Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Ding Dong the Bits Are Dead
April 8, 2014 4:17 AM   Subscribe

Internet Explorer 6, listed by PC World as the eight worst tech product of all time has finally been inhumed.
posted by jenkinsEar (66 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Doesn't mean particularly crappy sites won't still require it. (Or newer, but tell that to grandma ;)
posted by mafted jacksie at 4:19 AM on April 8


And as the flipside of that, plenty of people will still have to develop with IE6 compatibility as a requirement.
posted by pipeski at 4:20 AM on April 8


There are still lots of legacy corporate apps which require it (though most of them are safely tucked behind firewalls on LANs by now), just as there are lots of corporate apps which require Windows XP. Those aren't going away until the only source for compatible hardware is a black market more expensive than redevelopment.
posted by localroger at 4:33 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


I hate JavaScript, but I'm ecstatic that it has replaced the mess that led to things like sites requiring "IE6 compatibility."
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:35 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Yeah... if we're at the long tail of IE 6 dependency now, its market share is going to be more a function of the population of internet users continuing to grow. I still deal with corporate clients who require full IE6 compatibility/accessibility for their websites because their Fortune 500 clients' infrastructures was last built around 2001 and, as long as the decision makers within those companies are allowed to use the latest and greatest, they'll never approve the budget necessary to upgrade the tens of thousands of PCs the staff under them use.
posted by at by at 4:45 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


And oh yeah: IE 6's net user base is grossly underreported. They will never appear in the various web usage metrics reports because their corporate firewalls block all that shit.

On the upside, if your website has a .com TLD, odds are pretty good their access to your site is blocked anyway, unless for some reason you're on their firewall whitelist. I don't really understand the logic behind it, aside from a kind of handwavy "no personal browsing on company time", but isolating the .com TLD seems to be a thing among a certain kind of cargo-cultish IT management mentality.
posted by at by at 4:48 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I hate JavaScript, but I'm ecstatic that it has replaced the mess that led to things like sites requiring "IE6 compatibility."

This. Sometimes it seemed like "Requires IE6" was the general theme of the early 2000's.

A client of mine doesn't set any browser compatibility requirements for their website, but a quick look at the site's stats reveals a sizable number of visitors still using IE6. Since the client regularly deals with poor and underprivileged women, this makes sense. But, it also keeps us from making their website as modern as we'd like.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:50 AM on April 8


STOP BUYING COMPUTERS FROM THRIFT STORES
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:55 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


Microsoft's own IE 6 countdown site is considerably more useful and informative.

For example, that incredibly valuable Chinese user demographic your employer might be pursuing? 22.2% IE 6 usage. India? 2.3%.

Otherwise, most countries' reported usage is between 0.2% (US) and 1.7% (Japan). Keeping in mind reported usage isn't necessarily a real-world value.
posted by ardgedee at 4:55 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


That graphic makes me nostalgic for Netscape.
posted by pianissimo at 5:00 AM on April 8


The time card system that I need to log into every week to get paid needs IE 8 at the newest and absolutely no one at my site actually has a machine that can run that. So once a week we all have to log into a Citrix server that has IE 8 on it to run that one app.

The most annoying thing is that we're all salaried so once we finally get IE 8 and the time card app running (which usually takes 5 - 10 minutes) we just type 5 eights in a row and hit submit.
posted by octothorpe at 5:14 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


Don't worry. Tablet and Mobile friendly web design will make sure plenty of things are still crap.

(I'm looking at you flickr!)
posted by srboisvert at 5:16 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


That's an interesting listicle. They seem to have stuck the Mac Portable and Apple's short-lived Pippin game consoles on there to mollify the Apple haters, but I've never seen either of those in the flesh, as it were; IE6, on the other hand, I had to endure for years at my job simply because it was the devil they knew.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:19 AM on April 8


But...but... I was just about to upgrade.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:25 AM on April 8


Tablet and Mobile friendly web design will make sure plenty of things are still crap.

