Up until now, I haven’t really cared what browser people are using. I haven’t designed any commercial web sites for a long time and in the research projects I worked on at HIIT, we always had a target device or target browser, disregarding the poor bastards that didn’t use the right equipment.
Things are different now. I’m developing a real web application for real people with real browsers (or not), which means that I more than ever need to take into consideration what gear people are using our application with. This would be fairly simple if it weren’t for all web designers nemesis: Internet Explorer 6. Let us together once and for all put this freak to rest. Please.
At work, I’m trying to drop IE6 support all together. On the front page we have a warning for IE6 users that they need to upgrade their browsers, and apparently that has been quite effective, but due to a tiny part of our visitors still persists in using the goddamn browser, I still need to maintain some sort of compliance. This means a lot more code, a lot more headache, a lot more debugging and lot less real productive work and new interesting features.
For example, I like to keep things simple. I rarely mix CSS with markup, but instead keep them in separate files, simply inserting some ids or classes where necessary. CSS 2.1 has pretty comprehensive selectors, ranging from simple class and id selectors to child, sibling and attribute selectors. This means that I can give an id to an ancestor of a huge range of elements and do all the positioning and styling in the CSS file, without messing up the markup with class=”this” and class=”that” everywhere.
Does IE6 support these nice selectors? Well of course not. In fact, have a look at this page and tell me which selectors IE6 do support! It’s fucking ridiculous. There’s a shitload of other essential 21st century web design stuff that IE6 doesn’t support. Just Google around and you’ll find a lot of reasons to drop IE6.
I must admit that I was surprised that only a tiny part of our visitors at work used IE6. I thought there actually might be a future for mankind. This sweet illusion was quickly turned into bitter reality when I looked at the stats for my own blog, the site you’re on right now. I was chocked to see that almost 56% of you are still using IE6! What the hell is the matter with you!? Can’t you understand that you are the reason why millions of web designers out there are suffering from insomnia and nervous breakdowns? You’re killing us!
Now this have to change! It can’t be that difficult to download and install a new shiny and free browser that makes both web site producers and consumers happier. Please just do it — install Firefox, IE7 or even IE8 (which is in beta right now) or any other browser released after 2001.
Oh, and for web delveopers that agree with me, consider joining the IE Death March.