Sometimes it’s the little things that can either make me really happy or really annoyed. Sometimes it’s bigger things. I was excited to hear yesterday that there was an update to the Mozilla Thunderbird email application, so of course I had to download it. The interface was nicer for the most part, with some interesting new twists but I ran across something that was completely ridiculous. When new mail came in, the folder instead of adding a bold to the folder like it used to, turned gray. I don’t know about anyone else, but that makes seeing that mail came in much harder than before. I thought that maybe it was a setting, and it probably is, but it’s not a setting that I could change just by going into the preferences. What solved it was an actual themechange (or a CSS change in the file folders) which means that the default theme of Thunderbird has this strange setting. Unfortunately I was not pleased with any of the themes that were available for 3.0, so that became a new issue, but I’ll get over it eventually.
What this reminds me of is the constant battle we as a web programming and interactive design house have to deal with. There are currently 5 main browsers out on the market, one of which has 3 versions still in use which essentially means 3 different versions of that browser brand name. A piece of CSS may be displayed differently in each of these browsers depending on the implementation of CSS rules (or lack thereof). What I was experiencing yesterday in Thunderbird may just be an implementation difference between Linux, Mac and Windows. I don’t know. It could also be a bug, just like an implementation in code in a website could show two different things because of a bug. How do we as web people know the difference? To be honest, we generally don’t know, except from experience. That experience could be from our own personal experimentation or it could be the words of another blogger somewhere out there who’s run across the same thing. The coolest thing about the internet is knowing that if I find something weird, I can be sure that someone else at some time has had the same issue, and chances are, someone else figured it out. As long as I can filter through all the garbage, I can find the information and make it work. Nifty.