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March 29, 2008

The smoke clears

Windowslive I just finished up a grueling 3 weeks at work. For those who don't know, besides photography, I'm also a computer geek at a large, well known and sometimes misunderstood software company. I work on the new Windows Live Calendar team creating the coolest, most powerful online calendar service ever. That may seem a bit biased, but check it out yourself and see. We opened the service in beta to the world at the end of 2007 and are hard at work adding new features and polishing up the edges for the upcoming full non-beta release.

So what has been kicking my butt for the past few weeks? Browser printing. I'm convinced that printing was an after thought for all browser developers. Creating a professional print solution for a web application using the built in browser capabilities is about as tedious as mowing your lawn using a pair of scissors (trust me, you will miss a spot).

Have a web page that uses absolutely positioned items? It won't print on Firefox if it is more than one page long. How crazy is that! This is a bug that was reported to the Mozilla guys in 2002. It finally just got fixed for Firefox 3 and they aren't going to post of fix for the current version 2.

IE is a little bit better at printing but it sure isn't without its own problems. Browser printing in general is like a black box that you stuff a web page in one end and hope what comes out the other end resembles the original.

I'm just glad it's over and I can now return to my regular program.


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