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Is Internet Explorer 6/7 Support Required Now?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the slaying-dinosaurs dept.

Internet Explorer 512

k33l0r writes "Following Google's announcement ending support for Internet Explorer 6, I find myself wondering whether we (Web developers) really need to continue providing support for IE6 and IE7. Especially when creating Web sites intended for technical audiences, wouldn't it be best to end support for obsoleted browsers? Would this not provide additional incentives to upgrade? Recently I and my colleagues had to decide whether it was worth our time to try to support anything before IE8, and in the end we decided to redirect any IE6/7 user-agent to a separate page explaining that the site is not accessible with IE 6 or 7. This was easy once we saw from our analytics that fewer than 5% of visitors to the site were using IE at all. Have you had to make a choice like this? If so, what was your decision and what was the reasoning behind it?"

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Why redirect them? (5, Insightful)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082774)

You could just let IE6 "try its best". And use a big red notice bar at the top with a link explaining it.

Re:Why redirect them? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082786)

I could just fuck your dead great grandmother.

Re:Why redirect them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082806)

you're just angry because i had yours last weekend.

Re:Why redirect them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083282)

go ahead
be my guest

Re:Why redirect them? (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082894)

I consider myself a technical user.

On one of my systems I still use IE6 because (A) my employer requires us to use Sharepoint, and for some "inexplicable" reason Sharepoint only supports a JS HTML editor in IE browsers and (B) because IE7 and IE8 don't allow me to access briefcase folders while browsing the files in those folders at the same time, which I need to do on my laptop.

I wouldn't have a problem with IE6 support ending, but no support != banning.

OTOH, how interresting can a site be for a, if it treat browser versions like this. How much could one possibly learn from a zealot?

Re:Why redirect them? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083058)

I consider myself a developer.

THERE IS NO FUCKING EXCUSE for not being able to support multiple browsers. if you're not supporting links, you're doing it wrong (seriously, how the hell are supposed to work blind's web readers if your site is a javascript meatball?)

now: no need to fix your site every time to have it working with every browser out there.
USE A CROSSPLATFORM LIBRARY

http://dean.edwards.name/IE7/
http://mochikit.com/about.html
http://www.prototypejs.org/

Re:Why redirect them? (5, Insightful)

brentonboy (1067468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082912)

Agreed. This is why browser sniffing is bad. Just design it to be standards compliant, and let the browsers that can't follow the standards fail, hopefully gracefully. Blocking IE6 users completely is just pointless.

Re:Why redirect them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083226)

Blocking IE6 users completely is just pointless.

Back when I used to use IE7 (I swear, at the time it really was faster than Firefox on the sites I frequented) I came across a website that, for some reason, I absolutely needed to get to the content on. It loaded, looking quite normal I might add, and then a split second later a full-page cover showed up over it that might as well have said, "You're a moron. Use Firefox cuz it's sooooo much better than the crap browser you have." Not only was I extremely insulted that a website developer wouldn't let me view his page, it wasn't for any technical reasons either.

So I changed my user agent to indicate I was browsing with Firefox. Site worked fine.

Re:Why redirect them? (3, Informative)

OverZealous.com (721745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083006)

For basic websites, I highly recommend Universal IE6 CSS [google.com] .

I've decided that I will never design a website that supports IE6, but instead will only server up this rudimentary (if nice-looking) style sheet. As long as your website is standards-based, compliant, and content-oriented, this CSS file works great. You do, however, have to include some of those annoying <!-- [if lt IE 7]>...<![endif]--> tags.

For web apps, which are more complex, then I use a browser sniff and redirect IE6 users away. I don't care how "bad" or "evil" it is. It's better, to me, for users to know why a page doesn't work, than see a partially loaded page or pile of garbage.

Re:Why redirect them? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083316)

Yes, but you can let they know why it doesn't work with a big red message. Redirecting them away (effectively banning them) means you're assuming that you know better than your users. You probably do, but what gives you the right to make their upgrade decision for them? Show them why they're wrong, tell them why they should change, but don't force it on them.

An anecdote: I was late to this whole firefox party. I used ie5.0 for many, manny years. Way longer than any sane geek. Eventually I got firefox for websites that just plain didn't work in ie5, but I still used ie5 as my primary broswer. It wasn't until the majority of websites I went to became unusable due to ie5's degenerate CSS engine that I gave it up. (Slashdot is particularly hilarious in ie5 these days.)

The point is that any time I got to a website that had a blanket redirect based on my user-agent, I left that site, never to return. Nobody but nobody was going to *force* me to upgrade, and I suspect this is a common sentiment among old browser users.

