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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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