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It’s Time To Stop Blaming Internet Explorer

Earlier this week we published two articles by Louis Lazaris: one on why old browsers are holding back the Web1 and another encouraging Web users to upgrade their browsers and use modern browsers other than IE2. This article presents another perspective on this issue. Nicholas C. Zakas, a well-respected member of the developer community, goes into specifics of why we should focus on the good parts of our job so we can tolerate the bad ones and why fixating on circumstances that you can’t change isn’t a recipe for success. Do you share Louis’ or Nicholas’ view? Leave a comment.—Ed.

A couple of days ago, Smashing Magazine published an article entitled, Old Browsers Are Holding Back The Web. The author of this article, Louis Lazaris, suggests that “old browsers” are holding Web developers back from creating beautiful experiences. Old browsers, in this case, apparently referred to Internet Explorer version 6-9. That’s right, the author groups Internet Explorer 9 into the same group as Internet Explorer 6. He goes on to list some of the things that you can’t use in Internet Explorer 8 and 9.

(Note: Louis Lazaris makes a statement that even although IE9 is a huge step forward from previous versions of Internet Explorer, it’s already missing some of the important features that other modern browsers have and does not have auto-update like other popular browsers do, so it will become outdated relatively soon. According to Microsoft auto-update policy, only those users will be upgraded to a newer version of Internet Explorer that have on automatic updating via Windows Update turned on.—Ed.)

Articles like this frustrate me a lot. For most of my career, I’ve fought hard against the “woe is me” attitude embraced by so many in Web development and articulated in the article. This attitude is completely counterproductive and frequently inaccurately described. Everyone was complaining when Internet Explorer 6 had a 90%+ marketshare. That share has shrunk to 6.3% today globally3 (though Louis cites 0.66%, which is true in the United States). Microsoft even kicked off a campaign to encourage people to upgrade.

I can understand complaining about Internet Explorer 6 and even 7. We had them for a long time, they were a source of frustration, and I get that. I would still never let anyone that I worked with get too buried in complaining about them. If it’s our job to support those browsers then that’s just part of our job. The truth is that every job has some part of it that sucks. Even at my favorite job, as front end lead on the Yahoo homepage, there were still parts of my job that sucked. You just need to focus on the good parts so you can tolerate the bad ones. Welcome to life.

But then the article goes on to bemoan the fact that so many people use Internet Explorer 8 and that Internet Explorer 9 is gaining market share. First and foremost, I would much rather support Internet Explorer 8 then I would 6 and 7. Microsoft forcing most people to upgrade from 6 and 7 to 8 is an incredible move and undoubtedly a blessing.

Internet Explorer 9 Link

Internet Explorer 9, on the other hand, is a damn good browser. The only reason it doesn’t have all of the features as Chrome and Firefox is because they rebuilt the thing from scratch so that adding more features in the future would be easier. Let me say that again: they rebuilt the browser from scratch. They necessarily had to decide what were the most important features to get in so that they could release something and start getting people to upgrade from version 8. If they had waited for feature parity with Chrome or Firefox, we probably still wouldn’t have Internet Explorer 9.

The constant drumming of “Internet Explorer X is the new Internet Explorer 6″ is getting very old. Microsoft has done a lot to try to correct their past transgressions, and it seems like there are still too many people who aren’t willing to let go of old grudges. There will always be a browser that lags behind others. First it was Mosaic that was lagging behind Netscape. Then it was Netscape lagging behind Internet Explorer. Then it was Internet Explorer lagging behind Firefox. People are already starting to complain about Android 2.x browsers.

What makes the Web beautiful is precisely that there are multiple browsers and, if you build things correctly, your sites and applications work in them all. They might not necessarily work exactly the same in them all, but they should still be able to work. There is absolutely nothing preventing you from using new features in your Web applications, that’s what progressive enhancement is all about. No one is saying you can’t use RGBA. No one is holding a gun to your head and saying don’t use CSS animations. As an engineer on the Web application you get to make decisions every single day.

Progressive Enhancement Link

Louis briefly mentions progressive enhancement as a concept that doesn’t even enter into the equation. Once again, this is indicative of an old attitude of Web development that is counterproductive and ultimately lacking in creativity. The reason that I still give talks about progressive enhancement is because it allows you to give the best experience possible to users based on the browser’s capabilities. That’s the way the Web was meant to work. I’ve included a video of that talk below in case you haven’t seen it.

It’s not actually old browsers that are holding back the web, it’s old ways of thinking about the Web that are holding back the Web. Fixating on circumstances that you can’t change isn’t a recipe for success. The number of browsers we have to support, even “old browsers”, just represent constraints to the problems that we have to solve. It is from within constraints that creativity is born4. The Web development community has evolved enough that we should stop pointing fingers at Internet Explorer and start taking responsibility for how we do our jobs. Let’s create solutions rather than continually pointing fingers. We are better than that.

Yes, complaining is useful to get people to listen. Microsoft is listening, so continuing to complain doesn’t do anything except perpetuate an attitude that I would rather not have in Web development. Let’s give them a chance to right the ship without retrying them for past transgressions perpetually.

Footnotes Link

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Nicholas C. Zakas is a principal architect at Box, as well as an author and speaker. He worked at Yahoo! for almost five years, where he was front-end tech lead for the Yahoo! homepage and a contributor to the YUI library. He is the author of Maintainable JavaScript (O’Reilly, 2012), Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox, 2012), High Performance JavaScript (O’Reilly, 2010), and Professional Ajax (Wrox, 2007). Nicholas is a strong advocate for development best practices including progressive enhancement, accessibility, performance, scalability, and maintainability. He blogs regularly at and can be found on Twitter via @slicknet.

  1. 1

    Hannes Calitz

    July 12, 2012 8:20 am

    I must admit, I have caught myself constantly complaining about IE in the past, but you sir, have given me new perspective. Thank you for this eye opening article.

    • 2

      Andreas Møller

      July 12, 2012 3:22 pm

      In that entire post, the only thing i can support is that ie9 actually is a fine browser… i will probably never recommend it, but i have no issues with supporting it.
      On the other hand, the statement that the multitude of browsers is what makes the web beautiful is to me outright stupid. No its not, as a developer you want control over your site, and the difference in browsers are getting in the way of this goal. I dont blame ie 6, or 7, or 8, The problem is not that they exist, its that people still use them.
      I believe that the problem is mainly that we as developers keep supporting them. The average user doesn’t know any thing about browsers, and will not upgrade his browser if things are working just fine. Its on us to tell him that the web has gone under some major maintenance, and he needs a new browser to keep using it.Its an evil circle: We support older browsers because they still have a market share, and they maintain a market share because we keep supporting them.

      When it comes to html5 and css3, I think WWWC has a tendency to overstuff their standards a bit, maybe if half of the html5 features was moved to html6, we would have market wide support by now. We cant really blame the browsers that they are not supporting something that isn’t really a standard yet.

    • 3

      There’s actually one thing, one decision, that Microsoft should have made, and it didn’t: AUTO-UPGRADE the browser.
      Actually that’s the main issue developers have with MS. The fact that IE9, and after being rebuilt from scratch, still does not auto-upgrade, makes it the next IE6. Imagine 5 years from now, where would Chrome and Firefox be? and how many developers would be complaining about people who still use windows 7 and can’t upgrade to IE10 (or just don’t bother upgrading), and how many additional working hours it would mean to make your app IE9 friendly. Microsoft will continue to hold back the web for years to come.
      One decision Microsoft, that would have made all the difference.

      • 4

        Jason Farrell

        July 12, 2012 6:08 pm

        As to the Auto-Update thing. People seems to forget that IE is run heavily in the enterprise where the same IT managers want control over what people are running. Auto Update would be a horrible idea in this case. REMEMBER, Microsoft’s main customer base, you know the people who use IE for more than just Facebook and Twitter, are businesses, and they DO NOT upgrade overnight and most certainly do not want their end users automatically updating

        • 5

          You mean as in I just completed the last site upgrade from a client from XP to Win 7?
          “Always at least 1 version behind to get stability”

      • 6

        David Prince

        July 12, 2012 6:18 pm

        There are many reasons why users don’t upgrade; inertia is certainly one which can be tackled through education, but there are others, too.

        The richness brought by different browsers, as alluded to by Zakas, is very real. That IE can be so easily embedded in applications – way before Webkit came on the scene – is one reason why the Web has exploded to what it is now. For business to truly embrace the Web, they need the stability that Microsoft offers with IE; rolling out an update, no matter how small, is a major, costly task for an IT team at a corporate. IE, as a Microsoft product, brings confidence with it for corporations.

        And let’s face it – IE9 is a damn fine browser. And you know what? So was IE6 when it launched – it was light years ahead of Netscape Navigator, had almost universal market share and made developer’s lives much easier for a while. It pushed the Web into the mainstream.

        Another ironic thing is that many IE bashers bemoan its proprietary nature. Its market share in the past has made IE a standard in itself, albeit a de facto standard. Let’s not forget that IE’s filters are fore-runners to many CSS3 features. Now that the IE team has embraced W3C standards, there’s a complaint that it isn’t keeping up with proprietary technology!

        IE today brings stability to the market, and forces to truly consider whether the latest whizz-bang feature is truly necessary. If it doesn’t work in IE, or needs a workaround, we have to justify it to ourselves or our clients – which we should surely be able to do with every design decision.

        There is a very dangerous rhetoric being spouted by Lazaris and others. Ironically, the anti-IE voices are threatening innovation and openness – the very things they purport to rally against. IE has brought many great innovations, and MS has wrapped them in a very usable UI – compare with Netscape Navigator before it or even Firefox today; IE can be easily picked up and used by anyone, whereas Firefox still has an element of ‘geek chic’ about it.

        To support IE is to embrace progressive enhancement. Want those curvy corners and multiple backgrounds and geolocation? Go ahead, add them for Webkit-based browsers – but don’t make your entire design dependent upon them. To do that not only excludes IE users, but those of browsers with assistive technology, users of devices with embedded browsers and users who decide to turn some features off (e.g. offline storage, javascript, custom stylesheets and so on). To exclude IE is to enter into a design methodology which will exclude others and do your visitors, customers and yourself a disservice.

      • 7

        Simon Buerger

        July 12, 2012 6:28 pm

        This is the core problem. Quick release cycles and browser auto-upgrading (and not through Windows Update either) are absolutely essential for the future sanity of all web developers.

      • 8

        The problem with that is Microsoft has a special responsibility compared to the other vendors: The enterprise. Microsoft gives them a stable set of features. Enterprise wants a stable platform, so Microsoft cannot force a browser to upgrade (although home computers with Windows Updates on, which it is by default, do) for everyone.

      • 9

        Richard West

        July 12, 2012 8:24 pm

        Obviously your a web dev, and not an IT administrator at a large company. IT Admins must be in control on the upgrade process in order to ensure that the systems are in a known, working state.

        While I can see the benefit of auto updating software, you must recognize that there are problems that can be introduced, and therefore IT admins must excercise control updates.

    • 11

      I agree that everyone should stop complaining unless they are complaining in the form of a letter of constructive criticism directly to Microsoft. I still do not like IE. It sucks, but I am not worried about it.

      • 12

        Sending letters to Microsoft will not do anything. They have been aware of their terrible browser for years now. Its the fact that they lost market share that they started to take it seriously. One of the reasons they lost market share is because we have either complained about it online or educated people around us about how terrible the browser is and that there are clearly much better options. So they make the switch to another browser AFTER hearing about it.

  2. 13

    Mattia Forza

    July 12, 2012 8:23 am

    I completely and absolutely agree with you Nicholas!

    What’s wrong with old browsers it’s not that they’re out-of-date but how we use them. Sure we had a lot of troubles with IE6 and 7 that lead many of us near suicide but hey, neither the first versions of Firefox were so good as now it is.

    Internet is evolving and we must evolve with it. Progressive enhancement it’s just the first and best thing that we, as web professionals, have to apply to our next project.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I firmly believe that you’re spot on. A death campain against Internet Explorer 6, 7 and perhaps even 8 shouldn’t give us any blame but I must admit that IE9 it’s many step further and so much close to the commonly called “modern browsers”.

    Thanks again. Respect.

  3. 14

    No use crying over spilled milk. But that doesn’t mean that Microsoft doesn’t make poor decisions at every turn.
    I would relate it to StarWars and how it was an important part of my childhood imagination. But now SW was ruined by jarjarbinks and GL’s poor idea of what kids like today. Not to mention the apparent necessity to market said movies to kids. As if their parents had never heard of SW and didn’t know it was awesome. But I have digressed from the start, Microsoft/MS have also been an important part of my upbringing but their software is simply crap and always has been, ever since we had other options. They have good ideas but their implementation of said ideas is always shortsighted and plain lacking.

    That said, I feel like it’s important to have these big companies who make big mistakes so the smaller (or other) companies have something to gauge themselves on. We need a stupid person to make us feel smart.

    • 15

      What we are really talking about here is Microsofts’ poor planning. All of their products have a competitor that makes a better product. The only reason MS is successful is because they made moves first.

      • 16

        That’s not true. Office and Win7 are great software products. Fair enough if you don’t like it but that is far from they are badly made. And no offence, but I find Google docs pretty limited in comparison. “Oh, I want to work on my 20k word dissertation in a coffee shop with no wifi… wait, I can’t”

      • 19

        @alex, it is easy to fling mud at other peoples work and call it poorly designed and crap. Do I love IE and sing it’s praises from the roof top, not at all, I recommend chrome, but with the release of IE9 I am reevaluating that.

        Microsoft is faced with a unique challenge their core mission was originally to deliver the personal PC to every person in the world, and I believe that they have done a great job at this. This also means that their software must meet the needs of every person in the world. Excel revolutionized the way business was done and it is still the defacto standard for business. As of the latest version, things that should be easy, are generally easy. More advanced tasks, take a little learning to do, heaven forbid that an application requires you to understand it.

        Nut I digress the original point of this article is people should stop complaining about things and find solution. A sentiment I agree with completely. I am not a fan of Apple, as at my core I am software developer. This does not mean that I ignore them, I find ways around the issue that work for me and my users, I really like XenApp server as it is really good for this. I work in the world of enterprise software and could easily dictate that everyone use windows, but that is not professional. I find this even more true on the web, were as a professional it is our job to support our users and the technology they embrace. We can make suggestions, recommendation or pleas at times, but ultimately, if we want their usage and/or business we must meet them were they decide to meet us, sometimes that is IE6, but i still cherish the opportunity to server their needs.

      • 20

        Why do you down vote this post? – It’s simply true.

    • 21

      Can you explain: “But that doesn’t mean that Microsoft doesn’t make poor decisions at every turn” and “their software is simply crap and always has been”. I find that hard to believe, you must be misinformed. This post is not even about companies! Your comment is just wrong.

