comments do make sense to me.

Maybe my tip helps. It is what I always use to make sure that the layout of my pages are as I want them, when I use tables. Because in different browsers tables usually look different concerning width and height of the cells.

I make a 1x1 pixel transparent gif-image, and use it to decide the width of the cells.

    <TD><img src="1x1.gif" width="150" height="1" border="0">My text in the first column</TD>
    <TD><img src="1x1.gif" width="250" height="1" border="0">My text for the second column</TD>


Still then it can take some puzzling to make the tables the same size for different browsers, for example giving the table tag a relative or absolute width: <TABLE WIDTH=90%> and the same for the rows and cells. But I always start with the 1x1 gif image.


Thanks, sybe, for your comments.
I thought that old trick wasn't needed anymore, but maybe you are right. I'll go try it out asap.
Actually I was thinking that the problem is indeed a bug in IE4.0, caused by the way I make use of styles. Maybe you noticed that I go beyond the borders of the TD sometimes, although you don't see that. My guess was about that part not being supported by IE4.0.
Anyway, I'm going to try your trick and see if it works out well. I'm only a bit worried for the margins that might get wider, but I'll see about that.

Webmasters of De Zaak (call me Chris)
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