The best way to get users of old, crappy browsers to upgrade is to make pages that don't work right (and let them know why they don't work right). But don't ban them. Banning them will only inspire most of them to give you the finger and keep using their browser of choice out of spite. It will *reduce* the likelyhood that they will upgrade, and will accomplish nothing but pissing them off.

Like several other people have already said--don't waste time supporting stuff you think is too old, just let the web standards death march leave them behind.

Re:Why redirect them? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083066)

You could just let IE6 "try its best". And use a big red notice bar at the top with a link explaining it.

...And start telling the customer that IE6 support costs extra. Or the other way: drop IE6 and save money!

Re:Why redirect them? (1)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083250)

bingo, this is how professionals do it, charge extra for the extra work, or don't and handle what happens afterwards.

Re:Why redirect them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083182)

Now that's an insightful post if I've ever seen one. I work at a large multinational company and our web based document control software only "supports" IE6. There's a key word "supports". This doesn't mean we will only let you use IE6. It means IE6 is the only one we guarantee to work, and it's the only one we will address when you call the helpdesk.

Lack of support does not mean the only browser that works is IE6. I get a big warning (not an error, a warning) when logging into the system saying that Firefox is an unsupported browser. However so far the only page I have found that doesn't work in the entire JS / CSS heavy system only has a text alignment issue in one column. Hence I am free to keep using the system in the browser I want, and the company that produced the software got their money.

The reverse is also true. Design to standards, display a warning that non standards compliant browsers may not work correctly, but then ultimately leave it to the users (the target audience, and in many cases the people who pay your bills) to decide if they wish to see the page properly or struggle with a different browser.

Re:Why redirect them? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083216)

Umm, IE 6 is Windows only. How can that work in a company? Are there no technical employees?

Re:Why redirect them? (1)

jaq1an (891045) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083266)

I agree. I'm stuck using IE6 at work until the eejits in IT decide to upgrade. I don't think any browser should be blocked. If I wanted I should be able to VIOLA or MOSAIC from wayback when.

Re:Why redirect them? (1)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083312)

have you tried chrome? you don't need to be an admin to install it. It can run from your local settings folder.

Re:Why redirect them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083318)

Exactly what I did almost a year ago. It really made all developers and designers happy.

Easy Answer (2, Interesting)

Tehrasha (624164) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082790)

Wouldn't it be best to end support for obsoleted browsers?

How well do your current pages support Lynx?
Does that answer the question?

And how much code is there that is IE6 specific that IE7/8 isnt compatible with?

Re:Easy Answer (3, Insightful)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082846)

How well does page support standards and is it designed that blind people can run it trough voice syntetisator or Lynx to read it with the "blind keyboard".

I would not like that any page is designed for specific browser at all. Was it FF, Opera, Safari, IE etc.

Depends on who you cater to (5, Insightful)

ResQuad (243184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082794)

Depends on your clients. If you're talking about a mostly technical crowd? No, probably don't need IE6. If you're talking about a site for corporate users, yea, you need IE6. There are many major companies out there still running IE6 on XP. It sucks, they should all switch to Firefox (Or Chrome, or Opera, or anything but IE), but unfortunately most don't have a choice in the matter. Oh and if you're trying to sell people something, then most likely yet again.

Of course it all depends on what your usage stats/analytic say. Personally, I've not supported IE6 for a long time, but then on most of my sites Firefox is more than 50% of the market.

Re:Depends on who you cater to (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083090)


I try to support IE6 on a "moderate effort" basis. I'll fix major problems (if there are any) and I'll try to make it fail gracefully as others have said. Basically, if I do a site, I want it to reach people, that's my aim and I don't let my browser snobbery make me forget that. But having said that, this guy says less than 5% of his visitors are using IE at all. So I don't know what site he's running but it's clearly not an average demographic. So yes, he might as well disregard it other than putting up a note on the site itself, perhaps. For the rest of us, we carry on as usual trying to cater to our visitors. This is basically just another piece of Slashdot rabble rousing - it's hardly a real Ask Slashdot" where someone actually needs advice on something.

IE8 not yet authorized by IT (1)

Raystonn (1463901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082798)

IE8 is still fairly new. My workplace hasn't yet authorized its use, as some of the web applications used in our business do not work properly with it. Thus, we are all stuck with IE7 for the time being. My recommendation is to support the last two major versions of each browser. There are very good reasons why users may not yet be able to use the latest version.

Re:IE8 not yet authorized by IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082898)

Lazy arse workplace admins. Fix your internal webpages and increase compatibility, hopefully security and get rid of the past. Or just use Firefox.

Re:IE8 not yet authorized by IT (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083042)

Please tell that to Oracle. I've only been allowed to use IE7 to access my payslips since July. At least they fixed the broken redirect loop when logging in with Firefox 3. They also dropped the requirement for that horrid POS, jInitiator.

