Is Internet Explorer Development Really a Waste of Time?

Mandy Barrington’s recent article “How to Stop Wasting Time Developing for Internet Explorer” was well-received by SitePoint readers. Mandy’s main point was that developing for legacy versions of Internet Explorer is painful and she offered several pragmatic suggestions such as making notes about IE-specific issues and charging clients who insist on IE6 compatibility.

Understandably, many agreed with Mandy’s article. It justified an opinion held by most web developers: we should forget legacy browsers and concentrate on more interesting technologies. I don’t necessarily disagree with that sentiment, but want to raise a few points you should also consider…

Analytics Won’t Tell You the Whole Story

You should certainly consult your client’s web statistics prior to developing a new site. However, be wary about making business decisions based on that data alone.

If your website didn’t work in the latest version of Chrome, users would either adopt another browser or go elsewhere. In either case, Analytics would reveal comparatively few Chrome users. In other words, the usability of your existing site affects who can visit.

In addition, completely new sites will not have Analytics data. Browser trends can help, but understanding your potential customers is far more important.

Not All Users Can Upgrade

Legacy IE users are bombarded with ‘old browser’ alerts. You can suggest users upgrade their browser but can you succeed where Google has failed?

As a web developer, you’re working with IT every day. Upgrading doesn’t worry you; it’s easy and everyone should do it. But are you neglecting to consider:

  1. Large organizations and government departments. Those businesses may have 10-year IT plans. Desktops are locked-down and users can’t upgrade. Even when a company wants to move forward, migrating thousands of users is not quick, simple or inexpensive.
  2. Windows XP users. One in four people use XP and that figure is higher for business users. Upgrading beyond IE8 is not an option.
  3. You are not an average user. Most people do not understand IT. Many are terrified of it — or certainly worried they’ll break their PC. Migrating from something they know is a risk regardless of the benefits.

Be Careful When Charging Clients More

How would you react to a mechanic refused to service your car because they found it difficult? What if they normally charged $700 but ramped it up to $1,000 for you?

Clients should be charged for more work, but be transparent and explain the issues. It’s rarely as simple as an extra N% for IE6/7 support. After all, supporting legacy IEs with some cosmetic differences is different to making a pixel-perfect site which functions identically across all browsers.

Education is the key. Inform them that IE6 was released more than a decade ago and does not behave in the same way as a browser released last month. It’s possible to support IE6, but providing an identical experience will be difficult, cost significantly more and potentially harm their site with increased bandwidth and lower search engine placement.

Democracy or Dictatorship?

Is it your job to dictate what browser someone should or shouldn’t use? Or is it your job to support whatever browsers people are using? As a professional web developer, shouldn’t you be supporting as many browsers as possible? Do your visitors deserve to see something no matter what?

Despite Microsoft’s advertising, the real beauty of the web is that it’s device agnostic. Sites should work everywhere … with a few caveats:

  • Pixel perfection is futile. If you want IE6 and IE10 to look the same, use Flash or PDFs.
  • Functionality implementations may differ. For example, IE users may have to upload files via a form. Other browsers may support drag and drop, previews, client-side resizing, etc.
  • Making a complex application work everywhere is not always worth the effort. Even if you could get an HTML5 canvas-based game working in IE6, it would sap your budget and run slowly.

But content-only websites and online shops have few excuses.

Looking at the technicalities, IE9 and 10 are unlikely to cause you major problems. IE8 will generally work, although you’ll be missing nicer CSS3 effects. Which leaves us ancient bug-ridden browsers such as IE7 and below.

However, consider how you would react to an article stating that developers shouldn’t support screen readers. Many of these make IE6 look sophisticated and they have far fewer users — but I’d hope there’d be an outcry.

No one’s forcing you to develop for IE6, IE3, Lynx, JAWS or a five-year old Nokia browser but that doesn’t make it impossible. Progressive Enhancement remains a viable technique and rarely requires extra effort if it’s implemented correctly from the start. That said, technology has moved on and developers rarely bother when CSS and JavaScript are ubiquitous.

I expect this article to whip up a storm of “I ain’t supporting IE6 no matter what, buddy” comments. But what if there was a way to support legacy browsers without significant development or testing? It’s time for you to read…
How to Use Responsive Web Design to Support Old Browsers

Will you reconsider your anti-old-browser policy now?…

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  • Q.E.D.

