​Modern browsers for modern applications
February 1, 2010 7:23 PM   Subscribe

The web has evolved in the last ten years, from simple text pages to rich, interactive applications including video and voice. Unfortunately, very old browsers cannot run many of these new features effectively. So to help ensure your business can use the latest, most advanced web apps, we encourage you to update your browsers as soon as possible. There are many choices: IE6 is not among them posted by h0p3y (78 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
is this really a FPP, or just an additional comment to be added to the "previously" post?
posted by milnak at 7:30 PM on February 1, 2010


I miss opera.
posted by jb at 7:32 PM on February 1, 2010


Hallelujah! Praise be to Jebus!
posted by ixohoxi at 7:32 PM on February 1, 2010


The other day I managed to run a google search running Lynx in a terminal window, just to demonstrate what "web browsing" was like in 1992.

She was flabbergasted.

Good times.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:35 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


wait...!!!! people still use IE?

(although, my mac plus is running netscape 1)
posted by HuronBob at 7:36 PM on February 1, 2010


("she" being the 24 year old for whom I performed this demonstration.)
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:37 PM on February 1, 2010


When I first heard about this, I posted it to Facebook with the addendum that "I'm sorry, but if you use IE6 I actively hate you and you are the bane of everyone involved in the production side of the web's very existence" or something to that effect. Because it's 100% true. If you use IE6, there are probably people who would not mind killing you.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:40 PM on February 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


oh god pleasepleasepleasepleasePLEASE!!!! tell this to the luddite nitwits that run the corporate global IT policies at my workplace. Fuck IE6 and the horse it rode in on with a rusty chainsaw.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:41 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


(I figured it was the proverbial she. You know, the one who's always having said things?)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:42 PM on February 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm thinking that we should derail this post into a discussion as to just why fourcheesemac felt a need to explain who "she" was.....
posted by HuronBob at 7:42 PM on February 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is anyone using mosaic?
posted by HuronBob at 7:43 PM on February 1, 2010


I work for a large multi-national organisation who remain on IE6 for backward application compatibility reasons. Firefox also ships on the standard desktop load but I observe most users use IE6 either out of habit or because it has won the association wars that often take place amongst browsers and other Windows programs. I suspect there are many similar IE6 users out there.
posted by vac2003 at 7:44 PM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


milnak: i believe this to be a follow up worthy of it's own FPP.
posted by h0p3y at 7:45 PM on February 1, 2010


I'm not a computer snobe in the slightest; as long as something works, I'm happy. But goddamn do I hate Internet Explorer. And a part of my soul dies everytime I happen to use a computer that's not mine and the only browser on it is IE.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:46 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"This site supports IE6, but only if you have 3 dozen toolbars and a large Golden Palace Online Poker banner permanently stuck in the center of your display."
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:46 PM on February 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


two weeks until IE6 starts enjoying something of a resurgence as the retro way to surf.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:50 PM on February 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


"I'm not a computer snobe"

I would hope that none of us are....

what's a "snobe"????
posted by HuronBob at 7:50 PM on February 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I DUNNO WHAT'S SNOO WITH YOU?

Wait— really? "Snobe"? No, I don't know any bad jokes about snobe.

posted by nebulawindphone at 7:52 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hahaha my bad. I literally laughed at loud at Huronbobe's comment.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:53 PM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Say what you will, but no other browser can download Mozilla FireFox like IE6.
posted by netbros at 7:59 PM on February 1, 2010 [28 favorites]


CYBERDOG REPRESENT
posted by porn in the woods at 8:11 PM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


A snobe is a snow globe developed for sale in climates that have abbreviated winters.
posted by Sk4n at 8:13 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I miss opera.

I'm using Opera. Is this some Inside Nerdball comment I don't have the context for?
posted by Cyrano at 8:23 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll do all my interneting from emacs, tyvm.
C-c C-x
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 8:23 PM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


two weeks until IE6 starts enjoying something of a resurgence as the retro way to surf.

on the third week, the world will end.
posted by mrmod at 8:36 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm using an XP machine (!) that has IE 6 (!!) installed RIGHT NOW, but only because one of my clients still hasn't upgraded and I just can't trust a virtual machine to malfunction in the precise way IE6 does when I'm developing for them. Sure, I only use Firefox for browsing, and my other computers have IE7 and IE8, but inside here it's always August 2001, it's warm and sunny, we are all bootylicious, and nothing can possibly go wrong.
posted by maudlin at 8:40 PM on February 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


I have a copy of IE6 For Windows installed on my Mac to run under WINE when I encounter one of those really really annoying websites that browsersniffs for IE and won't allow anything else through.
posted by hippybear at 8:48 PM on February 1, 2010


