Today is the last day I will spent time fixing issues for Internet Explorer 7, 8 or 9. I stopped doing for Internet Explorer 6 some time ago, and that was a good thing. But it is about time to do the same with the other not HTML5 good enough browsers. Don't get me wrong, Internet Explorer has made a very good job, the browser is really good, but webkit based browsers and Firefox have done an even better job those days. And even Microsoft has done EXTRAORDINARY GOOD JOB making Internet Explorer 10 the best microsoft browser ever.
So why should we (the developers) still suffer because there are huge group of people that won't want to upgrade the browser they use? Before there were not that many options, and Internet explorer users were majority, but nowadays the Chrome user base has increased a lot, so at least for me it make no sense to still support Internet Explorer, 7, 8 or 9 anymore.
How much time have we heard from other developers all the pain that they have to pass to make their websites to work properly in Internet Explorer 7 - 9? Do you remember how much time took to actually kill IE6? I guess that we haven't learned the lesson. As Douglas Crockford said on one of his talks, we are guilty of make that happen. We did a very good job supporting IE6 that we shoot ourselves in the foot while doing it. We made our life a living hell. And we're doing the same again for the other Internet Explorer versions.
So what do we do with the Internet Explorer Users? well, to start we can show to them the path to redemption, and evangelize them. Yeah, we should be like the Jehova Testifiers, we should be HTML5 Evangelizers, and tell our friends and family that they can have a better life, that they will find the peace of mind and the way to heaven if they use a Grade A Browser (either Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 10, etc). It is the word, it is written in the Bible... of the web, that they need to change or be condemned to a life of misery and pain.
How many times we as developer had cool ideas and want to play with it, we make something really cool with nice transitions, effects and animations, only to hear from our product managers or marketing divisions that, we cannot deliver it, unless it runs on Internet Explorer 7-9, and this gets even worse, because they probably don't know that this new cool stuff that your are playing with won't work well on that oldie browser. Or maybe they know and they just want to make the life of the developer a bit more complex. he he.
So, are the Internet explorer user lost? should they lost any hope? Well I guess that there are some actions that they could make. And that is telling them to stop being lazy and install a better browser, that it is free and cost no money. And if they're not that proactive, we should show to them the path to the light. We all have friends that ask ourselves all the time about
Each time we make a web application we should add a tiny message for Internet explorer users warning them about the fact that their browsers are very old and they will not be able to render the cool content that we the developers are trying to show to them. Do that showing a funny message maybe with some humor something like this:
This browser is really Old!So at least users will realize that they are using and old browser and maybe, if we're lucky enough they will be able to do something, either switch to a better browser or at the very least install the chrome frame.
There are reasons to still support Internet Explorer users, I know, they're still a huge portion of the total user base in a website. But this could be worse if we keep supporting it!.
So what else can we do appart from showing to them the path to redemption?
Here are couple of actions that we all can make:
1. Talk to our managers to stop making us to work on supporting Internet Explorer 8 - 9 browsers. Tell them how much time is that costing and how much time we should probably get to invest on new "cool" stuff made with newer technology that runs very well on Grade A Browsers. Show them some examples. show them Sprite 3d, three.js, the Atari page for Internet Explorer 10 and other more, let them know that the web could be a more vibrant place, not only to display information in the traditional way but to do very very cool stuff!.
Mention to them that now the Chrome frame does not require administrative permissions so you don't need to be an administrator to install it.
Mention to them that Microsoft is very close to release (finally) a very good Internet Browser, Internet Explorer 10 and that we should only support that version from that time on.
2. Mention to our friends and family that they do not require to use Internet Explorer 8 - 9 that they can use better browsers, one more time.
3. Do not spent time fixing cosmetic issues in Internet Explorer. Don't do it. If we all stop doing it, a good portion of our users will be forced to upgrade to other browsers, like Chrome or Firefox. Even better those browsers expose a silent update feature, so they will be "up to date" most of the time with no effort (yeah we now our users are lazy). If they (PM, UE, Marketing teams) force you, make your web app work at some level, and stop there. At least stubborn users will see something, probably not that cool, but they will be able to use your app.
IF WE STOP SUPPORTING THEM ALL TOGETHER, THEY WILL CHANGE, OTHERWISE WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A VERY BAD LIFE UNTIL THEY DIE. And they could stay forever if we let them, like it happen with Internet Explorer 6.
So this is the last day I support Internet Explorer 7 - 9, I will politely reject make any cosmetic fix for IE, and will reserve the cool stuff only for Grade A Browsers.
Web developers of the world, get united against Internet Explorer 7 -9.
PD: Well if you force me to do it, I will still do, but against my will (I will kill some kittens too) : hahahahaha.