    Maybe I’m just old, but I remember the uproar of developers over not developing for other browsers back when IE was still >90% of the market. I actually worked with a group of developers in 2006 who only built for Firefox, which meant that their sites looked like crap for more than 80% of our users (based on stats). There seems to be a huge hypocrisy that sites need to be built to support everybody except IE users. Google’s recent announcement that they would stop supporting IE8 is more of this lunacy.

    I personally use IE for the vast majority of my web surfing for two reasons. The first reason is to rate how developers are supporting it or not. The second reason is much more practical. The fonts on IE are much smoother and easier to read. Firefox, Safari and Chrome are an eye-sore. I’ve tried each of the major browsers but keep going back to IE because it is a smoother experience. Now that IE9 and IE10 have a better support for standards, using anything else for anything but development seems like a waste. That said, if the other browsers made their text rendering as smooth as IE, I would consider changing my primary browser.

    My point is that even people who should know better may have legitimate reasons to use older or unpopular browsers. Craig’s point about progressive enhancement is quite valid and frankly until the advent of canvas, I had never hit a brick wall with IE6 that made it impossible to offer a comparable experience.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      My fear is that we’re heading back to the days of “best viewed with”. It’s already started and that’s why vendors are considering support for webkit prefixes.

      Targeting specific browsers breaks the web. It happened a decade ago when developers created IE-only sites and applications, but we appear to have learned nothing from that experience. Today’s Chrome is tomorrow’s IE6.

      But this isn’t about IE6. It’s about supporting as many browsing devices as you can. It’s impossible to test them all, but making a content-only website work everywhere is achievable if you can accept that some users will receive a lesser experience.

  • B Ward

    I ain’t supporting IE6 no matter what, buddy!

  • The Schaef

    I’m sure the <1% of global users still on IE6 will be sorely disappointed that I am still giving them browser alerts. At least I'm using Boilerplate to enclose their window in a Chrome frame.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft is crowing about how IE9 is like super-fast or whatever, and passes the Acid3 test and stuff, but they still can't bother to put placeholder text on form fields.

    I've taken to using frameworks for consistency – specifically the Initializr combination of Boilerplate and Bootstrap, so my time adjusting for IE is minimized, and with 6 almost nonexistent and 7 plummeting past 5% toward zero, I find it harder with each passing month to dredge up much concern for exact rendering.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      And you shouldn’t. Pixel-perfect rendering is a myth even across modern browsers.

  • http://limelightmediainc.com Jonathan

    ” But what if there was a way to support legacy browsers without significant development or testing? What if a tutorial was coming to SitePoint later this week? Would you reconsider your policy…”

    Under no circumstances would I ever waste time an resources supporting ancient legacy web browsers.

    Nothing would change that.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Let me ask you this then: if your site happened to work on a legacy browser, whether that’s IE6, Firefox 1.0, Lynx, etc. would you purposely break it to prevent it working?

  • http://www.jaydrake.net Jay Drake

    I find your note in regards to charging more to be broken. Mechanics DO charge more to do the same job on some cars than they do for others. If replacing a thermostat on one car is a matter of popping the hood, pulling out the old thermostat and then putting in the new thermostat it will cost less than it would if the thermostat is in an awkward location that requires them to pull the engine in order to do the job. (This is a very real case that owners of certain automobiles learn about the hard way.)

    On top of that, asking for IE6 support isn’t ramping up the price, it compares better to being offered a 19.95 oil change and expecting it to be a full synthetic oil, because your old piece of junk car needs all the help it can get. Sorry, bud, you can’t get the synthetic oil included at that price.

    • http://www.drakeintelgroup.com Karl Gephart

      Right on, Jay! I totally agree with you! Craig, I love your column, but I gotta disagree with you on this one. You can’t expect to enjoy the Web today to its fullest with IE8 and older browsers. Hell, if twitter and other major sites won’t support IE8, why should I as a designer? I’ve talked to some of these IT people, and they’re not even attempting to self-educate to keep up. And with IE10 almost out, they’ll soon be two browsers behind. MS just security-patched IE8. And, hate to say it, but IE8 and earlier users are not just a stereotype–they’re mostly all computer-illiterate timesucks. Many of them, with their old computers and software, have caviar tastes on a tv-dinner budget. Not going to waste time bloating my code conditionally for them anymore.

      • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

        Ahh, but I’m not saying IE8 users will enjoy the Web to it’s fullest. In some cases, it may not be practical to support the browser whatsoever. But, for content-only websites, there’s little reason why legacy browser users shouldn’t see something. It may be messy. It may be a degraded experience. But that’s better than nothing or a condescending “use another browser, fool” message!