Windows 8 on a laptop is like dealing with Eddie the Shipboard Computer. "I know you keep clicking over there, but hey, how about these pretty panels and stuff over here? Aren't they fun? Hey, how about some nice pictures to lighten the mood! Look, I can send them flying across the screen! Whoo, look at 'em go! And here's the weather in some city you'll never visit! Isn't that something? We're all having a great time here, right guys??"
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:32 AM on April 8 [45 favorites]


Isn't PC World once of the 17 most cromulent publications of all time?
posted by clvrmnky at 5:35 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


2014 is so much better! Now we have sites that only work in Chrome, and pop-ups are all done in JavaScript so cannot be blocked, and I can install any browser I want on my tablet... wait, hang on a minute...
posted by alasdair at 5:36 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


> listed by PC World as the eight worst tech product of all time

Very old list. There have been some worthy contenders since 2006.
posted by jfuller at 5:36 AM on April 8


and I can install any browser I want on my tablet

Why not just buy an Android tablet then? If that's important to you (as it is to me) it seems the logical choice.
posted by jaduncan at 5:38 AM on April 8


I'd have put that one version of AOL that crushed everyones' Winsock, in favor of creating its own TCP/IP stack, on the list of worst products.
posted by thelonius at 5:45 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


I'd have put that one version of AOL that crushed everyones' Winsock, in favor of creating its own TCP/IP stack, on the list of worst products.

I would like to hear more about this but Google isn't cooperating.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:50 AM on April 8


Pope Guilty - I think it was related to this.....this was a long time ago, but I remember a big uproar when maybe AOL 6.0 came out, it broke a bunch of people's internets.
posted by thelonius at 5:55 AM on April 8


Not to mention that nasty AOL browser....hell, just AOL in general belongs on that list
posted by thelonius at 5:59 AM on April 8


I still deal with corporate clients who require full IE6 compatibility/accessibility for their websites because their Fortune 500 clients' infrastructures was last built around 2001 and, as long as the decision makers within those companies are allowed to use the latest and greatest, they'll never approve the budget necessary to upgrade the tens of thousands of PCs the staff under them use.
Remember when everyone was crying about standards on the web? Yeah, that's what they were talking about. Microsoft tried as hard as their could to tie Internet Explorer into the backbone of the American economy, and they largely succeeded.

Thanks to ActiveX, thousands of corporate users will never have the option to upgrade beyond 2001 technology. It would be impossibly expensive and dangerous to rewrite the software at this point – too many critical components of the organization depend on it. The entire organization is tied to an OS and browser version forever. Or at least until it becomes profitable to upgrade, which may as well be forever. Even if they did hit a point where the cost of reimplementing the application would be lower than the cost of maintaining it, I imagine Microsoft could just throw a VM at them or something, anything to keep them from changing vendors. This is how enterprise software works. If you get a huge client to sign on, they will be a revenue stream until the sun burns out.

These are mostly financial institutions that have built their core business logic into a baroque proprietary web application framework pushed by some Microsoft consultant, so that it now takes an army of engineers just to understand how to change placement of the buttons. Because it's all built on proprietary code, engineers need to take training courses on the framework, which opens another revenue stream for Microsoft. Not to mention all the reference materials.

(The plus side is that these corporations will continue to employee hundreds, perhaps thousands, of engineers to maintain the mess. Who says big corporations don't create jobs?)

Also note that, due to rampant piracy of Microsoft products, China's internet users are reviving IE6. Sorry to rain on your parade. :)
posted by deathpanels at 6:09 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


A long distant time past we figured anybody still using IE6 wasn't worth fixing margins.
posted by koebelin at 6:09 AM on April 8


These are mostly financial institutions that have built their core business logic into a baroque proprietary web application framework

The real estate industry also did this, I think - I've heard of people who have to keep an archaic PC w/ IE 6 around for their or their spouses' work there
posted by thelonius at 6:13 AM on April 8


Even if they did hit a point where the cost of reimplementing the application would be lower than the cost of maintaining it, I imagine Microsoft could just throw a VM at them or something, anything to keep them from changing vendors. This is how enterprise software works. If you get a huge client to sign on, they will be a revenue stream until the sun burns out.


