So long, IE6, and good riddance!
July 14, 2009 2:53 PM   Subscribe

YouTube will drop support for Internet Explorer 6 soon. Hot on the heels of Momentile (and, apparently, Digg), YouTube is pushing visitors using Internet Explorer 6 to more modern browsers. Does this mean IE is on its way out? StatCounter seems to think so.
posted by spitefulcrow (108 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
How many people use IE6?
posted by stbalbach at 2:57 PM on July 14, 2009


Thank goodness. Maybe major websites leaving IE6 behind will be the kick in the butt my IT group needs to move our 2,000 computers to IE7 (and then I can have half-decent JS performance for my web apps).

They wont care about YT - dropping IE6 might improve office productivity, but if a number of other sites jump on the bandwagon, then it will force their hand.
posted by SirOmega at 2:58 PM on July 14, 2009


duh last link
posted by stbalbach at 2:59 PM on July 14, 2009


skip IE7, go to IE8.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:59 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does this mean IE is on its way out? StatCounter seems to think so.
That's a dubious interpretation. IE7 + IE8 still accounts for 46% and considering IE8 is trending up and that IE6 users will probably go to IE8, they could still easily have >50%.
posted by juv3nal at 2:59 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


According to the StatCounter link, 9% or so as of July. The first link quotes Digg as saying IE6 is responsible for 5% of hits but only 1% of comments and diggs.
posted by spitefulcrow at 2:59 PM on July 14, 2009


A lot of people sure do use IE. And no one uses Safari.
posted by smackfu at 3:00 PM on July 14, 2009


How many people use IE6?

A lot, as anyone who studies user-agent strings could tell you. I think there are 2 main reasons: (a) people who can't upgrade because they're on work machines they don't have install priviledges on, and (b) people who have unverified (read: pirated) copies of Windows and who can't use Windows Update. The first might be more common, since the second could just install another browser, but a sufficiently locked work machine can't.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:00 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Around 20% of folks using IE still use IE6 at work because it's a corporate standard, alas.
posted by pb at 3:01 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


And no one uses Safari.

Given that OS X only accounts for about 10% of the PC market, it's not too surprising Safari only gets about 3% of browser usage. I use it, but I also know a lot of my fellow Mac users who use Firefox.

Personally I think Safari for Mac is what IE should have been for Windows. A fast, well-integrated, stable browser native to one OS. Windows port be damned.
posted by spitefulcrow at 3:03 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does this mean IE is on its way out? StatCounter seems to think so.
That's a dubious interpretation. IE7 + IE8 still accounts for 46% and considering IE8 is trending up and that IE6 users will probably go to IE8, they could still easily have >50%.
posted by juv3nal


Yeah, what juv3nal said. I love firefox, but don't see how you can interpret the graph as saying IE is on it's way out. It just looks like IE users are moving to IE 8.
posted by ShadowCrash at 3:06 PM on July 14, 2009


There are apparently a lot of in-house "legacy" applications at various companies which simply aren't compatible with newer browsers than IE. For these companies, upgrading means they'd need to fix or rewrite the faulty applications. Presumably they could "just" install Firefox side-by-side, but anyone who's ever worked in an IT department should understand why it's not always that simple...
posted by Slothrup at 3:11 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's such a weird experience using my parents' laptop - all IE6, all the time, with no Firefox or anything else. You need to open new links in a new Window, for heaven's sake! Somehow they also navigate the web with 500MB of RAM. Wild. The other day, I taught my mom how to CC in her webmail. Just typing this is giving me an anxiety attack.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:12 PM on July 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


I have IE6 at home because I'm running Windows 2000, and that's the highest IE available for it. Oh, I don't actually use IE6; the most recent version of Firefox runs fine in Win2K. A lot of the newer javascript-laden websites are broken in IE6 anyway, like Google Reader.
posted by AzraelBrown at 3:13 PM on July 14, 2009


Does this mean we can read too much into companies doing obvious things that MS probably wants them to do anyway?

YES WE CAN.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:17 PM on July 14, 2009


How many people use IE6?

As long as it's enough that I have to support the thing it's too fucking many.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on July 14, 2009 [15 favorites]


Yeah, what juv3nal said. I love firefox, but don't see how you can interpret the graph as saying IE is on it's way out. It just looks like IE users are moving to IE 8.


Yeah, wishful thinking on my part. Sigh.
posted by spitefulcrow at 3:20 PM on July 14, 2009


Oh, to have the luxury...

