Transparent text is transparent

Firefox 3 added support a new CSS color keyword, transparent. Surprisingly, this broke some sites, many of which had rules like table { color: transparent; } due to a Microsoft FrontPage bug.

The strangest part: Firefox wasn't the first major browser to support transparent. Safari was.

These sites were broken in Safari too — until the webmasters got emails from Firefox users. Is Safari's market share really so low that even when Safari is the first to make a change that affects compatibility, Firefox helps Safari more than Safari helps Firefox?

8 Responses to “Transparent text is transparent”

  1. Gen Kanai Says:

    I think that probably the people who made sites with Front Page and the people who use Safari don’t overlap too much, so there was less outcry. In this case, Firefox helps Safari more than Safari helps Firefox.

  2. Chris Granade Says:

    I’d guess it’s because there’s more hacker types using Firefox than Safari who could then write a coherent description of the technical problem. That, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Firefox users tend to just be a bit more vocal about problems in general as the result of an open-source mentality.

    To elaborate, if you find a bug in Safari, letting Apple know isn’t quite as easy as popping open Bugzilla and filing an issue. It stands to reason that when Safari users visit a website and find it broken, they’re more likely to chalk it up as inevitable. By contrast, if you’re one of those Firefox users sufficiently into the mindset that you file Bugzilla reports, why not notify webmasters about broken code?

  3. Arthur Says:

    Has anyone had a look at *why* frontpage would produce such strange CSS code? I can’t really imagine where such a bug could come from.

  4. David Smith Says:

    Chris Granade: Actually it is just as easy as popping open bugzilla and filing an issue. Check out :)

  5. Peter Kasting Says:

    For better or worse, some users and web authors assume that if things are broken in Safari, it’s Safari’s fault, whereas if they’re broken in Firefox, the site has problems. (Similar to people’s attitudes towards Firefox vs. IE.)

  6. Dave Hyatt Says: (site fixed after a WebKit user notified the webmaster)

    We at Apple also had numerous bugs filed on this internally and have gotten some of those Web sites changed. The errors just continue to show up because they are generated by FrontPage, so it’s a problem you have to continually stay on top of.

  7. Jesse Ruderman Says:

    My guess is that FrontPage thought that table{color:transparent} would hide table borders in some browser. Can anyone confirm or deny that it does that?

  8. Ylanne Sorrows Says:

    I read your entry from a while ago about your music tastes, but comments were closed on it. Just wanted to say I love Vienna Teng (she is definitely one of my three favorite singers), I love Julia Ecklar too (another one of my top three), and we have such a similar taste in music. :)

    Anyways, to leave an on-topic (however delayed) response to your blog entry, Firefox for me barely supports any CSS. I’ve coded some nice pages in CSS and none of it shows on Firefox. I switched over to Opera. But there are some types of tables and graphics that Opera will not show, and will never print.

    I stopped using IE because for me it became ridiculously slow and unreliable.