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Conscious Decision to not Support IE

Jack Warble
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 15, 2012
Posts: 2
I've been developing software for over 25 years and have been doing web development for the past 10. I'm an entrepreneur with several web services, some commercial, some not. While putting together a new service this week, non-commerical, I reached my breaking point with Internet Explorer and made a conscious decision to just not support it with this latest site. It just sucks up too much of my time. So now when users log into my site using IE they will see the following message: http://i.imgur.com/WuZnI.png

I'm not forcing my users to use another browser to view my site, simply informing them that IE isn't specifically supported and then I encourage them to try another browser, explaining the benefits.

I'd like to try to turn this into a movement. I've already registered a domain name to support it. I understand that commercial sites' survival probably depend on supporting IE, but there are a lot of sites out there that aren't commercial that could help.

Am I wrong in thinking that the majority of web developers out there feel the same way as I do?

Am I naive in thinking that web developers could actually make a difference by educating the web browsing public?

What do you think?

Thanks for your time.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 60050
    
  65

As much as I have been a very vocal critic of IE and Microsoft's approach to it, I think that not supporting IE at all is a bit much. Especially where the combination of jQuery and IE9 levels the playing field considerably.

I can understand and get behind not supporting versions of IE prior to 9, and think that IE 6 and 7 should actively not be supported.

In my opinion, not supporting IE9 could come across as either lazy or arrogant, or both.


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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 60050
    
  65

By the way, welcome to the the Ranch.

As a first-timer you may have not seen a recent post of mine that addresses this somewhat.

Most of the sites I'm currently working on are for-pay sites rather than "please visit me" sites. As such, I can be picky as to browser support. For these sites, users much use the most modern versions of the browsers, including IE9, or they are not supported.

But even in that environment, I don't feel it necessary to exclude IE9. Except for testing time, I haven't found supporting it to add any considerable onerousness to development.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 60050
    
  65

Also, some good news for web devs re IE.
Neil Cartmell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 13, 2010
Posts: 150
Well I'm brand new to all this web development stuff. And the first thing that hit me was how in just about every tutorial I've read there is also a note saying that this doesn't work in IE. It's just a hobbie for me so no big deal, but I imagine this would have really annoyed me if I had done this for a living. I'm really surprised there hasn't been some kind of mass protest against IE. If every site said "Sorry we do not support Internet Explorer" , I wonder how quick Microsoft would have made IE conform.
Eric Pascarello
author
Rancher

Joined: Nov 08, 2001
Posts: 15376
    
    6
Jack,

Personally the company I work with does not support IE6 and soon IE7 because the percentages of users using it and the cost of development time is not worth it, but we still support IE8+.

If you do not care about the XX percent of users coming to your site than good for you. Most people care about those users and will spend the extra time to make their sites work. Using a CSS reset and using JavaScript libraries such as jQuery remove much of the headaches people face.

And it looks like you are trying to do a personal crusade: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11495901/conscious-decision-to-not-support-ie [closed - not surprised] and I have heard this song and dance for years as a web dev and guess what, nothing changes, everyone supports IE since they want that part of the market! Also IE10 is up there with Chrome/Firefox and people are moving to using that as their main browser.

Eric



Jack Warble
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 15, 2012
Posts: 2
Bear, thanks for the input. I'm glad to hear that the new IE browsers are getting more inline with everyone else.

I've posted this on several web development forums to try to get as much input as possible and I'm surprised at how little response the post generated. More surprised that most of the responses were of a hostile nature. I just don't get it. Every web development message board contains posts for help in getting things to work on IE that work without problems on other browsers and how everyone despises IE, yet suggest an organized effort to try to make things better for us and you get hostility. It's just bizarre.