      • 22

        Are you saying you like IE? Microsoft made it and its simply crap, the same with Word, or WIndows, Outlook, or ANYTHING else they make, while it is sometimes a great idea, it’s usually created with very poor standards. So MS has created a lot of software that was great in theory and first on the market. If you compare any of their products to their competitors, you will see that the ONLY reason MS is more successful is because they had the idea first and not because their product is better. MS Office vs Google Documents, Outlook vs Gmail, IE vs Chrome, etc., etc., etc.

        • 23

          For one thing: I don’t use IE, I’m a Chrome fan. I use IE for dev purposes.
          Second: You’re argument of “Microsoft makes bad products therefore IE is bad” is just wrong. MS does some pretty good things too (SQL Server is damn good, Win 7 is the fastest selling OS ever, the Xbox is a raging success) but my point is all of that does not matter here! Have you even used IE9? Have you seen the demos from ? Everything there is comparable to most webkit demos.

          PS: Just because you don’t like MS products doesn’t mean they are badly made. Outlook for instance is way better than anything out there as email management, RSS reader, automatic journal entry, calendar, tasks, reminders etc. all in one.

        • 24

          so? don’t you think that creating the great ideas first, even when the first tries are crap, is not valuable???… you can’t compare MS Office ’cause MSO was born 15 years ago (or more) and GDocs has… how much? 3? 4? Dunno.. And MS right now is pretty damm good, dont you think, its quite easy, and powerful!
          I know that MS has been wrong for several years, the whole period between (but not including) XP and Seven, was a black hole in Microsoft, but now we have IE9, we have W7, we have Office (again, the last ones were pretty good..). And even when MS is throwing W8 to the garbage, it’s having a change of mind, in how it deals with us, the users, and with us, the developers.
          So, if you stop hating, and if you are capable of being objective.. you ‘ll see that not everything is black in MS..

          And, NO, what we are talking about is about how we cry and blame our surroundings, for things WE KNOW we have to do.. Thats all! I, personally, think that this is right… until IE6.. GOD i hate it so much!!!! (and IE7 is not far away, either..)

        • 25

          Dominik Marczuk

          July 12, 2012 11:48 am


          I wouldn’t go that far into criticism against Microsoft. Windows 7 is a really good OS, no matter what Tim Cook and Linus Torvalds would want you to think. It’s stable, it’s easy to use, it’s relatively fast, although resource-hungry. Outlook can’t really be compared to webmail clients. I would rather you invoked Thunderbird (which I do consider to be better, by the way). MS Office vs. Google Docs comparison shares the same defect. But even if you want to compare these two, you really do have to realise that the feature set of Google Docs is just plain LIMITED in comparison to any desktop solution, not necessarily MS Office. And that’s not because it sucks as a piece of software, but rather due to the technologies used to develop it. A web app will never be comparable to a desktop app, period. Plus, have you seen the “Googlighting” video made by MS? It’s mostly a joke, but it presents a really valid point: Google Docs’ feature set can change at any moment and the licence is a laugh. Do you know Google owns your docs? How about the Docs to Drive upgrade that’s soon going to happen? Oh, I don’s suppose you’ve tried using Google Docs with your router down, have you?

          That being said, I do agree IE browsers are deficient and SHOULD be complained about. They’re not standards-compliant, buggy, they require additional work that would otherwise let us developers have more spare time (for the same money!), they can’t be installed under Linux or OSX.

          IMO, one of the things that impedes “normal” development of IE is Microsoft’s zero bugs policy. A new piece of software is released when all bug reports have been dealt with. That means prolonged periods between new releases. That in turn means incorporating new features is slow and by the time they make it to the new product, they’re commonplace among the competition. Tough luck for us.

          My recipe for success: support IE8, add a nice black “IE7 and earlier are not supported” screen for the older versions. Example: That keeps *MY* clients happy and I don’t work extra hours ;).

        • 26

          Hey Alex,
          If you hate Microsoft, say like it is. Don’t throw garbage.

          — @ “MS Office vs Google Documents, Outlook vs Gmail, IE vs Chrome, etc., etc., etc.”

          So you are actually comparing Desktop Products with Web Based Products? Isn’t this what people call “Comparing Apples with Oranges”.

          — @ the same with Word, or WIndows, Outlook, or ANYTHING else they make

          So you are saying that “Word and Outlook”, two of the most widely used applications are crap. Try re-evaluating your definition of “Crap”.

          • 27

            Hey together!

            Well i think what alex is trying to tell is (its at least how i think about this IE-story):

            Microsoft had a lot of good ideas at first. Its just a fact. As some people already said, they never reached a nice and perfect implementation when they throw their software etc. on market. The Software is okay but was always complicated to handle.
            I think i know what im talking about cause i used/use several OS like Windows7, Linux/Ubuntu and iOS. When I was young i started at first with windows in the mid 90s. As long as you dont know anything else you wont miss anything of course.
            The first time i was using Ubuntu and iOS i was trying to do things in the way i know from windows (i.e. installing software, handle the OS etc etc etc…) i really was wondering as i saw how much easier it is and how smoothly everything works.
            As i began to do some webdevelopment i got “behind the scenes” of the most used browsers which was the point i was starting to have one question all along: “why is microsoft/IE not fu***** able to develope a browser which doesnt need some special fixes all the time.”
            I mean they obviously wanted to be something special (as almost every brand). But the way they do it is just a “negative speciality”. I never heard someone talking about IE like “wow, this is really cool, did you see the new feature………….”
            IE is just not up-to-date. I dont know much about the IE10. But in the past everytime there was a release of IE, all other browsers were much closer to the future because they think ahead. But IE was just adepted to present standarts. This is why i also think IE is holding back the web. It was one of the first and one of the best browsers as we all know but sometimes it looks like they use this as main argument for their work.
            Nevertheless i hope and wish that IE will become a strong and powerfull browser again :)

            I hope you wont be angry about my little superficial knowledge. What i wrote is just my personal impression and view of the things. So i also apologize about some mistakes in my grammar and words.
            conclusion: no one’s perfect ^^

          • 28

            Just because something is ubiquitous doesn’t mean it’s particularly good. Windows is a vehicle for Office. Windows is dominates both enterprise and consumer spaces primarily because there hasn’t ever really been a strong competitor (still isn’t). It follows that whatever Microsoft puts in front of their users is going to greatly benefit from their market dominance. These products don’t have to innovate or compete on merit, they win simple by virtue of being Microsoft products on the already dominant Microsoft platform. Until very recently this was the case with ie too.

            Office is a shiny, complex piece of crap. Outlook too.

  4. 29

    Teylor Feliz

    July 12, 2012 8:29 am

    Hi Nicholas,

    Completely agree with you. People just look for an excuse to complaint. I remember the same thing about IE > 9. Every year we hear the same over and over. Flash is another example of people repeating what they hear. Also, there are people that go even further complaining about Firefox for example, because the browser is not supporting a CSS3 feature that Chrome already has. This is just ridiculous!

  5. 30

    Ilhan Negis

    July 12, 2012 8:29 am

    Nice reading, but doesn’t change the fact that Microsoft doesn’t have motivation (money!) for creating better browsers, and ie9 is shit. “they rebuilt the browser from scratch” you said in bold, and yet they are doing exactly the same mistakes all over again, there’s nothing on this world can justify that. writing an article for sake of saying something different than others doesn’t change that fact, does it?

    • 31

      How do you know this? “Microsoft doesn’t have motivation (money!) for creating better browsers, and IE9 is shit”.
      Microsoft have been developing IE at a loss but still make big improvements. You should know if you actually used IE9 instead of following the masses. IE9 is quite good and in some regards better than other browsers.

      PS: Google is making Chrome out of motivation (or as you say it: money) to gain more users (i.e. more ads i.e. more money).

      • 32

        Microsoft’s demotivation from doing “right” browser is coming from mindset of the company,
        It’s not “seen” as a direct source of revenue, therefore they do not waste time on it, one step further, they actually thought that, if they update incrementally and fix bugs on existing browsers, it will hurt them, therefore they JUST released major versions over 6.

        And, please, before asking “how do I know”, think yourself, justify why do you need to upgrade whole operating system to get ie9.

        • 33

          And how is Google Chrome a “direct source of revenue”? They just care more about us, sure… it’s not about the money, like in any company.

          I don’t think IE6 doesn’t have automatic updating because MS don’t want us to have it, that’s silly. They don’t have it cause it was 2001 when it was released and nobody though of it. Google learned from them what a pain it is to upgrade and offered a browser with automatic updates. You know… much later, after we learned about it. Great move I might say and easier to do than change existing software.

          With your logic might as well blame [some random pharmaceutical company] for not having the cure for cancer today.

          As for “justify why do you need to upgrade whole operating system to get ie9” I want to say that there could be a lot of reasons. Maybe the hardware acceleration is not possible on XP, maybe the install needs some specific configuration, maybe … who knows. And who cares, why wouldn’t you upgrade your 10 year old OS. You update your computer every 2 years anyway, and all new computers have the latest OS.

          • 34

            @Will, I’m sorry buddy, but when you said “Google just cares more about us… it’s not about the money” I had to throw my head back and give a good “hahahahahah…”.

            Points to make note of that you were actually accurate on: Microsoft and other PCs have pioneered things like digital Word documents and Internet browsers. The software worked at the time, but how do people EXPECT it to transcend 15+ years? The answer is it shouldn’t. To me, this warrants something to COMPLAIN about. Google has not done anything new or innovative in these fields. They took what everyone else has already done, and applied a big budget on making it better than the competition. Believe it or not, Google has a knack for not being original.

            IE has been a terrible browser for two decades, and with a company budget that Microsoft has that IS SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN about. Others have complained they “have listened”, and you’re partially right. Again, it took them two decades of still trying to shove proprietary browsers at us to realize this. Being a front end developer for the majority of my life I can attest that developing for IE browsers has not been a pleasant experience.

            Rant being said, I do look forward to future releases of the IE browser and DO think Microsoft is coming around. But that does not mean I don’t have the right to complain about the time I wasted dancing around their crappy old browsers.

            People hold less of a grudge then you think, its just a matter of budgets, deadlines, and accommodations that had to be made. As people are wising up to browsers, IE will have to compet or else their market share will disappear.

          • 35

            And how is Google Chrome a “direct source of revenue”? They just care more about us, sure… it’s not about the money, like in any company.

            LOL what?!

            You don’t seriously believe that do you? SMH

          • 36

            I’m sorry, maybe some people don’t get sarcasm… I should explain.
            My point was to address the previous fact “Microsoft doesn’t want users to upgrade their browser because they don’t make money out of it”. Read the whole thread again please (maybe add a sarcastic tone).

    • 37

      Dustan Curtis

      July 12, 2012 8:35 pm

      Bing as the default search on every installation of IE? Seems like the motivation (money!) is right there.

  6. 38

    Colin Wiseman

    July 12, 2012 8:33 am

    I hate to admit it, sometimes you can build something that works cross browser, but check IE6 or 7 and it’s broken. And it’s broken because IE6/7 is rightly unforgiving with your HTML. I find that new browsers try to fix your HTML for you, remove tags that are broken, or styles that are in correct (noticed when checking HTML via firebug). And fixing it in IE6 helps other browsers.

    And i have found fixes in IE6 are generally only { _display:inline; } to get it working. Keeping HTML and CSS clean and simple for the most part will work cross browsers with little hacks required. Not all websites need to be HTML5 showcases.

    But I still wish IE would crawl into a corner and die.

    • 39

      Completely agree, a lot of problems coming from IE6/7 are to do with bad code, and even when problems do arise, it’s not that difficult to fix, like you said, just using { _display:inline; } works a treat.

      • 40

        Right and you would know because ?

        if your css dates back to 1947, sure there’s no problem with IE 6 7 , same for your js.

        Indeed, if you try to do nothing but html1.0, those browsers are just fine.

        We’re in 2012, css3 html5 ajax are the core web technologies, and they don’t work properly on ANY internet explorer version.

        • 41

          HTML5 and CSS3 are fringe at this point, not core. They aren’t standards. Microsoft is doing us all a favor by waiting a bit to get the standards right, rather then experimental features that have a good chance of changing.

          Besides, it all depends on the scope of your project. If I’m doing an experimental site for myself, yes I can play around and whine about MS’s lack of features.

          If I’m doing a site for a politician (which I have recently) I’m going to go to the standard, HTML4 and CSS2 which is accepted and works across almost all browsers.

          • 42

            Well good for you, I’m not in websites but in applications that use a browser as thin client, that fact makes V8’s speed extremely relevant, and almost every single feature that chrome offers useful.

            Now what you don’t seem to realize is that your html4/css2 is an inferior choice driven by compatibility issues, as believe me your site would be much better and cleaner if it was 5/3 instead.

            So why not take an active part in the ecosystem, offer chrome frame to ie users and use modern stuff so we can ALL move forward and eventually have a decent programming experience around the web tool.

          • 43

            Ilhan Negis

            July 24, 2012 9:14 am

            “I’m going to go to the standard, HTML4 and CSS2 which is accepted and works across almost all browsers.”

            tell me more about “almost” please,
            pleeeeeezzzeeee enlight us, what is “almost”?

            doing a favor eh?

    • 44

      Tiago Coelho

      July 12, 2012 11:49 am

      I have to disagree. For a long time i made intranet apps that only had to work on IE, and in fact they did only work on IE, after each IE upgrade I made changes to support the new IE, and… suddenly other browsers almost fully work without additional effort. That means that IE6 was indeed reading code incorrectly. It also means that IE9 is nothing like IE6! I am really happy to have IE9 today, even though I would prefer if it supported some stuff that other browsers already do, and if it would upgrade automatically to IE10, and if IE10 and IE11… would come out faster.

      Bottom line: IE9 is very good, very easy to support. IE6 was not rightly unforgiving with your HTML.

      • 45

        Good points. IE6 was ok for when it first came out, it wasn’t the best but it worked for the internet at the time. The problem with it was how long its life-cycle lasted, that’s all. The problem was less with IE and more with companies adopting standards like banks and insurance agencies making proprietary “IE only” applications. This is what caused The Great IE6 Depression as I call it.

      • 46

        “and if IE10 and IE11… would come out faster.”

        This is nitpicking, and nothing against you, but it annoys me that people think you can’t upgrade/add features to software without adding a major version number. Why couldn’t it just be 10, 10.1, 10.1.5, 10.2, etc? As long as the upgrades come, who cares about the major version number? Shouldn’t that be reserved for large overhauls?

        • 47

          You read what he wrote wrong, Zach. He mentioned he wanted automatic version downloading, implying users would get the browsers and features faster.

          • 48

            I’m not disagreeing with auto downloading. I just nitpicked one line about versions.

    • 49

      When I discover something is broken in IE6/7, I first look to see if it’s bad code, and often I can make the code valid and fix its appearance in old browsers in one stroke. But sometimes it doesn’t work, and I end resorting to browser specific hacks (like the _display:inline you mentioned).

