idfg-bstuder's blog

That pesky IE compatibility view... how to turn compatibility view off

Internet Explorer is a tricky browser to design for. I, like others, spend countless hours making my web standards pages work in IE, too. 

Here's a patch/hack/fix I applied today to fix the problem of Internet Explorer rendering my web page differently to a user with IE's compatibility view "on" than "off." Just as a note, You can tell if IE compatibility mode is on if the little page icon in the browser shows up as a solid color instead of an outline.

You might need this method applied if your site works well without compatibility view (or in webkit browsers), but does weird things due, usually, to stylesheets using conditional formatting or for html5 compatibility.

<meta content="IE=8; IE=9" http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" />

For a list of the different meta content options to include, this article was phenomal.

Make this be the first meta tag in the list of metas, otherwise IE9 won't be happy.

When the above meta tag is included in the <head> element of your page, the user is no longer presented the option to "toggle into" compatibility view. In my case, they don't need compatibility view. This is a great hack if rendering the page to work without compatibility view is not an option.



Note: This workaround won't do it for you if the user has already added your website specifically to the Compatibility View list from within IE's compatibility settings. You may have to direct them to instructions to remove it, if that's the case. But... let's face it, if they figured out how to add it to that list, then either they aren't in control (a domain policy may add the site via security settings) or they already know what they are doing and will probably google it faster than you can walk them through it.




New Feature: View your observations in KML


new features

Logged-in Observations or Roadkill users, we've added a feature to share your data with you. On the right-hand side of any Observations pages, you'll see the familiar google earth icon "Google Earth" icon and a link to "View My Observations in Google Earth."


When you click a link, your browser will ask you to download a KML file (keyhole markup language, a file that Google Earth uses to show locations). Opening that file will plot your past observations within Google Earth#.

We hope this is a useful feature while we continue to enable further gis or mapping options for your observation data.


#Note: At this point-in-time, don't worry about saving the file. It is only a snapshot of your observations. It currently will not update within Google Earth with your latest observations, we plan to add this feature in the future. To view the most current snapshot of your observations, you will have to download the file each time.






RSS feeds and Microsoft Outlook, an introduction to RSS feeds

rss breakthrough

You're reading this blog entry if you are new to RSS feeds, but familiar with Microsoft Outlook.

RSS is a very powerful format to let our computer (this web server) talk to your computer quickly and easily. What RSS saves you from doing is returning to your favorite websites, like the IFWIS blog for instance, and checking for new content. The partnership of RSS and a client like Microsoft Outlook, among many others, makes browsing the web be a lot more like receiving an email. You'll save countless hours of web surfing and be able to stay up-to-date with the latest content for just the information you care about. "We feed so you can follow."

Here's an article that explains the process I'll describe below, but tailored specifically for IFWIS blogs and RSS feeds. I've taken the liberty to customize the steps to follow the main IFWIS RSS feed here.



To set up an RSS feed through Outlook, follow these steps:

1) Select "Tools" --> "Account Settings"

The Account Settings dialog box appears.

2) Click the RSS Feeds tab

The RSS sign-up page shows the list of feeds to which you're subscribed.

rss panel

3) Click "New"

A new dialog starts.

add rss

4) Enter the URL of the RSS feed you want.

The main RSS feed for the portal is:

Finding the RSS feed is better explained at the article at


The URL is typically pretty long. If you enter the address inaccurately, it doesn't work. Your best bet is to follow these steps:

1. Go to the site that hosts the feed you want.

2. Right-click the XML, RSS, or Feed button.

Different sites use different names for the same thing, but it's often an orange button.

3. Choose Copy Shortcut.

After you copy the shortcut, you can follow the preceding steps and paste the address into the New RSS Feed dialog box.


Read more:

The RSS Feed Options dialog box shows a variety of changes you can make to your subscription:

Rss details

• Feed Name: You can change the name Outlook displays. 

• Delivery Location: Some feeds generate huge amounts of information every day, so you may want to send that information to a special folder or even to a totally separate data file. If you're on a big corporate network that limits the amount of email messages you're allowed to store, you may want to send your RSS subscriptions to a separate Outlook data file to avoid running out of space.

• Downloads: Outlook automatically downloads only a brief summary of each item, which saves disk space but requires you to manually download full text of each item one by one. If you want Outlook to simply download the whole message, click the box labeled Download the Full Article as an .html Attachment to Each Item. Many blog entries also include attachments such as photos and sounds. Click the box labeled Automatically Download Enclosures for This Feed to do just that.

• Update Limit: Some RSS feed publishers don't let you update your information too frequently. If you try to update too often, they cancel your subscription. If there's a limit assigned to the feed you've chosen, this box is automatically checked.

6. Click OK.

7. Click Close.

Your new RSS feed is ready to bring you the latest on whatever it covers.



Observations and Roadkill have moved to secure traffic

As mentioned in the prior entry, Securing IFWIS Content: A migration to HTTPS (SSL) traffic, we have fully migrated Observations and Roadkill forms to use full https traffic. 

This should fix an internal login and authentication bug (IDFG users were not displayed as being logged in on the form after entering their credentials).

Additionally, this gives us room to move forward with handling more sensitive data as it is submitted.

Please let us know if you are having any problems with these applications.



Securing IFWIS Content: A migration to HTTPS (SSL) traffic

In an effort to protect your content and data, we're in process of migrating all web server traffic to https encryption. This is the same type of security that banks and agencies with sensitive data use to protect data transfer from your computer or mobile device to our web server. 

Using https helps protect data from being snooped by third parties, such as in public wifi hotspots. As a user, you won't need to make any changes. We'll redirect all traffic to these updated applications.  

SSL lockThis will be a continued migration and we'll experience a few hiccups along the way as we upgrade our applications. Occasionally you may see a warning message about "mixed content" or the secure icon that browsers show may switch to a broken lock or similar icon. These issues will disappear as we migrate. 


The first secure deployment is the IFWIS Portal. Soon to follow are the internal deployments of Observations and Roadkill. 


HTTPS definition from Wikipedia:

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a combination of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol with the SSL/TLS protocol to provide encrypted communication and secure identification of a network web server. HTTPS connections are often used for payment transactions on the World Wide Web and for sensitive transactions in corporate information systems. [Read more at]

Font problems with your ArcMap exports?

When you need to export a PDF, EMF, EPS, AI or other vectorized graphic for a report or other format, you will inevitably run into the fonts problem. Especially when collaborating.

Here's a fix for you to consider.  

When exporting your map, you click "File --> Export Map"  The following dialog appears (this one for PDF export). The options available change depending on the export type, but the options to look for typically are always available:

This screen shot is from ArcMap 10, but the properties are similar in previous versions. Look for the following checkboxes, and mark them: 

  • Embed all document fonts
    • this will keep the funny fonts you might have loaded on your machine within the document
  • Convert Marker Symbols to Polygons 
    • this makes your graphic more portable between machines with different configurations


That's it. Your exports shouldn't give you and your collaborators a font headache if you use these steps.