Explorer 5 Mac

Last major update: 8 October 2003. Tested version: 5.2, though I usually check in earlier versions, too.

When it was released in 2000, Explorer on Mac was one of the most advanced browsers, especially in CSS. Though it continues to be OK CSS-wise, its JavaScript support turns out to be insufficient for supporting large and complicated W3C DOM scripts.
In addition, the port to OS X has gone horribly wrong, and I've written 5.2 off.

Be warned that Explorer 5 on Mac is a different browser than Explorer 5 on Windows. Not only is the look-and-feel very Mac-like, the implementation of W3C DOM methods and properties is more standards conforming and has much less Microsoft extensions than on Windows. It also has its very own bugs that don't appear on the Windows version.

Explorer on Mac behaves like Netscape in certain grey areas, like the inconsistency and the Flash detect, which I think is a good idea. Another good idea is to always give the user the possibility to adjust the font size, even if the style sheet gives an absolute font size (12px for instance).

Unfortunately the browser does not support the shift(), unshift(), push() and pop() methods of the Array object.

CSS hacks

It turns out that only Explorer 5 on Mac supports the following syntax for importing style sheets: (note the missing url):


Also, the commented backslash hack is exclusively aimed at Explorer 5 on Mac. You'll need these tricks because there are several important CSS bugs:


For more bugs in Explorer 5 Mac's CSS implementation, see Codebitch's CSS Bugs in IE5/5.1 Mac, which is the most complete list available. I wrote the CSS Hints for Internet Explorer 5 on Mac article on AppleDev, which details the position: relative and overflow bugs and those creating unwanted margins (and scrollbars).


Explorer 5.1 isn't much different from 5.0 . Some fairly esoteric CSS1 and 2 things have been fixed and CSS can now be used on XML files.

Unfortunately all bugs mentioned above are still very much present. There's one new bug: in my Writing into layers the styles of the layer are messed up as soon as you write a text into it. It is caused by an error in the innerHTML implementation, which sometimes enlarges an element when you write new HTML into it.
The solution is to first make the innerHTML empty.

element.innerHTML = '';
element.innerHTML = 'The <b>new</b> value';

Bug ridden crash prone piece of junk

Explorer 5.2 runs only on OS X, where 5.0 and 5.1 run only on Mac Classic. So many things have gone horribly wrong in the port from Classic to OS X that I declared it a bug ridden crash prone piece of junk.

The symptoms are mainly found in its (mis)handling of JavaScript in general. Explorer Mac has always been the slowest of all W3C DOM browsers, and it may crash on complicated scripts that restructure the page. This behaviour is not restricted to 5.2 alone, but it has become worse.

However, Explorer 5.2 now also crashes on simple scripts. While creating this site I found two striking instances. Read the lurid story. I'm fully convinced that we'll encounter even weirder errors.

Explorer 5.2 also crashes on my XML/CSS test, though that has nothing to do with JavaScript.