He has put together a website that looks fine in Internet Explorer but is all messed up in Firefox. Is this a common problem? Any tips to solve it?
He is self taught and every now and then he encounters a problem that he can't solve. He doesn't know I am asking on here but thought it was worth a try. He was working on it all day yesterday to no avail.
Yes this is a common problem, or rather it used to be.
IE has it's own way of interpreting the way things are laid out (widths, padding etc.) - called the box model. Fortunately since IE6, it has been possible to make IE use the standard box model but to do this you have to make sure your pages tell IE not to use it's own box model by avoiding what is called 'quirks mode'.
To avoid this problem:
1. Use a document type definition as the first line of each page, probably <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd"> ... to allow the most leeway although most designers for the past five years have used the stricter xhtml.
2. Recode the pages so that they work in FireFox. They should then be the same in IE6+.