I'm one of those people who write web apps used by big corporate clients, and support for IE6 looks likely to be a requirement for the next couple of years at least. As pb says, it's the corporate standard. Nobody seems to know quite why, but in many instances it seems to be down to intranet sites that just don't run properly on newer versions, what with all the browser hacks, ActiveX and VBScript that were an accepted part of developing for IE nearly a decade ago. And it's also easier in some ways to filter the bad stuff out on the way into a heavily locked-down network than it is to roll out a company-wide upgrade to a more secure and compliant browser.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:21 PM on July 14, 2009


so, IE 7&8 are have accounted for approximately 50% of the market since march of this year, yeah? and that's about how much IE 7 has accounted for for the past year or so? wasn't there a time when IE6 (or maybe it was IE 5) had more than 80% of the market? that's a good thing, yeah? unless, of course, I'm mistaken about that.
posted by shmegegge at 3:30 PM on July 14, 2009


The people of North Korea seem to be the ones really losing the browser wars.
posted by vapidave at 3:33 PM on July 14, 2009


Why doesn't YouTube (which is to say, Google) just cut out support for IE altogether? Aren't they in direct competition with Microsoft now?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:33 PM on July 14, 2009


Browser support is the bane of any web designers life. Supporting IE6 is what I hate most about my job. But then I remember IE 5. That was a piece of shit. IE6 is an inconvenience I'll be glad to be rid of.

A lot of my work is in the public sector and most still seem to be using IE6.
posted by twistedonion at 3:41 PM on July 14, 2009


Why doesn't YouTube (which is to say, Google) just cut out support for IE altogether? Aren't they in direct competition with Microsoft now?


Yes, but that'd be cutting off their nose to spite their face. Since IE 7 and 8 still hold up around 50% of market share, they'd lose half of their visitors and piss off a lot of people for no good reason.
posted by spitefulcrow at 3:41 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is this something I'd have to use the internet to care about?
posted by Elmore at 3:46 PM on July 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


The first link quotes Digg as saying IE6 is responsible for 5% of hits but only 1% of comments and diggs.

Have to remember that's a techy crowd. Our biggest site (tiny but a good representation of what people in Ireland use) shows IE6 at 22%. Until it drops below 5% I have to support it fully. I'd agree with le morte de bea arthur, couple of years. Especially as there are likely to be spending cuts with the recession. Upgrades are costly.
posted by twistedonion at 3:47 PM on July 14, 2009


Oh god, I can't believe I am going to do this...

Metafilter: Losing half its visitors and pissing off a lot of people for no good reason.

Happy 10th!
posted by Elmore at 3:48 PM on July 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


A few interesting (to me, anyway) observations about that graph:

IE may not be dying, but when all three currently-deployed IEs are somewhere in the mid-50s, that's a complete sea change from just a few years ago. IE, not long ago at all, had completely destroyed Mozilla, and was the _only_ browser for all intents and purposes, with a 90-95% market share. At 25%, Firefox is far from dominant, but it's enough of the market to specifically code for and test with -- this means that the Microsoft web monopoly is broken. That's a big deal. The Firefox team should be pleased to their teeny little toes -- they took on the biggest software maker in the world, and broke their monopoly. Congrats, guys and gals, if any of you are reading this. You did great.

It's odd that the chart breaks down Safari 3.1 and 3.2 separately; I'd just lump them together as 'Safari', myself. It's just a point rev. I could maybe see breaking out 4.0, but 3.1 to 3.2? That's kind of dumb. It makes it very difficult to pick out how much of a share it has.

I'm also intrigued by "Other", which is over 12%. Most likely, that's a combination of Opera, iPhone, and Linux, and I'd be very interested to know how those break down. Considering the sheer impact the iPhone has had in the phone market, it might actually be visible on that chart. Linux won't be unless they combine all the oddball browsers on that platform into one category, which kind of defeats the purpose of the comparison. I rather doubt Opera will show at all, but I'm pretty biased against it, so my guesses aren't very trustworthy. :-)
posted by Malor at 3:49 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


IE8 has a compatibility view that (supposedly) mimics IE6's rendering of websites, right? So why don't companies that need to support legacy apps switch to IE8?
posted by Simon Barclay at 3:49 PM on July 14, 2009


Since IE 7 and 8 still hold up around 50% of market share, they'd lose half of their visitors and piss off a lot of people for no good reason.

No, no, no. "Support" is not the same as "access." There's really no reason IE8 users wouldn't be able to access YouTube, assuming IE8 is any good; if not, hey, just throw up a link to download Chrome or whatever.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:50 PM on July 14, 2009


I just wish all the websites that I have to use for work (many on our intranet) would work with something other than Internet Explorer of any vintage. Our IT department seems to have no concept of standards compliance and their security policies are such that our own website sometimes is blocked (or at least some of the functionality of it is).
posted by TedW at 3:50 PM on July 14, 2009


"Other" has taken off like a rocket since May, according to that graph. Surely that's not an uptick in Opera use?
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:51 PM on July 14, 2009


Oh god, I can't believe I am going to do this...

Metafilter: Losing half its visitors and pissing off a lot of people for no good reason.

Happy 10th!


I feel special that someone did this to something I said for the first time on MeFi's tenth birthday.
posted by spitefulcrow at 3:52 PM on July 14, 2009


IE8 has a compatibility view that (supposedly) mimics IE6's rendering of websites, right? So why don't companies that need to support legacy apps switch to IE8?

I believe it's only an IE7 compatibility mode, not IE6.
posted by fatbird at 3:58 PM on July 14, 2009


I'm also intrigued by "Other", which is over 12%. Most likely, that's a combination of Opera, iPhone, and Linux

Probably the biggest percent in there is Firefox 3.5, which is not included in the Firefox 3 line. BTW, the chart is about browsers, not OS, so Linux users aren't separated out, though you can bet very very few of them are using IE. :)

Oh yeah, and YEEEEHAW! May IE6 never return!
posted by brenton at 4:00 PM on July 14, 2009


No, no, no. "Support" is not the same as "access."

Most users don't even understand what a browser is. If you don't support even 10% of visitors it reflects badly on you as a developer or the company whose site it is. It won't reflect badly on Microsoft. Supporting these browsers is important for supporting the users imo. If you look Africa it accounts for 36% of users.


Sure, it's cool to just drop support. What's better design though? I say support the minority as far as you can. It's a bitch but it reflects well on your ability.
posted by twistedonion at 4:01 PM on July 14, 2009


All those corporate sites written for IE6 aren't "broken," any more than a fully debugged and widely deployed application written in GW-BASIC is "broken." A lot of work went into making them work on a browser everybody admits has a lot of problems, and all that work needs to be redone to move to a different platform no matter how much better that new platform might ultimately be.

So you've got this pile of legacy code, which was written in good faith on the assumption that web code is less dependent on things like the operating system upgrade cycle than native code, and now comes MS to tell you, just like it told all the VB people whose VB2 code ran fine in VB4, VB5, and VB6, that suddenly with really very little warning there's a new deal afoot (which mostly benefits people other than you with your pile of finished, debugged, and functional code) and you need to go fuck yourself.

And people wonder why you tell your peeps sorry, you'll keep using IE6 for now?
posted by localroger at 4:03 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm also intrigued by "Other", which is over 12%. Most likely, that's a combination of Opera, iPhone, and Linux

Linx!
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on July 14, 2009


I'm also intrigued by "Other", which is over 12%. Most likely, that's a combination of Opera, iPhone, and Linux, and I'd be very interested to know how those break down.

The link to the CSV file has all the components of Other listed out. It's not too exciting: Safari 4.0, Chrome 2.0, and Safari 3.0 are the top 3 contributors. I'm not sure that iPhone is listed in this list at all, since there is a separate graph for mobile browsers.
posted by smackfu at 4:04 PM on July 14, 2009


The Digg blog post is an interesting commentaty on why we're still supporting IE6 -- work browsers. As Mark Trammell notes, "This goes directly to why most folks use IE6: they don’t have a choice. Three out of four IE6 users on Digg said they can’t upgrade due to some technical or workplace reason.... Giving them a message saying, “Hey! Upgrade!” in this case is not only pointless; it’s sadistic."

When you look at it through this lens, you understand why Microsoft was trying to get the backwards compatibility right, and thus the big to-do about X-UA-Compatible. They want to be rid of IE6 just as much as us web geeks do. (Doesn't explain why IE6 comes pre-installed in XP netbooks, though.)
posted by dw at 4:06 PM on July 14, 2009


Last I looked, around 20% of the people who look at my library's website are using IE6. A lot of library computers in these parts are still running Windows 2000 and using IE6 because they don't know about Firefox or don't know how to download and install it or too busy with summer reading kids to think much about the software on their computers. If the computer is just a thing you have to use to get stuff done, you're not too likely to spend a lot of time learning to trick it out. I hate supporting IE6, too, but I really hate the too cool for school companies that make it harder for my patrons to use the internet.
posted by newrambler at 4:06 PM on July 14, 2009


@Artw:

Posting this reply from Links2, simply because I can. Metafilter actually looks quite nice.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 4:17 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


testetestsetes
posted by tapesonthefloor at 4:18 PM on July 14, 2009


Three out of four IE6 users on Digg said they can’t upgrade due to some technical or workplace reason

I'm struggling to think of any job that requires access to Digg, unless fratboy idiocy is now a profession.
posted by influx at 4:18 PM on July 14, 2009


I don't understand why more corporate workplaces don't virtualize IE6 or whatever browser they may need for intranet apps. I thinapp'd IE for the few programs that need IE to run. Set the homepage to the site and off you go!
posted by geoff. at 4:18 PM on July 14, 2009


For an historical view on Browser Market Share I recommend Net Applications research. (June 2009 report "is currently under review. It will become available as soon as possible.").
posted by ericb at 4:20 PM on July 14, 2009


Why is this a big deal when MS promised to end-of-life WinXP a few years ago?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:24 PM on July 14, 2009


Shit. Somebody, please hope me.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 4:24 PM on July 14, 2009


tapesonthefloor, real men use cURL with a fake Mosaic user agent string (or netcat, but come on, it's late)
posted by Dadoes at 4:25 PM on July 14, 2009


Just becuase you browse a site does not mean it is required...

/posting through IE6 on a work laptop
posted by Big_B at 4:25 PM on July 14, 2009


As is traditional I'm going to point out that my hate for IE6 is as nothing compared to the hatred I had for NS4 back in the day, or IE3 before it.
posted by Artw at 4:28 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why is this a big deal when MS promised to end-of-life WinXP a few years ago?

Unlike web-based apps (*wink*), you can continue to use old-school "install-on-your-own-computer" software as long as you like -- even if the manufacturer has discontinued it or gone out of business.
posted by Slothrup at 4:32 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Reached for comment was the year 2001: "NOOoooooooooooooo"
posted by starman at 4:39 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


How many people use IE6?

Gobs. However, they are all corporate clients and those people don't want youtube so who cares?
posted by caddis at 5:00 PM on July 14, 2009


Heh. Inspired by this thread, I browsed with Lynx for the first time ever, just now. It works amazingly well, if you don't mind half the content being [image]. Message boards are an exercise in endurance, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:03 PM on July 14, 2009


I went through a Lynx phase when it first became practical to shake off tables and do all CSS stuff - it should work pretty well on sites with well structured code. I used to particularly like using lists for navigation and seeing how they turned out in it.
posted by Artw at 5:06 PM on July 14, 2009


You young punks have it easy! I remember when I wanted people to UPGRADE to Netscape Navigator 4 because IE3.5 was out of date.

Get of my lawn!
posted by Mick at 5:09 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gobs. However, they are all corporate clients and those people don't want youtube so who cares?

Funny, I just said that to my wife. To a lot of bosses, this is a feature, not a bug.

That said, IE6 sucks when you are designing a web page and you want it compliant and just so. You think you've got it covered and you check: Firefox?Good. Opera? Good. IE8? Good. IE7? Good. IE6? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:17 PM on July 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Just want to join in the chorus of celebrants uniting here on this great day to give thanks and pray the day soon comes where we can finally cast off that unspeakable blight to mankind and web developers everywhere! Huzzah!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:26 PM on July 14, 2009


I work in IT, doing support of web-based data entry systems for non-profits. We have to support IE6, mainly because of some Health Department locations that can't upgrade because of some other system they're tied to. When one of those sites reported that they were going to be upgrading to IE7, I let out an audible cheer.

This further improves my mood; cynically, I'm thinking that once the committee that reviews software upgrades for a corp/org discover they can't browse YouTube from their desk, they'll push through an upgrade to everyone at the corp/org.
posted by subbes at 5:28 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


How much better (and by "better" I mean "standards-compliant and featureful") would the Internet be if all IE special-casing were dropped?
posted by DU at 5:29 PM on July 14, 2009


According to the stats for my main client here in Hong Kong, 85% of visitors use IE, and a further 45% of those are using IE6. And the thing is, over the past year, the percentages have barely budged.

This is partly due to the fact that IE6 works, and the perceived value in upgrading is far far less than the perceived value in maintaining the status quo. And if you take some time to survey the landscape of HK websites, you'll quickly discover that the status quo was formulated circa 1996. Lots of anigif badges, Flash 4 containers, and sherbet-colored background gradients.

This comment is optimized for Internet Explorer 5.0 or above and Netscape Navigator 4.5 or above (except Netscape 6.x or above), and is best viewed with screen resolution of 800 x 600.
posted by milquetoast at 5:31 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm somewhat suprised at the statcounter browser statistics for germany. Wouldn't have thought that firefox had such a big lead...

I suspect the drop of firefox 3.0 in the last month might be attributed to the release of 3.5 represented by the coincidental increase of the dotted line for "other" browsers.
posted by kolophon at 5:39 PM on July 14, 2009


Yeah, these Microsoft verus Google fights (disguised as the browser war, the email war, the control of the desktop war) seem like fine fodder for a spectator sport. But you know what's going to happen? One day they'll both show up at some technical conference... and at some social after-affair they'll both be drunk, and start fighting, and everyone else will drift off to bed - and bam, they wake up in bed together.

And that's how the Singularity will begin.
posted by nanojath at 5:44 PM on July 14, 2009


but apparently Germany's got nothing on Antarctica, where firefox had a market share of 100% for a while (you can even see when he/she updated from 2.0 to 3.0).
posted by kolophon at 5:47 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


 _______________
|               |
| Netscape NOW! |
|               |
 —————————————————

posted by carsonb at 6:07 PM on July 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


twistedonion: "What's better design though? I say support the minority as far as you can. It's a bitch but it reflects well on your ability."

Except that the necessity of supporting IE6 prevents a lot of good design. It forces designers to do braindead, stupid things in their pages, and use nasty hacks rather than follow clear, well-defined standards.

It strikes me as the broken-window fallacy of web design: sure, a website that renders consistently across IE6, 7, 8, FF1, 2, 3, and Safari 1, 2 and 3 may demonstrate some serious bug-workaround skills on the part of the designer/programmer, but it means worse web design for everyone, as developers have to spend time constructing and testing their ugly rendering workarounds rather than implementing cool new features or making the experience better for standards-compliant browser users.

So I'm happy to see IE6 die, or become unsupported. Yeah it sucks for people using locked-down corporate machines, or who have pirated copies and won't use Windows Update (or, apparently, install Firefox?), but I think that's a small price to pay to move away from the shitpit that is Internet Explorer.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:19 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


No alpha ping support for IE6 is my biggest headache. What I can achieve in a few small graphics for complicated layering effects with PNG is a huge headache in IE6.

But as artw says, my hatred of IE6 is nothing compared to what I had for NS4.x.
posted by maxwelton at 6:25 PM on July 14, 2009


"ping"? Jeebus.
posted by maxwelton at 6:27 PM on July 14, 2009


i work for a large, international telecommunications firm and we're still FIRMLY entrenched in using IE6 (thousands and thousands of users), with no plans to move on to another platform having been so much as hinted at.
posted by radiosilents at 6:33 PM on July 14, 2009


Use Chrome, people!
posted by jeoc at 6:48 PM on July 14, 2009


There will be no upgrade anytime soon where I work. The years-overdue major software rollout we just had was optimized for IE 6.02. I have seen a couple people who have some text alignment issues and I think they are running IE 7 or something. It just doesn't work right in anything else. They are not going to re-engineer the whole damn thing just so they can upgrade browsers.
posted by marble at 6:48 PM on July 14, 2009


Weird thing is it's not like YouTube has anything much going on desifgn wise - they have an eBay or myspace like confidence in their sites ability to be a success despite being ugly as all hell - so long as the flash works who cares?
posted by Artw at 6:58 PM on July 14, 2009


And no one uses Safari.

I use it. It's my favorite browser. I thought you'd just like to know that...
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:59 PM on July 14, 2009


Interesting fact: I'm at work. Our default browser is IE6, for no reason other than recalcitrance on the part of the IT department, but I've managed to swindle my way into having admin rights on my machine, and so I use Firefox 3.0.1.

When I try to view the StatCounter site that everyone's linking to in Firefox, it straight doesn't work, while IE6 renders it beautifully. That makes me sad.
posted by Jimbob at 7:13 PM on July 14, 2009


The talk of being stuck on IE6 makes me so, so glad that I largely develop windows services and literally can't do my job if I don't have admin rights to my own machine.

Not having those rights would feel like being stuck in a car with the hood welded shut and with a key I don't have needed to fill the gas tank. *shudder*
posted by flaterik at 7:16 PM on July 14, 2009


Semi-related to the points made about workers not being able to move from IE6 because of corporate IT policies: a US State Department worker publically begged Ms. Clinton for permission to use Firefox (to much applause) during a town hall meeting on Friday. (Full transcript of the meeting).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 7:16 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just thought I'd put this out there: if you're stuck in an environment without admin rights to your machine ... Portable Firefox is your new friend.

You install it to a USB drive or memory card, and it saves all your preferences to the stick/card, and lets you install plugins (including Flash) without admin rights.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:36 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Artw: "How many people use IE6? As long as it's enough that I have to support the thing it's too fucking many."

I am with you. I've responded to Win98 support issues as recently as last fall.

The Taiwanese... they are not early adopters.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:40 PM on July 14, 2009


but apparently Germany's got nothing on Antarctica, where firefox had a market share of 100% for a while (you can even see when he/she IT updated from 2.0 to 3.0).

FTFY. You ever notice that in Carpenter's The Thing there's a character named "Mac" and a character named "Windows?" I always figured the titular alien must be named "Linux."
posted by brundlefly at 7:47 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kadin2048: "Just thought I'd put this out there: if you're stuck in an environment without admin rights to your machine ... Portable Firefox is your new friend.

You install it to a USB drive or memory card, and it saves all your preferences to the stick/card, and lets you install plugins (including Flash) without admin rights.
"

I work in IT for a company and that's probably not something I'd let fly, 100% due to security.
posted by booticon at 7:53 PM on July 14, 2009


Don't get me wrong—I hate IE6. Can't wait for it to die. This post is certainly good news.

But if you know IE6's bugs (and how to fix them) reasonably well, there's no need to resort to hacks per se. Simply using the XHTML Strict doctype solves 80% of CSS issues. All remaining CSS issues can be corrected via conditional comments, so you never have to feed messy CSS to other browsers. If you're building anything consequential in JavaScript, surely you're using jQuery or some other library which transparently fixes browser quirks for you—so you don't have to do anything special in your client code to support IE6. And I don't think I've encountered a case where I've had to alter the actual markup to appease IE—except nested <object> tags for Flash, I guess, but I try to avoid Flash anyway.

So, yeah, don't get me wrong—I hate IE6. But if you're solving IE problems with hacks, you're probably Doing It Wrong (or you're misunderstanding "hack" to mean "any platform-specific consideration").
posted by ixohoxi at 7:55 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


HOLY FUCK YES.
posted by odinsdream at 7:56 PM on July 14, 2009


NOW maybe I'll get to install firefox at work. (please?)
posted by Space Kitty at 8:10 PM on July 14, 2009


Sure, it's cool to just drop support. What's better design though? I say support the minority as far as you can. It's a bitch but it reflects well on your ability.
No, it does not. It reflects on how much time and money you have to burn writing what is often a second version of any sufficiently complex client-side code or CSS to account for IE6 specific issues that even more recent versions like IE7 and 8 don't suffer from.

Hipsters don't hate IE6 because it's all dressed funny and listens to Pavement. Web developers and designers hate it because accounting for it costs time and money on tightly budgeted, deadline-constrained projects.
posted by verb at 8:26 PM on July 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


NOW maybe I'll get to install firefox at work. (please?)

I don't think you need admin rights for this.
posted by caddis at 10:00 PM on July 14, 2009


> but apparently Germany's got nothing on Antarctica, where firefox had a market share of 100% for a while (you can even see when he/she updated from 2.0 to 3.0).

Ha, that chart is factually incorrect: I and at least a dozen others were using Safari in Antarctica during January 09. Something is wrong on the Internet!

I suspect this means that US Antarctic Program folks are showing up as Colorado, USA, home of the Antarctic Program headquarters. But that makes me wonder who is showing up as Antarctica. New Zealand's Scott Base, maybe? And did someone bother to change the StatCounter database last month?
posted by hal incandenza at 10:25 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hate IE, with a burning passion. Working for a large *redacted* company with many tens of thousands of 3rd party users, our "solutions" for the last couple of versions have been ActiveX VPN clients.

I mean, there's job security in the fact that you can always count on it to fuck up to a ridiculous degree and I'm on the helpdesk, but right now it's causing so much heartburn, it's actually made me seriously consider quitting (or getting fired) in order to avoid a complete mental breakdown today (07/14/2009). Can't go into details lest I face legal consequences, but let me just cryptically say that I hate whales.
posted by agress at 10:49 PM on July 14, 2009


Don't really get it. Surely YouTube relies primarily on the Flash plugin, not the browser. As long as they can force you to upgrade to the latest Flash, why do they need to care about what browser it's running in?

Maybe so they can shove annoying interstitial ads in your face more easily?

I like the web pages I read to be as simply designed as possible. If the persistance of IE6 makes it harder for web designers to suck up my bandwidth with giant JavaScript libraries and animations and giant ads and flashing widgets, then Viva IE!
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:06 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, my sister in law's office's airplane/hotel reservation system runs in IE6. It's 95% right in IE7 - some things take an inordinate amount of time to execute, annoyingly enough macros are the worst. The developer outright warns against upgrading to IE8 as incompatible. I can't wait until one of their 8 year old desktops frobs itself hard enough and they have to replace it with a Win7 box that has IE8 from the ground up. Hopefully the reservation app is updated before October, but I don't have high hopes.
posted by Kyol at 11:07 PM on July 14, 2009


Microsoft could speed along the upgrade cycle with one fairly simple measure that would take a few weeks to develop. Just release a standalone IE6 rebranded as something like "IE Classic" and encourage corporate customers to upgrade to IE8 but also install "IE Classic" for use with problematic web apps. Otherwise the decline is going to be very slow indeed.
posted by malevolent at 11:13 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't really get it. Surely YouTube relies primarily on the Flash plugin, not the browser

Youtube/Google is experimenting heavily with the HTML 5 VIDEO element (inline video, no plugin) and the current site has quite a bit of interactive functionality(commenting, related content, etc) which relies on consistent JavaScript execution and CSS interpretation.

They would like to deliver rich media experiences on a standard, open platform, without relying on Adobe or Microsoft to get their act together, some time before the end of this century.

Maybe so they can shove annoying interstitial ads in your face more easily?

They're doing that within the flash video already. IE6 will not help you with this.

I like the web pages I read to be as simply designed as possible

Your preferences are not relevant market drivers.
posted by device55 at 11:18 PM on July 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Personal anecdote: At my job we just completed a big redesign. Big job, lot of work. We approached browser support by thinking in terms of full support and minimal support.

IE 7, IE 8, Firefox, and Safari all received full support.

IE 6 received minimal support.

Minimal support meant that we would aim for the same general layout, look and feel, and functionality. The site would be usable, readable, and look pretty close to 'the real thing' but no special effort would be made to make it match exactly. If a design feature could not be implemented in IE 6, it was simply hidden or ignored. (this meant no styled form fields, no borders on various elements, no stupid fucking drop shadows, basic typography, etc.)

This saved two weeks of work, easily.

I look forward to the day that IE 7 can be shunted down to minimal support.
posted by device55 at 11:30 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Another boring datapoint, but a small community website I'm involved in has 6% IE6 usage. However, that is only so low because firefox usage is a whopping 60%. For IE users, we've got about 23% still on IE6. That's still 2.5K people a month, and it's nearly double the number of people I have on IE8.

That's a lot higher than I thought it would be.

Also, it's also more than double the number of people I have using Chrome. Even though I agree with Youtube removing IE6 support, they're removing support for a browser which is used by twice as many people who use their own in-house Browser.
posted by seanyboy at 1:06 AM on July 15, 2009


Yeah it sucks for people using locked-down corporate machines, or who have pirated copies and won't use Windows Update (or, apparently, install Firefox?), but I think that's a small price to pay to move away from the shitpit that is Internet Explorer.

I can't wait for IE6 to go away... but as a designer my first duty is to make sure my clients have a site that doesn't turn away any potential revenue as much as possible.

We do small business sites. Say a site gets 1,000 visits a month and 10% of users are on IE6. That would be like turning 100 people away from your shop. Is that really acceptable, especially considering the economic downturn?

I'm not justifying IE6 in any way but being realistic. When I start a project I keep in mind all platforms requiring support. If you design/develop using Firefox then check it out in the other browsers you are doing it wrong. Check it in IE6 throughout the process and you can be sure the finished product will look well in all other, more modern browsers and not really take that much more time.

It's really not that hard, or time consuming. Attempting to use divs rather than tables and CSS 2 on IE5. That was a real bitch.

Maybe it's because I'm so used to supporting IE6 now that I really don't have too much of a problem with it.

seriously, what are peoples issues with it? Not being able to use pngs? using a separate style sheet to deal with padding/margin issues?
posted by twistedonion at 1:38 AM on July 15, 2009


The talk of being stuck on IE6 makes me so, so glad that I largely develop windows services and literally can't do my job if I don't have admin rights to my own machine.

The talk of being stuck on IE6 makes me so, so glad that I develop web applications, and thus get to use a Linux machine rather than the corporate desktop the rest of the company's getting.

Alas, our web apps are often used by staff in big companies with locked-down desktops, and, as hard as it may be to believe, there are worse things than an IE6-only policy. Such as an IE6-only policy in which the version of IE6 is a weird customised build with a set of bugs not seen anywhere else. We once had to go into the offices of a major bank with a laptop and 3G card to figure out why our app wasn't rendering on their IE6; we ended up gutting our AJAX tree selector and replacing it with a much uglier, simpler pure HTML one.
posted by acb at 2:50 AM on July 15, 2009


twistedonion, I find positioning in IE6 to be wildly different from other browsers, even with using reset stylesheets to clear up padding/margin differences and templates to give consistency. Our designers know that pngs are out. But I still spend half an hour a day fixing shit in IE6, adding conditional comments to 6fix stylesheets, adding overflow values to divs that don't need it just to get something that works in every other browser to sit right in IE6. And over a year-long project on a site with a couple of thousand pages, it becomes a lot of half-hours. Maybe 100 hours per project? It'd be a lot cheaper if I didn't have to do that.

When I was working on small business sites, I didn't have half so much trouble with IE6, because there's just not the quantity of pages to deal with. Once you've fixed a problem, you've pretty much fixed it for the whole site, not just a sub-section of a larger whole.

Back when IE6 was the only browser worth worrying about, it took me no trouble at all - I just did whatever the 6 wanted. Now I'm supporting 7 or 8 browsers, and I might spot errors in IE8, IE7 and FF3, but then one adjustment will bring all 3 into line. IE6 is the one that always behaves differently.
posted by harriet vane at 3:27 AM on July 15, 2009




Oh please let this be the end of IE6. It will be EIGHT YEARS OLD in less than a month! My company (which I work in the IT department of) still uses it, in spite of its age and general quirkiness/insecurity, and when I asked why, I was told that our desktop team couldn't be fucked to compatibility test with all our internal apps/intranet crap/whatever. Sigh.
posted by Jinkeez at 4:16 AM on July 15, 2009


seriously, what are peoples issues with it? Not being able to use pngs? using a separate style sheet to deal with padding/margin issues?

The bugs in Internet Explorer 6 are epic and weird: http://www.positioniseverything.net/explorer.html

These bugs don't occur in a regular fashion. They can be completely random. Unpredictability means a lot of testing.

It's true that if you are systematic, and test regularly as you go, you can mitigate a lot of problems with IE 6 (and 7) - but that's still a lot of additional testing - sometimes 50% of all your testing - especially considering that you can code and style once for Firefox, Opera, Safari, and IE 8.
posted by device55 at 7:05 AM on July 15, 2009


I like the web pages I read to be as simply designed as possible. If the persistance of IE6 makes it harder for web designers to suck up my bandwidth with giant JavaScript libraries and animations and giant ads and flashing widgets, then Viva IE!
I like people do drive slow, because fast driving is bad. If cars that randomly die in traffic when people go over 45mph make it harder for people to speed, then Viva -- wait, no, that doesn't make any sense.

The irony is that the 'giant js libraries' you refer to are bloated in part with IE 6 workarounds. Flash widgets are unaffected, you'll still get crappy interstitial ads jammed between every 15 second clip of a cat playing a harmonica. What you WILL see is that designers continue to use baroque, twisted workarounds to IE6 bugs to achieve basic effects that newer browsers can handle with simple, streamlined markup and a couple lines of CSS.
posted by verb at 7:31 AM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can pretty well guarantee that the IT department in my company is going to view the fact that YouTube will no longer work in IE6 as a feature and not a bug.

Hell, they won't allow people to install Firefox, despite the fact that a lot of the tools we get from our Corporate office are actually developed for specifically for it.

Thankfully, the nature of my department demands that I can, with complete management support, ignore most of what they say. This is good because otherwise, there would be blood.
posted by quin at 9:59 AM on July 15, 2009


Browser support is the bane of any web designers life.

It's a bane of life? Don'cha get to charge 3x as much to rewrite ur code for multiple standards?
posted by mouthnoize at 11:01 AM on July 15, 2009


well, SOMEBODY gets to, but I imagine the code monkey doesn't really see that extra money.
posted by shmegegge at 11:36 AM on July 15, 2009


On Netscape 4, I spent three hours of a Saturday night nine years ago trying to get Netscape 4.51, 4.68, 4.71, and 4.72 to all correctly render something in CSS.

Why four point iterations of NS4? Turned out each of them made up at least 10% of the site's total hits, and the rendering problem looked different in every version.

So while I'm ready to be free of IE6, I'm happy that its rendering errors are consistent and not appearing/vanishing with every security patch like Netscape's did. All these twentysomethings that never had to deal with NS4 are lucky bastards.
posted by dw at 11:55 AM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


a) people who can't upgrade because they're on work machines they don't have install priviledges on - THIS

And we can't upgrade flash either, so every time I come across a web site using scribd, my browser crashes.

It's a small sample of hell, let me tell you.
posted by de void at 2:10 PM on July 15, 2009


If the persistance of IE6 makes it harder for web designers to suck up my bandwidth with giant JavaScript libraries and animations and giant ads and flashing widgets, then Viva IE!

You completely don't get it, do you? The only reason we even have those giant bloated Javascript libraries is because of all the incompatibilities between browsers—Internet Explorer is an enormous part of this. You could probably chop more than three quarters of the code out of any of the popular frameworks (jQuery, Prototype, YUI) if they didn't have to support fucking IE6 users.

I've spent the past two weeks doing A-B-C-D testing between Firefox, IE6, IE7 and IE8 for a project I'm working on at work, and one of the things that drives me nuts about IE6 is that really fucking annoying delay when you click on a link or submit a form. It makes you wonder if you clicked anything, so you click it again and either double-submit or cause a page reload which causes yet another delay. So fucking irritating.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:22 PM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Civil_Disobedient: "that really fucking annoying delay when you click on a link or submit a form. It makes you wonder if you clicked anything, so you click it again and either double-submit or cause a page reload..."

The annoyance from whence throbbers were birthed.
posted by subbes at 4:26 PM on July 15, 2009


By far the worst feature of IE6, almost as redolent of Windows’s anti-user defaults as top-posting in MS mail programs, is what happens when you call up a new window: You get a clone of the current window. This makes rather little sense.

Anyway, two links which not everyone here will have seen:
posted by joeclark at 9:30 PM on July 15, 2009


The Brisbane City Council library computers all use IE6 only. I asked for Firefox support and got this:
Thank you for submitting your request to Brisbane City Council regarding the use of Mozilla Firefox on Council library computers.

Library Services uses Internet Explorer on Council computers because it is Council's currently preferred and supported software. At the moment there are no plans to change this software but we appreciate your feedback.

I hope you will continue to enjoy using our library services.
All the sites that break in IE6 (which is a growing number) make it annoying for those of us that have no choice, especially when they're being smug about it. Sure, I have my own laptop and can get around it, but a lot of people rely on public library computers and wouldn't have a clue on what to do when a website starts saying "STOP USING IE6 YOU BOZOS".
posted by divabat at 12:28 AM on July 23, 2009


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