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  1. #51
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    Ah, i contributed to that thread then dropped out, just a few posts before it became an IE6 bashing. But I still feel this one wins the invisible prize as the first one whose title and opening lines imply drop IE6.

    Yes, we wish it would go, but as the thread referenced above points out on its second page, with about 20% of users unfortunately still using it (my sites have a bit less IE6 users) we are stuck with it for a while.

    Insulting users and ordering them to upgrade will not work - as the endless threads last year where people said their pages did this has showed, because the IE6 users are still with us. I do suspect that those switched on enough to know about google docs would not be the sort to be using IE6. Stick in the muds don't grab the new technology whil esticking to old technology.

  2. #52
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    A number of companies use IE6 for their intranet. It isn't cost effective for them to rewrite the entire intranet to work with more modern browsers at the moment as they gain no benefit by doing so.

    Microsoft still supports IE6 (and will until 2014) because it is considered to be a part of Windows XP and that is when Windows XP is supported until. That support consists mostly of security patches. When that support ends then the companies with intranets relying on IE6 may have a reason to change it.

    Neither of those have anything to do with the web directly except that those who need to use IE6 with an intranet are also likely to use it to access the web (as companies are unlikely to implement multiple browsers so that people have one for the intranet and one for the internet). They may change and implement a two browser policy - particularly since Windows 7 actually supports running multiple versions of IE so that a company with a Microsoft software only policy would have a solution that allows them to keep IE6 for their intranet even after all support for it is dropped while using a supported browser for the web.
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  3. #53
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    IE6 must die. This is no different than the problem we had killing off Netscape 4.7x back in the early '00s. NN4.7 held us back from fully adopting CSS back then and IE6 is holding us back from adopting new technologies now.

    At some point, as web developers, we just have to start cutting off support for IE6. We don't have to block it or intentionally make things break under IE6, but we can choose not to fix some things and to not create work a rounds such that IE6 users have an alternative to some modern implementation.

    Just allow sites to degrade gracefully for IE6 and stop wasting excess time trying to support IE6. Until IE6 users' Internet experience starts to degrade to the point of being painful, some users won't migrate to something new. This includes corporations, who in many cases won't migrate away from IE6 until the pain of staying on IE6 becomes greater than the pain of fixing their internal processes so that they can move to something newer.
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  4. #54
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    This is true. Companies can afford everything else, yet they can't upgrade there systems to even IE7, at least which would make most happy.

  5. #55
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    In a way, corporations who don't upgrade to up to date browsers are pushing development costs off onto others because it increases development time/costs for websites to continue to support IE6. At some point website owners just have to say enough is enough, it isn't worth it to continue to support IE6 because it is holding us back.
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  6. #56
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiberianHuskey View Post
    This is true. Companies can afford everything else, yet they can't upgrade there systems to even IE7, at least which would make most happy.
    Changing the language that their intranet is written in could cost companies a huge amount of money. Where a large intranet only works with IE6 there isn't a great deal of choice in the situation - they just have to change it gradually so that they don't blow their budget for the intranet.
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  7. #57
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiberianHuskey View Post
    This is true. Companies can afford everything else, yet they can't upgrade there systems to even IE7, at least which would make most happy.
    Changing the language that their intranet is written in could cost companies a huge amount of money. Where a large intranet only works with IE6 there isn't a great deal of choice in the situation - they just have to change it gradually so that they don't blow their budget for the intranet.

    Rewriting their entire intranet to not use the activex controls only available in IE6 and earlier isn't as cheap or simple as buying 10,000 new computers.
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  8. #58
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    While yes the cost of undoing past sins is what is keeping some corporations tied to IE6, that isn't our problem, its theirs. At some point the web development community just has to stand up and say we are no longer supporting IE6. IE6 is holding us back big time and it drives up our development time/costs to continue to support it.

    I'm not saying to block IE6, just to not optimize for it nor make extra efforts to fix things for it. If things still work in IE6 without extra effort, great, if not oh well so sad. It is time for us to move on.

    I'm not going to remove past optimizations I did on my sites for IE6, but I'm also not going to go out of my way to optimize new stuff on IE6 in the future.
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  9. #59
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    IE6 is gonna be gone soon enough all on its own. Nobody's *choosing* to stick with it, and it's fading out as individuals and companies make upgrades.

    Here's a market share trend graph I prepared yesterday from the past 3 years of data at W3Counter:



    Every company that reports on browser market share has slightly different current figures in the 10-20&#37; range, but the slope of the line is approximately the same -- it's going towards zero pretty fast.