6% of users on IE6 (1)

edibobb (113989) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082800)

I'm seeing about 12% of IE users (6% of all users) on IE6. Almost none on IE5 and below. I would say dump IE5, but make IE6 usable at a minimum.

No more support (2, Interesting)

Rizz (33500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082804)

All of my sites now use browser detection for Firefox 2.* and IE versions prior to 8 and sends the user to a page giving them download options. It'd be nice if more people did the same.

Re:No more support (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082860)

No it would be nice if sites didn't even look at the (optional) user-agent header and just supported standards (particularly html + css) rather than specific browsers.

Re:No more support (3, Insightful)

Rizz (33500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082908)

I should have clarified. My sites are all now built for HTML5 and every attempt is made to stay standards-compliant.

While users with older browsers are redirected, the entire site (short of the few pages with directions) use those standards and are still visible selects the ``I know my browser was made in the 1800s but I still want to see your site'' link.

It's code and pages that I wrote one and just copy into new sites. *That's* what I wish more people would do. We could all gently urge those who either don't know or don't care and perhaps make the web a better place, one user at a time.

Re:No more support (1, Flamebait)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083128)

My sites are all now built for HTML5 ...

So you build your sites to a draft standard, a work in progress that will change over time, and support for which still varies among browsers (and no, I'm not speaking of IE here)? Good job!

Re:No more support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082866)

None of my sites use browser detection. It's all very simple html and css. It'd be nice if more people did the same.

Not needed (5, Insightful)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082810)

Actually, no browser should be explicitly/directly supported. Only standards need to be supported. The browsers and their makers should be forced to comply.

Re:Not needed (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082932)

And you'll tell your visitors to browse your site with the W3C Validator?

I'm sorry to inform you that most people that might browse your site exist in a realm called "reality", you should visit it some time.

Re:Not needed (4, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083020)

Agreed. But it's still a good thing to code to the standard, because it's also real that a site is easier to maintain the less browser-spesific hacks it employs.

It also matters what kinda functionality is lost in older browsers. If the site don't work at all with IE6, and 10% of the visitors use that, then that's definitely bad. If (to take a random example) border-radius isn't supported by IE-6, so those 10% visiting with that browser, get square corners rather than rounded ones, that may well be acceptable. (especially since supporting round corners in ie-6 means using fugly badly-maintainable hacks)

Re:Not needed (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082952)

But if someone bundles, I mean, releases a popular browser to the world, in which it breaks the standards, what then?

Popular sites should tell users (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083036)

to revisit with a real browser. If GMail, FaceBook, Twitter all give a "the browser you are using is not standards-compliant" message, then the browser-maker will change his stance.

Re:Not needed (2, Insightful)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082964)

The browsers and their makers should be forced to comply.

And ship'em to gulags if they don't?

Re:Not needed (4, Funny)

headLITE (171240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082982)

Actually, that might work.

Again, not needed (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083046)

They'll just quit the fray once enough number of people respect standards.

Re:Not needed (1)

DontScotty (978874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082986)

This very page on ask.slashdot.org/comments faisl W3C Markup Validation Service with 23 errors, 5 warnings comparing it to HTML 4.01 Transitional. More failures if you move to strict as well.

"Let he who is without errors cast the first validation test case..."

Re:Not needed (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083078)

Slashdot's code was written in perl probably before HTML4 came. Given perl's notoriously difficult maintainability, the coders would have been reluctant to adapt to HTML4.

Re:Not needed (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083214)

This would be true in a perfect world.

A somewhat more realistic motto would be: support only browsers which have a built-in update mechanism.

That would help prevent disasters like IE6 to happen again.

Yes and No (2, Interesting)

Kickboy12 (913888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082812)

At my web development company we officially stopped testing our sites on IE6 last year. However, we do still test sites in IE6 when we know the client is specifically using that browser (so they don't complain). However, IE7 is still pretty common among XP users, so we still have to test all sites on IE7 and IE8.

Though as far as we're concerned, IE6 is dead.

Re:Yes and No (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082958)

My stats indicate more visitor use IE6 than Opera (all versions combined) or Safari (all versions combined).

If IE6 is dead, then so are both Opera and Safari.

95% Beats 5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082816)

For the IE 6/7 users, they most likely be using machine locked down badly or unaware of need to change. You will do your self and other 95% of users a favour by moving to newer and better browser support. Why waste your time and effort on 5% of users when you should really take care of 95% of users.