Emphasized for historical truth, but I'm starting to see a change in this idea as the Novell, Groupwise, Lotus people are realizing they're on a shrinking island....
posted by Thistledown at 6:14 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


The plus side is that these corporations will continue to employee hundreds, perhaps thousands, of engineers to maintain the mess. Who says big corporations don't create jobs?

The broken [Microsoft] windows fallacy?
posted by jaduncan at 6:15 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


> Not to mention that nasty AOL browser....hell, just AOL in general belongs on that list

yo
posted by ardgedee at 6:16 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


The second link! Argh! One of the other 'worst products'' sub features is Clippy, the Office Assistant. God had I forgotten about Clippy, the nemesis of my Master's thesis that would always pop up making inane suggestions when I was trying to get my analytical shit together. This is truly best of the web, to be reminded of how all this horror is gone now.
posted by Namlit at 6:20 AM on April 8


Thistledown:I'm starting to see a change in this idea as the Novell, Groupwise, Lotus people are realizing they're on a shrinking island...."

My Fortune 500 company just dropped Notes last year, and we are still transitioning off of other Lotus products.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:46 AM on April 8


Iomega Zip Drive! I had forgotten all about them. They were indeed shit.

I mildly disagree with this list - Lotus Notes should be front and center.

IE6, back in the day, it shat on Netscape 4.7 which really was a dog. IE's problem was that it persisted when it should have been updated.

MS Bob was OK, that was just 3.1 with a cutsie shell, we had it installed in the office for a while. I don't think it was bad per se - just pointless.
posted by mattoxic at 6:56 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


One of my favorite browser-compatibility statements I ever saw was on a friend's web site; he put a small banner at the bottom stating that reading the site in IE6 would "make it look like a smacked ass".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on April 8


But that sounds dreamy.
posted by thelonius at 7:22 AM on April 8


mattoxic: "I mildly disagree with this list - Lotus Notes should be front and center. "

If my circle of friends is any indication, this is still causing employee retention issues for IBM. Right before one particular friend left the company, he frequently ranted about how "half the time, I can't send a goddamn email. Email. We're fucking IBM, and we don't know how to do email."

I've worked with plenty of horrible technology products in my time, and usually, the tech had some saving grace that ensured its continued survival and usage (no matter how awful it really was). However, I have never used a product that inspired such universal loathing, anger, and hatred as Lotus Notes does.
posted by schmod at 7:29 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


alasdair: "2014 is so much better! Now we have sites that only work in Chrome, and pop-ups are all done in JavaScript so cannot be blocked, and I can install any browser I want on my tablet... wait, hang on a minute..."

Speak for yourself. I can install several browsers on my Android Devices (and you should -- the stock Android browser easily the buggiest browser currently in production).

That said, new browsers do not fundamentally break the web like IE6 and its ilk did.

IE6 implemented proprietary APIs, did not correctly implement published standards, ran compiled bytecode (ActiveX), had terrible documentation, and had no usable debugging tools.

Most/all of the new HTML5 APIs are standards that are consistently documented and implemented. Not all browsers adopt support at the same time, but things have generally settled out after a year or two. Yes, there will always be a bleeding edge, but it's better than having the technology stagnate (or go proprietary).

Additionally, most new APIs provide good ways for developers to test whether or not a specific browser implements them (without crashing the browser). This (plus modern browser debugging tools), allows us to build apps that can gracefully fall back whenever a shiny new feature isn't available.

This list is interesting, because it doesn't seem to differentiate between poorly-engineered consumer products, and products/technologies that fundamentally broke computing and the internet for a vast portion of its users, for an extended period of time. AOL and IE6 definitely fall in the latter category...
posted by schmod at 7:38 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I work for a retail company that has users in China, Germany, France, the, UK, and the US.

China, pace deathpanels' linked article from 2010 (!), is not going strong on IE6 and, in fact, is currently at about 23% IE8 with healthy representations on Chrome and Firefox.