  • Patrick

    “How would you react to a mechanic refused to service your car because they found it difficult? What if they normally charged $700 but ramped it up to $1,000 for you?”

    Well, if I was driving some horribly outdated car from the 1960s, and the mechanic had to spend extra time figuring out how the engine worked and order in custom tools to fix it, I’d say he was doing extra work and therefore had good reason to charge me more. I’d acknowledge that I made a choice to drive a ridiculous vehicle, and that choice has a price.

    I’d also say that any IT department that locks itself into a 10-year plan is incompetent and should be replaced. 10 years is far too long to tie yourself into any single technology or piece of software. The inflexibility of corporate IT departments hurts everyone who has to work for or interact with those corporations, and pressure should be applied to them to make reasonable changes.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Ten years is nothing in the world of major corporations and government departments. You may be planning for tens of thousands of users. You may need to spend several years evaluating options, testing compatibility with existing systems, writing new software, training, etc — and that’s before the end users receive the upgrade.

      Don’t underestimate the effort. Software which is old and works is better than something new which doesn’t. Besides, if an update wasted just one minute of everyone’s time in a 10,000-person organization, you lose one person’s month of productivity.

      • Xolani

        I calculated it: 1 minute of 10000 staff members is actually 6 days 22 hours 40 minutes of productivity.

      • Patrick

        For certain systems, such as credit card processing software, you’re right. Critical, low-level software and platforms are a huge pain to upgrade, and it makes sense to keep those updates infrequent. So I’ll allow that there are certain areas where long-term plans make sense.

        But this conversation is about browsers. There’s no need to spend years evaluating options – they’re all roughly the same now anyway. They’re simple, free, standalone programs. Compatibility shouldn’t be an issue. Nor should training – it’s a browser. They all have essentially the same interface. You can also install multiple browsers on a computer. Your corporation uses IE6-specific pages internally? Fine, keep IE6 for those pages and install IE9 (or Chrome or whatever) for general browsing purposes.

        I’d argue that IE6 and 7 don’t really work any more – an increasing number of sites don’t render or function properly in them, they’re extremely slow, they’re riddled with security holes – there are plenty of reasons to stop using them. Have you tried browsing with IE6 recently? It’s horrible.

        We live in a world where a web browser is increasingly an essential business tool, so I’d argue that your 10k person organisation (all using IE6) would already be losing huge amounts of time simply due to IE6 rendering pages slowly. I’d say that an organisation with well over 800 person-years of productivity per calendar month to spend can afford spending that one person-month to switch to a faster, more secure browser which will make employees more efficient anyway.

      • Sebastian

        In an 10,000-person organization nobody will notice a one month salary
        2,500 $ in 25,000,000 $ is something nobody will see, just peanuts ;-)

      • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

        @Xolani – so you and your colleagues work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? I based it on a 7.5 hour day, 5 days a week.

        @Sebastian – this was an example, but you can see how the numbers mount up. If everyone in that organization lost 12 minutes, that’d be one year’s worth of effort. HR managers care about that sort of thing!

        @Patrick – I agree that you or I would be happy to use IE6 for problematic applications and any other browser for other stuff. But consider the average level of IT knowledge in most organizations. Most people struggle if they can’t see a blue ‘e’. The support desk would be swamped by confused calls because someone used Opera to access an IE6-only application.

        Solutions such as Chrome Frame help but, even then, rolling it out to everyone shouldn’t be underestimated.

  • Kris

    Yes, It’s true.

    Today I have spent my time to struggle with IE9 font-face. it’s WOW. Ie8 thing break in IE9 is amazing experience for me.

    I even don’t thing that Microsoft make something equivalent to Dreamweaver even it’s will be cheap (in matter of price).

    Expression studio web sp2 never got any update from 13+ months. I am trying to use Webmatrix but it’s all about crash and missing small features that sublime have.

    I don’t amaze when Typescript plugin avilable for sublime but not for Webmatrix. I am sure they know their webmatrix (84MB+ depencdencies) never can compete Sublime text 2 is matter of size, plugin and community support.

    I have seen people hate Micro$oft and they are quite true and have enough reason for why. Microsoft should stop this software who make a designer’s life a drama. If someone really want to use innovative software why they not tried Chrome or Firefox.

    Well for me I really don’t feel that future Ie10,11 will help user anything. for the site I visit daily force me to install Ie frame to use IE otherwise choose Firefox or chrome.