Re:95% Beats 5% (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082834)

because your stats are pulled from your arse, a significant number of organisations still use ie 6/7. not only that but users don't exist so you can dictate their needs to them, you exist to provide a service.

your thinking is the typical fail thinking that persists here on /. that technology sets the agenda not the customer.

Re:95% Beats 5% (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083272)

I respectfully disagree.

The customer is not always right. (especially if the service in question is free) Can users dictate their needs to developers? They can try, but if they want the moon, they're going to be disappointed. IE6 needs to be unsupported eventually. Or do you propose continuing support for IE1-5 too? The only reason we don't see them in use today is because they (and they OS they run on) are deprecated. Stop laughing, I'm quite serious.

We ignore IE period. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082820)

Be ruthless, do not support any version of IE.

IE6 outdated. (4, Informative)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082822)

We're a web company, making different kind of websites for different kind of people. Which means we make anything from small "Mr and Mrs Smith My Pink Pony" kind of sites, to web shops with 5k+ transactions per day.

We recently (within the last year or so) put a note on our contracts, stating we don't support IE6 anymore, unless the customer is actually paying extra for making the appropiate changes. It was just too much a hassle to manage all the hacks and workarounds all the time.

So basically, we state we only support the latest generation of browsers, included IE7 since the migration to IE8 isn't complete yet. A lot of people still on IE7.
And IE7 isn't TOO bad, the work arounds is mainly CSS, the rest is worked out by MooTools, Prototype, etc.

Re:IE6 outdated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083218)

IE7 main flaw isn't that it's bad, it's that it is damned ugly!

sometimes users don't control their machines (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082824)

I worked for a federal agency and just this past summer we were finally upgraded to IE 7 - a lot of places where security is tight the IT people can be overly cautious when upgrading software, meaning employees could be years behind. If your site is something I need to access (technical documentation, etc) I'd be pretty annoyed when it wasn't my fault I couldn't access it because I'm not allowed to update my own machine.

Re:sometimes users don't control their machines (3, Insightful)

soundguy (415780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082902)

If "security was tight", IE would not be allowed at all.

Re:sometimes users don't control their machines (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083152)

you fucking FAGGOT! Go blow a penguin!!!!!!!

Re:sometimes users don't control their machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083314)

I tried and failed

Re:sometimes users don't control their machines (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083108)

I'd be pretty annoyed when it wasn't my fault I couldn't access it because I'm not allowed to update my own machine.

Which would put pressure on to admins to fix it...

Simple answer: no. (1)

eparker05 (1738842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082826)

Pages directed at 'technical audiences' often are composed of vanilla HTML and/or links to PDF files. There are of course exceptions to this, but a large proportion of the pages you described would easily support every modern browser.

For the exceptions to this, I think that there comes a point where it does not make sense to continue support for legacy systems. Now seems to be a good time to end support for old versions of IE, since this recent security fiasco that has put greater attention on upgrading to more secure browsers.

Re:Simple answer: no. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082988)

You mean this recent security fiasco was on the frontpage in all the newspapers?

Support (0)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082828)

I would support last two Windowses and the latest Internet Explorer browser for them.

IE8 is available for XP so I can not find reason to support IE7 (or the IE6 at all) anymore.

Admins should start to notice that it is better to update to latest stable version of used software and we should drive all developers as well to understand that.

It is not good that one software company can keep all its clients having old version of other software when they need to use their one software and it is not supporting newer versions of next ones. Usual problem is the license fees of updating (every update costs extra), even that they are fixing bugs what they have done in the first place.

Just support last two version what is supported by browser developers but do not tie yourself to last one but always the newest.

I would like to know do we still need in the bottom the fine print "Best viewed with browser X and Y with resolution XY"?

Corporations. (3, Interesting)

jedrek (79264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082830)

That's what it comes down to: corporations. There are still too many 10,000+ employee corporations out there that run Windows XP with the Flash 7 plug-in and IE6. You have to support that or there is no client.

I'm posting this from IE6. HELP! (4, Interesting)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082838)

My employer hasn't switched from IE6. Does anyone have tips on how to convince them to move to IE8? We have exactly zero software which requires IE6; in fact, some of our software doesn't work properly with it.

Re:I'm posting this from IE6. HELP! (1)

nicknamenotavailable (1730990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082976)

My employer hasn't switched from IE6.

It's OK, your new employer might use IE8.

(my employer doesn't know I have a netbook here, I get to use Firefox :)

Re:I'm posting this from IE6. HELP! (3, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083004)

I’ll be an example to you:

I left my well-payed day-job because my boss (who was a very powerful player on the net) wouldn’t let go of IE6. (I had to write webapps for that piece of shit.)

I’m happy and would I have the choice, I’d do the exact same thing again. Just earlier. ^^

Re:I'm posting this from IE6. HELP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083284)

You got voted interesting.