Dammit, with IE6 disappearing behind me, IE8 not working with the USPTO website in front of me and orders not to use anything but IE coming from above, our little office is about to be crushed!
posted by cimbrog at 8:48 PM on February 1, 2010


re opera: no, it's not an injoke. I just noticed that opera was not in the list of supported browsers, and I was thinking of how much I liked using it. That said, I gave it up because it was a memory hog and stealing all my ram. But it sure ran nice.
posted by jb at 8:51 PM on February 1, 2010


"The only people still using IE6 are... your clients."
posted by holgate at 9:14 PM on February 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


For anyone nostalgic for ye olde websites: the ugliest website on the internet.
posted by nickyskye at 9:18 PM on February 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


> Is anyone using mosaic?
> posted by HuronBob at 10:43 PM on February 1 [+] [!]

Haven't tried it for a while but it's around here somewhere, source for v.2.7b (just getting support for tables; no frames yet) and executable compiled with Dell unix on a 486 (Yes, Dell sold pre-loaded unix for a while--pretty much plain vanilla AT+T System V r.4, with Dell logos pasted all over it.) Wonder if it would still compile. Does gcc have an -archaic switch?
posted by jfuller at 9:27 PM on February 1, 2010


I still have IE6 on the systems I use for work. I use Firefox primarily but also have Chome, Safari, and Opera installed because it's my responsibility to check things out on all of them. Unfortunately a very small but still important fraction of my employer's online audience is still using IE6 so we still have to deal with its failings (fortunately we do not have to make things look identical or make every fancy feature behave). I hope that we too are getting close to desupporting IE6, because it hurts every time I have to start it up.
posted by Songdog at 9:35 PM on February 1, 2010


I love IE6 because it pisses web developers off, and web developers, by and large, piss me off.

So, it's a beautiful sort of karmic retribution for having to deal with a WWW that has become more and more like a poor quality flash game than the Xanadu like concept that Tim Berners Lee had in mind.

Tables, fields, embedded mime type formats. That's all we really need. All this other crap is just extraneous.
posted by Sukiari at 9:48 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tables, fields, embedded mime type formats. That's all we really need. All this other crap is just extraneous.

And IE6 is your weapon of choice?
posted by maxwelton at 9:53 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


THE BEAST WILL NEVER DIE! FROM EMULATED XP, IT STRIKES AT THREE!
posted by Artw at 10:18 PM on February 1, 2010


Does anyone gopher still, being that it's groundhog day?
posted by maxpower at 10:19 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


My weapon of choice is an NAA Minimag. But let's save that for another thread.

IE6 doesn't have a problem with rendering fields, text, and simple tables at least in my experience. Sure, throw a bunch of fucking Javascript in there and who knows? Maybe it'll all come out, maybe not.
posted by Sukiari at 10:24 PM on February 1, 2010


(strikes at three?)

/check watch
posted by Artw at 10:26 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


the Xanadu like concept

Dude, I paid good money to see Xanadu in the movie theaters. It wasn't really all that.
posted by hippybear at 10:30 PM on February 1, 2010


I can't imagine what it'd be like to develop for IE 6. I think you'd have to start from the assumption your client already had their computer hacked, and without knowing how, you'd have to kind of work around it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:44 PM on February 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Indeed, the only reason new sites are built to be compatible with IE6 is because they might be viewed by clients who work for a company that forces them to use IE6. Their customers, by and large, will be using Firefox. But since they can't see the site the way their customers do, it has to be built for the way they see it. So much time and money wasted. It would be remarkable, if only any of the people at fault were capable of actually understanding how stupid the situation is. But that woudl create a hole in space-time.
posted by bingo at 10:49 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


While it's true that "the web has evolved in the last ten years," it was not in the "last ten years" that the web evolved "from simple text pages to rich, interactive applications including video and voice."

Simple text HTML pages go back nearly two decades now. Pictures and text go back to 1993 or '94. Macromedia had Flash versions for browsers starting in the late '90s. Embedded audio was pretty much everywhere by 1997.

What the hell is this Google person talking about?
posted by kenlayne at 10:57 PM on February 1, 2010


Ten years of evolution...... And Metafilter still lacks a professional, white background.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:19 PM on February 1, 2010


Developers:

If you have to test for a lot of crummy old browsers: http://spoon.net/browsers/

Best tool I ever found.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:22 PM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


that's what she said.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:22 PM on February 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


(OT, but setting the record straight)

[above]: The other day I managed to run a google search running Lynx in a terminal window, just to demonstrate what "web browsing" was like in 1992.

