10 Cool Things We’ll Be Able To Do Once IE6 Is Dead

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Some people think that IE6 is dead already. But only developers who have the luxury of a specialist audience, or who don’t have any business interest vested in their work, can think like that. For the rest of us, who have a real-world audience of ordinary, non-technical users to think about, IE6 is still very much a going concern.

But maybe not for much longer. Now that IE8 is out we’ll see a greater number of users finally upgrading; there’s no doubt that Microsoft wil be pushing for this, and pushing hard. Quite apart from that, we’re seeing a slow but steady progression of users moving away from Internet Explorer altogether, and turning to Firefox and other browsers; Arstechnica recently reported that Firefox usage is overtaking Internet Explorer in Europe for the first time. Inevitably, there will come a time when IE6 has a sufficiently minor audience that we can treat it like we did Netscape 4 a few years ago — as legacy technology that it no longer behoves us to support, and its remaining users as willfully stubborn individuals whom we’re not required to pander to any longer!

IE6 Wanted DEAD

(It’s funny really. You wouldn’t go into your local mobile phone store and complain that the handset you bought in 2001 doesn’t work on a 3G network and you can’t get picture messaging on it. Yet for some reason, a minority of web users do behave exactly like that.)

Anyway, by my estimation, the day is approximately 12 months away when we’ll be able to kiss a fond goodbye to IE6 support forever. And when that day comes, here are some useful things we’ll be able to do that we couldn’t really do on mainstream sites before:

  1. Use child selectors

    No more having to define endless descendent rules to cancel out other descendent rules. With CSS2 child selectors we can specify CSS rules that only apply to direct children, not to descendants in general.

  2. Make full use of 24-bit PNGs

    No more blending images against different coloured backgrounds so that the edges have decent anti-aliasing. With PNG alpha-channel support we can use images with shadows, glows and other opacity effects, safe in the knowledge that all graphical browser users can see them.

  3. Use attribute selectors

    No more having to define type classes for inputs — things like <input class="text" ... /> — when we can address them with CSS2 attribute selectors like input[type="text"]. We can even use CSS3 substring-matching attribute selectors (supported in all modern browsers including IE7), which can be very useful for defining selectors that apply to a range of different attribute values, thereby reducing significantly the amount of code it takes to address groups of elements with similar class names (for example).

  4. Use a wider range of display properties

    Being able to use things like display:inline-block instead of float:left means no more endless float within float within float, or the slightly-dubious use of overflow:hidden, just to get blocks to clear properly. (Though I should point out, we had to wait until Firefox 3 for this one too!)

  5. Use min-width and max-width

    Although IE6‘s implementation of width is very similar to the correct implementation of min-width, it’s not the same, and it doesn’t serve every purpose; and it doesn’t do anything about max-width. With the end of IE6 can come a new renaissance in block-layout design, with the greater flexibility that designers have been crying out for for years.

  6. Throw away 90% of CSS hacks (and 90% of the reasons for needing them!)

    No more worrying about bizarrely repeating characters, mysteriously invisible blocks, or frustrating double margins; with the end of IE6 comes the end of needing to be able to diagnose and cure such a large array of rendering bugs.

  7. Add abbreviations that everyone can see

    Although personally, I only use the <abbr> element and never use <acronym>, still it does occasionally irk me to remember that IE6 users won’t see the expansion, and bugs me even more on the odd occasion that I need to script for them (and can’t).

  8. Trust z-index again

    No more scratching our heads as we ponder why layer X is on top of layer Y when it should be beneath, wondering what we might have done wrong, only to remember that — d’oh — we haven’t done anything wrong, it’s a stacking context bug in IE6.

  9. Save time and money

    Significantly less time spent hacking means shorter development time and lower development costs.

  10. Enjoy ourselves again!

    Writing CSS will become the pleasure that it used to be. That is, until our expectations rise again, and IE7 becomes our nemesis …

But 3 Things We’ll Still Have To Wait For

Sadly, there are still plenty of things we won’t be able to do with impunity until IE7 is also just a memory!