Because deciding to change your life, your wage, your job, maybe even to move because you don't like IE6 is, infact,... uhm.. INTERESTING!

Re:I'm posting this from IE6. HELP! (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083114)

Set your boss's default homepage to http://www.crashie.com/ [crashie.com]

Re:I'm posting this from IE6. HELP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083326)

Note that its a security issue to remain on an older version of the software.

Make certain you explain that many site are pulling support for IE 6 and soon web content will not be accessible to them if they remain on the outdated browser.

Explain that development time on any project ordered where IE6 support is required will be x3 longer, since many features are not supported by IE6.

Explain that IE 6 is a piece of crap (which it is - this is not up for debate. Ever.)

That if they want Round edges on their controls in IE 6 - they can damn well make them themselves!

be compatible or loose out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082842)

*sigh* no - my technical blog still gets 40% of its traffic from old outdated browsers - the information is still useful to these people regardless of what browser they are using

a lot of the traffic comes from corporate networks where no doubt the network/desktop/it security overlords dictate when/what patches/upgrades are applied.

Dictate to your audience which browser + version they must use and you alienate all the others.

Backwards compatability - whereever possible maximises your audience.

And in the case of an eCommerce / shopping website - you never want to miss out on sale just because the website designer/programmer is too riteous to care about compatability. Do you think that maybe you only get 5% IE traffic because your site may be broken/unusable for IE users and they refuse to come back to "that dodgy broken site that doesn't work for me" ?

I worked for the biggest ISP in the country doing tech support for customers, and believe me - just because you think it should be a certain way doesn't mean the end-user will think/do/behave/understand it that way.

Embrace the masses - make it work in as many browsers as possible - Do you think websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter would have so many users if they only worked in one browser version and told everyone else to pi** off ?

Why not write your websites to only work for the latest version on Lynx and see how popular you are?

Re:be compatible or loose out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082900)

Hmm my no was a bit broad ... its a no to the question "wouldn't it be best to end support for obsoleted browsers?"

And I'm posting as anonymous to avoid being slashdotted.

I think the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082850)

You know it is not big amount of code that has to be maintained to be compatible with all the browsers, but if getting new browser doesn't cost money, why to bother with some older browsers that do not event interpret standardized code correctly? Computers these days are not equipped whit cassette or 5"25 floppy drive even if people still have them. Windows 3.11 support definitely ended so it is the same with browsers. Just inform people that they have deprecated browser and thus the page might be rendered incorrectly. Of course the warning have to be medieval browsers compatible :-)

Measure it... (3, Interesting)

dacut (243842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082856)

... as you've done. What percentage of those IE users are still running IE6/7? Then ask yourself, "Am I willing to lose X% of my visitors to save Y% of coding effort?"

For any typical website which depends on traffic for revenue, I'd say you'd have to be nuts to cut support for IE 6/7; thats about 35% [wikipedia.org] of the visitors to your site. The fact that only 5% (and not 62%) of your visitors use IE at all, however, indicates that you're not running a typical site (or there's an error in your metrics collection).

Re:Measure it... (1)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083292)

The large Government UK website that I work on still has 12%+ on IE6 (plus another 24% on IE7), so it is impossible to say that we're not going to support IE6 any more. However being business facing, we are probably seeing a slightly larger percentage of those. Interestingly IE8 has about 35% share - so users are moving over to the new browsers, albeit slowly.

The bigger issue might be caused by corporations holding on to IE6 (as someone above has mentioned). In house we still have IE6 as the standard because our CMS/finance systems won't work in IE7 or IE8 and the cost of upgrading it to work in those browsers is larger than the negative impact of forcing everyone to use IE6 in the company. The downside is that we have lots of other systems that are faltering because they don't work in IE6 and I have to go against company policy of telling everyone to use Firefox or Chrome. Then again, the wider company policy is not to use IE6, so they're already breaking their own rules.

Just out of interest the company's 2% rule (although I reckon it should be a 1% rule, but that's an argument for another time) says that we have to support these browsers: IE 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0; Firefox 3.0, 3.5 and 3.6; Chrome 3.0 and 4.0; Safari 4.

Standards Compliant (4, Interesting)

jadin (65295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082890)

I (attempt) to keep my websites standards compliant. If it works in your browser, great. If not, not my problem. I'm not jumping through hoops to help support companies actively ignoring agreed upon standards.

However, I'm also not financially dependent on my websites...

IE6 not supported? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31082904)

"Yeah, so... I was gonna go download another browser but no websites supported IE6 so I couldn't download any."

Re:IE6 not supported? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083194)

Use wget, you n00b.