In the other markets, IE is bifurcated between IE8 and IE11. Our going narrative is that IE8 and IE11 represent the most recent IE's possible on XP and Windows 7/8.

In any case, Chrome is far and away the leader in market share.

IE6 is dead (or undead) and when XP loses official support in, what, 5 days IE8 will go the same direction.

But IE is not coming back not with Google driving Chrome.
posted by mistersquid at 7:38 AM on April 8


IE6 implemented proprietary APIs, did not correctly implement published standards, ran compiled bytecode (ActiveX), had terrible documentation, and had no usable debugging tools.

IE6 caused a lot of pain, but much of the griping here feels like blaming IE6 for how it acts in the current climate which is hardly its fault. Not to pick on your specific comment as I agree with the spirit of it, but

implemented proprietary APIs

Microsoft's proprietary APIs are also in large part responsible for Ajax and Web 2.0 with the XmlHttpRequest.

did not correctly implement published standards

I hated IE mainly because you couldn't submit bug reports for clear CSS screw-ups, but it's not like they were the only browser maker that didn't implement things correctly. I did some work for the W3C writing tests for the CSS3/ CSS 2.1 Print specs and that was one of the most mentally taxing gigs I've worked on. Trying to write tests to match a spec for a standard that's just words and no browser currently implements so you can't test it teaches the value of clear language. If I was confused at times writing the tests, how did the poor folks implementing the standards feel?

Moreover, Microsoft's incorrect implementation of the box model, which led to a worldwide shortage in backsl\ashes while people hacked around it, was such a common-sense mistake that browsers now offer that alternative model in CSS.

had terrible documentation, and had no usable debugging tools

Which debugging tools were you using when IE6 came out? I don't remember anything particularly useful until Phoenix became Firefox and Firebug came out in 2006, 5 years after IE6 was released.

We live in a better world if we live in one where IE6 is dead, but IE5 and 6 helped move things forward but then refused to die. Like your favorite band.
posted by yerfatma at 7:54 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


I have been a web developer for so long that I remember when IE6 was the new and good browser, because Netscape 4 was terrible...I once had to write code that (on NS4) tested for presence of an element's CSS-set attribute because CSS rules didn't always load the first time; if the attribute was not there I forced a complete page reload, but then I also had to have another test on another element that detected a pre-crash condition because the reload had to happen no more than twice so that NS4 wouldn't crash and it took me a week to figure this all out and why is there a vein popping out of my forehead now I guess the body never forgets argh.
posted by davejay at 7:59 AM on April 8 [8 favorites]


Say what you will about Lotus Notes, but I once wrote a multiplayer turn-based board game on Lotus Notes that myself and other people played (including one of the partners) at Arthur Andersen's Chicago headquarters a few years before the accounting scandal that took them down. Ah memories.
posted by davejay at 8:05 AM on April 8


The plus side is that these corporations will continue to employee hundreds, perhaps thousands, of engineers to maintain the mess. Who says big corporations don't create jobs?

There will always be work for the COBOL guy.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:11 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Say what you will about Lotus Notes, but I once wrote a multiplayer turn-based board game on Lotus Notes that myself and other people played (including one of the partners) at Arthur Andersen's Chicago headquarters a few years before the accounting scandal that took them down. Ah memories.

I wrote emails with clickable buttons that would email people in your contact list and confess a deep secret love. I took corporate morale very seriously.
posted by srboisvert at 8:12 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Iomega Zip Drive! I had forgotten all about them. They were indeed shit.

Compared to what - floppy discs? That was the alternative, until CD-ROM burners appeared, and those were not rewritable at first. I know some people had problems with Zip discs, but of the hundreds of them I used, I only had one do the Click of Death. The biggest drawback was platform dependency.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:22 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


My Fortune 500 company just dropped Notes last year, and we are still transitioning off of other Lotus products.

You work for IBM?
posted by MartinWisse at 8:26 AM on April 8


Ha, no. We also only got our first note about getting off of XP a week ago.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:28 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I met a guy at a social event once who was a former lead developer and later architect of Notes, back before IBM acquired Lotus. A bunch of us were stuck using Notes at work, so there was more than a little ribbing about that particular shitpile.

