the power of a browser

Recently we have encountered some issues with one of our favorite sites, ViztaView (http://www.viztaview.com). There were two significant issues…

The first was an interesting change that took place with the latest version of its content management system — fortunately, it had a happy ending. ViztaView.com is running under the latest version of the Joomla! content management system, v1.5x. In previous versions of Joomla!, we always needed to install an additional component to make URLs more search engine friendly. Well, in the latest version, that component is now built into the system itself, but we didn’t know that at first. So we installed the component, and the two of them definitely did not play nicely together.

After some hunting around and trial and error troubleshooting (mostly error), we discovered the problem, uninstalled the redundant component, and voilà! The site now runs more quickly, addresses resolve beautifully, and all our users are happy — well, happier with the site, anyway.

The second issue may turn out to be an ongoing one, at least for a little while: once we uncovered the error above, we were happy to discover that the blog component we installed on that site now also worked considerably better — with one catch: if you were running Internet Explorer, either v6 or v7, addresses resolved incorrectly, led to the wrong blog post, etc. This is because IE automatically keeps a local copy of web pages you visit in its “Temporary Internet Files” location, and if you don’t habitually clean house there, it saves the wrong information, and doesn’t always know to go out and look for updates.

This is one of the many reasons why we prefer and recommend using the Firefox browser or its green cousin, Flock. You can configure those browsers (and Safari, too), to automatically flush the cache at the end of each session (when you close the browser). You can do that with IE as well, but it’s a little more difficult to uncover and doesn’t always work completely. For example, I have my IE7 set to check for new versions of pages every time it visits them… but I still have to completely flush Temporary Internet Files fairly frequently when I’m developing a new site because it still manages to store up pages and not catch changes. Don’t ask me why; Microsoft may not even know.

When we develop new web sites, we test them across multiple browsers, with often surprising results: Firefox and the Mozilla browser family are fully compliant with HTML standards; IE is not. So when Mozilla browsers render styles correctly, IE often throws a curveball. This is one of the challenges we… er… enjoy!

Until next time…

Rebekkah

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