The first web browser had a GUI. In 1992 there were 5 web browsers in existence, all with a GUI.

Lynx appeared in 1993 and has always been considered an alternative, not the primordial tool.
posted by knz at 12:21 AM on February 2, 2010


Does anyone gopher still, being that it's groundhog day?

Believe it or not there are still active Gopher... sites? Was that what they were called? Yeah, there are still those. There's even an extremely small clique of Gopher hardcores that still use them. I think textfiles.com has a Gopher *mumble* as well, or used to.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:14 AM on February 2, 2010


In addition to the slow-as-molasses-evolving, legacy crap-embracing enterprise side, one significant hurdle in killing off IE6 is the lack of technical knowledge of the Common User. There are a LOT of them, average people running old XP machines with IE6.

Just a week ago I overheard a conversation where a middle-aged user asked a tech-oriented young man for some support advice concerning some problem she had with some web site. The relevant bit:

Techie: What browser are you using?
User: What do you mean, "browser"?

It's an old cliché that for a lot of people, "the Internet" is the same as the blue 'e' on their desktop, but unfortunately it's true. In trying to get people to upgrade to a newer browser, it's often simultaneously necessary to get them to understand the basic concept of Different Applications On Their Computers - that the Internet is not just something that happens when clicking on the 'e' icon.

Combine that with the reluctance of people to read or understand error messages on their computer, and you're in trouble trying to communicate a concept like upgrading a browser for some technical thingamajigs and doohickeys to work. "The Internet is not working! What is the problem?" (reads a friendly message about upgrading to a newer browser) "What? But the Internet is not working! Why isn't it working?"

To be fair, these people shouldn't need to know this stuff. Browser updates are important enough for overall computer security that, in my opinion, Microsoft should have forcefully pushed IE7 and IE8 on users without their explicit consent (save for the enterprise, they really do need a mechanism for stopping upgrades; developers also need a way to run multiple IE versions simultaneously). Yes, that sounds dangerous, and I see the same slippery slope that you do. Of course, this would have meant that IE7/8 was a different browser than it is today to avoid confusion ("Why did the internet change?"): a not-too-dissimilar UI, no talk of tabs in the default configuration and overall transparency to the end user. The important changes from IE6 are under the hood.

But still, it would have been worth it. It still would be, if it was possible, and the same goes for critical security updates. They should be opt-out, because the average user won't know enough to opt out, and that is a good thing in this case. DO NOT GIVE NON-TECHNICAL USERS TECHNICAL CHOICES WHOSE CONSEQUENCES AND IMPLICATIONS THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

The downsides of this approach (some computers broken by updates, fixable on a mostly-individual basis) would have been smaller by far than the downsides of not doing it (millions and millions of broken or botnet-zombified computers around the world, not reasonably fixable; slowed evolution and uptake of web technologies), which we are seeing today.
posted by lifeless at 1:53 AM on February 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


And as for the enterprise, it shouldn't be too hard to force IE upgrades on them as well, if only the IE releases contained some easily activated 100% compatible IE6 mode, configurable on a site-by-site basis. I'd vote yes even if that meant including the entire IE6 rendering engine – quirks, bugs and all – in the newer IE distributions along with the newer default engine.

And maybe tomorrow I'll win the lottery.
posted by lifeless at 1:58 AM on February 2, 2010


Metafilter as it is on Lynx, using Lynx 2.8.6 on OSX. It's possible to read, but not log in or post as Lynx supports no Javascript. There are text browsers that do, though, like links/elinks/links2.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:12 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Internet Explorer (IE) has remained at version 6 while a conflict with the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program was being worked. Because of this conflict, the (IT dept) did not deploy a newer version of IE. The CRM program was recently upgraded, and IT is testing to make sure that any such conflicts have been removed. Once we confirm this, IT will move forward with a site deployment of anewer version of IE. All users will be alerted when this deployment is scheduled."

Answer provided when I asked why we still use IE6 at work. It's still annoying to read 'Your browser is obsolete' when I visit your web site. I know, but there isn't anything I can do about it.
posted by fixedgear at 2:18 AM on February 2, 2010


Every web developer snarks constantly about IE6.
But no competent web developer can afford to ignore it; developers who exclude a significant number of users by ignoring IE6 are at at best lazy, and at worst elitist snobs.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:27 AM on February 2, 2010


But no competent web developer can afford to ignore it; developers who exclude a significant number of users by ignoring IE6 are at at best lazy, and at worst elitist snobs.

