Thursday, April 14, 2005

wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more

The smilie :) is the wagging tail of the internet. Since all other contextual cues (like body language and tone of voice) are missing, we basically set the tone by adding anthropomorphic cues :) :| :( to accent our words. I saw these used maybe 20 times in various things I read today, and in most cases the :) could be translated roughly as "please don't kick my ass".

"You suck :)"

"You're nuts :P"

"pwnt!!11! :)"
"omgwtfpwnt. >:D"

It's amazing we can communicate at all.

(Nerd note: I typed in text smilies. If you are seeing picture smilies, the text smilies were replaced with pictures using a neat little javascript hack. You can see the script here.)

EDIT: it seems IE messes this up. I am Jack's complete lack of surprise. I changed my site's script so that it will work in IE, but I left some of the smilies in the linked javascript file unchanged as proof of concept and also so people will know how to do this stuff on that far-off day when MS writes a browser that works.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

... .-( dont see any smilies ... seems like my security settings dont allow them and instead of showing the ascii ones it displays that missing picture symbol... X

Blogger Foobario said...

Thanks for the info.

I did some checking, and it's not your security settings... it is IE's inability to follow standards. I changed the happy face back to something IE could understand, but left the others as they are, and IE now gets 1 out of 5 smilies right, but still gets red boxes on the others.

One of my coworkers at my last job was a strong IE advocate, and he was always bitching about how bad some sites looked. The pages looked fine in Mozilla and Opera, but the IE user didn't know that, so he assumed the pages were poorly written. Unfortunately in this context 'poorly written' means 'follows established web standards'.

Some days I think I am just going to change the code on this site so all IE users see is one big red X. I sure as hell am not going to do what most companies do (look at the code behind the Blogger GUI, for instance) and double the size of my code with hacks around all of IE's 'features'.

I've been working on a new template for this site, and as long as I stick to HTML 4.01 the code will run fine in all browsers. If I want to use any of the features that have been developed in the last 7 years I almost invariably end up needing to write 2 sets of code, one for IE and one for everyone else. That's just sad.

I'll put a caveat in the smilie code, and tell people how to work around it. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Anonymous Hannes said...

ooops - I put anonymous last time... I know IE sucks - but no other option at work... I'd be fully happy to find something that says something along the lines: "I am sorry you are using IE. This browser does not comply with current internet standards. You may download a better browser here |mozilla| |opera| or click |here| for a plain text/html version". The text version would look like you are using lynx. If non-IE sites would regulary display a message like that, it would be a good reminder of what piece of junk you got on your hands...

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