  1. Use CSS Counters

    So we still can’t let go of the unfortunately-deprecated start attribute, or do any of the interesting things we want with generated content.

  2. Use the box-sizing property

    The CSS3 box-sizing property, implemented in IE8 and other modern browsers, means that we can finally choose for ourselves which box model we want for a particular situation, and end, once and for all, the tedious arguments over which one is “correct”.

  3. Any improvements to JavaScript

    There are many things I’d like to see for day to day JavaScript programming — an end to event target forking, a single event-listening mechanism, reliable and consistent retrieval of computed style properties — but all of that will have to wait until IE7 has also gone the way of the fairies, because only in IE8 have any improvements to the scripting engine been made (although what those improvements actually amount to remains to be seen!).

So mark the day in your calendar, for early in 2010, when the fuller potential of CSS will finally begin to emerge!

Picture credit: Mike Rohde

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  • @oscargodson

    Or, even better, just start that shit now! haha Really though, developers who still write for IE6 are only contributing to the problem. Yes, if a client requests it charge more for it, but if the client doesn’t ask or doesn’t want to pay for it DO NOT TEST IN IE6!

  • Alan Hogan

    You really ought to have mentioned data: urls as well. IE6/7 stylesheets and markup do not support base64 images, though every other browser including IE8 does. That means in just 1 request, all styles and images can be downloaded (not a good idea for large images, but small ones will produce definite performance gains).

    And in a list of “things IE8 still really needs,” we would see <canvas> and XPath.

  • Jade Ohlhauser

    (It’s funny really. You wouldn’t go into your local mobile phone store and complain that the handset you bought in 2001 doesn’t work on a 3G network and you can’t get picture messaging on it. Yet for some reason, a minority of web users do behave exactly like that.)

    Except the network didn’t change. It’s really more like someone dialing out from an office phone and being told the number they’re calling requires a fancier phone. They may have a much nicer phone at home, but the company picks the phone they use at work.

    Anyway those old phones are the only ones that work with the company’s complex voice mail system they had built years ago. The people who did it are long gone. The company planned to get a new system, but in this recession they’re just trying to lay off as few people as possible. It wasn’t even a bad choice at the time since over 95% of the world used these phones then.

    The moral of this (ever reaching) analogy is that company just doesn’t call those Ivory Tower numbers anymore.

    OK forget the stupid metaphor, I just want to encourage every other developer to ditch IE6. Especially my competitors.

  • nachenko

    I’ll start to charge for IE6 support separately in a few months. Make people pay extra for supporting IE6 on their websites and you’ll see it dissapear sooner.

    And if it doesn’t dissapear, I’ll get extra money!

  • Marcus Mac Innes

    I think you mean 32-bit PNGs ?

  • http://www.kinetasystems.com NikLP

    You missed one out.

    11. Dance on its cold, cold grave.

    We hate you, Internet Exploder. You will not be missed.

  • Dr. Azrael Tod

    (It’s funny really. You wouldn’t go into your local mobile phone store and complain that the handset you bought in 2001 doesn’t work on a 3G network and you can’t get picture messaging on it. Yet for some reason, a minority of web users do behave exactly like that.)

    So.. how much did you spend for your Phone in 2001? And how much was your Microsoft-Browser? I had not seen that much of Persons who will give you an NEW and FREE State-Of-The-Art Phone if you complained about your old one… ;-)

    Apples and Oranges as allways

  • John Smith

    It’s much, much more easier:

    Just stop developing sites for IE6.
    If we all join hands and stop creating shitty hacks to get our sites to look good in IE6 and serve IE6 users with an “your browser is like 80 years old in internet time” page. Than IE6 dies in no time.. If we keep on cracking our heads over it, and server IE6 users an ‘normal’ webpage, they will never feel the need to upgrade.. They haven’t felt like that in the past couple of years, so IE8 is not going to change any of that. Of course I hope I’m wrong ;)

  • Delicia

    You also missed the percent margin for fluid layouts :) (just dealt with it earlier)

  • http://www.brothercake.com/ brothercake

    maybe some of you guys should form a militant web developers union :)

  • Anonymous

    youre fooling yourself if you think IE6 testing will stop in 12 months.