Supporting IE6 needs to be a business decision. Are the costs of supporting a second UI (that's what IE6 support turns into in any non-trivial application) outweighed by the benefit of catering to the number of visitors that are still stuck on the platform? If yes, then you roll it out. Laziness and elitisim isn't why web developers snark about IE6; it's because it cuts away time from their development budgets, and reduces their ability to bring great features for everyone else.

Now that most sites are seeing < 2% usage for IE6, this decision is pretty clear- doubling down on the UI tier to support 2% of the userbase is an increasingly dumb proposition. This isn't laziness, and it isn't elitism, it's allocating your resources wisely.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:07 AM on February 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know all those earthquakes happening in Yellowstone? IE6.
posted by ryoshu at 5:25 AM on February 2, 2010


...a second UI (that's what IE6 support turns into in any non-trivial application)...

I have to completely disagree with that. I've been working on non-trivial applications for a lot of years now, and ensuring compatibility with IE6 rarely involves more than tweaking a few bits of CSS. For javascript, most developers have a library of code that makes allowances for the quirks of IE and other browsers, so that doesn't really add any extra work. Ensuring that IE6 works properly takes probably no more than 1% of the design and development time that goes into the apps I work on.

Having to double down on the UI tier, if that ever happens, is probably down to lack of flexibility and foresight in the development process. Although I suppose getting caught out by the first IE6 user who uses your application is quite likely if you didn't factor it in until the testing phase.

And that 2% figure only really applies to the web at large. Much browser content is behind closed doors where the figure can be well over 90%.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:30 AM on February 2, 2010


My government workplace finally retired IE6. In favor of 7. Because they said they hadn't finished testing to see if 8 would work with their (poorly coded and hopelessly outdated) internal sites, despite the fact that 8 comes with an IE6 compatibility mode feature built into the browser. They will probably move to 8 right around the time IE10 rolls out.

This is the same organization that won't upgrade Acrobat from a specific version of 8 because "new versions won't allow you to save form data". No, the new version fixes a major security flaw that makes form data insecure, and won't allow you to save anything in an old document that uses the insecure encoding. New forms are fine. They are addressing the insecurity not by updating all the forms, but by pretending the security hole doesn't exist. And at the same time, by refusing to upgrade, all newly-generated forms contain the flaw, which makes the eventual upgrade and security fix workload that much more difficult. Logic!

This is the exact same problem IE6 causes: by not upgrading, and by continuing to develop intranet content designed specifically for this ancient pile of crap, corporations and governments are making it that much more painful and expensive to fix the problem.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:36 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now that most sites are seeing less than 2% usage for IE6

Not sure where your stat comes from but our site analytics (perhaps depressingly, and definitely annoyingly) still show about 15% IE 6 use.
posted by aught at 6:31 AM on February 2, 2010


The computers at my work (a very large organisation) are a virtual museum of outdated and obsolete programs. IE6? No other choice. WordPerfect 10 (2001)? The standard wordprocesser of choice, although we have been allowed to have Word 2003 installed upon request with permission from your boss. All of our email is handled through an ancient version of Lotus notes. We were even still using a version of Lotus 123 until fairly recently, and have only been on XP for a couple years.
posted by fimbulvetr at 6:38 AM on February 2, 2010


ensuring compatibility with IE6 rarely involves more than tweaking a few bits of CSS

Which, depending on the tweak, can take up to two days.
posted by weston at 7:10 AM on February 2, 2010


"In 1992 there were 5 web browsers in existence, all with a GUI."

Six. That table omits the actual web browser we used back then, which was the www text mode browser. Y'know, since most Internet users had shell accounts without X displays in the first place. Hell, in 1992 I had shell in six different states and overseas, as did most of my friends, but I'd still yet to even sit in front of a functioning X server.
posted by majick at 7:17 AM on February 2, 2010


I installed IE7 yesterday, just because the idea popped into my head - 'hey, isn't there a newer version of IE now?' -I must have somehow absorbed this google announcement by osmosis. (Apparently I'm still behind and there is also IE8.)

I use Firefox for actual browsing, but we have some in house enterprise apps at work that only work in IE - those are the only things I've seen in IE6 for years now. There was never any kind of announcement from our IT folks that IE7 existed or attempt to get us to upgrade from IE6. Nonetheless, now that I have switched I see that lots of little weird glitches that had gotten progressively kludgier in those in house apps are not there in IE7 - I bet our IT people have been programming these things in IE7 for years without actually telling their users that's what they should be using. Grr.

First thing I had to do was google "IE7 text blurry" and learn about turning off ClearType.
posted by yarrow at 7:19 AM on February 2, 2010


We're on IE 6 and just getting upgraded to 7 in the near future. Many people are also on Flash 7 around here and can't see jack.

But hey, at least we get "wear your best pelt and bones" Fridays. We're innovative, damn it!
posted by stormpooper at 7:19 AM on February 2, 2010


"still active Gopher... sites?"

Holes?
posted by flug at 7:27 AM on February 2, 2010


If you have Firefox, Lynx, or one of a view other browsers with gophering ability built in, you can click here to enter the wonderful world of gopher.

If not, you can just read about it instead.
posted by flug at 7:36 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Turning off ClearType? You must be working on a CRT monitor or something. I pity you.

(If you are on an LCD screen and have admin permissions, install the ClearType Tuner control panel. It gives you options for customizing the subpixel hinting that is the core of ClearType and also the basis of the Quartz type display rendering on a Mac. Simple, two-step "What looks better to you?" questions that help you ensure the ClearType settings are optimized for your eyes. It's amazing that this control panel isn't installed by default in Windows.)
posted by caution live frogs at 7:48 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Which, depending on the tweak, can take up to two days.

Not really, because you anticipate the problems and test as you go, finding pretty much all the problems as you write the CSS. It's one of the rules of web development - you check your target browsers frequently. If a day goes by where you haven't checked what your work looks like in a few different browsers, you're just compounding problems and making a big mess that you'll have to sort out later on.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:06 AM on February 2, 2010


You must be working on a CRT monitor or something.

Indeed I am. I pity me too. It comes complete with a lovely burned in image of the Novell login screen.

It's my own fault, I do the budgeting for my department and keep being too cheap to allocate money to get myself new monitor.
posted by yarrow at 8:22 AM on February 2, 2010


HA!

I am at work, I clicked 'about IE...'
We still have IE 6.0!

But it's Not my fault!
I can't even change the screen resolution on my PC, I must ask a technician to do so...

I love working for the Gov...
posted by CitoyenK at 8:27 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 8:28 AM on February 2, 2010


Say what you want about it, but my heart belongs to.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:51 AM on February 2, 2010


The big news here is that they're dropping IE6 support first in Google Docs. That's a pretty big business decision. Google is working hard to push Docs as an Office alternative, particularly to corporate enterprises. The exact same corporate enterprises that are usually blamed as the last bastions of IE6, their upgrade-fearful IT guys. So Google's decided that this important market is not as IE6-dependent as common wisdom states. That's great news.

Google has a uniquely good view of browser types. Not only broad stats on browser versions, but detailed stats on browser version vs. various user types, usage types, demographics, etc. The fact that they feel confident in dropping IE6 support is encouraging.

(BTW, Mozilla is the only mainstream browser that supports Gopher. And it's pretty stupid of them to support it, given the possible security exposure.)
posted by Nelson at 8:53 AM on February 2, 2010


I'll do all my interneting from emacs, tyvm.

There's been exciting new work in that arena (well, exciting if you're me.)
posted by Zed at 9:07 AM on February 2, 2010


I've been part of a "pilot" "advanced user testing" rollout for IE7 in my (big public) organization. For the past 2 years. We're still no closer to an upgrade than we were in 2008 when this all started. I'm hopeful that if Google does turn off IE6 support then this will finally light a fire under the arthropods who work in what passes for our browser group.
posted by bonehead at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2010


IE6 is a hideous glimpse of what the web would have been like if Netscape hadn't realised they'd lost and open-sourced Mozilla. Even then, it took so long for a serious challenge to be mounted that way too many shitty consultants had decided that IE was all they had to support, and coded exclusively for it.

Hence, all those corporations that hire shitty consultants and developers end up trapped, and we all suffer. But imagine what it'd be like if IE was the only game in town; especially in the period where MS was so happy resting on its laurels it had disbanded the IE team. Brrrrrr.

Firefox isn't a browser that I'd want to use any more, but thank god it came along when it did.
posted by bonaldi at 11:48 AM on February 2, 2010


I'm so happy to see major companies dropping support for IE6. Although some of you may call me an elitist snob, I hate IE6, and I hate having to work around its craptactular interpretation of standards.

My solution is to charge a flat 25% premium to support IE6. Ha! Amazing how easily that gets clients to skip it. Money talks.
posted by Invoke at 2:08 PM on February 2, 2010


Let's see: Google is subject to a Chinese phishing expedition that exploits IE6. Google announces an end to IE6 support. Coincidence?
posted by CCBC at 2:11 PM on February 2, 2010


Forget modern browsers, view the internet as vintage books.
posted by nickyskye at 2:43 AM on February 3, 2010


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