  10. #60
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Nice graph, I hope the downward trend for both IE6 & IE7 continue no slower than the current pace. Maybe we could be done with IE7 in a few years as well.
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  11. #61
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    At some point the web development community just has to stand up and say we are no longer supporting IE6.
    It sounds good in theory, but in practice it's a catch22 situation. If we dropped support, more people would upgrade, but we would lose all the people who cannot upgrade for legitimate reasons. I don't know that we can justify sacrificing a few for the benefit of the many (perhaps that'll change though). I would like to see the W3C take a stand and implement a user-agent support policy agreement with the browser makers, effectively agreeing upon a time-frame to which browsers should be supported, and then establishing a list of rules to deal with obsolete devices (like WCAG guidelines except for a common convention to tackle the issue).

  12. #62
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    I would like to see the W3C take a stand and implement a user-agent support policy agreement with the browser makers, effectively agreeing upon a time-frame to which browsers should be supported
    Interesting idea! But what if I really really like IE4, shouldn't I be able to use it?

  13. #63
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    Sure, nobody's talking about forcibly stopping you from using it.

    But just like if you really really like your old Commodore 64, don't expect the Internet to run very well on it.

  14. #64
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbrown4 View Post
    Interesting idea! But what if I really really like IE4, shouldn't I be able to use it?
    No-one is saying that you shouldn't be able to use it, what I want to see is a standardised time-frame when active support for it should be dropped. If you like Windows 3.1 you can still use it, but no-one demands software developers produce 16bit apps for those users. The current problem is we are expected to support such technology just because someone chooses to use it, the reality is that outdated, obsolete technology which has real security issues shouldn't be a consideration past a reasonable time-frame. Besides I said there should be a policy of dealing with those browsers so it's still functioning, but there's no fixed set of expectations for it to function anything like a modern browser (perhaps have just HTML for old browsers - no CSS or scripting turned on).

    PS: If the IE4 user doesn't like having the reduced experience, they always have the opportunity to freely upgrade (or they can keep with the basic functionality).

  15. #65
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    It sounds good in theory, but in practice it's a catch22 situation. If we dropped support, more people would upgrade, but we would lose all the people who cannot upgrade for legitimate reasons. I don't know that we can justify sacrificing a few for the benefit of the many (perhaps that'll change though).
    The issue I have with this approach is that it means we are (to a greater or lesser extent) ruling maybe 10% of web users out of our website ... but at the same time, many of us are bending over backwards to reach the maybe 1% of web users who are using a mobile device. If we're looking at the number of people affected, we should test in IE6 but drop support for Chrome, Opera, other minority browsers and all handheld and mobile devices - for most sites, these will collectively have fewer users than IE6 alone. The only browsers that are likely to exceed IE6 on a typical site are IE7, IE8, Firefox 3.5 and Safari.

  16. #66
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Exactly my point why it's a catch22 scenario, however it's not really an issue in terms of percentages, it's about IE6 holding back the progression and evolution of the Internet due to it's lacking support and upkeep for modern conventions. Number of users aside, there's a reason why we need to focus on dropping support for old technologies, dropping support would be a good reason for those who still use IE6 to make the investment to upgrade and therefore remove the browser from the gene pool. As long as we hold hands and play nicely with those old browsers (no matter their user base) we could end up stagnating progression and end up in 10 years with IE6 firmly still in use with no reason to upgrade (as everyone will still be mollycoddling the browser).

    You don't get anywhere if you hold back the whole class for the special needs kids, if they can't keep up your sacrificing the learning experience for everyone involved.

  17. #67
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbrown4 View Post
    Interesting idea! But what if I really really like IE4, shouldn't I be able to use it?
    You can use whatever you like, but it doesn't mean I have to spend extra time or resources to support obsolete technologies.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    what I want to see is a standardised time-frame when active support for it should be dropped.
    This isn't even an issue for anything but IE. All other browsers are able to get obsolete versions out of circulation is a very reasonable time frame.

    On another forum I saw a link to this article http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/win...d-browser.aspx The article is basically some Microsoft spin boasting how IE8 is now supposedly the most popular browser on the Internet with a 25.6% share of all Internet users.

    What I observed in that thread was that basically in less than one year MSFT was only able to get 40%* of IE users to migrate from IE6/IE7 to IE8. As a comparison, 70%* of Firefox users are using Firefox 3.5 or higher and v3.5 was only released last summer.