    I give it 4 more years MINIMUM

  • http://www.jasonbatten.com NetNerd85

    IE6 still has the best logo… EVER!

  • Navdeep

    Beautifullllll…

    @3drockz

  • Dorsey

    I won’t name names because we all have our favorite bad examples, but I still find relatively new sites that require (or worse, only recognize) IE6/7 for downloads and other “fancy” stuff.

    I can’t imagine non-techies and those not related to techies bothering to use any browser other than the one that came with their computer any more than most people replace the factory-installed radio in their cars. As long as that’s the case, we can count on older browsers being around until those older systems they came in are either upgraded or replaced. In that case, we’ll have IE7/8 for the same reasons we have IE6/7 now.

    OK, I will name one name: McAfee.

    Dorsey

  • Lucas

    I had the idea of IEnoyers. For hobby sites that can afford to push IE out.

    An IEnoyer is a deliberate piece of code that makes the site look ugly (but still functional) on IE. The IEnoyer follows standards of course.

    Lucas

  • Joel Levin

    Things I’m looking forward to being in a microsoft browser ever:
    text-shadow
    box-shadow
    border-radius
    css gradients (-webkit-gradient)

  • Edward.H

    The world will be better without IE6, I hope IE 6 die as soon as possible. I hate to fix those compatibility issues of IE ,expecially for IE6 ,anyway,I have gaven up IE6 when I designed my new website webmasterclip.com

  • @Alan Hogan

    Idiot, Base64 images are about 33% larger because they are represented within a limited charset.

    We can just use css sprites to reduce requests, but css parsing engines hitting base64 encodings and making everything 33% larger isn’t a good solution.

    Yes, I know request overhead is probably larger over time, but css sprites deals with that, as does the idea of a cdn and a different server for static files.

  • http://jonr.light.is/ jonragnarsson

    I’m with Dr. Azrael, the phone analogy doesn’t work. Maybe if you would have to pay $200 for each upgrade of your browser, but it is free. Just imagine if you could get iPhone or Nokia E61 for free, would you still be using your old 5110?

  • minute44.com

    Excellent post. I’ve been saying for some time that if you have any intrest in making money at all, you can’t drop IE6 support all together.

    My latest blog post; “Building the web for non-techies” touches on this. http://minute44.com/archives/446

  • web developer

    I work for a state government organization and produce web pages that are mandatory for tens of thousands of users including current employees, customers, and retirees, and I require internet explorer (but will accept versions 6+). I don’t really see any problems supporting internet explorer 6 since Microsoft supports a uniform software ecosystem, its the firefoxes, chromes and the safaris that cause problems (and this is why they’re not supported).

    I suspect that you guys are just programming pussies not worth your pay.

  • Anonymous

    Hope IE6 RIH soon

  • Mike

    now imagine how many other cool things we could do when windows itself is dead.

  • @cpharmston

    (It’s funny really. You wouldn’t go into your local mobile phone store and complain that the handset you bought in 2001 doesn’t work on a 3G network and you can’t get picture messaging on it. Yet for some reason, a minority of web users do behave exactly like that.)

    Let’s be fair now, it’s not as if there are people choosing to stick with IE. The majority of IE6 users fall into one of two groups:

    Computer users who simply don’t know any better. You know the type, your parents who think that the little blue ‘e’ actually is the internet. How can you expect these users to know to upgrade? Wait, you mean that I can upgrade the entire internet?
    Users of computers that they have no control over. For example, heavily locked-down corporate Windows XP computers without registry permissions, so that even if the users wanted to upgrade to IE7 or 8 or download Firefox, they don’t have the ability to do so

    Believe me, my soul has been sucked by IE debugging as well, but who are we to deprive these poor users of our respective websites’ content just because they have no control over their browser or don’t know any better? They certainly do not require equal experiences, but through the use of good markup, unobstrusive Javascript, and clever conditional CSS, we should be able to provide these users with a good experience all the same.