The guy's defense of Notes was interesting, though. The reason it comes across so terribly as an email program is because it wasn't really built as an "email program." It happens to do email, among other things, but it was designed to be a much more full-featured program, of which email was only one small component.

The impression I got was that, when it was originally designed, they really expected users to be sitting down and using Notes all day. Almost like a workflow system in a callcenter or something, where you'd have a series of custom applications for your different business tasks, and you'd work on some item within that little application, complete it, and then Notes would route it to the next person in line, ad infinitum. But of course, that's not typically how it was used: it might get sold with that intention to a company's executives, but 95% of the time there wasn't any follow-through to create all the custom networked line-of-business apps that would actually let people do work in Notes. It just got used as a PIM and email tool instead. And it sucked, but that's not how the engineers thought it would be used originally. They were aiming for something bigger than that.

A lot of the weirdness of Notes as an email tool makes sense if you look at it with some grand, early 1990s brave-new-PC-world perspective. At the time, you couldn't just stand up a little CRUD app in an afternoon; rolling out a networked client/server application was a major undertaking, well out of the reach of many companies. But Notes was designed to take care of the heavy lifting: you can write a little app in LotusScript (which is BASIC-like) and then Notes will handle the backend replication of that app's database to the server, and to other users. Heck, it will handle stuff that would take you a long time to do today, like working offline and replicating only periodically over a modem — a lot of iOS and Android apps have problems doing that.

If Lotus had kept Notes positioned as a sort of niche product, a sort of super-IDE for easily creating and using database-backed C/S applications, and never tried to sell it as a generalized email tool, I don't think it would have the reputation that it has. Many fewer people would know about it, but I think they'd probably have a greater appreciation for it.

Much of the fault belongs, I think, with the way it was marketed and sold, and not with the product itself. If there's any lesson at all from an engineering perspective, it's that generalized do-everything tools, which often look very attractive in the design stage (generalize everything!), tend to fail in reality when they run up against ugly evolved-for-specialization tools. Notes' object-orientedness and replication strategy is a whole lot more elegant, conceptually, than Unix email. But if I fire up my email program now (provided it's not Outlook), it's not replicating an OO database to the server: it's opening up a TCP socket and screaming ASCII down it like a teletype from hell. Worse is better.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:29 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


I've built a ton of sites for this Fortune 100 company that until last year used IE6 exlusively. Not just IE6 but some weird version of it that would shit the bed when presented with a browser prefix.

Meanwhile, there's another client (big software company) that uses IE8. Big companies are hipsters when it comes to web browsers.
posted by brundlefly at 8:34 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I used to be a Lotus Notes admin and I'm sorry for your pain. The worst part of my job by far was handling the hatred of everyone for the Notes client. My solution at the time was to just turn on IMAP and let people use Outlook for their email.

One of the reasons the Notes client sucked at email was that your Inbox was just another Notes database. There was no native email interface. Anytime your opened your email in Notes, you were just opening a database that was designed to mimic a typical mail box.
posted by Eddie Mars at 9:59 AM on April 8


If my circle of friends is any indication, this is still causing employee retention issues for IBM. Right before one particular friend left the company, he frequently ranted about how "half the time, I can't send a goddamn email. Email. We're fucking IBM, and we don't know how to do email."

When I was job hunting in the Fall, a friend who's at IBM asked me about applying there since the lab he's at is doing some interesting work but I just couldn't bring myself to go back to Lotus Notes.
posted by octothorpe at 10:04 AM on April 8


I hate JavaScript, but I'm ecstatic that it has replaced the mess that led to things like sites requiring "IE6 compatibility."

I don't hate JavaScript at all. In fact, I love JavaScript as a language. But it's fair to say I can't stand the way it's often written, including by me at any time >= about 1 year ago.

I've also learned recently to have some animosity towards the inventor of JavaScript.

