25 April 2009

Internet Explorer Submit Button Bug

While testing a simple form in Firefox and MSIE 7, I found that my server-side program got different values for HTML submit buttons depending on the browser. Below is a test HTML file to demonstrate the problem. Copy and paste the text below into a test file, open the file in your browser and press the Test button.

    <form method='get'>
      <button name='testSubmitButton' type='submit' value='value1'>Test</button>

Examine the URL in the address bar.

In Firefox 3.0.9 and Opera 9.52, the URL is: file:// … MsieSubmitButton.html?testSubmitButton=value1, so the value is sent from the browser with the button name.

In MSIE 6.0.2900.5512 and MSIE 7.0.6001.18000, the URL is: file:// … MsieSubmitButton.html?testSubmitButton=Test, so the text of the button is sent from the browser with the button name.

Both MSIE's behaviour doesn't conform to the HTML 4.01 recommendation on Controls:

Each control has both an initial value and a current value, both of which are character strings. … In general, a control's "initial value" may be specified with the control element's value (emphasis mine) attribute. …
The control's "current value" is first set to the initial value…

When a form is submitted for processing, some controls have their name paired with their current value and these pairs are submitted with the form. …

My workaround was to give each submit button a unique name and change the server-side program to use the button name instead of the button value. While this was adequate for my task, it was an annoying, basic problem that shouldn't still exist.

While researching this bug, I found other issues with MSIE when using submit buttons in HTML forms, so be careful!

See Also

23 April 2009

Enabling and Disabling Javascript in Internet Explorer 7

How to enable or disable Javascript in MSIE7:

  1. Select Tools / Internet Options.
  2. In the Internet Options dialog, select Security tab.
  3. In the Security tab, select Custom Level button.
  4. In the Security Settings dialog, scroll down the tree of properties in the Settings list until you find the Scripting / Active Scripting node, then select the Disable or Enable radio button to disable or enable Javascript, respectively.
  5. Press OK buttons to accept your change.

That's a lot of steps if you want test if your Web page works with and without Javascript! It's very annoying that Microsoft decided to call the feature Active scripting instead of Javascript, that you can't expand or collapse the nodes in the Settings tree, nor can you easily jump to the required node by typing the first few letters (the control jumps first to ActiveX controls … first)!

See Also

22 April 2009

Make Columns Narrower with GreaseMonkey or Stylish

It is hard to read a lot of text in a wide browser window, so below are two GreaseMonkey scripts to make the text columns narrower. They both work by changing an element's CSS width to a percentage of the window width.

If the text is within a known element tag (e.g. p), try the following script, which iterates through the collection of elements and sets the elements CSS width.

for each (e in document.getElementsByTagName('p')) {
  e.style.width = '60%';

If all the text is all within a single containing element, such as the body element, then the script can be shortened to …

document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].style.width = '60%';.

If you want to also centre the text in the window, just change move the left margin by adding e.style.marginLeft = '20%';. marginLeft is the Javascript equivalent of CSS' margin-left property.

Later … I realised that since we're only changing CSS properties, it's a lot easier to use the Stylish add-in. Just add a style sheet like this:

  body {
    margin-left : 20%;
    width : 60%;

See also

21 April 2009

Open WinCVS in a Directory or Folder

WinCVS' tips.txt file includes this tip: If you run WinCvs with a file or directory name as a command line argument, then WinCvs will locate and select it for you so you can operate on it right away. To use this feature in Windows, create a new shortcut, and in the shortcut's Target field, enter: <path to wincvs.exe> <directory path>. When you click on this shortcut, WinCvs will open in the specified folder.

Note that you start WinCvs with a path argument, the folder shown in the Workspace pane shows the correct folder but the path shown in Browser Bar is not updated; it shows the last one you chose in a previous session.

20 April 2009

Outlook 2003 Paste Special disabled

When you write or respond to a HTML-formatted message in Outlook 2003, and paste some text from another source (e.g. a Web page), the pasted text looks out of place because Outlook uses the string's original formatting, which is almost always different from the formatting in the message. If, like me, you find multiple fonts in a message ugly, you'd want to paste the text into the message without any formatting, as in MS Word's Paste Special command. However, when editing a message in Outlook 2003 in HTML format, the Edit / Paste Special menu item is disabled. According to this thread, it's only enabled if you use MS Word as your editor!

One workaround is to use GnuWin32 commands and a pipe: getclip | putclip. getclip outputs the unformatted string from the clipboard and putclip copies its input string back into the clipboard. Now, when you paste your text, it won't have any formatting.

07 April 2009

Microsoft Access dummy row

If you want to generate a dummy or extra row, say for a combo box control, then you can write a SQL statement like this: select col1 from table union all select 'All' from table. What this statement does is create an extra row with text All in the last row in your combo box.

While testing, we found that this statement works in Microsoft Access 2003 but not in Access 2000. In Access 2000, it works if your table has at least one row, but if your table has no rows, no result is returned! However, if you use the OLEDB interface, the dummy row is returned, so at least we can continue working.