  • katurian

    We just completed a site redesign and we didn’t target IE6. The first day users were complaining. As I’ve learned now, large organizations still use IE6 system wide and getting them to upgrade is sometimes not in our control. I agree it’s not fun though.

  • nightwatchman

    I think we should wait till all the ’42 Pick-ups are dead before we stop putting lead in the Gasoline.

    Stop putting the content into IE6 and it will go away, I mean, what use is a browser that can’t access anything?

    Many very intelligent people get on the “We must continue to support the browser for users who can’t update” bandwagon. Who are those users?

    1. People at work; der…FireFox, Safari, Opera…Hey, their bosses will give us lots of money to make it all good and we can re-write their internal systems if they don’t work anymore.
    2. People running unlicensed copies of Windows; “****’em”, I say. They can download FireFox, et-cetera or use Linux for free.
    3. Poor people; Hey, browser upgrades are free.
    4. Stupid people; I think we’re smart enough to tell ‘em how to download and instal a browser.
    5. Arrogant or Stubborn people; Roll On Floor Laughing as they self-implode.

    If we had acted as a collective instead of a disparate scattering of whining wimps and said “No, No, No, No, ****ing No!” to IE6 years ago how long do any of you think Micro$oft would have take to Fix that useless piece of proprietory lock-in bloatage?

    I’m just about done with the whole IE6 thing of saying “How Far?” when my client says “Bend over!” Now I say “Sure, as long as you’re paying!”

    Oh! Hang on, if IE goes away they wont need us anymore, a school kid will be able to write websites then….

  • Anonymous

    we’re showing 18% IE6 usage on our sites (across 800k visitors this month). Lower than Firefox 3 (19%), but still too many to cut off.

  • FireFox FTW

    I quit using IE6 years ago, I use a better browser I.E. FireFox

  • sproket

    The stacking bug still exists in IE7 so you’ll have to wait longer for that one. :(

  • nightwatchman

    OK, let’s kill IE6 and IE7 at the same time, they call it economy of scale.

  • ArturEjsmont

    Yes, very nice article.

    I wonder would it be possible for someone to finally put and end to its misery and kill ie6/7 once and for all.

    Maybe google could add a little check and show a nice banner saying ‘Time for a browser upgrade with links to opera, chrome and ff3′ Would anyone know where to submit such a whish?

    There is no way we can force people ourselves to switch. And i dont want to risk breaking my sites just for the good cause ;-)

    But its nice to dream isnt it?

  • Michael

    IE6 has display:inline-block

  • Nico

    I still would miss border-radius a lot.

    Also we still hat to use JavaScript tricks to make HTML5 work in IE :(

  • Paul

    I’d love to have the choice of which browser to use at work, but the reality is that large corporates lockdown installing any programs and wait for new browsers to have their bugs and security holes fixed. If they were not there to start with, that might help.

  • Quickredfox

    Hogwash! Baloney! Where do you get your oh-so scientific “12 months”? AFAIK it’ll only happen when Google’s IE6 stats reach 0%, and I dont expect that to end in a year. What do you do about all those second-hand government computers that were sent to third world countries, you think they’ll upgrade soon?

    After all, everyone has the millions of dollars involved to re-structure their… anyways you get my drift: I wish, I only WISH your prediction could be true.

  • CyndiSmith

    Thanks for the article… Like many web devs and designers, IE6 is still a thorn in my side. I’d like to know, demographically speaking, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE who use IE6? How much money do they have? How much do they spend online? Are they still relevant?

    After Googling around a bit, I just can’t seem to pin down the profile of our IE6 users.