But nothing set the web world further back than IE6. Rest in eternal hellfire, non-compliant piece of innovation-killing garbage.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:23 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


IE6 caused a lot of pain, but much of the griping here feels like blaming IE6 for how it acts in the current climate which is hardly its fault.

Sorry, I'm calling bullshit on that. IE6 acted horribly as a web citizen the day it went out the door. There were standards back then, and Microsoft didn't think they needed them, and in fact, actively didn't want them. Take over the space with proprietary closed-source software = PROFIT. If it mangles the web in the process, so be it.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:28 AM on April 8


And as the flipside of that, plenty of people will still have to develop with IE6 compatibility as a requirement.

I'd hate still be in that situation. We dropped support for IE6 a couple of years ago and have been fortunate to have clients who don't care. We've dropped support for IE7 as well. Unfortunately, because of XP, we still have to support IE8 and right pleased that Bootstrap 3 supports it so we can use a responsive framework (Foundation does not, and we found the hacks to make it work to be less then reliable).

I await the death of horrible Microsoft and Lotus Notes email clients that make creating HTML based newsletters (which I personally wouldn't bother with if I had a choice) just as massive a pain in the ass as IE 6 compliance.
posted by juiceCake at 11:09 AM on April 8


> IE6 acted horribly as a web citizen the day it went out the door. There were standards back then, and Microsoft didn't think they needed them, and in fact, actively didn't want them.

It's more complicated than that.

Sure, there were standards back then. NOBODY supported them. Opera doesn't count, partly because there were details in the CSS spec that they half-assed just as badly, and partly because their one-point-mumble percent market share at the time was not somehow more significant than IE 6's current 4.4% market share.

IE 6 was not what we were hoping for. IE 5.5 for the Mac was, at the time, probably the closest thing we had to "good". But IE 6 was an incremental improvement on that. Everybody was only making incremental improvements. Year after fucking year of baby steps.

It wasn't until the Mozilla project rebranded their browser as Firefox, and later as Webkit forked and evolved from KHTML, that browsers were making meaningful, noticeable progress again.

The problem with IE 6 was that even if it was fucking state of the art back then -- and it wasn't, it was merely about as good as could be hoped for -- it was going to be hopelessly retrograde in five years. And here we are, fourteen years later. It's still got more market share than Opera.
posted by at by at 11:27 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


> I don't hate JavaScript at all. In fact, I love JavaScript as a language.

Wait until you work in Angular. It's going to defy everything you know about web best practices. Server-side developers love it, because it reduces their work from developing and debugging page templates to shipping parseable JSON, and offloads all the content management development to you.
posted by at by at 11:31 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


IE5 for the Mac gave web developers hope, IE6 dashed us upon the rocks.
posted by Mick at 11:34 AM on April 8


IE5 for the Mac gave web developers hope

That's a really good example of what I'm arguing though: when we were still building stuff for Netscape 4.08 (we'd convinced management anyone running a version of NS4 < 4.08 was an asshole we didn't want) and IE4, switching over to the Mac and testing on Tantek Çelik, et al's IE5 was a vision of a better world.

Fast-forward a couple of years when we were writing CSS and trying to use floats and I wished IE5 on a Mac never existed. It wasn't so much that IE5 Mac didn't handle floats correctly, it was more like it was morally opposed to them and just threw the shit anywhichwhere.

IE6 acted horribly as a web citizen the day it went out the door. There were standards back then, and Microsoft didn't think they needed them, and in fact, actively didn't want them. Take over the space with proprietary closed-source software = PROFIT.

Sorry, that feels like a lot of M$ hate jammed up in there. The standards bodies weren't as strong or as visible as they are now and browsers were the Wild West until right around the time IE6 came out (and the space was stagnant because of the decision to start all over with Netscape (you'll pardon me if you were the one guy running Netscape 5)). Microsoft certainly abused the monopoly position they wound up in and made the web a worse place in the years after, but to suggest the browser had Evil written into it and was based on a marketing plan, you have a lot more confidence in large development teams to hit a mark than I do.
posted by yerfatma at 12:12 PM on April 8


The impression I got was that, when it was originally designed, they really expected users to be sitting down and using Notes all day.

