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For those of you who don’t know IE6 Stands for Internet Explorer 6. It’s an Internet Browser that was released by Microsoft in 2001 (almost 10 years ago!). Back in its day it was OK, it even archieved a market share of almost 90% at one point (not that there was much browser choice when it achieved that). This comic by Brad Colbow sums the life of IE6 pretty well.
As a web developer IE6 is the bane of my existence. See to develop a site properly you need to conform to all the standards as well as make sure the site renders acceptably on the major bowsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, IE6, IE7, IE8 ect) . Most browsers render HTML (the language of the internet) reasonably predictability. There is even a test to check how well the browser you are using renders pages. IE6 on the other hand does not and as a web developer you find you spend half your life trying to get websites to work properly in IE6. To put it mildly it’s an absolute pain in the fesses (pardon the french).
To be honest it’s not really the fault of IE6. When it was developed a lot of the current web standards were not even around. Internet Explorer is currently up to version 8 and Microsoft is working on version 9. The problem is a lot of people still use it (it currently has around 10% market share) and I suspect there are two main reasons for this. A) The not so web savvy thinking ‘internet explorer is the internet’ and sticking with what they know. B) From Internet Exporer 7 onwards Microsoft included Windows Genuine Advantage which meant people with a not-so-legitimate copy would be unable to update.
So when Google announced that they would be dropping support for IE6 in Google Docs and Google Sites I could start to see the light and the end of the dark and hair pulingly frustrating IE6 tunnel. Of course just because Google declares it so doesn’t mean IE6 will just cease to exist (as much as I wish that was the case). However they are not the first company to go down this path. Facebook, YouTube, Digg and 37Signals (i.e. Basecamp) have all said they are limiting support for IE6 and I can see this trend continuing (hopefully).
Personally the sooner I can stop developing for IE6 the better!
Tags:Submitted by michael on Thu, 03/18/2010 - 17:18