IE6 – Upgrade or be forgotten 2

IE 6 is definitely the most painful browser for developers and designers to support – it’s seven years old and doesn’t even fully support the CSS 1.0 standard created in 1996. We are now in the age of Web 2.0; CSS, Ajax, JavaScript and Transparent PNGs are all becoming more popular and required to make applications function and look as customers should expect. It shouldn’t be any surprise that IE6 does not support anything as standard, and many people including myself have had to resort to writing custom CSS and JavaScript files just for this browser. There are a few scripts out there which can make things a lot easier, Dean Edwards came out with a script named IE7, which attempts to fix many of the issues with HTML and CSS in the browser. It’s not perfect, but if you start your application with the script, you will have a lot more success.

Internet Explorer 8 is now in Beta release and from the looks of it, its going to cause another bunch of headaches for developers. However, Microsoft, because they know that they are never going to get it right, added a great new Meta Tag ‘X-UA-Compatible’ This tag will allow you to force IE to render to the preferred IE Version, it even has ‘edge’ which allows you to risk your life with Microsoft and always render in the latest version. You can find more information about this latest Microsoft HACK on Aaron Gustafson’s blog.

I’m sure there will be thousands of people out there that think Microsoft should have done more to get users to upgrade their browsers, there are at least 16 people at Just Develop It that agree. We all look forward to the day where the % of IE6 users drops below the critical point and the browser is not supported as standard. 37 Signals has already posted a blog announcing the phasing out of IE6 on all their products. It’s the actions of the big players online that will eventually have users upgrading in the fear of being unsupported, and not Microsoft which many believe should have done more.