Took you this long? (1, Flamebait)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082918)

"Following Google's announcement ending support for Internet Explorer 6, I find myself wondering whether we (Web developers) really need to continue providing support for IE6 and IE7..."

What a shame. It took a move by a large company like Google to get you to wonder about supporting IE 6, rather than reaching this conclusion through your own experience and common sense. Of course, this shame is also a blessing, as I'm hoping that it will get others like you to question the same, and hopefully companies will all follow suit.

It's not always by choice... (1)

xlsior (524145) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082924)

Especially when creating Web sites intended for technical audiences, wouldn't it be best to end support for obsoleted browsers?

I'd think that most 'technical audiences' would already be running a non-obsolete browser if they had any say in the matter...
Not everyone has the option of installing/running alternate browsers (think: locked down corporate PC's, etc.)

*Especially* with technical audiences, there's a larger than average chance that you'd lock these people out completely by preventing them to use an older browser. It's more likely that grandma doesn't realize that her browser is ancient than it would be for your typical techie...

Obsolete? (2, Funny)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082926)

Come on. Some people still love IE6. Moreover, I believe IE5.5 is still used by some people.

Well, that's my assumption based on the phrase "These versions include Internet Explorer 5.01 Service Pack 4 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service 4" mentioned in http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/980088.mspx [microsoft.com] , but perhaps that's bad logic.

our stats make it a no brainer (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082946)

Have you had to make a choice like this Yes we have made a choice. And that choice is to maintain support.

We are an agricultural company at cutting edge DNA profiling for the beef breeds industry. Despite this our clients are farmers. IE 6 runs at 60% of browser share for us.

Sorry, but its a fact of life.

Wish we could :-/ (5, Insightful)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082950)

Get rid if IE6? Boy I wish we could. But we can't.

Our 4-man startup software company targets medium sized corporate customers (250-2500 seats) and they are still using lots of old computers with IE6. There are many reasons but a few of the most noticable ones are:

1.) a ton of old Line-of-Business applications still uses IE6 for presentation.
2.) a surprisingly large amount of corporate software uses embedded IE6 components in their GUI.

Most of these corporations have installed newer browsers on their machines (some of them even installed non-MS browsers) but IE6 is still there - under the surface - because critical business applications are still depending on it.

All those Line-of-Business applications are extremely hard to remove. They often solve critical business needs so nobody wants to throw them away. They work and "do the things they were built to do". And since they just work there is no budget to replace them with somerhing else. The people who created them have left the company years ago so nobody really knows exactly how and why they are implemented.

But everbody knows this about their old LOB apps: they neeed IE6, they still work as intended, nobody can tell how to make an alternate solution, and there is no budget to analyze or re-implement them (and why would anybody want to - right?).

I imagine this is quite common for many corporations around the world and not just in my region.

- Jesper
   

The whole premise is faulty (1, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082960)

The stuff I really want on the web would work fine with Netscape Navigator 3.x and the correct plugins.

Do us all a favor and get rid of CSS, XHTML, and all the other alphabeet soup. Oh, and stop using target _blank. I've held out quite a while, but I think I'm finally going to install one of those script/tag-stripping proxies just so I can get rid of target _blank.

I wanna new window, I'll click right-click and chose "open in new window". That's what it's there for. Oh, and how's that back button compatability thing working out? No? Still not there? Wankers.

Oh, and "get off my lawn".

Stop The Support .... (0, Redundant)

kai_hiwatari (1642285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082968)

IE 6 needs to die as soon as possible!

Hell no! (5, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31082970)

Remember: The only thing you can achieve by supporting those “browsers”, is to be an enabler. Basically the only reason those people still use IE, is because they can. And the only reason they still can, is because you still code for IE 6/7. And the only reason you do that, is because people still use them.
Do you see the circular logic here?
Someone has to break the cycle. And you can bet your ass that it won’t be the users. It’s your job. It’s mine. After all we’re the experts for a reason.
Don’t be an ass. Be nice. Don’t push them. Pull them. Coming from IE6 to a full-featured modern browser with HTML5-enabled sites, is freakn’ great! It’s like opening the box of your shiny new electronics device (or whatever you like) and playing with it all day long. Get that feeling across! And you will see them getting dragged in in the euphoria, switching in the blink of an eye.
People don’t change anything if they think they don’t have to. It’s called efficiency. But sometimes it’s bad. E.g. when there is a lack of information.

So if you think that they should switch, then just code close to the standards. If they want to use their site, it takes them five minutes to install a recent browser, and they know it for years.