    I did, however, find a great JavaScript “Save The Developers, Upgrade Your Browser” code snippet… http://codebaboon.com/savethedrupaldevelopersorg-get-rid-ie6

    :) Cyndi

  • Norman

    good article,

    i’ll stop supporting IE6 this year i think. its time for a change and IE8 is like what IE7 should have been already.

    yes, we can! ;)

  • keegan

    Great post, overall. I question, however, the claim that the release of IE8 will have a significant impact on IE6 use. I realize Microsoft has already launched an aggressive automatic update program, but I wonder what impact that is likely to have for IE6 users. To clarify, there will surely be people who get prompted to upgrade FROM 7 to 8, but the people still browsing with IE6 are likely to: a.) not get the updates! b.) get the updates, but not actually upgrade (if they were consistent with upgrades, why would they still be on IE6 and not 7?). Nice work.

  • Thibaut Allender

    I made it disappear, once, it was on April, the 1st… It felt good tho.

  • Anonymous

    Many very intelligent people get on the “We must continue to support the browser for users who can’t update” bandwagon. Who are those users?

    Those are our customers. I work for a major ecommerce site, and we simply cannot say to customers that they can’t shop at our site. We try to support browsers until they’re down in the single digits of traffic (yes, this includes FF2, Safari 2, and several others). It’s a giant, expensive pain in the ass. Based on our traffic, we also think that 12 months is too optimistic a timeframe to stop developing for IE6. It’s all very depressing.

  • http://www.sohointeractive.com SohoInteractive

    Can’t wait…

    IE6 is still being used by %18 of internet users.
    Long way to go.

  • A_Flama

    So true! SOOOO TRUEEEE… I can’t wait!

  • PhiLho

    I am amused by those telling “stop supporting IE6, it will disappear”…
    That’s OK for a personal Web site or a blog, perhaps.
    But go tell to an online store owner that 20% of her potential clients can’t see properly her site and will just go to her rivals…

    On a separate topic, I am surprised that you don’t use acronym tag. You never expand names like Unesco or Nato? Or you don’t mind that screen readers have to spell out these?

  • nathany

    Thanks for the writeup, just saw it by way of Ajaxian. I’ll definitely need to start getting up to speed with modern selectors and such. @Alan, thanks for the tip about base64 images, will need to check that out.

    Recently checked the analytics for our web site at work, and we still have as many IE6 users as Firefox users. Unfortunate, yes. Will see how it is next year. One day soon we can conditionally exclude the layout for IE6, letting it render like Lynx.

  • stevieg_83

    these arguments seem are like a roundabout. I need no convincing about killing IE6 once and for all.

    However, a bank I once worked for used IE6 as their browser, the reason? Important money making systems didn’t work on proper browsers and it was estimated that the cost to redevelop systems would be too great. Also other systems (Oracle are at fault here) had no plans to upgrade their systems to work on anything other than IE6.

    When your global organisation is dependent on an Oracle system then you don’t really have much choice than to suck it up.

    I’m not for one minute advocating that approach but I can see why it’s the case.

    At the end of the day it’s about knowing your users. If you’re building a web app or site and it’s one you need bank employees to use then it’ll need to work on IE6. If it’s Joe Public who is free to do what he/she wants with their PC then by all means, don’t build it to accommodate IE6.

    Bottom line – do your research, know your user.

  • Joe

    Let’s mark our calendars for when whiny designers shut up.
    I am looking forward to there being less excuses for web designers, so we’ll all be able to see that they mostly just suck at their jobs and the excuses will be all gone.

  • crisp

    wrt #8, the z-index stacking context bug, unfortunately that bug is still in IE7…

  • Anonymous

    IE should be ignored… and I mean totally.

  • Aaron Landry

    I’d be careful about saying that Apple Computer, 37signals, and other people that stopped supporting IE6 in some of their sites (MobileMe, Basecamp, etc.) “don’t have any business interest vested in their work.”

    As well, at this point, I am completely okay with anything aesthetic breaking in IE6.

  • Nate

    People who upgraded from IE6 to IE7 will probably upgrade from IE7 to IE8. People who are still using IE6 will probably continue to use IE6. I think IE7 will be dead before IE6. I think IE6 will be with us for years until an upgrade is forced on all IE6 users.

