Rendering problem with flot 0.7 and excanvas in IE8

by Oliver 8. September 2011 02:41

On, we use flot 0.7 with jQuery and asynchronous updates for internal click statistics visualization. Unfortunately, we’ve been having some trouble with our flot graph – but only in IE8 and only sometimes! This has been really annoying, especially since we’re expecting a usage growth of this graph and IE8 has a user share of 25%. The problem is that after fetching the graph data from the server the graph sometime won’t appear on the canvas, although it seems to be there as the yellow tooltip suggests when hovering over the graph line. The graph looks like this (broken vs. intact):                      We were (are?) having a hard time reproducing this bug on our staging system but it would appear from time to time. On our live system we would get it quite often, although a page refresh often helped. Searching the web for flot+IE8 you’ll get a few results most of which point to the “flot-graphs” Google Group. A search on led me to an interesting post called IE8 is sometimes displaying my page correctly, sometimes not, which seemed interesting enough to check out. There, they talk about a problem with the  display:inline-block  CSS rule and that it is error-prone in IE<=8. So I checked the source of excanvas.min.js which is responsible for providing a canvas element to flot in IE browsers below version 9, and sure enough I found this: 1: a.cssText="canvas{display:inline-block;overflow:hidden;text-align:left;width:300px;height:150px} The fix proposed in this answer was to use zoom:1 to force elements with display:inline-block  to have a layout in IE (if you really want to know what that means, here’s more background info). Well, I tried that – to no avail. The next hint came from a post in the flot-graphs Google Group and proposed using flashcanvas instead of excanvas as the canvas provider for flot. Oh well, we haven’t got anything to lose, right? I replaced the script include and saw – exactly the same thing as before: nothing! (Check out the IE developer toolbar on the right – the you can see the Flash object inside the canvas element that was generated by flashcanvas.) What was left? Oh, I hadn’t tried to check for an updated version of excanvas yet – so I went and did that. The latest download version dates back to March 2009 but there has been some activity since then so I decide to go for the latest source which is also already a year and a half old but still by a whole year younger that the last official download I replaced the file and haven’t had any problem so far! We will be keeping an eye on this, but for now my hopes are high that this update might have finally helped. Happy coding!

About Oliver code blog logo I build web applications using ASP.NET and have a passion for javascript. Enjoy MVC 4 and Orchard CMS, and I do TDD whenever I can. I like clean code. Love to spend time with my wife and our children. My profile on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

About Anton code blog logo I'm a software developer at teamaton. I code in C# and work with MVC, Orchard, SpecFlow, Coypu and NHibernate. I enjoy beach volleyball, board games and Coke.