Internet Explorer IMG Element & Empty Width/Height Attribute Error

Recently found an error, bug or omission within the Internet Explorer rendering engine which I haven’t personally encountered before. The error involves the familiar <img> element and the use of the width and height attributes.

The following <img> element definitions will render as expected within Mozilla and Opera:

  • <img src="/path/to/image.jpg" />
  • <img src="/path/to/image.jpg" width="" />
  • <img src="/path/to/image.jpg" height="" />
  • <img src="/path/to/image.jpg" width="" height="" />

When a web browser encounters an img element without width or height attributes, the browser is required to render the image in its default aspect ratio. When either of the width or height attributes are provided, the browser is required to resize the image when rendered to meet the requested size.

Unfortunately, when Internet Explorer encounters items two, three and four listed above an error occurs where the browser does not render the image at all. Instead of disregarding the img elements empty width and height attributes, it considers the empty value to equate to zero (0) and the image is rendered appropriately.