  • Matt Mayer

    In China, something like 60% of users are still using IE6 :(

  • PotHix

    IE6 is the worst thing of the internet…

    If some of you are using WordPress, please use this plugin:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/anti-ie6-army/

    More information about it:

    http://pothix.com/blog/anti-ie6-army/

    Cheers,

    PotHix

  • Andy

    I really tried to get away with IE 6. IE 7 crashes allot on my machine. IE 8, is good, but doesn’t work so well with SharePoint. Features of SharePoint doesn’t work in IE 8, like certain layouts and explore view, that allows admins to drag and drop files on to the site. Really disappointed since sharepoint is microsoft’s flag ship for medium to large companies for CMS and portals. I had to uninstall ie 8 today and went back to ie 6 sp3 :(

  • http://tentonweb.com/ tentonjim

    Not that it matters but the counter(s) property worked in Opera about 2 years ago. I was testing out some stuff and was excited to see it… and then bummed to find that was the ONLY browser that supported it. Here’s to the future!
    ~ Jim

  • Jim Keller

    A lot of this functionality can be added to IE6 if you use ie7.js (I can’t post a link, just google ie7.js and use the first result). We like to use these.kinds.of.selectors in css, and ie7.js makes them work properly in IE6. It’s not an ideal solution, but I find it to be a very solid workaround for a browser that is thankfully on its way out.

  • DaveB

    That is, until our expectations rise again, and IE7 becomes our nemesis …

    You mean it isn’t already? :)

    Too bad a class action lawsuit by the web development community against Microsoft for the time (and money) we waste making stuff work in their browsers would never get anywhere. They seem to do nothing but shun W3C compliance at every turn.

  • Bill

    According to the site you reference, the stacking bug still exists in IE7 and you’ll have to wait until IE8 becomes the dominant IE (5 more years?) before you can actually trust z-index. That said, nice list. Every designer nodded several times, I’m sure.

  • Anonymous Hater

    11th cool thing we’ll be able to do once IE6 is dead:
    11. Not being forced to hear people moaning about IE6.

  • LOL

    http://saveie6.com/

    There’s a lot of things you can do with IE6 right now as well, why bother with CSS and all? :P

  • tehgamecat

    Not having to listen to pathetic whiners cry about a browser that got the job done for millions and became THE defacto standard for years. Windows became the standard OS and allowed the world to unite it’s software development for one platform – take note, as of now we have to support 4 browsers, wasn’t it just peachy when it was one?

    Of course most of you wont understand as you bring the MS hate, but it’s you that will have to support the multitude of browsers. Not me.

  • Kevin

    You don’t need to ‘kill’ or even ‘ignore’ IE to use these features.

    It’s generally only a requirement that a given site ‘works’ in IE. It is only at very stupid organizations where it is a requirement that a site ‘looks’ exactly the same, or even works exactly the same, across all browsers.

    There’s nothing wrong with IE6/7 users seeing an uglier version of your site than what a user with a good browser will see, and there’s very little wrong with having a slightly different feature set.

  • tehgamecat

    Define a good browser…

    lets look at ff3- crashes, memory issues, terrible height limitations requiring work arounds, fussy, does not “just work”, does not follow the TRUE standard of browsers which IS IE not w3c.

    Sounds terrible to me.

  • Lyle

    To all those that suggest we stop now, some of us that want to stop supporting IE6 simply can’t.

    For instance, our organization supports teachers and classrooms. Their systems might get upgraded each summer.

    I’m not going to penalize some struggling teacher out in the middle of nowhere simply because she doesn’t have administrator rights to her school computers.

  • sid

    as of now we have to support 4 browsers, wasn’t it just peachy when it was one?

    Uh… I be happy to support 20 browsers. There’s a word called “standards” that browser developers should consider. There are a number of automobile manufacturers, right? And that doesn’t seem to be a problem because they all understand that there are specs every auto needs to be built on, such as a combustible engine. IE is like an auto manufacturer who thinks that as long as they build a car that runs on peanut oil, and MS is bundling it w/ their peanut oil, who cares what the world’s standards have to say about it. Who cares that you can’t get their peanut oil at any regular petrol station.