    So if Microsoft not have enough reason to compete it with chrome why they not stopped development of it. I know Google is competitor but stop making browser make help people better.

    it will save some coin that they have paid in Marketing and support for Ie. IE is nothing for me but just a trouble or time-wasting stuff. I puzzleed with it like a chess when someone find something that’s not work in Ie9.

    • Zymara

      If you can’t get @font-face to work in IE9, then you aren’t doing it right – don’t blame IE, which actually supported @font-face LONG before the other major browsers.

      Try Font Squirrel’s generator (http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fontface/generator) to get the right file formats and syntax to make it work in all the major browsers.

  • http://www.skatetoronto.com/ Skate Toronto

    yes it is!

  • http://www.xhtmlchamps.com/psdtoxhtml.html bargerst

    yeah dude you are right its a waste of time

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      But what if it didn’t take any significant additional time?

  • Guest

    I support the last two versions of IE at this time and latest version of rest. In other words IE8 end is coming!

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Fair enough, but IE8 has more users than Safari, Opera and browsers outside the top five combined. People are still using it.

  • http://www.temas-wordpress.com/ Yaira

    I basically explain to the client that it WILL look a bit different on older browsers since they do not support some features we use today, usually they understand and go with it.

  • http://www.webwiseworkz.com Workz

    Every new version of IE comes with few backward compatibility issues.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      To be fair, every browser comes with backward compatibility issues. You can’t move forward by keeping still.

  • http://www.cotsweb.com cotsweb

    I still test in IE6 (and 7, 8, 9 & 10), I don’t expect my websites to look as pretty in IE6 but I do expect them to be functional, as they should be in any browser, including screen-readers. The small percentage that still use IE6 is still millions of customers who won’t visit my clients’ websites if they don’t work for them.

    My complaint with Microsoft is that they are creating a series of dead ends which will cause real problems in the future. There will be hundreds of millions of people using IE8 for years to come because they have no reason to upgrade their XP machines, they still work fine.
    Microsoft have done the same with IE9 and Vista (a smaller user base but still significant numbers) and I presume they will eventually do the same with Windows 7 and IE10.

    An awful lot of people don’t even know what a browser is, they think IE is the internet, so they will never change to Chrome, Firefox, Opera etc. (all of which manage to keep their latest versions working on all versions of Windows) Those people, who are all potential customers, must be catered for, I can see us having to support IE8, IE9 & IE10 for years after IE12 has been released.

  • Alessandro

    I think that the content must be accessible for all viewers. But I really don’t care if that CSS effect doesn’t work on IE. If the viewer won’t see a gradient or a shadow, it’s ok for me. Since all the content is there. But those who use modern browsers will have a better visual experience.

  • Stevie D

    “How would you react to a mechanic refused to service your car because they found it difficult? What if they normally charged $700 but ramped it up to $1,000 for you?”

    Ah, but they do. They charge an hourly rate for labour. So when I had some work done recently, I had to pay for 3½ hours of labour instead of the 2 hours that it would typically take, because it’s a “bit of a b@$tard of a job” on my car, to use what my mechanic assures me is the technical term for it. And because I trust them, I’m happy to pay more when they say that a particular job will take longer. I’m paying for the parts, and I’m paying for their time, and that’s fair. I don’t expect them to do complicated work as a loss-leader and I don’t expect them to overcharge on simple jobs to keep the prices level.

    And it should be the same with supporting older versions of IE. It takes more time to do, so as long as the developer is giving a reasonable quote that is in line with the additional time that it needs, no-one has any grounds for complaint.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      And what if supporting old browsers didn’t take significantly more time? Would you support them then? Read my latest article and let me know.

  • Tim Harshbarger

    Right on, craig! The simple fact is people use a variety of browsers and don’t always upgrade to the latest version. We can engage in name calling and disparaging remarks about those users, but it doesn’t change the reality.
    It seems we have two approaches to take. We can either just tell people we are not going to support X browsers no way and no how or we can try to figure out the best approach to providing access to the greatest number of users with the least effort.
    And frankly, if you give me the choice between hiring one of those two types of developers or designers, I know which one I would be more likely to hire. So, I think I will try to be the type of dev that I think people will want to hire.

  • Rob

    There’s one flaw with your mechanic analogy I feel… With old cars that have problems that actually end up costing more to fix, the manufacturer eventually irons out these problems the very next model, it’s up to the user to upgrade or understand they’re stuck with the old problems. If drivers turn to other manufacturers, the original manufacturer is more inclined to improve their model.

    Microsoft is the manufacturer that might iron out 1 or 2 problems, but continues to put a pretty poor product on the production line. It’s with the mindset of developing for a poor product like this that allows users to continue using that poor product. The major difference or course is that upgrading a browser isn’t going to cost you in excess of thousands of dollars!

    If we didn’t develop for earlier versions of IE, more users would turn to updated or different browsers, in turn driving IE numbers down and perhaps giving Microsoft a tell tale sign they need to shape up.

    I will not develop for IE 6 or 7. Clients understand this and they’re fine with it. I also offer many of my clients a free service to upgrade their browser for them, should the opportunity to do so be an option.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      If we didn’t develop for earlier versions of IE, more users would turn to updated or different browsers, in turn driving IE numbers down and perhaps giving Microsoft a tell tale sign they need to shape up.

      I don’t agree. Who will they blame … Microsoft or your site? Most users will simply give up and go elsewhere — they won’t give your site a second thought.

      But I’ll ask this question again: what if your site worked without major problems on old versions of IE or any other browser? Would you purposely break it for those users? Of course not. Despite your noble claims, you’re dropping older browsers because it makes your life easier.

      • Rob

        You’re making the mad assumption that developing for IE is hard for me and other developers. It’s not. I find it quite easy actually. Does it take more time? Yes, like any ‘extra’ service, it’s takes time and I’m not going to “include” development for old versions in my base cost just because <2% of internet users haven't caught up yet.

        It comes down to the client. They understand more development = more time = higher costs. You need to ask clients if developing for IE is a waste of time, not the developers.

      • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

        You should charge for what you do. No one’s disputing that.

        However, there’s a world of difference between making something work in old browsers and providing an identical pixel-perfect experience. I favor the former; you appear to be assuming the latter.

        I’ll ask the question again: would you support that <2% of customers if it didn't require extra development or testing? Would your clients prefer to support 97% or 99% of web users?

      • Rob

        I haven’t said anything about identical pixel perfect, which I find easy to achieve anyway, as I present concepts that allow for that. You shouldn’t present a concept that you can’t create in every browser.

        You keep asking the same question over and over, Would I support that <2% if it didn't require extra development or testing. But the fact of the matter is that they almost always do. As for if clients prefer to support 97% or 99% of web users, it's completely situational, but they usually don't. But that's my clients.

        A client who runs an online tech product store wouldn't, as their customers would have the ability to upgrade their browser, whereas a client who runs a nursing home could be a different story. But a nursing home information based isn't going to need an extravagant site now is it.

        I'd love to see an example of a site produced for all browsers with the extra time it took you to do so, then see if it's worth it for you/the client.

      • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

        Read my follow-up article. That shows an example which solves the problem. It works in modern browsers, mobile browsers, IE6, 7 and 8 without the hassle of browser-specific debugging.

        But I guess you don’t need that solution, because you find it easy (but time-consuming) to achieve pixel perfection in all browsers. Your clients must be ecstatic!

      • Rob

        I said a real world example. Not some plain formatted 1 page site. And you think that method isn’t time consuming? You’re still building two css layouts aren’t you?

        Sorry but I see more benefit in designing a concept for your client that works before the browser, rather than after.

      • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

        A “plain formatted 1 page site”? Strange no one else spotted that issue? Until now, I’d been stupidly assuming I could reuse the same CSS on pages 2 and beyond. The tutorial was a simple example to show the technique. If you can’t implement it for one of your designs, please share a URL and I’ll give it a go. For free. I’ll even publish the results and issues on SitePoint for you and everyone to review.

        You are building two layouts (well, 1.5 layouts perhaps since many of the simple styles such as typography are reused), but you’re not fixing IE bugs or having to target those browsers. In addition, you’re also supporting hundreds of older and mobile browsers — shouldn’t you be considering that anyway? I guess your clients don’t want it?…

        Not sure I understand your last point but no matter. Despite you finding IE development “quite easy”, you don’t want to do it. That’s your prerogative — as long as you’re telling clients so they can compare your services with others.

      • Robbie

        Interesting. I understand where you’re coming from. So building 2 (or 1.5) layouts. In your experience what would be the estimated time spent on the differing methods? Developing an extra half a layout is 50% faster? Fixing IE bugs is 100% slower? Would you charge the same amount for something you can do 50% faster? What would be your reasoning behind this to the client?