      This doesn’t mean old IE browsers are actually better at enforcing good code – it does just as much as any browser to try to render pages with mistakes. The reason why it is different is because old browsers have inconsistent methods of rendering bad code.

      In HTML5, there are guidelines for how browsers should render bad code. This is a huge improvement, in my opinion, because it separates browser compatibility from code validation. The best way to make sure code error free is still to validate it – seeing how code fails in various old browsers is not a precise way to find coding errors, and a it’s a pain.

  7. 50

    Might be aging myself here, but, we use to have to provide an alternative for those who did not have Flash. No one does that now (well a really low percentage if there are people who do do that). I see this all the time because I have a browser without Flash installed for testing purposes.

    People don’t use the no script tag either. They just assume everyone has scripting turned on.

    Using hacks is not the solution either. When we went from IE6 to IE7 there were tonnes of VIP sites that were broken.

    Showing notes like “Get a real browser” just send people away. Designers and developers need to understand that not everyone that uses the net is a Geek, hence they don’t have the latest greatest browser or other “cool” stuff.

  8. 51

    “Let me say that again: they rebuilt the browser from scratch.”

    So? IE9 has made gains, but from a rendering/standards support angle (which in my opinion is the only area that matters in this kind of discussion, just saying before someone goes “Hardware acceleration!11”) it is where other browsers were a few years ago. IE9 deserves to be lumped in with those other browsers.

    Why did they feel the need to rebuild their engine from scratch… why not just use WebKit? It’s vanity. IE9 could have been where other browsers are TODAY as opposed to 2-3 years ago. And this attitude that we’re supposed to just forgive and forget because they made some changes is really harmful I think. It took a long time to give IE the stink that it has and it is extremely well earned. If we start muddling the message now and telling people IE is okay again, we’re putting ourselves in a vulnerable position where IE could gain back marketshare and Microsoft could get complacent again. Furthermore, what exactly has Microsoft done to earn this forgiveness? It took them losing an extreme amount of marketshare to even make this effort. It’s too little, too late. Their other fix was to put out a condescending ad campaign to try to shame people into silence about how crappy IE is: (Trigger warning: this might make you rage)

    “…just represent constraints to the problems that we have to solve. It is from within constraints that creativity is born.”

    This statement almost makes me physically ill. This completely washes away all the pains and ridiculous hacks and workarounds that developers/designers have had to use because of IE over the years. Remember when you couldn’t even use alpha transparency in a PNG without installing some convoluted library? We worked with these “constraints” for far too long, and we had no choice. You sound like someone with Stockholm Syndrome.

    The move to html5 and css3 has been so long and difficult for modern browsers, and even now I still can’t write standards based semantic markup without having to worry about installing a bunch of workarounds for IE.

    This still affects me on every single project I do. I’m so sick of it. I’ve been making websites since 2005 and “will it work in IE? How can I cascade these fixes to each specific browser?” has been something I’ve had to think about on every single project I’ve ever done. If IE ever moves into a space where that’s no longer an issue, then maybe we can start talking about not complaining about IE anymore. But guess what? Nobody will be complaining then.

    • 52

      You should be ashamed as a developer. Basically, you’re saying “I don’t like part of my job and I wish it would go away”. Grow up, of course there are things that we don’t like. You know what? Don’t support it!
      Besides, Webkit is not perfect and one of the reasons it’s so good and getting better is because of competition. There would be no Chrome upgrades if everyone used Chrome.

      • 53

        “Basically, you’re saying “I don’t like part of my job and I wish it would go away”.”

        Nope, I’m saying it shouldn’t be part of my job. That’s the whole point. Being a web designer/developer should mean being able to write standards compliant code and have it work, barring perhaps a few experimental effects that maybe use vendor prefixes. IE is the main reason that is not a reality, period. I don’t get what your argument here is, that because things are this way we aren’t supposed to dislike them/want them to change?

        “You know what? Don’t support it!”

        That’s not always a viable option when working for clients or for an employer. Hence the sentence “We worked with these “constraints” for far too long, and we had no choice.”

        Your counter argument seems to be “Suck it up” instead of actually addressing problems. My criticisms are valid and this is a real problem, and that isn’t a valid response. Collectively as an industry we’ve been sucking it up for a very long time.

        • 54

          So vendor prefixes are ok even if they work differently from the industry standards but you get mad if you have to implement hacks for a 10 year old browser when your job requires you to? It’s 10 years old! Of course it needs hacks.
          And btw, I don’t use IE, I use Chrome. Complaining about it is ok but saying we should scrap it completely instead of finding solutions is just not the way forward.

          • 55

            I qualified my support for vendor prefixes. I’m okay with them being used to test out experimental implementations of features from new standards.

            Regarding fixing for IE, you might have a compelling point if IE6 wasn’t seen as a bad browser only a few years after its release. That also doesn’t explain how 7 and 8 (and 9) were bad too. When I said that fixing for a browser specific rendering problem wasn’t my job, I was talking on a large scale. Every engine does have its quirks, and every so often I will have to fix something for Gecko but it is rare and usually limited to one issue. And it doesn’t happen on every single project.

            It’s their job to make a rendering engine that conforms to standards. This has never been about one or two issues when you code a page, it’s about viewing your page in IE and it being completely broken. Yes, you learn to avoid certain things to save you grief as time goes on, but what kind of awful habit is that? Forming code habits based on a bug in a rendering engine that wasn’t fixed because Microsoft had a bad attitude/awful release cycle?

            “Complaining about it is ok but saying we should scrap it completely instead of finding solutions is just not the way forward.”

            Actually, scraping old programs in favor of new ones has to be the way forward. For IE in general, until they produce a product that is truly on par with competitors in a rendering sense, AND manage to keep up for a length of time, it should still be considered a problem.

            And frankly, the evidence doesn’t point to Microsoft being willing/able to do that. The fact that they’re touting HTML5 support as a feature despite lacking very basic stuff and that you can’t get it on XP doesn’t show that they truly get it.

          • 56

            I give you that. Their life cycle is awful and not having automatic upgrades is even worse.

            However your taking it to the extreme. Yes, IE6 is bad and 7, and 8. But IE9 is comparable to other browsers with a good browsing experience. Plus IE10 is coming this fall. There is no reason to go ‘all webkit’. That was the problem with IE6:

          • 57

            Oh and btw, IE6 rocked when it was released. Just how webkit rocks now.

        • 58

          Steve Jones

          July 12, 2012 2:31 pm

          “It shouldn’t be part of my job” Do you pay yourself? If not, you don’t get to decide what should be part of your job. Your job is to support whatever browsers your employer/client tells you to. If this is too hard or too demeaning for you, go find an employer/client dumb enough to let your personal preferences dictate how they spend their money. Failing that, try digging ditches.

          • 59

            Congratulations on completely missing the point. A browser is supposed to ship with support for the standards, that is the job of the people who develop it. A few quirks here and there are fine, but IE has completely missed the mark consistently for over a decade.

            My job is to write clean, semantic code according to the same standard that the browser is supposed to abide by. It shouldn’t be having to continually make up for the failings of a rendering engine. That’s what I mean by that phrase that you so delicately cherry picked.

            Also I love how you’re acting like I’m entitled for wanting to spend my time writing clean, modern code without having to worry about supporting a browser that is 5 or 10 years old. That’s right, it is my moral failings instead of the colossal failings of Microsoft. Also your implication that this is simply a “personal preference” (and a weird one at that) is pure gaslighting.

            It may have been the case in the early 2000s and before that browsers rendered wildly differently, but it is not so anymore. Rendering engines may have their minute differences, but the vast majority of what anybody writes will render correctly in Gecko and WebKit. This is not the case even with the most current Trident iteration.

          • 60

            Steve (Ballmer) Jones over here definitely thinks in profits over innovation. You are what’s wrong with the web development world. I bet you’re one of those “everyone gets a trophy for trying” kinds of people. By your logic, we shouldn’t be using Vista or Windows 7 because our clients should dictate how we work and clearly they don’t care about development STANDARDS. I personally believe all contractors should include an IE tax “You need this website to work with non-HTML5 compliant browsers, +8%”.

          • 61

            Marcello di Simone

            July 12, 2012 5:25 pm

            If that’s the way you would describe your job, at least ask your employer to place your desk on a cotton field and to give you a nice whipping from time to time.

    • 62

      Thanks Daniel, that’s exactly my point of view.

    • 63

      In a way I agree with you. I’ve been doing it since 1993 (Geocities woohoo) and can tell you you’re always going to be dealing with this.

      The best way to get around it is:

      1) Stop trying to make the site look the “exact same” in every browser.
      2) Stop showing the client photoshop mockups. If you do this then they’re going to expect the design to look “exactly” like this.
      3) Present your concepts/mockups in the browser. Send them the link and let them look for themselves.
      4) Offer an adaptive style sheet, and show them the site adjusting itself on an iphone/android/tablet.
      5) Educate your clients about why using new technology and “forgiving” the slight differences in older browsers is a good idea.

      Once you get over the “exact” thing, you’ll be much happier and more productive.

      • 64

        Nol Franklin

        July 12, 2012 2:21 pm

        Completely agree with your points, Ian!

      • 65

        My current “solution” is a perfectly gorgeous version in chrome, that is usually very fast to port to firefox, and then a “bugfix css” for internet explorer, that is more or less ugly compared to the chrome version, but just works.

        I think it’s fair to have crappy support on crappy browsers, i’d even go as far as calling it graceful degradation.

  9. 66

    IE is like a zombie for me. Dead looong ago and still crawling. Every time I see the IE logo or worse-case I have to start this “browser” I remember: Isn’t there a W3C standard? And WHY is there a standard? Ok IE 6… it was the “early” web. But IE 7, 8, 9, even 10 and 11 the number doesn’t matter. They never fit the standard.

    I love to design and programm websites, it sometimes was a big challange to get the right results for every browser. Now we have another challange to fit all devices. For customers you have to optimize the site for every modern browser, that’s no question. But I’m soooo tired to put my time in the website for some annoying IE fixes, workarounds or hacks. Sorry but this is no (modern) browser for me. Who drives a car whitout wheels? You stuck all the time but you still have this car more then 10 years?

    I did not know they build IE from scratch – makes me even more laugh. In our business, technology is growing and changing very fast. Now tell me how can such a crappy product survive that long? I know because of the “PC evolution” a lot of IE’s are out there, and still a lot of IE version 6. They loose their market share, thankfully. Do you have another reason for that?

  10. 67

    Steve Harwood

    July 12, 2012 9:37 am

    The fact of the matter is, as designers we must work with all manner of browsers in order to give our clients the best possible audience for their sites. If my client says a large part of their audience uses IE6 – so be it …

  11. 68

    Hugo Giraudel

    July 12, 2012 9:38 am

    Hi ! First of all, thanks for the read, and for the last 2 or 3 articles on SmashingMag, they were such good writes. SmashingMag, keepin’ up the good work. ;)

    Secondly, even if I understand your (Nicholas C. Zakas) point of view, we must admit that *the* browser which is constantly pissing us off since the dawn of web is Internet Explorer, whatever version. It used to be IE6, or even IE7, and sooner or later it will be IE8 or IE9.

    But actually I’m not blaming Microsoft for those browsers, because they use to be good browsers in the past, right. I’m blaming Microsoft for their poor and not future-proof way of managing their products.

    The fact is that every Internet Explorer version is made to stay for like 10 years (IE6 launched in 2001), and that’s the problem, especially in an age where you get lost or outdated after a few months of inactivity.

    Internet Explorer is the only major browser which has 5 completly different versions on the way. If no mistake, Firefox has 2 major versions (3.6 and 4+), Chrome has only one, Opera has 2 (11- and 12), and Safari has 2 as well (4 and 5). And 5 for IE (6, 7, 8, 9, 10), each one with its own bug, and its own support of every single feature.

    And finally that is the problem. Not Microsoft browsers but Microsoft policy. Microsoft should auto-updates their browser so there is no more IE6, no more IE7, no more IE8, and soon no more IE9 (even if I have to admit IE9 is not a bid deal to deal with for now, but it will in the future).
    This is the way product policy should be handle : when you build a product clearly superior to the old one, either you update the old one, or you take it back from sell (or acquisition).

    So Internet Explorer is clearly holding back the web, but not necessarly because of its lack of features, because of its lack of updates.
    Having said that, the Internet Explorer’s team seems to be slower to build up new features into their browser. I don’t say they suck, I’m just saying they look slower than other browsers’ teams. Even if IE10 looks great, it’s clearly way behind Chrome or Firefox latest. But, that’s not the point. :)

    See you !

    Edit : oh, by the way, sorry if there are some mistakes in my post: I’m French. :)

  12. 69

    Vincenzo Acinapura

    July 12, 2012 8:42 am

    People that made Internet Explorer 8 demonstrated not to be good software engineers (or, perhaps working at Microsoft makes software engineers dumb). That number of bugs and incorrect interpretations of the standards is not acceptable.

    It is normal, as you said, that people complains about a mediocre piece of software. But I think is not normal for a software house to keep that software around for 10 years. That’s the point. 6% of the Internet (including clients I work for) is still using IE6, sorry, for me this fact is enough to hate Internet Explorer (and people using it) for the rest of my life. Luckily every remaining browser on the market is better.

    @Daniel: Stockholm Syndrome. That’s Right.

  13. 70

    You say that “..if you build things correctly, your sites and applications work in them all. They might not necessarily work exactly the same in them all, but they should still be able to work.”. Then, think about text/box shadows, rounded corners, PNG transparencies and many other things that force developers to implement hacks (even so, it doesn’t look the same), because they are simply not supported in IE < 9, not to mention sluggish Javascript performance.
    That translates into many development hours. The logical option would be to offer a 30% discount in exchange of dropping support for older browsers, and that's something I'm considering seriously.
    Admiteddly, IE9 is somewhat better, but the adoption rate is very slow, as it runs only with Vista and newer OSs, and a lot of people still uses XP, and they will not upgrade until buying new hardware.

  14. 71

    I admit I spent years trash-talking Internet Explorer in its stagnant phase, but I was quick to take back my scathing remarks once 9 and the 10 beta were released. They’re not perfect, but they’re colossal upgrades from 8, and they even have some advantages other browsers lack.

    The problem with 9 and 10 is that all those millions of people who don’t upgrade to Windows 7 are stuck with IE8, which isn’t enough because, though much better than 6 or 7, its limitations are still quite challenging to code against. IE upgrades are free, but Windows upgrades certainly are not; however, Firefox is still available for Windows XP SP3, and the last time I checked, Opera worked as far back as Windows 2000, so if you’re still using Windows XP, I will recommend a non-IE browser. It’s quite frustrating to have to cater to people who use 10-or-more-year-old operating systems, but that’s still the reality for many of my clients, since I often work with tradespeople and Mom-and-Pops who have older systems.