Still supporting IE 6/7 is similar to acting like those EA managers, who would never dare to do something innovative, edgy, fresh or even slightly offending, to get a target group as big as possible... and then ending up with a shitty target group because the result of your work is bland, average, plastic-fantastic, non-innovative, boring shit that nobody hates but that also nobody loves.

Re:Hell no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083202)

You can't push people. It's hard. Even Microsoft hasn't managed to push people into Silverlight, which is only a plugin, and has moved back from demanding you install it for some things on its site to just suggesting it. And Sliverlight is not a bad environment, either.

You can't "break the cycle". You can nudge it, but nothing more. As for doing something "edgy, fresh or even slightly offending", it's great, if you have the right audience. Most of the audience, though, would be turned off by this. So if you're targetting "average people", just don't do it. There's a good reason EA is doing what it does: it sells. If mediocrity didn't sell well, it wouldn't be this attractive. Don't be fooled into thinking you can stop it, because it's a mathematical law that most people are average.

Why shut people out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083016)

It's fine to have a statement saying their browser version may decrease their experience at your website but I really hope you still allow those users to continue to browse your site should they want to ignore your suggestion of an upgrade. Why shut then out when they may be perfectly happy to get a lower user experience as long as they can access your content?

There are many cases where you have no power over the browser you use; case in point my office continues to use IE6 internally (and then for external sites since they opened up their proxies). It's only recently that I've had the ability to install and use Firefox and even then that's only because I'm a developer, everyone else is mostly still on IE6. I imagine I fit the profile of your target audience and if I'm shut out of your website at work purely because of something I can't do anything about, it's not exactly going to endear your site to me.

Code for standards. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083026)

Let the users sort the rest out. Be very upfront with why things break in IE.

Why not use Win 98?? (1)

SittingUnderBridge (1738626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083038)

Then you can use your old ass browser and be happy. But seriously I'm always using the latest RC of whatever (no brand war bullshit) it is I use, doesn't matter if it OS or browser. Get with the times or become a dinosaur and everyone will forget about you. One of my local suppliers just upgraded from DOS (I shit you not) don't know what version to XP and at least now I don't have to put up with them rebooting 3 different POS terminals before they can actually bill something out to the company account. Waiting 20 minutes for an invoice is not acceptable I'm a contractor I don't get paid by the hour while 20 year old machines churn away wasting my time.

Re:Why not use Win 98?? (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083196)

Win98's a pretty extreme example, though people like that do exist. But you've apparently taken things to the opposite end of the spectrum -- anyone who values stability doesn't run "latest RC" versions of anything.

I hear ya, but no (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083056)

I'd love to ditch IE6. But where I work, it's not reasonable. Even if only 5% of our users are running it, quitting support for IE6 would mean tens of thousands of dollars a month. I think some sites have the clout to try and force the users to upgrade, but not us. They can simply go somewhere else.

There will definitely come a time when the cost of supporting those users will be less than the revenue they bring in. Soon, but not quite yet. So, I'm still spending the 11th hour before roll-out pathetically debugging some hard to get at IE Glitch.

At least our policy has gone from "IE6 must be pixel perfect" to "it just can't look like ass, at least where the site doesn't already". And for certain behind the scenes features (analytics, content tests) we do not have to support it.

I would argue that for more technical sites (ours is not from the point of view or the browser) ie6 will certainly hinder progress and is likely a liability. I don't mention ie7 here because, for the most part, it's okay. It works. At least for our sites.

Our visitors use it... (2, Interesting)

Fotograf (1515543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083060)

our visitors still come 30% with IE6 so: decision is yours: do you want that that 1/3 of your possible customers cannot view the page properly

It's not your decision (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083076)

As a developer, you need to do what the bosses ask of you. You may argue a bit about it at the beginning, especially if you can back your argument up (vulnerabilities, extra costs, missing features...), but once the choice is made you've got to suck it up.

My brother works for one of those infamous IE6-bound large corps. It hurts them quite badly (to the point where most users have installed firefox on the side and try and use it whenever it works), but they've got so much specific stuff (activeX controls, .NET, just plian web stuff) invested in IE6 that switching would be a multimillion-dollar proposition. They're reluctant to even start phasing it out for new developments, since that would mean supporting 2 browsers instead of just the one.

Now, if you're your own boss and got a choice, you need to think carefully about who your users are, how willing they'll be to change browsers just for you...

Don't paint them both with the same brush (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083080)

IE 6 is about a decade old, while IE 7 just came out three years or so ago - why are you lumping them together? I'm not fond of IE 7, but from a coding point of view it's far less broken than IE 6.

On a related note, I suggest you shouldn't plan on writing pages that require HTML 5 canvas support for a while yet.

