Fixing bad value "X-UA-Compatible" with Pyramid

When you’re making a website for the general public, you need to support the browsers of that general public. One of the things that can make that particularly difficult is the large install-base of older versions of Internet Explorer that don’t run in standards mode by default. Specifically, IE8 and 9 still have a combined market share of about 30 percent.

By default these versions of Internet Explorer will run in Quirks mode rather than Standards mode. This is good for websites that were made over a decade ago and targeted IE6, but it’s a disaster for modern web development because the amount of corrective CSS required is astounding. The fix is to tell them to use their edge rendering mode; that is, the closest they can get to actual standards. From there the path to proper behavior is manageable. Microsoft has explained how to do all of this in their knowledge base, but in practice it comes down to this:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge,chrome=1">

This will instruct Internet Explorer to use a Chrome Frame if available, and if not, use the latest rendering mode available (edge). With Google having discontinued Chrome Frame though, it’s probably best to help those users to upgrade away from older Internet Explorer versions, though that’s outside the scope of this article.

So what’s the problem?

There are a few problems with the meta tag approach, the most obvious being that it doesn’t validate. It’s a Microsoft specific meta tag that isn’t part of the specification.

Does validation really matter? The answer depends on who you ask, and the context of the question. Obviously some don’t mind the lack of validation and will use this meta tag, but if validation is ...

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Hello world

def main():
    print 'Hello world!'

if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()

Now that we have the inevitable first lines out of the way, let’s move on. This blog will focus on programming subjects, primarily the Python programming language. My current work involves a healthy amount of web framework in the form of Pyramid, which I’ve become a great fan of. Other parts of the technology stack employed may also feature in articles here.

Aside from work-inspired interests, there are other programming related topics that may feature. I occasionally tinker with Arduinos (most of the code is up on GitHub) and they may feature here. JavaScript, necessary evil that it is, may end up as a subject as well. I’m predicting this based on my many conversations with herrieii about JavaScript.

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