The thing is, while most business apps in a Notes shop aren't implemented in Notes, some usually are. I think this is why Notes is still around. It's hard to transition a bunch of little apps that nobody even maintains, but that people still use. There are all kinds of weird, wacky little Notes apps in use in many Notes shops.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:34 PM on April 8


But nothing set the web world further back than IE6. Rest in eternal hellfire, non-compliant piece of innovation-killing garbage.

That's not how I remember it. Back in the day, nothing was compliant with anything, and Netscape and Microsoft both just threw features at the wall to see what would stick. And IE 6 was a damn sight better than Netscape 4.7. At the time, IE 6 was innovative in comparison with Netscape.

The problem is just that it's been kept around a lot longer than anyone expected, and that people wrote a lot of crappy code that targeted it too specifically. Complaining about IE 6 is like complaining about the shitty gas mileage of your Model A Ford. IT'S OLD DAMMIT.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:38 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Which debugging tools were you using when IE6 came out?

alert('here')
posted by mattoxic at 2:55 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


It would be impossibly expensive and dangerous to rewrite the software at this point – too many critical components of the organization depend on it.

I make my living rewriting software like that.
posted by JeffL at 6:12 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


The impression I got was that, when it was originally designed, they really expected users to be sitting down and using Notes all day. Almost like a workflow system in a callcenter or something, where you'd have a series of custom applications for your different business tasks, and you'd work on some item within that little application, complete it, and then Notes would route it to the next person in line, ad infinitum.

This is very much how it was sold, and very much _not_ how it was actually implemented in most organizations.

I worked in at least two companies where there was some arcane department that was all on Lotus Notes and had some custom apps working in or with it and yes, they probably spent a good portion of their day in Notes or at least the Notes ecosystem. But the only place I ever worked (I think it was just one; was it Discover Card?) where it was company-wide it really was pretty much just e-mail. There was a learning curve to any of the custom stuff and I remember dealing with at least one customer who had a vamoosed employee who had a shit-ton of stuff in Notes that he had to extract to make available to anyone else because there wasn't anybody with the institutional memory anymore.
posted by dhartung at 6:36 PM on April 8


I remember writing a library that was an abstraction for async content loading using layers for Netscape 4, iframes for IE 4, and that fancy new XMLHTTPRequest thing for IE 5+.

IE 6 was awesome.

.
posted by ryoshu at 7:26 PM on April 8


The impression I got was that, when it was originally designed, they really expected users to be sitting down and using Notes all day.

Speaking of Notes and crazy big ideas coming from people at Lotus, is anyone using Chandler to manage their life? Actually, it looks like the Software Discontinuity people got to it as well.

Dreaming in Code is worth a read to see how smart people can design themselves into a trap.
posted by yerfatma at 5:36 AM on April 9


Complaining about IE 6 is like complaining about the shitty gas mileage of your Model A Ford.

The Model A gets between 20 and 30 mpg. It also runs on kerosene, making it a multi-fuel vehicle. Comparing IE6 to a Model A makes IE6 look really bad.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:03 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


I remember liking IE 6 over Netscape Navigator because Navigator felt slow and clunky, while IE 6 felt fast and responsive. Then Firefox came out and it was like a lovely revelation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:06 AM on April 9


It's annoying that IE6 is still around, but circa 2001 it was the best thing going for business web developers. It enabled my team at my former employer to write a super-responsive hosted AJAX web app for business clients and all they had to do was use IE, which they usually did anyway. Other browsers sucked for that sort of purpose. Years later I started to hear about this revolutionary new thing called "AJAX" and I was like, uh yeah, we were doing that in 2001. Elaborate right-click menus with icons, partial postbacks with xmlhttp ... old news.

So I guess as a web developer I have to say "thanks for IE 6". Ugh, that burned.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:50 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]


« Older Why is so much stuff mediocre? Matt Stohrer, saxo...   |   "Squatters took up the fight w... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments