How to style unknown elements in IE

Two days ago I posted what I thought was just a little tip on the weblog of Sam Ruby. He was trying to style the new elements from HTML5 in Internet Explorer. Here at Xopus we have known for several years (since about 2002 or 2003) that you have to do document.createElement(elementName), which somehow lets the CSS engine know about that new element. But apparently we were the only ones who knew this. Ian Hickson even called it the most noteworthy news of the day.

As far as I can remember we found out about this when we converted the first rendering of the XSL output from a lot of createElement calls to one innerHTML change for performance. This caused our custom elements to no longer be affected by CSS.

Modified: January 24th 2008
By: Sjoerd Visscher

anonymous user
January 31st 2008
Hi Sjoerd,

If I had only known that all that time you had the perfect answer to my question... and you never told me! My question on how to deal with ABBR in Internet Explorer version 6 and lower was raised about a year ago and I had not found a satifying answer (simple, effective, unobtrusive) until now.
At first, I assumed that the source of this invaluable piece of information was Nick Fitzsimmons's weblog, see, but apparently the find is quite a bit older. Do you happen to remember in what versions of IE this works?

By the way, check out (for all other readers: it's in Dutch...); we've been talking about your find there!

anonymous user
February 2nd 2008
Thanks very much for sharing this 'little tip'

Have any others Sjoerd?