    I also observed that if you dig even deeper you will find that around 20%* of IE users are still using IE6 where as less than 4%* of Firefox users are still using FF v2.0 or less.

    So basically, within two years of becoming obsolete, old versions of Firefox become a totally non-issue. Yet over 4 years after it was replaced by IE7 and 9 years since it was first introduced, IE6 is still used by 20% of IE users. Within the time span that IE7 was released until it was replaced by IE8, Firefox 2.0 was released, was replaced and disappeared from use almost entirely.

    In the end, as has been historically the case, it is IE, specifically legacy versions of IE that are holding the web back and preventing websites from reaching their full potential. So any rule about how long to support legacy technology would really only apply to IE and could be called the "IE euthanasia rule."

    ---footnote----
    * Based on my Google Analystics stats for ~380k visitors over the past month (which tend to track pretty closely to web wide stats).

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    The issue I have with this approach is that it means we are (to a greater or lesser extent) ruling maybe 10% of web users out of our website ... but at the same time, many of us are bending over backwards to reach the maybe 1% of web users who are using a mobile device. If we're looking at the number of people affected, we should test in IE6 but drop support for Chrome, Opera, other minority browsers and all handheld and mobile devices - for most sites, these will collectively have fewer users than IE6 alone. The only browsers that are likely to exceed IE6 on a typical site are IE7, IE8, Firefox 3.5 and Safari.
    If you code to W3C standards supporting all these micro market share browsers becomes a non-issue. Anyone who finds it more difficult to support Opera, Safari, Chrome, etc. than it is to support IE is certainly doing something wrong. Besides, this isn't about market share, it is about getting rid of obsolete technologies so that we can all move forward, provide more robust websites and simplify our development cycles.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    As long as we hold hands and play nicely with those old browsers (no matter their user base) we could end up stagnating progression and end up in 10 years with IE6 firmly still in use with no reason to upgrade (as everyone will still be mollycoddling the browser).
    EXACTLY!!!!
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  18. #68
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    It reminds me of the early days when Flash (or Splash!) was all the rage. I remember in 1997-98 making a small flash file and then writing some text below it saying "If you cant see the image of smiley face, then you need to download and install the Flash plugin."

    This reminds me of those days. I'd like to start putting something in the footer of the websites i build that explains why there is a move from IE6. (I guess its not so obvious to some people who aren't tech savvy to realize what the huge difference between IE6 to IE7 to IE8. It sucks that they are all so different.)

    Maybe one day there will be a web standards engine that becomes the "CORE" of every web browser and it determines how a webpage is interpreted based on precise written standards. That would mean ONE unified rendering engine for all web browsers to use at there disposal. That would also mean that if each company would adopt this methodology that every website would look the same from browser to browser. The main differences would be what a browser adds as far as additional features. It solves the main problem of "my site doesn't work right in IE6".

    So, what would set a browser apart from the rest of the browsers would be its plugins, extensions, and security features.

    I think Google could lead that charge or Microsoft and a partnership with Firefox to compete against Google.

    I feel like Google has the best vision thus far of what internet should become.

  19. #69
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    While having an organization enter into agreements with the browser makers regarding a support timeline sounds great, do we really want to give that sort of power to one group? One of the driving forces behind browser support is market competition. If we remove the power of individual browser makers to support or not support their own products it could stifle development.
    TAKE A WALK OUTSIDE YOUR MIND.

  20. #70
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Hyperbolik, actually the complete opposite is true, old versions of browsers like IE6 stifle innovation and competition on the grounds that their constant support (and lack of upgrades) give browser makers the means and opportunity to adopt a lazy pattern of upgrading and keeping in touch with the latest needs of designers and users. Competition is fought on the basis that each browser maker will try to stay on top of the cutting edge needs of it's audience thereby encouraging a long term strategy to boost the number of active users it has. If anything, Internet Explorer has proven that supporting older versions of it's browser has allowed competition to be hurt over a long period of time, it allowed Microsoft to sit back with IE6 and IE7 out on the shelves thinking that their dominance was secure as there wasn't anything to challenge them and progression was unncessary on the basis that their old products remained in consistent use (meaning there was no need to compete).

