A pedant that hangs out in the dark corner-cases of the web.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

IE vs MIME headers

One of the most irritating and mysterious behaviors of IE is how it determines file type. The first thing it does is basically ignore the MIME type the server introduces the data with, then it samples the data and does whatever the hell it pleases.

Trying to support users who are trying to download CSV data, for example, but instead get it displayed in the browser can be incredibly time consuming. It's usually just easier to suggest they use Firefox.


Anonymous said...

Um, that's great. So, what do you do for applications that require IE?

Brian said...

Ideally? Find another application.

Honestly, there's no excuse for IE-only applications anymore. If it's a website, you'd be slamming the door on 15% of your users! That kind of web half-assery usually belies a clue-free website people shouldn't be doing business with anyway.

If it's an intranet, you might be stuck with the inferior IE because it allows power mad netadmins and managers to better control the activity of their Morlock underlings, so you typically need to use the Content-Disposition HTTP header to force a download.