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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977

The Final Word on IE6

A friend of mine recent­ly asked the ques­tion “Why the Hate on Inter­net Explor­er 6?” He explains some very log­i­cal rea­sons why it does­n’t make sense to be so neg­a­tive about IE6, and as I agree with him on just about all points, I thought I’d give the clear­est answer I could.

Sim­ply put, IE6 should­n’t get any hate. Nor should it receive any love, either.

The best thing the web stan­dards com­mu­ni­ty (and any oth­er smart web folk) can do is stop com­plain­ing about an ancient brows­er whose devel­op­er wait­ed too long to replace, and just stop sup­port­ing it alto­geth­er.

One of the ben­e­fits of web stan­dards is that our doc­u­ments are marked up cor­rect­ly before we reach the pre­sen­ta­tion­al stage. One of the ben­e­fits of IE6 (et al) is that we can tar­get spe­cif­ic ver­sions using Con­di­tion­al Com­ments. The com­bi­na­tion of the two means we can still send our con­tent to old browsers, but not have to both­er with the pre­sen­ta­tion, thus sav­ing our­selves hours of need­less headaches and frus­tra­tions, while not pun­ish­ing the users of said old browsers by deny­ing them access to our con­tent.

There’s con­stant dis­cus­sion about whether or not to con­tin­ue sup­port for IE6, and the only rea­son ever giv­en these days in favor of sup­port­ing that brows­er is its mar­ket share. That mar­ket share is dimin­ish­ing, and we’ve already reached the sec­ond beta of IE8, so let’s start drop­ping it already. Make the argu­ment against sup­port­ing IE6, to your clients, your boss, your team—whoever needs to hear it, keep apply­ing pres­sure and don’t back down.

It’s time to stop sup­port­ing IE6. Peri­od.


This arti­cle has very kind­ly been trans­lat­ed to Ser­bo-Croa­t­ian lan­guage by Jovana Miluti­novich from Webhostinggeeks.com.

This item was posted by Dan Rubin on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008.

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56 comments on “The Final Word on IE6

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  1. Posted by Daniel Brashler on Friday, May 29th, 2009.

    8 months is a long run-time for a “last word” … but I can’t resist.

    I just now (again) updat­ed a web­site with a fea­ture that required some spe­cial atten­tion to keep it func­tion­al for IE6. I’m afraid though, that despite any tech­ni­cal edu­ca­tion and cajol­ing that knowl­edge­able users do, the stay­ing pow­er of an includ­ed brows­er that was installed with a fair­ly sta­ble OS release from the most mono­lith­ic ven­dor in the indus­try isn’t like­ly to dis­ap­pear quick­ly. The sheer vol­ume of users whose sys­tems are sup­port­ed by inef­fi­cient, bureau­crat­ic and/or resource-strapped eval­u­a­tors and imple­men­tors of new tech­nolo­gies ensures a very long and slow turnover. At every oppor­tu­ni­ty, you have to eval­u­ate the extent to which you can or should enable the old tech to con­tin­ue, and the extent to which you can push the new. You have to ride the line of main­tain­ing tech­ni­cal func­tion­al­i­ty for the old, while show­cas­ing the shiny new. Like Detri­ot.

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