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  1. #1
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    Can I ask users to upgrade from ie6?

    In the spirit of the top article in Editors Choice, "Is it time to ditch ie6?" I was toying with the idea of putting an ie6 conditional page up that tells the viewer that they have an outdated browser, and how to update -- basically disallowing users still using ie6 to view the site without upgrading first.

    I've found (albeit from a limited sample) that people who are using ie6 may not even know they're using such an outdated browser. If they are presented with a reason why there's is outdated, and are given a direct means to upgrade and enhance their online experience, isn't that helping more than hurting?

    Honestly my desire to do this stems from not wanting to troubleshoot all of my ie6 related problems, but in this particular case, I'm not sure it would be such a bad thing. The site I'd like to do this for is a new, "hip" (for lack of a better term) restaurant, that prides itself on new ideas. Would it be wrong to ask the same viewers to get with the times and update their browser that are now almost 8 years and 2 versions old?

    Debate about whether or not this is a good idea aside, what would be the best way to accomplish this? I can't think of a pure CSS way off the top of my head, and I don't know nearly enough Javascript (or really any Javascript) to make this happen. Does anyone have a solution?

  2. #2
    Made with a Mac! philm's Avatar
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    Well what specifically can't you get to work IE6?

  3. #3
    Django Jedi neron-fx's Avatar
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    Although it is a pain most visual issues in IE6 can be fixed with conditional CSS and clever coding. You could even simplify the design in IE6 so that it just functions and then save the pretty stuff for the good browsers. Im not so sure dropping IE6 for a site like this would be a very good idea. Dont get me wrong I hate IE6 and my replies to the described Blog post attest to that. However for the time being we are stuck with it. I will continue to make all professional work function in IE6 with the exception of personal projects. It would be great to drop support for it, but right now its just not a viable or feasable option for me to do so.
    Neron-Fx
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  4. #4
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    I do agree that fixing for ie is probably the smartest thing to do at this point, but I do truly believe that many people do not know they are using an outdated browser. I'm actually surprised at how little the browser tells you when there's a new version out. On that note, I don't recall even being prompted by Mozilla to update to Firefox 3.

    In any event, I am having a specific problem fixing my site for ie6 this time. I've posted a question in the Javascript forum about using the supersleight.js fix for alpha transparency. You can read it here http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=569214. If anyone can help me it would be much appreciated.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Ask yourself how such a 'recommendation' would be received by a user running Windows 2000 (for which IE7 is not available) or someone in a workplace where regular users cannot install or upgrade software on their own.

    I think most people who are able and willing to upgrade have done so by now. As we know, switching to a different browser is an option many non-technical users are unwilling to entertain.

    Many sites still see numbers between 30% and 40% for IE6. Multiply that by the number of potential visitors your site has, and ask yourself if you're willing to alienate that many people. If your answer is yes (which it may well be), then go ahead.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  6. #6
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    That point is well taken. Not ever working in a corporate environment where I didn't have control of downloads, that thought hadn't occurred to me. My data now shows that approx 14% of my viewers are using ie6, I suppose that's better than the average and something to be optimistic about.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member alienworx's Avatar
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    Until XP machines become obsolete IE6 isn't going to go away anytime soon. With the problems with Vista and people downgrading, again this doesn't help the matter.

    Every person whether it be client, friend, family I speak to use what ever browser is native to their OS. Most people just don't understand the benefits of upgrading or switching to a different browser or don't know how. Add this to what AutisticCuckoo has said about workplace restrictions and IE6 isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

    Making sure your site works in IE6 is always a must.. for now anyways.

  8. #8
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Not to mention the users of Windows Mobile, and what happens if a search engine finds and caches the IE 6 "upgrade notice" page? Wouldn't be very pretty in my opinion.

  9. #9
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    I knew this was the right place to ask.

    Now, before I re-do my navigation, does anyone know of an alpha transparency fix that supports the background-position property? It doesn't seem this is possible from everything I'm reading, but I welcome a pleasant surprise if there is one.

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    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Version 2.0 Alpha 3 of the following script does. http://www.twinhelix.com/css/iepngfix/

  11. #11
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    Wow, that's awesome stuff right there. I'll definitely have to try this. Thank you.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist Karpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktomasso View Post
    On that note, I don't recall even being prompted by Mozilla to update to Firefox 3.
    Yup, it started prompting to auto-update to FF3 several weeks ago - rather annoying on my XP test box with FF2, which won't listen when I say 'no, never ask me to upgrade again' -_-

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Mozilla says they're keeping support for FF2 until December, then *boosh*. : )

    I've found (albeit from a limited sample) that people who are using ie6 may not even know they're using such an outdated browser. If they are presented with a reason why there's is outdated, and are given a direct means to upgrade and enhance their online experience, isn't that helping more than hurting?
    I don't necessarily see anything wrong at all with a little education. The thing is, you can tell someone once to upgrade, but then you leave it at that, and don't block access to the site.

    I have (on one of my earliest-written sites) IE6 conditional comments in the footer saying IE6 is a crap browser (in nicer terms) and links to other browsers for upgrading. People can take it or leave it.

    We have users still dicking around with IE5.5 and below, and supposedly our stats show a few Mosiac users (dunno where that's coming from) so...

  14. #14
    SitePoint Member
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    Users of IE6 should still be able to get to your content, I prefer the route of progressive enhancement where possible and bring out the nice stuff for browsers that are compliant and can handle it.