    Many people have taken this IE hate too far, though, and made it personal. Microsoft apologised and made better browsers after 6 and 7, so let’s let the past be the past.

    • 72

      I completely agree and I have met many developers who simply don’t want to see or hear anything about Internet Explorer, simply to go with the masses. They say “Chrome is not perfect but that’s understandable because it’s Chrome. IE9 and 10 are a huge improvement but it’s too little because it’s IE.”

      • 73

        Get back to modern tech, you’ll realize that even if ie9 is 10 years better than ie 7 8 whatever, it’s still 5 years behind chrome, as firefox is 2 or 3 years behind chrome as well.

        IE is still not on the same scale as ff / chrome, and ff is getting worse by the year, as if all the talent had left for webkit, or as if someone had paid mozilla to turn it into the next IE.

    • 74

      For me, this highlights the real problem with Internet Explorer. Regardless of how much better 9 or 10 may be (which they are), IE is built by a company who’s real interest is selling Windows and Windows-related products. With XP still holding around 30% market-share, their decision to not allow IE 9/10 upgrades is really holding back the web. As they continue to release new versions of their OS, I simply can’t trust that current Vista users might be stuck on IE 10 or Windows 7 users might eventually be stuck at IE 12 if they choose not to upgrade. There’s an obvious conflict of interest here and Microsoft is clearly doing what’s best for them, not the web in general.

  15. 75

    Naresh Babu

    July 12, 2012 9:45 am

    I was wondering whether someone will voice out the counter arguments for those two articles earlier by Mr.Louis. It has been a great educative read for a budding developer like me. And yes I agree with you that with constraints the true creativity is born.

  16. 76

    Jaffer Haider

    July 12, 2012 8:46 am

    Great article and thank you for taking a stand against all the IE bashing going on around here. I sincerely hope developers and designers adopt the perspective you’re talking about and stop with the incessant whining. Back in the day I used to be a huge IE6 basher … some of the most colorful insults in our team were reserved for IE6 … but now I take everything in stride.

    If you’re using a framework, writing clean CSS and not trying anything groundbreaking, supporting old browsers really isn’t that hard.

  17. 77

    “Why fixating on circumstances that you can’t change isn’t a recipe for success.”

    I agree, but I may disagree on how to alleviate that fixation. Some parts of your article suggest one should stop complaining and just accept things, even if one of those things is supporting IE6. I think one should stop complaining, too. But I think they should find closure and relief through the act of dropping support for browsers that have aged beyond the point of reason. Not every developer will agree that IE6 has gotten to that point, but I feel that that is because that sect of people never will. IE6 could a quarter of a century old. If even 10 people were still using it, those developers will look down on anyone who doesn’t factor it into their projects.

    “I would still never let anyone that I worked with get too buried in complaining about them. If it’s our job to support those browsers then that’s just part of our job.”

    Keyword: IF. Just borrowing from my comment on one of those older articles: “Base it on each case. Are you making something a lot of people at some company will visit? People stuck in some Microsoft intranet where IE6 is all they can use? Or are you making an online store for a local car decal shop that would be fine and dandy without IE6 support? In the end, it depends. It depends more on the site, whom it’s for, and who will be visiting it most.” In short, I don’t agree that IE6, or maybe even 7, should be supported just because even 1 person on the planet uses them or just because they exist at all. One group of developers will say I’m being a disservice to the profession, another will say I’m trying to express tough love to put the final bullet into a a browsers that’s so old that continuing to support it goes from lingering dedication to bordering on ocd. Both sides have a point.

    • 78

      I still get people with an ie 5.5 user agent hitting my website… should we be developing for them too?

  18. 79

    Jesse Kivivuori

    July 12, 2012 8:51 am

    Have to say that this was good reading in a while.

    I totally agree and this article reinforce my opinion for IE. I must say that I have agreed IE existence a long time. I dropped IE7 support a while ago because the lack of border-box(of course there is a polyfill for that but it’s kinda dirty approach). It’s THE feature that make me as a developer a happy developer. IE8 can handle it so then I can tolerate IE8.
    When I develop I first make it work with Chrome. Last thing I do I check site with IE and ad few fixes to the layout if needed. If I have border-radius etc. and it lacks on IE8, I will not take that much pressure on.

  19. 80

    One thing I don’t see mentioned often in these articles is the corporate aspects of upgrading, I’ve been in several big companies that are bound to old versions of browsers as they have apps developed by contractors that only work with something like IE6. There generally isn’t budget to replace these as they may have expensive in the first place, and corporate interests don’t really care about web standards as employees are at their desks to work. Even if an employee is allowed something like Chrome on their desktop, they’re still using IE primarily.

  20. 81

    Jon Edwards

    July 12, 2012 8:53 am

    I agree, but only in part. I think that a big frustration (and part of the problem) that hasn’t been fully discussed, is the idea that clients and marketing hacks are perpetuating the problem…

    I still have would-be clients and wannabe marketers sending through briefs for, “A pixel-perfect, web 2 design for 1024×768 screens.” And, no matter how much you try and educate them about current best practices and trends, they often just want what they want. Worse still, when they get it, the certainly don’t want to have to pay more for it (responsive design, for example).

    We can’t expect to sit and b*tch, moan and complain on a designer/developer-only forum like Smashing – that doesn’t often see any readers from outside the community – if we’re going to educate the general public about where the web is going.

    Start educating clients, marketers and users on their level. Big name players like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Amazon and the like have only made very small steps towards muscling users onto newer browsers – but they can’t afford to lose revenue (neither can Yahoo, Teylor) so they keep supporting them.

    Start offering users real incentives to move to newer browsers, rather than the promise of “a better web experience” – they don’t know any better. A couple of folk have already started doing this on e-commerce stores with “modern browser coupons”.

    I don’t know. I just don’t think that this is necessarily the forum for the conversation anymore…

  21. 82

    Jamy Golden

    July 12, 2012 8:55 am

    “they rebuilt the browser from scratch” – Seriously, who cares. If I built a browser from scratch and it was equal to an old version of Firefox(Firefox 2), no one would give me credit for making a sub-standard browser, it would first have to equal the other browsers before I would receive any recognition. IE9 hasn’t done this and they don’t deserve recognicion for that. “Oh IE! Well done for being one of the earliest browsers and almost catching up to the rest of the modern browsers, you’ve done a really great job!”

    I don’t complain about IE7+ as browsers any more since it’s trite. I will support them and find ways to do the impossible, however, LTE IE9 aren’t modern browsers.

  22. 83

    Wesley Martin

    July 12, 2012 8:56 am

    I admit that Microsoft has come along way with ie and I can’t wait for it to fully compete in regards to standards with other modern browsers, heck I even hope that ie becomes the most awesome browser ever, because truth is that would make my life much easier… but…

    You said, “No one is saying you can’t use RGBA. No one is holding a gun to your head and saying don’t use CSS animations. As an engineer on the Web application you get to make decisions every single day.” Actually yes, the client is holding the gun to my head. They are the ones that say, “Why is it looking like this on my home pc (firefox lets say) and like this on my work pc (ie7 lets say)? And then the extra hours starts piling up. We have to push towards improving browser education, most people are ignorant to the fact that there are better browser, lets show them that there are, but be nice about it.

  23. 84

    Brian J. Hall

    July 12, 2012 9:01 am

    I’m about 50/50 on this. Yes, if we have the time/budget, we should be supporting as many browsers as possible. So rather than complain, we should be proactive to the problems. So I see your point.

    But my clients won’t.

    They want to pay for a website to be built, not to have multiple websites built (which, let’s face it, is essentially what we’re doing). When we’re trying to support some of these legacy browsers with hacks, and overrides, we’re spending a good deal more time just to make things compatible (or as Louis Lazaris said, not being innovative). If the customer sees a significant market-share advantage to targeting a particular browser, then they can justify the cost. But it’s hard to convince anybody that they should just invest additional capital to get their site functional, when that’s already what they’ve paid for.

    It’s a balance between being cost-competitive and being functional, and older browsers are the battleground for this balance.

  24. 85

    Martin Chaov

    July 12, 2012 9:10 am

    Well, at last :)

    It is not common in the web development circles to have a voice of reason. Usually developers rant about technologies that is making them do some actual work :) (supporting IE 6…7..8….. for example)

  25. 87

    Daniel Wiklund

    July 12, 2012 9:12 am

    I agree with some of the points you make, but i have to say that from a designer/front-end developers point of view, IE8/IE7 (and IE6 but i haven’t used or optimized for that in ages) ARE SHIT, it is really hard to explain til a customer, why somethings just dosen’t look, behave or feel the same in IE7/8 as it does in other browsers.
    They (the customers) all want cool stuff and features on their website, but lets face it, there are just somethings that are a lot harder to accomplish on IE8/7.

    One of the things that causes me the biggest headaches it the poor font rendering in IE7/8, and 8 times out of 10 the customer is just not satisfied with the answer “…well it’s your old browser that is the problem…”

    But IE9 on the other hand, i’m actually ok with, it has some shortcomings and stanges behaviors some times, and the CSS3 support is not that great, but it’s nothing a little workaround or fallback cold can’t fix.

    So i my opinion when “Jaffer Haider” wrote:
    “If you’re using a framework, writing clean CSS and not trying anything groundbreaking, supporting old browsers really isn’t that hard.”
    That’s true, but a lot of times the customer want’s stuff that amazes them and are groundbreaking! we shouldn’t stop exploring new things, or stop trying to “raise the bar” on every new web project. We should encourage users/customers to upgrade their browser and let old and outdated software DIE!

  26. 88

    Natti Bar On

    July 12, 2012 9:16 am

    Allow me to give you another perspective on the issue:
    “Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.”

    Microsoft has been a bully and a tyrant, abusing its market dominance and customers ignorance to produce lousy software, holding back (multiple) markets, including the browser. Now, we can’t do anything about its market dominance, but we can sure work with customers ignorance by publishing posts, talking to them, etc.

    I find it hard to give credence to a vendor who has abused its power for so long. So they re-wrote the browser from scratch? After the years they held the market back? Oh, let’s all cheer for their good wishes. The only reason MS is rewriting their software is because they’re left out of the game, the game of innovation which captures the hearts, minds and code of influencers.

    This is MS’s DNA. Remember what they said about iPhones (people like buttons, it will fail) or iPads (no one will use it). Well after the market turns away from them, they’re “embracing” innovation. If they aren’t constantly threatened by public opinion, their products scrutinized and criticized, they’ll just resume stagnation.

    Complaining is a harmful attitude, we should go and get things to work. On that I agree. But it may also be a way of educating, consumers and Microsoft, that opinion leaders still find their products sub-par, and that with choice, they just won’t use it.

    In this case, complaining is EXACTLY what we should do – demand high quality service from vendors who expect us to use our products, so that they can increase their revenue.

    • 89

      Martin Chaov

      July 12, 2012 4:21 pm

      Come one man … are you serious … Let’s hit on Apple next … those bastards … they are supplying all kind of software with their operating system – movie player, music player, Safari, other iShits … etc…

      You statements are you childish … Let’s tear apart Linux distributions for comming with some software and not other.

  27. 90

    Richard Crosby

    July 12, 2012 9:18 am

    I couldn’t more thoroughly disagree with this article. More specifically, this quote:
    “Fixating on circumstances that you can’t change isn’t a recipe for success.”
    Inspired me to write this comment, because I feel as developers, its our duty to invoke change across the web.

    My aim and I’m sure its shared by many, as a web developer, is to provide a great user experience to those browsing the internet. When it comes to implementing an outstanding feature of a site that has to be reduced down for users of older versions of IE, we are knowingly providing a worse experience for some people.

    And what possible reason do the users of IE have to upgrade if we keep catering for their every need. Its likely that many of those users aren’t even aware that a better browser exists.

    We will never get away from cross browser compatibility and dealing with browsers that cant do things others can. But there should be a cutoff point and you can guarantee I will moan at everyone and everything until that’s a reality.

  28. 91

    Niels Matthijs

    July 12, 2012 9:19 am

    I think the thing to remember is that our community is slowly deteriorating because of brand favoritism. You know, Apple vs Windows, Sony vs Nintendo, The Beatles vs The Stones … such situations never result in worthwhile discussion but get stuck in continuous and meaningless bashing.

    IE9 is still a rather limited browser, but only because it lacks support for an ongoing list of non-standards. Apart from that, it’s a solid and well-behaved browser.

    People also seem to forget that even the newest version of Safari, FF and Chrome have their own list of regrettable bugs. Be it age old css2 solutions (Webkit just now fixed a very simple bug with floats, margins and overflows – something that actually works seamlessly in IE7 – while Safari is still suffering from it) or flaky implementations of css3 propositions. Sure enough we have css3 animation and pseudo-element support in Webkit, but combine the two and nothing happens. Basic implementations usually work just fine, but once you want to do something a tad more challenging you start to run into bug-ridden edge cases.

    Progressive enhancement really is the key. Make sure that the information on your site remains accessible in a quick and usable way, no matter what browser people are using (I myself use the 1% rule – everything above gets support). Suggesting people to upgrade can’t hurt of course, but stuffing it down their throats is even more irritating that flash ads. Browser preference is either due to personal taste or technical limitations and it’s not something that web developers should decide for others. That’s part of what the web is all about.

    • 92

      Ralph Marchant

      July 12, 2012 11:52 am

      Has anyone considered that there are a large number of highly locked down users out there that can’t change their browsers? I work for a government department that until recently has locked it’s workstations down so tight that everyone bar a select few were forced to use IE6/7 to access websites for their work. Until government bodies actually have a strategy for updating technology effectively there is always going to be a requirement to provide backward compatibility for the huge number of public sector workers enslaved to obsolete browsers. In short, forgive the little guys who may not have a choice in browsers, it’s the bureaucracies they work for that need to make the updates!

  29. 93

    I think a lot of it is down to IE’s release schedule and method of updating.

  30. 94

    I have a netbook with only one core, a 10 inch screen, and no gpu, – it runs windows XP. Over time, MS has offered via their automatic updates the ability to install the latest version of IE up to the point where my hardware is not good enough to do so; thus I am running IE 8. My computer is also not capable of running Windows 7. At present, I am able to use IE 8 to purchase anything I want on the Internet; e.g. Amazon, eBay, and all the other big boy sites. If you want me to buy something from you, and you don’t support IE 8, you are not going to get my money. At some point your company’s financial people may decide that it is worth while to tell your current people to support IE 8 or to hire some new people to support IE 8. What’s important – having some fancy thing that doesn’t impress me, or making money?

    • 95

      You sir, should try chrome.

      It runs far faster and better on your joke of a computer. (really, whoever decided you could ship atom and XP on the same box must’ve been laughing at the poor users)

      So what’s important to you ? remaining a tech agnostic ? buying overpriced crappy netbooks ? or getting your shit bought online cheap and fast ?