    Ok, not the best analogy, especially because I’d actually appreciate a peanut oil powered auto, but the point is that MS has ignored the developer community as a whole for too long, and the only people that support them are those developers who develop specifically for MS, so they think they’re high and mighty above the rest of us. We need to support each other in the industry rather than bicker about the best browser, and anything that gets us closer to seeing all browsers accepting the same standards is great news for all.

  • Jam

    Just the title of this article makes me smile. :)

  • Art3m15

    Or, even better, just start that shit now! haha Really though, developers who still write for IE6 are only contributing to the problem. Yes, if a client requests it charge more for it, but if the client doesn’t ask or doesn’t want to pay for it DO NOT TEST IN IE6!

    I guess you have never done any commercial work then

  • tehgamecat

    I have one simple question to ask all of you…

    Would you rather code for one browser or 4?

    Exactly, 1.

    Stop hating and start following what is used.

  • Marc

    One thing that always annoys me in this argument is when people say that we should force users to upgrade their browsers by simply not caring to make sure our sites can be seen correctly in browsers like IE6. Stop coding for IE6 and our audiences will get this hint, right?

    The big flaw in this is the assumption that when a visitor to your site (who is using IE6) sees a broken layout while looking at your page, their first thought would be “Hmm, maybe it’s my browser. I should upgrade!” Not likely. Chances are they’ll just say “Wow, this site looks broken. I’ll come back when they fix it.”

    Like in many things, it all depends on your audience, since after all, your site and your content is for them to consume, not just for your own personal satisfaction. If you know for certain most of your audience is younger, more likely to be using the latest and greatest hardware and browser combo, etc., then by all means don’t waste your time with IE6 hacks. However, if you work for a company that produces sites and content that need to reach the widest range of people and you know your audience includes older, less experienced web users, then guess what? IE6 has to display your site correctly.

    I’ll keep saying this until I’m blue in the face, never underestimate the importance of audience analysis, they are the ones actually looking at and using our sites!

  • ripcurlksm

    I have a client that is in the medical industry, and it happens that most of their visitors are on company computers that are running Windows 2000 and Internet Explorer 6. In fact 37% of the web page viewers as of this year are on IE6 still and I don’t expect this to change anytime soon.

  • cgntoonartist

    Have you seen this?

    http://ie6update.com/

    What do you think?

  • tehgamecat

    Uh… I be happy to support 20 browsers. There’s a word called “standards” that browser developers should consider.

    There’s several problems with your statement:

    1) IE was and is the standard today because it is the most used.

    2) No-one follows the w3c to the letter and this makes it defunct.

    3) The reality is no browser works the same, firefox height issues are a joke even now. Webkit browsers treat embedded objects differently in the DOM.

    …but the point is that MS has ignored the developer community as a whole for too long, and the only people that support them are those developers who develop specifically for MS, so they think they’re high and mighty above the rest of us. We need to support each other in the industry rather than bicker about the best browser, and anything that gets us closer to seeing all browsers accepting the same standards is great news for all.

    You do realise that personal computers in the true sense of the phrase has only exploded because of the existence of one unifying operating system?
    Without the domination of windows everyones applications would have had to be written for 20-30 platforms – innovation would have been a joke. I mean just look at Apple Macs…it STILL takes an age to get innovative software to get released on pc and mac and thats just 2 platforms.

    If we’d jsut gone with MS this whine about standards would never have happened – MS were the standard.

  • Hamranhansenhansen

    The upcoming version of Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile is based on IE6, so you may want to hold a simultaneous funeral for the desktop version and birthday party for the mobile version. (Currently, the IE in Windows Mobile is based on IE 4.) I don’t think the Microsoft problem is going away any time soon.

    I also don’t think the typical Web production methodology of making one semi-round peg and hammering it into both a round and square hole is realistic or practical. The QA time is ridiculous and really can’t be tolerated. There are way too many browsers now to do browser-by-browser development. We should be thinking about what our clients and users are doing, not what Microsoft is doing (e.g. finally supporting child selectors or some other thing.)