  15. #15
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    Its not clever to ask people to change the browser.
    Everytime i found some site that recommends FF, per example, i move from that site, sounds very amateurish to me.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict Belfast75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karpie View Post
    Yup, it started prompting to auto-update to FF3 several weeks ago - rather annoying on my XP test box with FF2, which won't listen when I say 'no, never ask me to upgrade again' -_-
    Right there with you, really frustrating to not have a 'Don't update for ages' option

  17. #17
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Where a browser release is a supercritical security patch then the patch ought to install itself automatically. The Firefox 3 upgrade is nowhere near that in what it provides and so being able to choose not to install it until all the extensions you use have been upgraded to work with it is sensible.

    Calling IE7 a super critical security patch is definitely an understatement and Microsoft should have force replaced IE6 with IE7 on all platforms that can support it and should have automatically disabled IE6 replacing it with a message asking people to switch to an alternate more secure browser on those platforms that don't. Of course that would have cost Microsoft even more market share than releasing IE7 the way they have has cost and so since they care more about market share than security they are still allowing people to run that security hole pretending to be a browser known as IE6. (have the number of known security holes that are unpatched passed 1000 yet? the last count I saw it was getting close).
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  18. #18
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    Stephen, I'm not sure such a move from Microsoft would have been greatly appreciated by companies whose intranets or crucial applications require IE6. It's a small comfort knowing that your new browser is safer, when none of the stuff you need to access with it works any longer.

    And it still wouldn't solve the problem, since there are millions of users (many of them corporate) running Windows 2000 and older, for which IE7 is not available.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  19. #19
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    Stephen, I'm not sure such a move from Microsoft would have been greatly appreciated by companies whose intranets or crucial applications require IE6. It's a small comfort knowing that your new browser is safer, when none of the stuff you need to access with it works any longer.

    And it still wouldn't solve the problem, since there are millions of users (many of them corporate) running Windows 2000 and older, for which IE7 is not available.
    I am aware of those problems with the upgrade situation. Corporate environments do not have the automatic upgrade option on their computers turned on since their IT staff control when upgrades are installed. Most home setups do have it turned on since most home users do not know how to turn it off. It would have been quite simple therefore for Microsoft to make it a mandatory upgrade in their automatic upgrade system so that all home users whose computers could run it were automatically upgraded to it without affecting corporate setups and those running older operating systems.

    Had they done that then the number of IE7 users would be greater than the number still using IE6 since IE6 use would then be limited to just those who actually needed to continue using it instead of also including all those people who don't know what a browser is.
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Most home setups do have it turned on since most home users do not know how to turn it off. It would have been quite simple therefore for Microsoft to make it a mandatory upgrade in their automatic upgrade system so that all home users whose computers could run it were automatically upgraded to it without affecting corporate setups and those running older operating systems.
    But employees can work from home and need to access IE6-only stuff on the corporate network, e.g., via VPN. Updating must always be the user's choice, since you can never know all the myriad reasons people may have for not wanting to do it.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  21. #21
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    But employees can work from home and need to access IE6-only stuff on the corporate network, e.g., via VPN. Updating must always be the user's choice, since you can never know all the myriad reasons people may have for not wanting to do it.

    If they are doing that then they need to keep their upgrades in step with their corporate network and would have had to change the settings for update to not automatically install all updates anyway and so would not have that issue.

    If you see a crowd of lemmings running toward a cliff and there is a fence in their way with an open gate shouldn't you try to close the gate before they get through. Upgrading to IE7 is closing the gate on the security holes in IE6 and those still using it are getting awfully close to going over the cliff now with so many unplugged security holes just waiting to let all the viruses etc onto their system (and yes the corporates have other software in place to stop anything being able to get in but the home users mostly don't and their computers are wide open).

    If Microsoft doesn't force those home users to upgrade to IE7 then the virus writers will eventually force the home users to downgrade their computer into a doorstop instead.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  22. #22
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    If you're really concerned about security you won't run IE in the first place.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  23. #23
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    If you're really concerned about security you won't run IE in the first place.
    Microsoft don't give you a choice about that - if you run Windows then the IE code is there and if the version of IE you have is 6 then at least a few hundred of the security holes are still vulnerable.

    Unfortunately Microsoft made too many other changes along with the security patch and those other unnecessary changes are what is stopping those still using IE6 from upgrading. Within a short while after IE8 is release most of those currently using IE7 will probably upgrade while those using IE6 will probably not. We'll probably end up with 22% IE6, 2% IE7, 18% IE8 or somewhere around those percentages a few months after the public release of IE8.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  24. #24
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Microsoft don't give you a choice about that - if you run Windows then the IE code is there and if the version of IE you have is 6 then at least a few hundred of the security holes are still vulnerable.
    If you're really concerned about security you won't run Windows in the first place.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  25. #25
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo View Post
    If you're really concerned about security you won't run Windows in the first place.
    True but there is still a difference between running IE6 with its list of many hundreds of known security holes that can be exploited forever and where the list will continue to get bigger as more holes are found; and IE7 where the number of known holes at any one time is less than 10 and they are constantly being patched.

    If your really really concerned about security you will not run linux or mac os either - all the operating systems have security holes and it is only the IE6 ones that are used by any significant number of people where the holes will not get fixed because Microsoft already released a patch to plug those holes which they haven't installed (if they had they'd be running IE7 which was the patch for those security holes and almost nothing else but a patch).
    Stephen J Chapman

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