      That’s the whole discussion here, why you should be using chrome, for your own damn benefit as a user, for your data security and for compatibility with ALL the friggin web.

    • 96

      Another thing that gets ignored by web users (that L. hinted at) is security.

      I can tell you how many times I kept having to restore disk images on office computers that were using IE8 that kept getting infected. My bosses logic ran that we need to stay with IE because it was easier for IT to manage.

      I bumped these users to chrome, against the bosses wishes at first. No more restoring disk images all the time now. He is a believer finally and my coworkers love chrome.

      There really is no good reason to stick with IE8. I’m sorry. Unless i didn’t have to support it, I would never, never user it.

  31. 97

    Christoph Ernst

    July 12, 2012 10:27 am

    Thanks for that article and a different perspective on this issue. But there’s two things that came to my mind when reading your article.

    Your wrote: “They might not necessarily work exactly the same in them all, but they should still be able to work. There is absolutely nothing preventing you from using new features in your Web applications, that’s what progressive enhancement is all about.”

    1. Let’s face it, most of us are working for customers and while there’s surely the possibility to explain browser issues (like Jon Edwards said) they just want the modern product to look the same in all browsers. Whatever it takes. It may sound a bit harsh, but most clients don’t give a damn about progressive enhancement. So I’m still bound to using workarounds, when it comes to IE.

    2. While Microsoft may have enhanced IE, there’s still no satisfying CSS3 support. Just because they rebuild it from scratch there’s no reason for applause, because it’s still missing some features that are key.

    • 98

      You assume far too much, namely that you can build a modern product that runs on IE.

      It’s been a while since that was possible. Just js speed on IE and firefox puts them lightyears behind V8-equipped browsers.

      And every other workaround you add for ie, makes the ie version even slower, and I haven’t talked about selectors yet …

  32. 99

    One more angle that is probably not one of the regulars of Smashing Magazine:

    The web is not just for professionals.

    This whole “it’s your job to fix these things” attitude stinks to high heaven for everyone who is not, in fact, a professional web designer. Why on earth should creative access to the one infrastructure that has become all but ubiquitous ever since its inception be restricted to specialists? The web is the foundation for basically every information distributed on the internet now. Yet, knowing html and some basic styling fundamentals does not allow one to partake in distributing information as one would assume when following standards protocol. What folly is this?

    I am not a professional web designer and yet I would like to produce some content on the web, now and then. This is all but impossible for the layman to do, unless she accepts that whatever standard-informed personal home page or self hosted information repository she puts out will not work as intended, because the brokenness of the web gets perpetuated for a multitude of browser generations. That is a real problem to a whole demographic, much larger than the select few who know their way around said brokenness anyway. This whole “progressive enhancement” thing is really an ugly beast of a necessary compromise with the broken present state of events, not something we should aspire to become a standard practice of a better future.

    And from a professionals perspective: is it not also ridiculous to put artificial constraints on your work that are merely a matter of historic accident (aka browser wars), amounting to putting a spanner in the works just for the sake of it?

    • 100

      That’s an extremely good point.

      When this article says it is “our job” to make sites work IE, I don’t like it, but I understand where he’s coming from as a web developer.

      But to say this to an average person who just wants to make a website? There is nothing right about it. That’s a completely unfair and unacceptable barrier for those who want to create in the Internet age.

      There should be normal gap to cross to learn how to make websites, not “double margin float” gap.

  33. 101

    Thomas Nielsen

    July 12, 2012 10:31 am

    I have absolutely no preferences as which browser I use. I use what is readily available on the system at hand. There are web sites that don’t work with Chrome, with Firefox, with Konqueror, with IE, with Lynx with Opera with whatever. That is the reality of things. The problem is not IE or indeed any of the mentioned browsers. The problem is *web designers not taking their job seriously* or commissioners not wanting to pay to support *what their customers use*. That (!) is the bleeding problem. If a web site doesn’t work in the browser I use, I don’t go and install another one. I leave the site! That’s it. End of problem. This happens pretty much with every single browser on the market and with Linux, Windows, Android, OIS and OS X. The annoying part is that these problems are so easy to fix. No – not by bullying the visitor into changing their browser of choice but by supporting the visitor – because when all is all it is the visitor who is the customer. So stop all this pseudo-religious whining and get back to work, will ‘ya!

  34. 102

    Great article.

    Please note that i’m not an IE fan and yes i hate it. But if you are so ignorant to a point where you still use IE6, than definitely it’s your problem. And you don’t deserve to be using the web.

    This is like carrying a water gun, and willing to shoot airplanes.

  35. 103

    I find the argument interesting, but I don’t think progressive enhancement wins the argument on closed web development i.e. intranet web development. It my opinion it only applies to the internet where any man and his dog can visit your website/web application. So I guess I’m forking the conversation a little with my comments.

    For intranet development I think the focus should be on the adoption of progressive technology. It’s large companies that have outdated models of only allowing one browser because it’s easier to administer a standard operating environment and traditionally this is Windows and IE. Why is it so difficult for them to bundle Google Chrome or Firefox in addition to IE?

    Development solves business problems. Administration does not. It’s crazy for companies that are so cost focused that the cheapest and best solution is to develop for a non IE platform, yet they dictate that it must support IE7+. Madness, it’s the managers of this world that need auto updates to their brain!

    We swapped the horse for a car, I think we need to do the same with IE, and hopefully some day Microsoft itself. That is unless MS finally builds a car I want to drive.

    Rant over… apologies if I offended any managers reading this comment, it was my intention to!

    • 104

      The reason behind your issue, is all the “fake IT people” who work in IT, with at most enough skills to use windows XP with one format C every year.

  36. 105

    I’m sorry but your article is just way off the mark.

    IE9 *IS NOT* a good modern browser at all and *IS* holding back the web – probably the single biggest reason for this is it’s lack of support for Web Sockets.

  37. 106

    Lawrence Lindblom

    July 12, 2012 10:50 am

    Lots of people here blame Microsoft for developing substandard browsers. Looking at IE6 at the time it was new, it was a good browser. Don’t blame MS for the lack of upgrades around the world and the +6% IE6 users still active. (Note: Just using IE6 as an example here).

    There are many reasons for old browsers still being used. Lack of economy to buy newer better stuff, lack of knowledge to upgrade to better browsers, lack of interest in upgrading at all and of course, lack of corporate funds to upgrade not only the browser but possibly a load of old legacy software we built for them all those years ago that is a bit too much tuned to work on those old browsers.

    Sure we all want to play around with the latest and greatest stuff, no matter what browser you personally favor. But in the end it all comes down to business decisions. I would focus on finding better arguments to push the client to upgrade the browsers. I recently had a large client motivated to skip the IE7 > IE8 upgrade and instead go to IE9… that discussion wasn’t even about alternative browsers. Why? Corporate standards. And why choose IE as corporate standard? Well, if you go all out with SQL Server, Dynamics, SharePoint and whatnot, then IE is a pretty obvious choice, no matter what level of annoyance it would bring to the developer community.

    This can be interpreted as a MS-defence rant but I’m just trying to shed an ounce of light on the difficulties of not being able to “just upgrade your browser”. This does not apply only to MS/IE of course but they’re a pretty good example.

    • 107

      Jurij Burkanov

      July 12, 2012 11:18 am

      Hey, it’s all clear from the corporative side: I was for a long time involved in building websites for large corps and government, so I know how many of them still on the WinXP + IE6 – JavaScript are and I won’t blame them. They’ve been trapped in this ecosystem by MS. But what this article is about – the author suggests, it’s not fair even to complain about crappy MS products, everyone’s got to look happy and accept IE as an inevitable natural disaster.

  38. 108

    I will never forgive MS For all the wasted hours doing fixes for IE6 in the past adding to my work load. Crappy browsers, crappy company attitude that only kick starts them into ‘building a new browser from scratch’ when they are being left behind, they should have done that many years ago.

  39. 109

    Actually the problem isn’t in how well IE does or doesn’t support standards.

    The problem is that IE updates happen slowly, and only when the user requests it. Whether or not you like this idea of forced updates, the practical upshot for web developers is having to support too many variants of browsers.

    The fact that the IE team decided to not support IE9 on XP means that there are still going to be a lot of people using IE8 or below for a while to come.

    All other browsers work on XP (albeit without hardware acceleration) but this is an acceptable tradeoff. At least you could make the website /look/ like it’s supposed to, even if it’s not hardware accelerated. If they had done this, I’d guess most people have been on IE9 a lot sooner (it would be justifiable for th IT dept), and the general feature capability of browsers would accelerate (most developers I know held off on using basic things like border-radius until IE8 market share dropped off to less than majority).

    The fact that IE9 and 10 will follow in this same tradition of not encouraging updates more frequently means that in a few years time they will again be “old” browsers and developers will be again be slowed down because of the commercial need of websites to look more or less the same in all browsers.

    As such I hope that IE usage drops down a toilet.

  40. 110

    Clearly, you don’t pay the bill to support IE.

    And progressive enhancement is a crock. We build awesome web apps using the most modem tools we can. It’s expensive and impossible to support IE and even 9 and likely 10.

    When I pay the bill I don’t what to have a host of windows machines to find that the JavaScript engine in IE 9 is just broken.

    I’m tired of all Microsoft web browsers, and supporting them is not an option when they can’t be used to develop against. Yes, like the back end I use a unix based development environment, osx to be particular. Until Microsoft makes a browser, like ALL the other browsers and can be installed on the development environment they remain owners of a second rate browser.

    I suppose that’s why they invented the chrome viewer?

    Sam, @samotage

    • 111

      Barry van Oudtshoorn

      July 12, 2012 10:27 am

      “Until Microsoft makes a browser, like ALL the other browsers and can be installed on the development environment they remain owners of a second rate browser.”

      I’m still waiting for a Linux version of Safari, too.

      “We build awesome web apps using the most modem tools we can. It’s expensive and impossible to support IE and even 9 and likely 10.”

      Perhaps this speaks more to your methodology for development than anything else. Is the goal to get your content through to people, or to entertain them with animations and transitions and the like? If the former, then support for a wide range of browsers should come as standard; if the latter, you’re immediately cutting off many of your users. This is akin to building a desktop application which only runs on the latest version of an OS: if a significant portion of users are using an older version, you’re simply dismissing them out of hand. Sure, it’s not necessarily as much fun to start with the “old and boring” rather than the “new and exciting”, but it certainly seems the more logical choice — at least to me.

      • 112

        Old and tired logic though.
        1. Who wants safari when you got chrome ????
        2. Contrary to popular belief, most of the people who will buy online or make your page views, are likely to not use the default browser.
        Most of the IE statistics are people forced by work, or total tech agnostics who will not buy anything online or use your brand new service.
        Besides, everybody installed flash, so you can make them install chrome frame if you feel like being compatible –

        The only issue is that you will still have firefox and safari as inferior browsers.

  41. 113

    Jurij Burkanov

    July 12, 2012 10:59 am

    I’m building web-sites since 1995. For the part of my career after 2000, there was just one thing, that spoiled all the fun – the IE. I don’t give a ****, from what scratches they’ll be rebuilding their future versions. The MS IE team has constantly, over many years, proved to be unable to produce anything, that would answer the current needs of users and developers. It’s not a race for features, “like in other browsers”. It’s a total, constant lack of vision and will. The mixture of flawed trident engine and MS-style product management will always result in producing the hated IE. Think about why “all other” browsers were always welcomed through all those years, despite their own bugs, rendering problems and inconsistencies. Tolerating existence of IE “because it’s a part of our job” is like to tolerate lazy alcoholics in your company, “because they’re part of our crew”.

    I will stop blaming Internet Explore when this project will be closed for good.

    • 114

      being around since 1995 seems you forgot Netscape 4.7.x ;)

      Of course IE did get no updates after that one (luckily) died as there was ONLY IE. If we go on like some people want (webkit only) we’ll get the same situation with Chrome. It will stuck at v30 or so as no competition would force anyone to add anything anymore

  42. 115

    I do not think it is a case of blaming Internet Explorer, or if it is, I would suggest that it is blamed with good reason.

    The points about Progressive Enhancement is well taken, but, I think that there must be limits applied. Adapting design and interaction using IE6 as the baseline, and then progressively enhancing it beyond that is more work than it needs to be. Doing so would be like having all modern instruction manuals to include Latin, Ancient Greek and Aramaic beside the modern languages of English, Spanish, French, etc.

    The short and simple truth is that Microsoft waited too long, like most large companies do, to innovate and improve Internet Explorer whilst the rest of the browsers were advancing in leaps and bounds. Personally, I do not understand why Microsoft even bother investing time, money and effort staying in the browser race.

    IE should follow suit of Netscape – realise that it was groundbreaking in the beginning, but really, with so many great alternatives out there, IE (even the more recent versions) is either now, or very shortly bound to be, obsolete.

  43. 116

    Personally I feel we would be much better off if Microsoft just stopped developing Internet Explorer. It would make our life as developers a lot easier, and would mean we could focus more on the future than the past!

    If they want a browser so bad why don’t they go and buy Opera and stick there label on it?

    • 117

      Seriously, Microsoft could just fork Chrome or Firefox, stick a blue E icon on it, and call it a day. And they could even release it on XP too! Everyone saves time and money, including Microsoft. This win-win solution is so obvious! But alas, continuously churning new iterations of tragically flawed software is too ingrained in Microsoft’s culture for them to ever stop. Microsoft just needs to die already to make room for less pathetic companies.

  44. 118

    This sort of argument from developers is symptomatic of low skilled workforce. We all like to play with the shiny things, but you know what- life isn’t like that. And lets not pretend that ‘developers’ move the industry. Its the big players who push standards to where their software performs the best. I’m talking about Google & Safari here. Microsoft did the same back in the day. Isn’t anyone a little supposed that mobile safari didn’t do absolute positioning? Why do you think that is?I mean, the mobile market is really fragmented and that’s where the growth is. Why waste your time moaning about IE.

    Everyone’s got an uncle nobody likes, but you still invite the tosser round at Christmas. Its not a big issue, really.

    If you’re using cutting edge features some users will get hurt and your clients should just be made aware of that.

    • 119

      We’re not talking about cutting edge stuff … we’re talking about correctly implementing the spec

    • 120

      I believe you are thinking on fixed positioning, which is not nearly as commonly used as absolute positioning (Maybe 1-2% percent of websites use fixed positioning?). And yes, I was miffed that it mobile safari didn’t do fixed positioning correctly. But they fixed it, and given iOS’s update pattern, I’m sure over 95% of mobile safari users have a version with this fixed. So it’s not an issue now, and it was only was only a small problem at the time.

  45. 121

    Bora Yalçın

    July 12, 2012 10:17 am

    I just disagree!

    Progress of IE in the market is against the evolution theory itself! If the real world is like progression of IE we would have the siber tooth tigers and our cute felix domesticus(it is IE9 by your definition) in the same neigbourhood.