        What would you say to a client?
        “(To client)There is a less than 2% chance your users might be using an old version of IE, so I think we should develop for them, but it’s going to cost you 1.5 times the cost it would were we to not develop for that chance.” – Or do you not inform your clients of such things? Or would you provide it for free? Or just ‘built into’ the cost (which is the same as not informing them).

        My last point basically covers all facets of browser development. Instead of coming up with a concept, then when design starts going: ‘oh crap, I have to now develop 1.5 layouts’ or ‘I have to fix IE bugs’ – i’m instead starting before the concept, saying ‘these are the limitations, I’ll design for it’ – I think that’s called progressive enhancement? I’m sure there’s some buzz word for it. That’s IF clients specifically ask for early IE development, which rarely happens when they know the statistics on browser use.

      • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

        How many clients specifically request IE development? How many understand their statistics? Most don’t have a clue — it’s your job to guide them.

        However, ask them this question: do you want your site to work gracefully on your phone? Charge extra by all means, but few people claim RWD incurs significantly more development work. It’s implemented in many frameworks and, even if you’re building it yourself, it’s not 50% extra effort. Even if your CSS was 50% larger, you’re not modifying the HTML, JavaScript, images or back-end code.

        Ultimately, this isn’t about supporting IE version X. It’s about supporting as many desktop and mobile browsers as possible without spending vast amounts of time debugging specific issues on individual devices.

        Why don’t you attempt this RWD concept on your next project? Compare how long it takes against having to fix IE6/7/8 issues.

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    For anyone still thinking that legacy browser support is too difficult or time-consuming, please read my follow-up post…
    How to Use Responsive Web Design to Support Old Browsers

  • http://bluelogicteam.com/ Joseph

    What about things like Chrome-frame? Many people have failed to realize its purpose: To allow those who cannot upgrade from IE6 to still get the same experience as Chrome users.

    And, while upgrading beyond IE8 may not be possible for XP users, Firefox and Google Chrome are all still available for XP users. “Not upgrading” is no excuse for XP users. Downloading Chrome or Firefox is the equivalent of an upgrade.

    The more developers support outdated and legacy softwares, the more companies, government agencies, and others have an excuse to continue to utilize them. Without a reason to upgrade, why upgrade?

    Besides, I thought we were passed this ridiculous argument?

    You say it may be outrageous for a mechanic to charge you extra for a job that is more difficult, but since when is repairing an intake on a 2008 Audi A4 less expensive than repairing an intake on an ’89 Toyota Corolla? They’re all made differently and, as professionals, you’re damn right they’re going to charge more for one than the other. Very rarely will you find people who charge the same for the same job regardless of the vehicle, unless its for something like rotating tires.

    It is your job, as a professional, to take your work seriously and accurately charge for the work you’re being made to do.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Chrome Frame is certainly an option but rolling it out to thousands of users in a large organization isn’t a simple task. It also requires you to update all legacy applications to state they need IE6.

      There is one major reason why companies and government agencies continue to use IE6; they have applications which only work in that browser. In other words, web developers targeted one browser rather than using web standards. You can blame Microsoft or moan about people not upgrading, but it’s our own fault.

      Yet here we go again. Developers are actively choosing to target a small subset of modern browsers (which will be outdated before you know it). You should certainly charge for extra work but, as I have demonstrated in my latest article, it’s possible to support a large set of old and mobile browsers without significant development cost by adopting the “mobile first” responsive web design approach.

      If you’re dropping browsers people are using, don’t pretend it’s some noble effort to move the web forward. You’re not helping clients. You’re not helping users. You’re doing it because it makes development easier.

  • http://jonathanmarvens.com Jonathan Barronville

    I disagree with this article. As web developer, I feel that the more we are developing for users of these old browsers, the more they will rely on that an refuse to update. Of course, you don’t want to show them a blank page, but I refuse to keep working my butt off to support them. Instead, I show them a little message telling them to upgrade or install Google Chrome Frame. If they can’t do that, I simply don’t support them. That’s how I see it.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      My point is: you don’t have to work your butt off to support older browsers. Read my follow-up article and see if it changes your opinion.

  • Zymara

    I’m not interested in supporting IE6 (and haven’t been asked to in several years, so it’s a non-issue for me), but supporting IE7/8/9 to a decent level is NOT that hard. Those who refuse to support them are shooting themselves in the foot. Learning how to support those browsers gives you a better understanding of web development, period. And after you’ve resolved a few issues, you begin to see the patterns, and it quickly gets easier and faster to fix new issues.

    If you care about your craft and your users, you should be willing to put in the effort.