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[_] Tuesday Funny

Hamish Atkinson hamish.atkinson at
Tue Dec 22 19:50:57 GMT 2009

Err, what do y'all mean by "Conditional comment"?
"<?php if (strpos($_SERVER['USER_AGENT'],'Internet Explorer')!==FALSE) echo
"<!--"; ?>
<Some code that doesn't work in IE>
<?php if (strpos(...)) echo "-->"; ?>"?
If so, replacing the echos with { and } would be a better way to do it (as
you wouldn't bother sending some html to the browser that will never get
rendered) but I don't see anything particularly wrong with doing that for
some fancy functionality that want in, but isn't supported in a particular
browser. Obviously it would be better to have an else clause echo some code
that did the same job in IE... but if the time taken to write that code
wouldn't repay the investment, or would delay the website launch (costing
many sales) then you can understand why it's not there.

Personally, I don't really mind the niceties of code design - it's the core
usability of the site that sucks. I know all us web designers love doing
"Cool things" but to the business, cool = clicks -> sales

The good/bad design of web site should be measured in return on investment
and whether it maximizes profit from the people visiting it... this one
falls down there, I think. Ebuyer is so much easier... and cheaper.

Hamish Atkinson
hamish.atkinson at

2009/12/22 Leo Pitt <leopitt at>

> Tim Marsh wrote:
> > really ? ..reflects badly on their developers?
> > developer to developer its not pretty, but you show me a developer that
> > hasnt delivered a site that they're not 100% happy with, and I'll show
> you
> > someone who's either done one site, or who is buy me a lottery ticket
> please
> > as you're bound to win it for me, lucky.
> >
> > sure its the ideal to get clean, compliant code that works.. but in the
> real
> > world.. tis not always that easy , sometimes you have to take the
> technical
> > debt [] on the chin
> today
> >  and then fix it tomorrow in order to deliver on time, other times you
> may
> > be lucky enough to be able to deliver the perfect solution on time every
> > time.
> >
> > I know its easy to criticise from the vacuum that is the 1% (a guess) of
> > people who view source, and know enough to know better,  I'm sure I do
> it..
> > but in this case..  reflects badly on the developer.. have to disagree on
> > that one.
> >
> >
> As I put in my earlier post, I agree that the use of conditional
> comments here does not necessarily have an impact on the actual site
> visitor so perhaps it's a bit puritanical to view the source and object.
> I also understand that a 100% technically perfect site is not going to
> be realistic all the time. If the deadline is tight and / or the issue
> is a very minor one, it could be more worthwhile getting the site live
> and then polishing a bit further down the line.
> There are plenty of good sites around that don't validate (BBC website,
> for example).
> I don't know what sort of pressures were involved in the project.
> Perhaps they had to turn it around in a ridiculously short time and just
> made a desperate measure to get it sorted using this hack as the lesser
> of two evils (the other being missing a launch date).
> However: whatever the reasons, it still seems like a fairly desperate
> way of fixing a bug - which makes me think the development process was
> far from smooth, whoever's fault that may be.
> Leo
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