    All those hours spent to add patches(no! that cannot be called fixing) for IE 6-7-8 is not creativity or recipe for success, its just a waste of time. Time is wasted because of bad decisions of some people in Microsoft. Let’s not play Polyanna, let’s not take all the blame to ourselfs.

  46. 122

    Barry van Oudtshoorn

    July 12, 2012 10:20 am

    As the lead developer on a very large web application, I was admittedly very happy when we were able to drop support for IE7. Now, we officially support IE8 and IE9. And to be honest, IE8 is a pretty solid browser. Sure, it’s missing a few shiny features (gradients, shadows, transitions, rounded corners, and the like), but these really shouldn’t be deal-breakers.

    Developing for IE8, I very rarely, if ever, run into JavaScript issues, and what CSS glitches I do come across can be fixed by the judicious application of “.no-foo” styles courtesy of Modernizr. Yes, I do still have to maintain a separate IE8 stylesheet, but it’s only around 100 lines — and the main stylesheets for the app come to around 18000 lines.

    I think that too many of us are afraid to say to clients that it’s OK for things to look different on different browsers. We’ve been handed great analogies on a platter (like Nicholas’ TV analogy in the talk) which we shouldn’t hesitate to use. And the reality is that for 99% of users, they only have one browser: if they see your work without rounded corners, they’ll just assume that that’s how it’s meant to look! It’s certainly not necessary to fill your pages with shims and polyfills to ensure that everything’s as close to pixel-perfect across browsers, anyway. And I’ve not heard too many people complaining that box-shadows are rendered slightly different by each major engine…

  47. 123

    We need to remember something here and that we all come from different camps and serve different clients with varying budgets of which their (prospective) clients are at different levels in the economy. While you have users in one continent being the most up to date then you get another where users are far behind. Focus by country you get a different set of stats.

    The problem is not only global but as well is concentrated by country. We can use stats to try to hone in our efforts on their browser preference (irregardless if IE-whatever is the majority) and try to stay compatible with standards in order to provide a wider exposure that are off target.

    We can argue until we’re blue about supporting old browsers or not – they’re here and the numbers will show you what you need to support. Translate that to a cost to your client and let them decide. It should not effect your work efforts to serve your clients if their project requires you to support an old browser.

  48. 124

    Unfortunately this is not the first time that Louis Lazaris is writing an article that is wrong/not entirely correct. I’ve been following his blog (Impressive Webs) for some time and he quite often posts badly researched articles. I had to correct him a multiple times. Moreover they are based on his assumptions that sometimes are not correct.
    I wouldn’t take anything he writes too seriously.

  49. 125

    My opinion is, that different browsers meet different needs and so on one hand we have web developers, on the other people who commonly use the browsers for infos, and on the third even, the businesses who want a good representative site with no flaws and with absolute functioning on every single browser (otherwise the site maybe would seem like nothing special at all).

    “This attitude is completely counterproductive…” not the attitude maybe, but the IE itself is a little counterproductive. That does of course not mean, we should just ignore it because we all know in many companies it’s still the main browser to use and we should keep this in mind if we want to stay competitive.

    “… they rebuilt the browser from scratch.” what? :D it’s not always what you’ve done, but how good the USERS think it is. Remember, everything gets done for the people who will use our product, otherwise there’s no sense, even if we tried hard, unfortunately…

    “No one is saying you can’t use RGBA. No one is holding a gun to your head and saying don’t use CSS animations. As an engineer on the Web application you get to make decisions every single day.” That’s logical, very good, and I completely agree, why go just critisizing when everybody can choose.

    Definitely IE has made many progresses in last editions and quite fast too. I am just wondering if the other browsers have gone so much further in this time , that IE is still (and will always be?) behind them ?

  50. 126

    Quite often, when developping web stuff, the only half-decent option is a bleeding-edge feature, even in very basic features such as “export this html table to csv 100% client-side”, the other options being ugly hackish workarounds.

    Currently, if you try to use that “smart” option, you can only use chrome, because firefox is 3 years behind and ie about 5.

    So yes, ie9 is the best ie ever, like windows 7 is the best windows ever, but they’re still relatively inadequate for *many* things.

    I, for one, welcome our new google overlords, and encourage every browser user to vote with their wallet.

    The more browsers move forward, the less every website will cost to create and maintain, the more features, the more everything.

    As such, I think everyone should start using chrome now, since it’s currently the fastest most featureful browser, by a very long shot – not to support chrome, not to support google, but to show browser makers that we prefer browsers that don’t suck ass.

  51. 127

    Pritam @ Specky Geek

    July 12, 2012 11:44 am

    Internet Explorer, particularly the older version, is a big problem. Even, IE8 is poorly-equipped to handle the evolving web. For quite some time, I have been focusing on CSS3 and responsive layouts. IE8 doesn’t care about CSS3. The problem with IE is that it doesn’t auto-update. Browsers such as Firefox and Chrome do. This means any problem or deficiency in the browser gets eliminated automatically as soon as the user clicks on update button.

    I believe the problem lies in Microsoft’s distribution model. Firefox and Chrome are free. IE requires you to have a genuine version of Windows to get the latest version. A lot of people still use Windows XP, often a pirated copy. (Please correct me if I am wrong. I downloaded IE ages ago. I don’t even use Windows.) If Microsoft can make IE independent of Windows or free for everyone (including those using its operating system without paying), the problem should be solved to a large extent.

    Why should one dumb browser or its predecessors hold the web? Trust me, it is a problem. I recently created a responsive theme for a website and the client came back complaining about ‘issues’ of square edges ‘that belong to stone age’. Turned out his web browser was from the stone age—IE8. Once he checked out the site in Firefox, he was a happy client.

    There is no reason why the Web should make do with IE’s limitations. If the browser can’t evolve and keep pace with the Internet, it will eventually die. I don’t bother about IE. Others can also stop caring about it. I am more concerned about 70-80-90% (whatever the figure is) of users who use modern browsers. If you can’t upgrade to the latest browsers, I cannot keep wasting my energy on providing you the best user experience.

    • 128

      so you are basically denying your customers 10-30% (or even more!) of THEIR customers and THEIR money?

      I don’t get your argument about supporting people with pirated OS, what should that be?!

      And actually you do not have to provide the “best user experience”, just a decent or even just ok experience. But you seem not even to care for that.

      • 129

        Depends if the customer is willing to pay the extra 10-20-30% effort it takes for supporting older browsers ;)

        • 130

          Are you mad ?

          It’s EASILY 300% effort from a chrome-working website that’s ok in firefox, to an equivalent in IE 8.

          Don’t forget, most of the CSS breaks, js behaves like shit, about 10 times slower, and some things are downright impossible.

          If it was 30%, I think noone would mind that much… the reality is so much worse that it is indeed time for businesses to stop asking for IE support.

          • 131

            I really think that’s the point. Let the market fix it, but we developers/design companies must reflect this upon our offers. Higher development cost means higher product price. So next time a client comes to you, just present him the options:

            – State-of-the art site, with all the nifties: X€. Fully functional, but with degraded visual support for IE.
            – Same with full IE support: X€ + Y% (caveat: some effects cannot simply be achieved).

            They’ll probably think twice…

          • 132

            every effect can be achieved, using flash ( be it full flash or only for the animation).
            But indeed that will command a serious markup, mxml isn’t exactly for pussies, and the documentation is so lacking that experience has real value.

            But seeing how the world has decided that flash must die, that doesn’t sound like such a good solution (quite unfortunate, because there’s nothing quite as powerful in the ajax world yet).

  52. 133

    As a writer you can paint an issue however you want with diction and heavily connotated words. You say complain when you could easily substitute criticism, because no one likes a complainer. But the fact is, as designers and developers we influence the web. Remember the days when some websites only worked in IE? Was it because IE was the best, most feature capable browser? No, because it was a huge portion of the market share. If you needed to do something advanced and groundbreaking and didn’t have the time to make it work across all browsers you would obviously go with IE no matter how terrible it was. Giving IE one more unfair advantage and perhaps prolonging it’s inevitable downfall. Now, thank goodness, there are many other legit choices for browsers, and IE has lost huge chunks of the markets share. The web is in a vastly better state. But how much did we hold it back by going to grwat lengths to support IE, much worse ONLY supporting IE? Time and time again I had to open up IE each time I would find broken websites because some developer chose to support that browser. I personally would never switch to it completely but I was still dependent on it for some web tasks. Many users are not gonna take the time to download a different browser much less put up with switching back every time they encounter a broken site. So maybe we had no control over that. Maybe we have no control now. But I would assert we have a far greater influence then you acknowledge. This is a well written quality article, but I have to disagree with your conclusion. And just like you can bash and complain the other article for complaining, we can continue to complain about IE, cause frankly it sucks.

  53. 134

    I don’t forget the hours working for IE. I disagree.

  54. 135

    Martin Thorpe

    July 12, 2012 12:30 pm

    Yeah nice article. Bashing articles are a waste of time and resources. I remember screaming at Netscape (Mozilla – FF) 2 because IE 3 was faster and smooter. In the days of IE 5.5 we were annoyed with Nestcape (I think it was 4 or 6 they never released 5) having to use layers as opposed to divs when doing anything advanced. Where is Netscape now, superceeded by FF was that a build from scratch to win back the market share?
    Anyway part of web development in my eyes has always involved catering for different browsers for functionality now there is also the element of mobile devices for layout and screen res.
    Great article thanks for standing up.

  55. 136

    One point that seems to be missing from the argument is this. The more sites that support old IE the less people will switch to a better browser.

    It’s important to remember that users switching to more capable browsers doesn’t just benefit web developers it also benefits the users that switch.

    Whether you support old IE / new IE / or any other less capable browsers should be assessed on a case by case basis by looking at your usage metrics and factoring in the extra time/cost it takes to develop for those monsters. But its a fact that less support for poor browsers will push the web forward.

    • 137

      No, your site working in IE8, but not IE6 doesn’t cause someone to look for a solution by upgrading their browser to use your site. they close your tab (or window) and look for a site that “just works.”

      As an Opera user, I’m constantly berated that I need to “upgrade to a modern browser” or use a “safer and more secure browser” and it’s incredibly off-putting. When I see a site that tells me to use a different browser, I take offense, as if I have poor judgment.

      If I’m an industry professional and feel that way, how do you think an average user reacts to that?

      • 138

        No average joe is going to use Opera, because it’s a niche browser that almost noone uses – and if you’re really a tech guy, you have at least three browsers on-hand.

      • 139

        Well, that’s a sad sentiment. It kind of suggests political correctness and conforming to the lowest common denominator so that nobody gets their feelings hurt.

        People need to be educated about these issues involving standards and development effort, and one sure way they might get the message about inferior browsers is if they visit enough sites that suggest their browser isn’t up to scratch. I am sorry if someone feels they are being accused of poor judgement as a result.

        But, usually, there is no choice made FOR Internet Explorer — it is the default browser; and often the user doesn’t KNOW there is a choice. Many think that “IE is the internet”, or that you find a webpage by typing a company name in the Google box and getting lucky, rather than by determining a URL (whatever that is).

        However, many people can understand the concept of there being widespread, common “standard” products (in the sense that everyone commonly uses them) that do not at the same time adhere to certain industry standards or ideals. There are numerous examples of this in everyday life. If you automatically equate the “common” or the “default” as the “good” or the “best”, then you better get out and go around the block a few times.

        Furthermore, just because a consumer has bought into one product (say Windows), I think they would or should understand that this company may not be the best at everything it does nor offer the best of everything. This is no more than recognizing how the world works. And just because I buy Kraft or Nescafe products doesn’t mean that I have to use their cookbook and only use their products in any recipe that I make.

        A person that lives on Kraft singles or Macaroni and Cheese out of a box should not necessarily be made to feel like he is using poor judgement for the way he feeds his family (though that is debatable). But, certainly, it can be pointed out that what he thought was “cheese” is more than a little lacking. He may NEED education. Fortunately, he only has to open his eyes in just about any local supermarket these days to see the fresh produce and notice at least 6 kinds of blue cheese, 4 kinds of Swiss, 10 soft cheeses, etc.

        An IE user isn’t so lucky. For us to pretend as though IE users are as familiar with the internet and issues of standards as they should be is to do them a disservice. And for us to use their imagined embarrassment or indignation as an excuse is to rationalize a real dumbing down of the internet that will indeed continue to perpetuate the issues and hold back its development.

      • 140

        I agree that most users wil go to another site rather than switching browser if they come across a “we don’t support browser x” message.

        The point I was trying to make is It’s not necessarily a good or a bad thing for your business to support any less capable browsers (like I said this will depend on a cost benefit analysis). But it’s defiantly true that if less and less sites support older browsers more and more users will make an effort to switch to more capable browsers. This is better for the user concerned and better for the web as a whole.

        As also mentioned many users will not know why their browser should be upgraded. If they start seeing lots of websites saying IE7 isn’t supported that might give them a nudge towards an upgrade.

        • 141

          Believe me, if even 20% of the websites pushed for a “get chrome now”, every single user would switch away from IE.

          What you say about people leaving the website only holds true when you’re the only activist in the sea. If many people shout “change browser”, anyone will change browser just to hear them shut up.

          Besides, we’re talking about the tech ignorants here, makes sense to push them hard in a direction or another since there’s no way they’ll move by themselves.

  56. 142

    Árni St. S.

    July 12, 2012 1:15 pm

    IE 9, slightly less shitty than it’s predecessors.

    Ye, I’m totally sold.

  57. 143

    Your counter-article is utter rubbish. “IE is not holding us back, stop pointing fingers, boohoo”. Are you nuts? Some kind of special insane?

    Try doing WebGL in IE. DOES. NOT. WORK. AT. ALL. Yeah, nice going there, “not holding us back” bullshit my arse. I want to see you work around that inconvenient fact that without WebGL you simply cannot do any usable interactive 3D graphics on the web, like, at all. Not holding us back eh? idiot.

  58. 144

    Adam Nemeth

    July 12, 2012 1:44 pm

    There is no such thing as “best possible experience”.

    There is one best experience. Everything else is inferior experience.

    Originally, this debate was about “speed vs visuals”: do we give the same visuals but an inferior speed, or the same speed with inferior visuals as “possible best”?

    The web is not a content delivery platform anymore, it’s an application platform.

    Therefore, the decision today is not about speed vs visuals, it’s about features: features vs speed, features vs browser (and therefore: user) coverage, and therefore, (feature * user coverage) vs time to market.

    And there, there is no easy answer, there it can’t be the answer to forget rounded corners in IE, just make sure you deliver the content: it’s not content anymore.

    I don’t think we should have this positive connotation with “best possible experience”. I don’t think that a positive word, like “best” should appear in this sentence.

    Because then, as a community, we cannot act to actually solve the problem: in order to win a war, first, you have to announce your enemy.