C'mon, I've ranted about IE as much as anyone - but seriously, are you going to hold Firefox or Webkit up to the same standards? Heck, Webkit seems to be pushing the envelope the hardest... so maybe you need to deny access to anyone who's not using a bleeding-edge Chrome or Safari build.

my code barely works in firefox and chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083082)

on my website if you're using IE and something doesn't work tough shit. get a real browser.

An updateIE bar (1)

zefciu (1654897) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083100)

You could alternatively use a widget from http://ie6update.com/ [ie6update.com] it's quite a smartass idea. However it's meant for ie6 only, which really is obsolete now. I believe that IE 7 should still be supported. But it's your business and money.

Dropping IE6 may make sense, but not IE7. (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083118)

There are very few situations where it would make sense for an end user to continue using IE6. The only one that occurs to me off the top of my head is if you're in the unenviable position of being stuck on Win2K, and relying on mission-critical Intranet applications which absolutely require IE. Even in this case, Firefox can be installed alongside IE6 (and would be a much safer choice for accessing the public Internet anyway). Given these factors, I think dropping IE6 support for a public web site (in the sense of no longer continuing to test changes to the site against IE6) is reasonable.

Dropping support for IE7 seems rather premature to me though; it still has a sizable installed base. Furthermore, its CSS implementation -- while still not perfect -- is much less broken than IE6's, so it requires less effort to ensure that pages render correctly in IE7.

Strange place to draw the line (1)

bw-sf (937673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083170)

IE 6 and IE 7 are completely different animals. For most uses, IE 7 is just a bit weird and broken, whereas IE 6 is a complete mutant clusterfuck. It's much easier to support 7 than 6.

Squeeze Them (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083174)

Don't explicitly break IE6/7, just don't kill yourself to making your site 100% compatible.

Use IE6NoMore [ie6nomore.com]

As for corporate sites...I haven't seen much of an issue, honestly. The last few big corps I've worked with that still use IE6 also have Firefox installed. Yes, their desktop machines come with 2 browsers and IE6 is used almost explicitly with a couple of legacy apps that rely on ActiveX.

Not until Windows XP support is dropped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083176)

Until Windows XP has been phased out then I don't think you can drop IE6 support. Unfortunately people do have to reinstall Windows now and then, and when they do they will need to be able to surf the web etc to download drivers, or to even download IE8.

Could the real geeks please stand up? (2, Interesting)

redGiraffe (189625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083204)

What happened to the tried and tested option of ignoring the browsers you don't want to support; web1.0 was built on these sound principles. When we could not access the site due to the webmaster (remember them?) implementing the latest Netscape tag, we would assume it was our fault and upgrade.

I blame agile development practices for worrying about what the user can handle: pussies.

back in the days... (1)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083208)

back in the days not just tech websites proudly presented the "this site requires IE3 / Netscape 3" icons. And Netscape 2 before that. And NS 1.4, iirc that was quite an important release feature-wise. I suppose the web was not catering for non-geeks on the whole.

Simple answer to the above question: what's the cost of continued support of $OBSOLETE_BROWSER_X compared with the revenue your website makes from customers with $OBSOLETE_BROWSER_X who won't switch to $SANE_BROWSER and rather abscond tom $EVIL_COMPETITOR.

Well (1)

Muskstick (1522069) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083252)

I just started working for a governement agency and we only support IE6 apparently. Working with JSF/ICEfaces atm.

Actually I block old MSIE (0)

tonk (101504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083320)

As clients using old version of MSIE are more likely to be infected with malware, I decided to not only stop support for them, but block them entirely.

If more sites did alike, users might feel slightly more motivated to update.

Microsoft phases out Netscape 4 support, so there (2, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083332)

Microsoft is phasing out support for Netscape 4, in retaliation for Google declaring Internet Explorer 6 a "pustulent syphilitic drunken crack whore [newstechnica.com] with no mates. And bad breath. Who smells funny."

Google has given up bothering to support IE6 on its sites, directing the doubtless hideously virus-infected users of the browser to download another browser. Any other browser. "Lynx will give you a vastly superior YouTube experience. Now it will, anyway."

"The Mozilla Foundation has completely failed to fix problems in Netscape 4 that have been around for years," said Microsoft marketing marketer Jonathan Ness. "Furthermore, Firefox gets just as many hacks as Internet Explorer, and pay no attention to my lengthening nose."

In December, Chinese hackers exploited a weak spot in IE6 that Microsoft had only known about since September. Following this, governments worldwide told people to get the hell off IE6, except Britain, which relies on IE6 to leak data when there are insufficient funds for USB sticks or train journeys for civil servants.

Web designers around the world welcomed Google's move, but have not given up their Bill Gates dartboards just yet. "'That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.' Steve Ballmer said that, you know."

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