It just seems to me that an organized effort to inform the less tech-savvy general public on the benefits of not using non-compliant browsers would be a good thing. I sort of envisioned a single notification that participating websites would display upon detection of a non-compliant browser (mostly older versions of IE I imagine) informing the user of the situation, explaining the benefits to everyone by upgrading, and providing detailed instructions for the options available and how to install a new browser if they choose. I'm not suggesting insulting users or denying them access to a site because of the browser they are using. I would imagine that users would buy into or be less suspicious of the recommendation if a lot of websites displayed the exact same message, branded with a single organizations icon. It just seems like a simple solution to what's been a big problem for some time.

So you say that companies you do work for aren't supporting versions of IE before 8. Do they notify users of older browsers of this or do those users just see screwed up or non-functioning features?

Screw it. I'm still going to put something together. It won't take much effort and it could prove to be beneficial. If no one buys in, oh well, not much invested. That's the great thing about the web. You can implement any crazy idea you want and costs you almost nothing, unless you try to get it to work on all those non-compliant browsers.

Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 60050
    
  65

Jack Warble wrote:Bear, thanks for the input. I'm glad to hear that the new IE browsers are getting more inline with everyone else.

With IE market-share plummeting, apparently Microsoft finally figured out that "our way or the highway" wasn't working anymore. I hear good things about IE10 as well, but haven't had any personal experience with it. (I don't use Windows).

I've posted this on several web development forums to try to get as much input as possible and I'm surprised at how little response the post generated. More surprised that most of the responses were of a hostile nature.

Hostility on the web? Who knew?

Yeah, don't see the need for any hostility. But just look at the various comments sections of news sites, blogs, and even youtube, and, well, it makes me weep for humanity.

On the other hand, written communication is iffy. Could be the hostility is just a misreading?

I just don't get it. Every web development message board contains posts for help in getting things to work on IE that work without problems on other browsers and how everyone despises IE, yet suggest an organized effort to try to make things better for us and you get hostility. It's just bizarre.


Even a year or so ago, my response would have been very different from what I posted above. IE9 was a huge (huge!) strep in the right direction. If things were still in the IE8 state, I'd be taking up the torch and pitchfork right alongside you.

It just seems to me that an organized effort to inform the less tech-savvy general public on the benefits of not using non-compliant browsers would be a good thing.

It'd never work. Anyone that's inclined to change browser already has. Those that aren't are terrified to install anything. These are the people that call IE "The Internet". The most detailed instructions in the world won't entice this crowd to do anything. They'll just move on to another site.

So you say that companies you do work for aren't supporting versions of IE before 8. Do they notify users of older browsers of this or do those users just see screwed up or non-functioning features?

For the most part, they just list the supported browsers and let the buyer beware. A few block access completely. Others issue a warning. Others just let it ride and just say they don't support the older browser so don't bitch and moan.

Honestly, it hasn't been much of an issue. As I said, tools like jQuery really level the playing field, so even on the older browsers, things either work, or mostly work.


Shell Bryson
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 23, 2012
Posts: 3
I work in the healthcare sector building UI elements of web apps. Many healthcare organisations have ageing systems that *only* have IE on them. Conversely, I also work on a project targeting researchers, where the user has decent hardware and the latest browsers. Here we have the luxury of WebGL, HTML5 and the latest JS technologies. I also do a little freelancing, working with popular online magazines. These tend to be responsive, mobile-first, designed to play nice on mobile devices as well as desktop. Here I don't have to support IE, but I at least make sure they render the content in IE.

What it boils down to is, who are your audience? Check your market, build for their browsers & platforms. You can't ask them to 'upgrade' to view your web site - it simply may no be an option for them, so they'll just go to a web site that *does* work for them.

Beware of 'stats' claiming the death of IE. IE usage spikes in some markets during a working week in some markets (some folks who have to use IE at their day jobs), while newer browsers take the crown and weekends...

Final note: IE9+ with various JS shims can be used to match most of the functionality of Chrome or FireFox, so bar a things (eg, WebGL), rendering in IE can good enough. Getting a single design/code heavy site to work on everything from IE6 - Chrome 21, though, is probably not worth the effort unless you absolutely have to.


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