  59. 145

    Pankaj Thakur

    July 12, 2012 1:03 pm

    I don’t know much but IE6 (or let say IE) opened new jobs for web designers :)

  60. 146

    Yes, IE 9 is a lot better, but it should get more features (in comparison to Chrome, Firefox and Opera). And the main thing is, that IE is costing me money, i don’t like that.

    I hate IE 9 less then 6-8, but still, it’s costing me money. I care about progressive (not on small budget sites though), but you are forgetting that explaining these problems to a client, it ain’t easy for them to understand that there is a problem because of an old browser usage (again: small budget).

    So, in short, IE mostly gives me extra nagging and loses me money => i don’t like IE that much.

  61. 147

    Mario Raudsepp

    July 12, 2012 2:36 pm

    Well, I have to disagree, at least partially. Because blaming makes progress and IE6 is a good example. That’s a fact! You have to admit that without whining and blaming we wouldn’t be in such a great progress where we need to make only few minor fixes! It’s good to see, that IE dev team finally, is at least trying to care about us. We can see the light in the end of the tunnel! So there are sign’s for better webfuture, when blaming stick’s around :)

  62. 148

    bro, Please place more emphasis on the sentence below, for those who deduct the main purpose of your article.

    6% or .6% cannot drag back the whole web.

  63. 149

    I will have to respectfully disagree with this article.

    Just because I’m getting raped every day doesn’t mean that I have to start enjoying it, and Microsoft’s work on IE9/10 only adds a little lubrication to the situation.

  64. 150

    i surely hope they started from scratch with their development team as well.
    I truly hate writing exceptions for IE6-8 (like mime type pjpeg). Let alone those CSS Bugs from hell.

    When those tabblets nerds are finally released from the MS Bunker they need to put those IE6-8 programmers inside and throw away the key.. grrrrr.. this makes up for all those extra hours and money we programmers spent those last 10 years.

    “Hee, look we finally did it, We finally managed to stick to standards in IE9. So stop booooo-ing!”
    Well done.. really.. well done.. took you 6 years. You can’t really expect i switch over and undo my 6 years of hate.

  65. 151

    It’s good to see another perspective on the story, and there is something to be said about having to be pragmatic, realistic and to not put all your energy in complaining but instead trying to make the situation as good as you can. However, one piece of the article really put me off.

    “The truth is that every job has some part of it that sucks. Even at my favorite job, as front end lead on the Yahoo homepage, there were still parts of my job that sucked.”

    If there is one thing I like about my job, then it’s that the web community is one that doesn’t accept this. That doesn’t accept the status quo and will constantly challenge everything from how they work to the work they actually produce. So somebody saying “it’s the way it is, you just have to accept it” seems extremely out of place. If there is one industry with the possibility to change and try something new, and when you hit a barrier, to start over again, it’s the web.

    I think it’s great we’re trying to push technology, and making sure we have to put less time in cross browser support so we have more time to focus on innovating is part of that. In the mean time, every serious app that gets launched still supports the older browsers. Facilitate for today, but keep pushing for a better world. And if you ever stop asking yourself why: stop. And ask yourself why.

  66. 152

    I refuse to accept that usage of IE is something out of our control and we should just “learn to accept it”. IE has caused billions in costs to businesses because of its failures and it’s development is never consistant.

    At some point you have to decide to educate others on why it might not be good for you development to play with the crazy big kid in the corner of gym who constantly makes up his own rules.

  67. 153

    Steve Jones

    July 12, 2012 3:11 pm


    Right on the money. I’m afraid it’s a generational thing. Many younger developers – by no means all, maybe only a small minority – just want to have fun. They want to do cool stuff. What they don’t want to do is the hard work required to satisfy their employer/clients’ real-world requirements.

    Any motivated college student who’s had an introductory class can produce a great-looking site targeted at a single browser and a single “standard”. People who expect to get paid should resign themselves to building sites that work for the vast majority of each site’s intended audience.

    Is the owner going to change the site’s target audience to suit the developer? No. Is the site’s target audience going to change browsers to suit the developer? No. The only thing left to change is the developer. As you suggest, the best change the developer can make is to recognize the challenge presented by multiple browsers and take pride in working hard and meeting the challenge well – including all the bells and whistles HTML5, CSS3, and all the rest have to offer.

  68. 154

    We are forgetting that it is a very big, often nasty, highly profitable corporate world out there. By design.

    It is clear that MS do not want to solve the problems created very quickly. Despite obvious difficulties of scale that any solution would have to tackle, they do have the ability, the power, and the money to do so.

    By 2022 there will be a very complete dossier detailing the history and totalling global economic costs of standardising one aspect of the internet. The $ cost will be enormous and will act as a lobbying argument against the benefits of embracing standards in other, more lucrative, parts of the industry. You have concrete figures of what it will have cost to cause MS to change it’s path, and therefore an indication of how much it will cost to encourage them to change path again. MS have a clear interest in building that figure up as high as they can.

    So if, as a designer at work, you have the uncomfortable feeling that you are being pointlessly shafted over a barrel by a fat, sweaty pig of a browser, you couldn’t be further from the truth – There is a very deliberate point to it.

  69. 155

    Ron Calbick

    July 12, 2012 3:26 pm

    I agree, every job in the world has those aspects that you simply don’t look forward to. When it comes to web development, more often than not this means ensuring your work addresses issues specific to IE. Most web developers have come to accept this fact (those that choose to deal with IE anyway…I’ve met some who completely ignore IE altogether) – we fix what we can, accept the fact that it needs to be done to meet the needs of a large group of users, we gripe and whine about it, and move on to the next project.

    With that being said, I definitely agree that IE9 is a leap forward over past versions, although it does still lack support for many features supported by the other major browsers, but by and large that lack of support is purely aesthetic, there are sometimes workarounds, and progressive enhancement is almost always a viable alternative. Personally, I’m just thankful it does offer at least some of that support and I have fewer issues to address when testing in IE9 over older versions. It also means IE continues to move forward, meaning that hopefully the need to support IE6 and IE7 will become less of a necessity as users slowly migrate to the newer version.

    I see both sides of the fence here really. On one hand, I’m glad Microsoft is making an effort to bring their browser up to the current “standard”, on par with the other major browsers. Do I feel they could have done more? Yes. Am I part of their development team and do I fully understand the hurdles that team had to overcome to get IE9 to market within a time frame that keeps it competitive? No. So I can complain all I want, but I don’t understand the difficulties the developers had to overcome in the first place, and I know I run into my own problems doing development work, so it would be rather hypocritical of me to chastise Microsoft for their efforts.

    On the other hand, I’m sometimes thankful for some of the issues I run into in IE simple because those issues prove to be valuable learning experiences that teach more about my chosen career and more about the fine details related to the development work I’m doing. They can be frustrating yes, and when I have to spend valuable time tracking down the solution to an issue it further compounds my frustration, but when all is said and done, I get a nice feeling of accomplishment for overcoming the obstacle and having learned something along the way.

  70. 156

    Sure is easier to complain than to take action. I really appreciate the view point you’ve provided. Although I am no developer, I’ve often heard the grumblings about IE throughout our office.

    Perhaps, IE has undeserved disdain; or perhaps it is just a good ole inside joke amongst developers that IE will cause headache. And in some masochistic way they actually enjoy fixing the errors caused by the outdated browser?

    Overall, I agree wholeheartedly with your point that “They might not necessarily work exactly the same in them all, but they should still be able to work.” Accessibility to the web is key for any great benefits deriving from our work.

  71. 157

    Reinier Kaper

    July 12, 2012 3:33 pm

    I agree for the most part with this article, still I think there are two sides to this.

    Fact is, there’s a whole bunch of browsers that can do a wide array of things and there’s also a wide range of browsers that are very limited in what they can do.

    Educating your clients about this fact is probably the most important thing. Web design and development is not like print. A design SHOULD not look the same in every browser, although most clients THINK it should. Making them aware of this helps a lot in my experience.

    Furthermore, ever since I’ve started using HTML5 boilerplate for my projects and modified it to my needs (like I added a lt-ie10 class), I can very successfully build websites that function correctly in all browsers and might look and behave slightly nicer in newer browsers.

    If you build something in a website that is crucial to the user, but you only focus on ‘new’ techniques, than your approach to web development is wrong. This even goes for using proper mark-up and css classes.

    In my opinion, people that ‘blame’ old browsers just have the wrong approach.

    I think we all agree that there are enough bugs in older browsers that in fact ARE annoying, but I rarely come across stuff I can’t tackle with just a separate class for that browser.

  72. 158

    It’s time to stop Internet Explorer you say?

  73. 159

    I’m a little surprised to hear so many of you refer to the cost to upgrade a browser? What cost?
    It’s a fact that IE 7/8 are more difficult to be compliant with because they’re not compliant.

  74. 160

    I agree completely that it’s counter-productive to blame IE exclusively for all the UI woes of our industry. Rather than hang just one browser vendor out to dry, though, I think it might be more relevant to look at the underlying issue surrounding all of these browsers: fragmentation.

    No matter which browsers lead, and which browsers follow, we’re living in a world with a confounding variety of browsers, form factors, and interface capabilities, and this problem is growing in scope — not shrinking. I remember a time when a software developer could set up a half-dozen or so machine configurations and have a reasonable assurance that he was able to test UI performance for setups corresponding to 90% or more of the traffic he’d see. That’s long gone. Given the proliferation of platforms and devices we see today, standards support has become more important than ever — it’s our only hope for accomplishing representative development and testing across these clients.

    I’d argue that despite all this fragmentation, we’re seeing better standards compliance than ever before across browsers. The fact that pain continues is a result of continued standards evolution, as well as browser manufacturers’ attempts both to keep up and to differentiate themselves. There’s simply no way to ensure that every client is the same — especially while the standards continue to evolve.

    If our industry wants to do something to improve developer productivity and users’ experiences, we need to find better ways to abstract the mapping of UI capabilities to browser / platform capabilities. I don’t ever want to think about IE vs. Firefox vs. Chrome vs. iWhatever vs. mobile vs. “I’m running on a *what*??” again, and I’d love to see more mature tooling to support this.

  75. 161

    Matthieu Dufour

    July 12, 2012 3:44 pm

    “If it’s our job to support those browsers then that’s just part of our job.”

    Ah, the classic ‘my job’s my job, I am such a hero..’, I am a professional so I won’t question the tools I am given, I am just gonna get things done no matter how much of a pain it is.

    From a professional point of view : yes. You’re being paid to accomplish something and IE doesn’t really concern your client. I agree.

    But plainly ignoring a company poor’s practices that make dev’s job a living hell ain’t the answer.
    Yes IE9 is getting close to ‘decent’, and yes MS is doing efforts, but it just isn’t enough.

    If IE9 was the ultimate browser, I am pretty sure people would nostalgically laugh back at IE6, and MS would be forgiven by now. Unfortunately it’s not the case.
    Until then, haters gonna hate, why would they not? Don’t you think it’s legitimate?
    The only reason IE isn’t out of the picture by now is MS dominant position in other areas, they keep trying to catch up with the rest, but they do it badly and too late, thus wasting dev’s time.
    They don’t work on a new browser for a better web (their software haven’t been helping for the past decade why would it now?), they just need to make money out of it, and they will because their browser is installed on so many machines by default.

    It is our job to get things to work no matter the constraints, that’s what people pay us for, I agree.
    But it doesn’t mean to have to accept it.

    Just a very quick (dumb) example :

    your job is to harvest honey from a bee’s nest. it’s your job you’re goo at it.
    now your client want you to do your job naked, because of their new policy.
    you go ahead and proceed naked, get stung a couples ouf times, the job’s done and the client’s happy with your work.

    You’ve been professional, but aren’t you gonna complain about the work conditions?

    MS has been doing the same to devs for years, except that they ask you to put honey on your nipples before starting the job.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing a different opinion through this article at least.

  76. 162

    Captain Betty

    July 12, 2012 3:44 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Great article. Needed to be said.

  77. 163

    I can’t help myself, but i hate IE and i hate browsing the web with IE. Starts and ends with testing pages in dev-state. I have seven websites online using this KILL IE Plugin and hope more and more customers start using this with me.

    Sorry Microsoft, with IE9 and IE10 you may have made huge progress and IE today is probably not as bad as it was months and years ago, but thing is: there are so much better alternatives out there that makes surfing and using the web so much more fun.

  78. 164

    Measuring a browsers’ quality should be easy in terms of standards implementation and compliance. The standars exist apart from browsers and the quantity and quality of their implementation can be more or less objectively measured.

    I think it’s in this aspect where IE has always fallen short. In this sense, providing compatibility and proper display in major IE versions is not a choice, and I agree with the author in that.

    Promoting IE use is a different matter, it’s standars implementations is laggy in terms of quantity and quality and it’s extra features are not comparable to the ones of other browsers. Security is an issue too.

    And I’d like to add one extra point in this: platforms. IE is the only major browser that runs only in one platform, all other major browsers run in all major platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux, mobile), the user can have a more unified experience and the developer won’t find unpleasant surprises.

  79. 165

    I agree with this article in a lot of ways in that sometimes we complain too much about IE and use it as a crutch, but I still feel that all that complaining we did about IE6, IE7, etc. helped MS to decide to make IE9 “completely from scratch.”

    So, maybe our complaints has helped to persuade MS to pay more attention to the development of their browsers. If we don’t raise any complaints, then MS will just sit back with what they have and rake in the money.

  80. 166

    If you don’t care enough about my website to visit it with a modern browser, I don’t care enough about your experience at my website. Conceding to Ballmer and his cronies now gives them zero incentive to make this train wreck of a company any better. Bring Back Bill.

  81. 167

    Tiago Donatti

    July 12, 2012 4:54 pm

    I’m really impressed how this subject motivated so much discussion.
    I understand the point of view where complaining about web design work difficulties and how Internet Explorer is bad not makes thinks better… (but what else we can do?)

    But please don’t insult my intelligence saying there something good in IE (all versions!).
    I’m a BIG fun of Microsoft, I really think Windows 7, Office2010 and Xbox 360 are great products, very well finished and works perfect for me in everyday basis.

    But the browser is really bad and it is truly holding back the web. All professionals who work with web apps know how difficult is to support browsers like IE7 and IE8 (IE6 is totally out of the line). IE9 really is a great step forward but still far behind FireFox and Chrome. For me, the main reason is the nonexistent auto-update.

    The clearest signal that things got wrong for IE is the huge loss in market share. The only person who still uses IE is someone that doesn’t know how to install a different web browser. That’s the hard true.

    For me IE team really need to rethink their auto-update strategy.

  82. 168

    Jeff Edsell

    July 12, 2012 5:04 pm

    “As an engineer on the Web application you get to make decisions every single day.”

    That’s the point. 99% of the time, I don’t.

