John Smith's Blog

Ramblings (mostly) about technical stuff

Incomplete implementation of getElementsByClassName for SVG in IE9

Posted by John Smith on

Now that IE9 has been officially released, I thought it would be wise to check that this blog looked OK in it - it certainly didn't in older versions, but given the audience I'm writing for, I wasn't especially bothered about fixing things.

For the most part it seems acceptable - it's mainly the cosmetic CSS stuff like transitions and gradients that aren't working properly. However, skimming through my older posts, I noticed a glitch which is more subtle than you might expect...

In this post I have an SVG file with some perfunctory interactivity implemented via JavaScript. Some of the more mundane functionality works - hovering over a segment in the bar chart changes the segment colour to indicate that it is clickable. However, clicking has no effect, whereas this works fine in other modern browsers.

Investigation shows that IE9's implementation of getElementsByClassName isn't all there for SVG. Within an SVG file, you can do document.getElementsByClassName("foo") to get all the matching elements in the entire SVG document, and that works fine, but document.getElementById("foo").getElementsByClassName("bar") to get the matching child elements within an element doesn't work.

There's a cut-down test file here. It works fine in Chrome, Safari, Firefox (4+) and Opera, but in IE9, its developer console reports this: Screengrab of IE9 showing it reporting a JavaScript error on a test SVG file that uses getElementsByClassName

A similar test on an HTML5 document's element does work fine in IE9, so it would seem to be an issue with their implementation of the SVG DOM. As this seems to only affect SVG, and an uncommon usage of the method - it looks like most people will use it against the document, not an element - this problem is unlikely to affect a large number of people, but it's certainly a pain in the backside for those of us who like to play with SVG :-(

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This blog (mostly) covers technology and software development.

Note: I've recently ported the content from my old blog hosted on Google App Engine using some custom code I wrote, to a static site built using Pelican. I've put in place various URL manipulation rules in the webserver config to try to support the old URLs, but it's likely that I've missed some (probably meta ones related to pagination or tagging), so apologies for any 404 errors that you get served.

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About the author

I'm a software developer who's worked with a variety of platforms and technologies over the past couple of decades, but for the past 7 or so years I've focussed on web development. Whilst I've always nominally been a "full-stack" developer, I feel more attachment to the back-end side of things.

I'm a web developer for a London-based equities exchange. I've worked at organizations such as News Corporation and Google and BATS Global Markets. Projects I've been involved in have been covered in outlets such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, the Financial Times, The Register and TechCrunch.

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