    Encouraging development means giving people a reason to upgrade, ensuring that old products do not longer around on life support and that the evolution of the web remains consistent. Forcing old browsers to be dropped from the support cycle after a period of time would remove the means for stagnation to occur and we would therefore be able to encourage competition between the browser makers further on the basis that if you don't keep your products up-to-date, they'll disappear and you'll be out of the loop. Having a cut-off point where developers have to support a product will prevent such an event reoccurring where a browser maker can just cease working on a product on the basis that their old versions "will always be supported", the web NEEDS such a pattern to ensure the browser makers will continue to innovate to avoid dropping off the radar on the basis that they ceased progression. It doesn't mean (of course) that users won't stop using the products, but it'll ensure that a balance is maintained where dominance isn't enough to retain web support, it's important we give users the reasons to upgrade.

  21. #71
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Having a cut-off point where developers have to support a product will prevent such an event reoccurring where a browser maker can just cease working on a product on the basis that their old versions "will always be supported", the web NEEDS such a pattern to ensure the browser makers will continue to innovate to avoid dropping off the radar on the basis that they ceased progression. It doesn't mean (of course) that users won't stop using the products, but it'll ensure that a balance is maintained where dominance isn't enough to retain web support, it's important we give users the reasons to upgrade.
    It would also force web application developers to take a more standards based approach to application development rather than depending upon bugs and proprietary APIs that might not behave the same way in the next version of a given browser (as we saw happen with I6).
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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Hyperbolik, actually the complete opposite is true, old versions of browsers like IE6 stifle innovation...
    Completely agree. I was thinking about the innovation from the browser makers side. If I'm a browser maker and someone else is telling me how long I need to support my products then it may delay me from pushing out a new idea because I would then be supporting 2 different products. This is fine until you have 5 or 6 versions of the same product that you're supporting. If there wasn't this 3rd party requiring me to support my older versions than I would simply drop support and deal with the last 1 or 2 versions.

    I'm not sure I explained that very well, just waking up here.
    TAKE A WALK OUTSIDE YOUR MIND.

  23. #73
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperbolik View Post
    If I'm a browser maker and someone else is telling me how long I need to support my products then it may delay me from pushing out a new idea because I would then be supporting 2 different products.
    In the case of Internet Explorer the browser is considered to be a part of each operating system it originally shipped with. IE5 is a part of Windows 2000, IE5.5 was a part of Windows 98/ME, IE6 is a part of Windows XP, IE7 is a part of Windows Vista, IE8 is a part of Windows 7. The support for patching each of those operating systems runs to a specific date (in the case of Win 98/ME it is long past, Win 2000 is July this year, Win XP is 2014 etc). Patches for the browser will be produced as long as patches for the operating systems it shipped with continue to be produced as the whole operating system is supported to the same date, not just part of it.

    If Microsoft had been made to drop support for IE6 then they'd have needed to drop support for Win XP on the same date (since one is a part of the other) and a few days later everyone running XP would have had their computer converted to a door stop by viruses taking advantage of the next security hole in the operating system that would never be patched since patches for the operating system would no longer be supported.

    So it comes down to which you prefer out of having IE6 supported or having all the computers running XP knocked out of action (including all those that don't use IE6 any more). Having 10% of your visitors use IE6 is a small price to pay for having 75% of your visitors.
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  24. #74
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    As much as I enjoy discussions of this sort can we just summarize as follows:

    I don't want to support IE6. Excellent, then don't.
    I don't want to lose my user base who uses IE6. Excellent, then continue to make accommodations to do so.

    All this jibber jabber about how IE6 is holding back the Internet is frankly silly. Is it annoying for web developers? Of course it is, but you (the web developers) have a choice as to whether you want to jump through hoops or not.

    To say that corporations should upgrade to make you all happy is silly.
    To say that the cost to corporations would be minimal is silly.
    To compare the upgrade propensity of two completely different user groups (FF users vs IE users) is silly.

    If you want it to die, then do your part and stop supporting it on your sites, in the long run maybe it will speed things along to it inevitable demise, or maybe it will just cause IE6 users to no longer visit your sites.

    That's the beauty of free choice, we don't need an organization telling people what browser to use, or when to upgrade, or anything like that.

    And so endeth my participation in this thread, posted from IE6 on a corporate network that will most likely continue to use IE6 until 2014 if not longer because it would probably cost tens of millions of dollars to upgrade the browser in terms of testing our existing web apps alone.

    Heck, my e-mail client is from 2002.

  25. #75
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    I think the point is though, some people don't want to support IE6, but feel they have to, so the more things like this that happen, the quicker it will go away for everyone!


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