    If you make an HTML 5 website with XML, PNG, JPEG, M4A, M4V content, you can clone the front-end as Flash 9 in 2-3 days of ActionScript3 coding and use all the same content. That sounds like a lot of work at first, however it completely solves the Microsoft problem because the single Flash 9 movie:

    – works identically in IE 5.5, 6, 7, 8 on Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, Seven (also in IE 5.5 on Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X)
    – works identically to the HTML 5 version seen in non-Microsoft browsers

    … so the website runs as designed in all major browsers, with no IE development at all. No MSHTML, no CSS hacks, no JS libraries, no Windows Media Player, no reason to care whether your user has an iPhone or IE 5.5 running on Windows 98 (the site looks the same in both, even the custom OpenType fonts and the audio video controls are identical.)

    We’re about to launch a site that’s built in this hybrid HTML 5 / Flash 9 way. It was just an experiment at first, but it turned out so well that we’re doing all our sites like this going forward. Our ActionScript3 time went from 0 to 3 days but every other part of the development process was reduced by at least 25% and that more than made up for it. The project was under-budget by a lot compared to our previous sites. And it’s a better Web application that does more for many users under many circumstances.

    The QA time was especially reduced by 90% because we QA’d our own work and not Microsoft’s. And QA was much more pleasant and less-stressful because instead of seeing our work busted up arbitrarily in various Microsoft browsers, requiring us to go into the code and deliberately break it yet keep it working in white-hat browsers, we saw the site looking perfect in all IE’s, looking exactly as it did when running in Flash 9 on the Flash developer’s machine. No surprises at all.

    Media encoding time was also reduced considerably from typical because we just made 1 audio or video file per item and that works for all users.

    Creatively, we are now designing with way more animations and richness because we know we can build that in a straightforward way in both HTML 5 and Flash 9. I mean, we’re showing the full 2009 presentation with layers and compositing and animation and full MP4 audio video on DOS machines! It’s very different from hoping you can get a child selector from Microsoft some time soon, should they deign to bestow such a gift upon you.

    During this project, we only had to go to look up one Internet Explorer -related thing, and that was how to write the trademark (R or TM) for all versions of IE and for Windows 98 through Seven when we detailed our IE support in the documentation. What MSHTML is doing now or until the end of time is no longer any business of mine. I’m studying HTML 5 with Apple and Google and all the cool kids and it is awesome.

    So I would encourage my fellow Web developers to solve the Microsoft problem for themselves in whatever way is appropriate to the kind of work you’re doing. But don’t settle for this halfway crap anymore, and this constant tracking of Microsoft bugs. If you step back from it for a moment and consider that Microsoft makes over US$1,000,000,000 in PROFIT per MONTH because you’re working around the bugs they aren’t paying to fix.

    Even if you choose to build 2 HTML front-ends (one to Microsoft spec for Microsoft, one to HTML 5 spec for everyone else) I think you will find that to be more productive (based on my experience doing HTML 5 / Flash 9) than trying to make one document for all of today’s and tomorrow’s browsers. Of course, making just one HTML document for all versions of IE is a challenge in itself, which is why we used Flash.

  • George Susini

    You have to go with what is most popular, the general user base is not computer savy, yet the make up the bulk of online consumer purchases

  • Scott Herbert

    “Trust z-index again” you do of course know that bug exists in IE7 as well as 6?

  • Anonymous

    ie6 is beautiful

  • John Wright

    Join the campaign… Death To IE6

  • luke_4_mls

    who is this “tehgamecat”? He’s hilarious. I think he’s just some guy trying to stir up some trouble. Do people like him really exist? …too funny!

  • thegamecat

    Luke, please tell me which of the following statements are false:

    a global unified operating system has been a big part of the proliferation of computers amongst the general public

    a single browser is easier to code for than 5

    the most prevalent browser is the standard, not an arbitrary 3rd parties standard

  • http://www.brothercake.com/ brothercake

    all three statements are false :P