    When I do freelance I have a much more direct connection to the client, and I can explain things like progressive enhancement. But in pretty much every day job I’ve had for the last ten years, I’m saddled with clients who open an IE6 window next to a Chrome 20 window and look between the two to make sure they match. And complain about being cheated if the pages aren’t exactly the same, pixel-for-pixel and function-for-function.

    And then I have to deal with Project Managers and Account Representatives with various levels of understanding of what I do. I explain carefully and rationally what the best practices are, only to be told “Just do what they want. Keep the client happy. That’s all that matters.”

    We have to try to move things forward, because we are the only ones who understand it. It’s not whining about doing extra work. Modern browsers make everything better for everyone, not just us. The more time spent focused on backwards compatibility, the less that’s available to do the best job we can.

  83. 169

    A good defense of IE. However, nobody is asking Microsoft to do anything other than to catch up and stay current. That’s what the other browsers do. It’s not asking that much.

  84. 170

    Matt Vaughan

    July 12, 2012 5:10 pm

    Nicholas, I still can’t agree with you. Microsoft is still making the same mistakes. IE8 will indeed become the next IE6, because users of XP (of which there are still a lot because it’s as good an OS as any out there, and works well on limited hardware) CANNOT upgrade to IE9 (just as Win2k users could not upgrade to IE7). Similarly, users of Vista or early versions of Windows 7 CANNOT upgrade to IE10. MS has got itself (AND US!) into this mess, and continues to be in this mess, by being arrogant, tying the browser too much to the OS, and for other stupid (often marketing-related) reasons of their own making. I don’t see them doing anything much better right now, other than taking half-steps to close the feature/standards gap with other browsers and nudge towards more frequent updates.

    Even where a user’s OS supports a newer version, MS are only rolling out forced upgrades slowly and in a limited way, only a small proportion of users will actually get the automatic upgrades (only if they have the most liberal “automatic update” policy in Windows Update, which experienced Windows users have learned NOT to have enabled under any circumstances…), and the automatic upgrades that have occurred so far haven’t had any discernable effect on the versions in use. Since they only add new features every year or two, they will spend the rest of that time being largely obsolete, then the next year or two continuing to be obsolete as users slowly migrate to the new version.

    We’re entering a world where there are huge advantages to shifting from “anything other than text is a background image” to “use CSS3 effects for everything possible”, and the browser that is holding us back from doing so successfully is… IE8, of which there will be many users for the next couple of years at least.

    I also don’t think people were complaining much when IE6 had 90% market share, they just designed websites for IE and that’s how websites were built and there weren’t many alternatives. It’s when it continued to hold onto 20-50% market share despite being 8 years old, and with multiple better alternatives available, that developers really began complaining.

    And now, IE versions below 9 ARE holding back the web (and even 9 will be somewhat in the next couple of years): it’s not just about enjoying our jobs, it’s about being able to deliver incredible experiences on budgets clients can afford! (And that are easily maintainable going forward.) IE6-8 (and 9 a little) prevents us from being able to do that.

  85. 171

    It was refreshing to read something so completely different regarding the Internet Explorer.

    However, I really, really, “love to hate” the IE, especially 7 and sometimes 8. It’s nothing about Microsoft, so there’s no “bashing for the sake of bashing” involved.

    I just see this particular browser as a hindrance to proper webdesign. I’m not actually coding myself (lucky me), but I so hate to re-check any of the more modern design elements with the programmers – we all hate to have that “Can IE do that? Which version?” conversation.

    And, sorry to say that, but statements like “It is from within constraints that creativity is born.” are rubbish and kind of, like Daniel said, look like Stockholm Syndrome towards older IE versions. Constraints like older browsers without proper support *kill* creativity, they hold you back because you have to keep in mind that there are browsers out there that are incapable of displaying your site correctly.

    My opinion is that we, as designers and programmers, should labor towards raising awareness for up-to-date browsers, in any way possible.

    Whether it’s by refusing to support certain browsers altogether (very unwise, I think) or gently (or sometimes even not-so-gently) nudging the visitors (like does with the “IE7 tax”, or maybe some gentle hints about what the site would look like on a current browser), is up to the individual.

    I, for my part, simply design with modern browsers in mind. After the whole programming is done, I create a IE-only stylesheet and basically “dumb down” the whole design until a compromise of “design” and “hey, it works” is reached. A lot of work – unnecessary work – for sure, but at the moment I can’t afford to cater exclusively to modern browsers. Believe me, if I could ignore the problems that IE7 and 8 throw my way, I would.

  86. 172

    Peter Kincses

    July 12, 2012 5:26 pm

    I am lucky as in working as an in-house front end developer and having a great influence over the direction the company takes regarding graceful degradation. Basically I always look at what the benefits of certain features or developments working in an identical way in every browser would have on sales on the site, which is what basically pays my salary. Accessibility for me is always the number one target. If css3/html5 design elements or certain Jquery functions do not work in IE(IE9 documents mode seems to cause a lot of problems lately) then I don’t panic. I look at Google Analytics’ breakdown on the site’s audience and make a decision based on the data. If the added time and effort required do not justify the expected revenue then I have actual data to use to explain this to the business owners.
    I feel for guys working for agency’s though, as it’s very difficult to explain to certain clients the intricacies of cross-browser compatibility and the additional costs of development.
    However, as others also said before, this is part of the job and just do the best you can based on the time frame available. Do not let IE’s on any other browsers’ lack of support for new elements stop you from exploring and enjoying the evolving nature of the web.

  87. 173

    Mark DiSciullo

    July 12, 2012 5:32 pm

    Ah…as UX designers we need to pull our heads out of our @sses and realize that to our “users” (you know…the people that we are actually designing for) upgrading a browser is not always their most important task to accomplish in life. These are know constrains, although frustrating, this is what our clients pay us to solve for.

    “Poor pittyful me…I have to design for a site that works in IE6.”

    I design for “users” who are at times trying to complete tasks in life like research cancer, find a job, or manage their finances…asking them to upgrade their browser seems a bit pompus to me.

    • 174

      Upgrading to modern browsers makes the Web better for everyone, including the users you mention. There is nothing wrong with trying to educate them. After all, that’s what you’re trying to do with the content of the site in the first place.

  88. 175

    First, let me applaud Smashing for having both sides of the argument present.

    Second, let me say the article here is very well written.

    Third, lets get a bit more history here. Microsoft did what we are applauding Chrome and Firefox for now, they just did it back in the days of Netscape vs. IE. The problem came that Microsoft made a bunch of experimental features, that developers loved to use. Then the W3C decided they wanted to implement those features differently than MS, so MS was left with a hard choice. Do you support the already developed apps, or do you go the way of standards?

    They went the way of already developed web apps, and thus IE6 was born. So after how much they were lamented, it seems they have taken a sit back and let the other guys battle it out approach. Once they are done battling it out, and a unified approach is figured out, MS can come and adopt that in it’s browser. And then we can’t whine about their non-standard approach…

    What will all the haters do then?

  89. 176

    I really need to smoke one after reading all this… =)

  90. 177

    Facts are facts … and fact is, IE’s rendering engine is simply wrong, not according to spec, and buggy. IE9 was an improvement, but it’s amazing that after all the grief MS took, and all the promises it made, it still managed to not get it quite right in IE9. And I say this as someone who is not, in general, a Microsoft hater.

    So it’s ridiculous to say people should just get used to working with different browsers. I shouldn’t have to get used to a browser that is specifically incorrect about the spec, and whose life cycle is painfully slow.

    You code to the standards – and it simply works 99.99999 percent of the time in Firefox/Chrome/etc.. … Then in IE, it’s broken. I’m not talking about pixel-perfection – I’m saying it’s broken, as per the spec. Rendered wrong. Not different. WRONG.

    Meanwhile, CSS3 offers the ability to stop using images for rounded corners and gradient backgrounds – which is HUGE – and IE simply has just not implemented it yet. Like I said, its life cycle is pathetically slow and long.

  91. 178

    Kenneth King

    July 12, 2012 6:06 pm

    Ultimately I feel that if our clients want the exact same experience in IE7-8 that they do in IE 9, FF, Safari, and Chrome it’s going to cost them.

    I love flexible design however, I can guarantee that the IE 7-8 version would not fly with most marketing folks. It’s tool minimal and they’re not going to understand nor care why this is. Their just going to wonder why it doesn’t look as cool in their browser when comparing it to others.

    For me the pervious articles were more educational and something to thing about.

    As a designer I’m a huge fan of IE 9 and I can wait for it to gain the majority of the IE market share

  92. 179

    So IE6 should be supported because it was awesome 10 years ago? Well, stone age was awesome 7000 years ago; go live a life like that. Stop arguing over shit that should have ended ages ago. Its time that IE 6, 7 and 8 die off. They are freaking stone age software.

    Even microsoft does not support its old platforms. They killed continuing support for windows 98, and will even stop supporting windows mobile 7, past windows mobile 8 release. When MS does not support its own software after 2 years why the hell are we forced to support shit that should literally die off?

  93. 180

    Jason Farrell

    July 12, 2012 6:13 pm

    The hilarious thing here is that this article is basically preaching maturity and a professional attitude when evaluating products. You read these comments and I, for one, am scared of the future of this industry. The utter zealotry and immaturity in some of these comments should make people very ashamed to call themselves professionals

  94. 181

    Bryon Evans

    July 12, 2012 6:35 pm

    Ok, IE9 is fine but Opera 12 (and most likely 13, 14 and beyond) on XP but not IE9? It’s the same old mentality from Ballmer. It’s the “hard sale” approach. They are using the browser as a marketing tool, a crowbar, a blunt force billy club for OS sales and no matter how well IE9 works on Vista/7/8/etc there will continue to be resentment because of that. Until IE9 is obviously BETTER than FF or Opera they will not stop losing user numbers. That’s just how it is. And if they don’t watch themselves closely IE on any mobile system will be a thing of the past. Have you tried Opera mini? LOL. When the days of Ballmer come to an end THEN I might not get a sick feeling about using IE*.

  95. 182

    Seth Miller

    July 12, 2012 6:42 pm

    You lost me at front end lead at Yahoo!. Yahoo! develops a lot of great technology, they just seemingly forget to apply that to their websites. Yahoo! has been the poster-child for cluttered design since I’ve gotten into the business.

  96. 183

    I am a Chrome user (with a soft spot in my heart for Opera) and would like everyone to upgrade but like Tiago Coelho [see comments] I had to build intranet applications that were largely based on the IE browser available at that time. When companies invest time and money into development, they rarely are willing to let that go. That coupled with the fact that most large employers lock down there computers for “security” people don’t have the option to upgrade or even install alternative browsers.

    The issue is not going away. IE will always have a legacy browser and those browsers are bound to have something missing that you want to develop with. There have been countless articles discussing taming older browsers and numerous js tool kits developed to provide a more consistent presentation across browsers. My suggestion, design it for today’s browsers but develop it for the yesterday’s.

  97. 184

    “We should just accept things and deal with it”.. haha..hell no. I agree that ie 9 is decent but its the responsibility of every web developer to continue to be very vocal about where microsoft (or any other company that wants to get in the browser game) is going wrong..

    I do have high hopes for windows 8 upgrade for only $40 knocking a big dent out of all the old ie versions usage share, though. Maybe im too optimistic?? Though I do dream haha.

  98. 185

    I am glad to see this article. I’m guilty of whining sometimes, but my most satisfying work is 100% cross-browser. I don’t agree that it has to look identical down to the pixel. The whole meaning of flexible design, a concept that I love, is that it adapts – is flexible! The web is continuing to evolve at a very quick, exciting pace. Because of this, old browsers will always be with us. Meanwhile, I think that Louis’s example of rainforest deforestation, while it illustrates his point, is my idea of very lazy and somewhat poor implementation – it isn’t THAT hard to make it work for older browsers too. Thank you Nicholas for a great article!

  99. 186

    Louis Lazaris

    July 12, 2012 7:29 pm

    Well, this is quite a heated discussion here. Unfortunately, even Nicholas’s article has largely misrepresented the point of the “old browsers” article. Nowhere in that article did I say not to use Progressive Enhancement. Nowhere in that article did I say not to support old browsers.

    The point of the article is this:

    If IE8 and IE9 users are not auto-updated, and those browsers have a significant market share for years to come, then the Web is being held back. That’s not a point that is under debate. That’s a fact.

    Of course we’re going to use Progressive Enhancement to combat that obstacle. That’s our only tool available for this, and I wholeheartedly support it! But creating awareness of the limitations of IE8 and IE9 is not a bad thing if it leads to those browsers being pushed out of common use. That would be a good thing. Unfortunately, Nicholas seems to imply that supporting IE8 is a good thing, almost as if he prefers to support it.

    But again, nowhere in the article am I discouraging support for old browsers. The whole point of the article is that we *have* to support browsers that have a large market share (meaning IE8 and IE9). So I really don’t understand how anyone could get from that article a message that I was encouraging people to stop supporting old browsers, or not to use Progressive Enhancement.

    If Microsoft does something to get XP and Win7 users gone and/or upgraded to IE10, then I’m all for it, and we can move on from this debate. But MS’s track record on these things has been traditionally very poor, so we’ll have to wait and see.

    In the meantime: Get as many people as you can off IE8 and IE9, and this will help move the web forward, and (as Paul Irish nicely put it), the Web Platform will win.

  100. 187

    Gotta say I disagree. For as long as I’ve engineered on the web platform IE has been a constant frustration and roadblock. I honestly don’t know how you can call IE9 a “damn good browser”, with only 47% support of modern web standards. To give you some perspective Firefox 3.6 (end of 2009) had 53% support. Upcoming IE10 is a big improvement, scoring 77%. It’s already behind and its not even out yet, but it’s still some great progress. Progress that I can’t applaud because I’ll be stuck supporting that version of IE for a decade. Source:

    If Microsoft would ship a single, self-updating product (like FF/Chrome) then I would cheer at every improvement/effort they make. But instead, they greedily dangle their new browser like a carrot to entice people to upgrade Windows OS. So like Paul Irish pointed out ( we’re going to be stuck with every half-baked browser MS releases for a very long time. I wrote an article about Microsoft’s golden opportunity to turn things around with IE 10:

    Adding insult to injury, MS markets IE* as the best browser on the market. Apparently some suckers believe it.

    I’m all about having a positive attitude and focusing on the things that can be changed, that’s your message. But you’re wrong that we’re powerless to change the IE problem. Thanks to Google’s Chrome Frame, I get to develop internal apps at work, using the full potential of modern web standards without a single thought for IE. It’s hard to describe the exciting and fulfilling practice of modern web dev. Once you’ve tasted of that, it’s hard to imagine going back to building for a browser that can’t even do gradients or web sockets.

    Microsoft has a big opportunity to change things with IE10, I sincerely hope they do. Until then not only will I keep blaming IE, I’ll keep doing something about it.

    • 188

      Exactly what I was getting at – IE10 (yet to be released) is already behind the other browsers.

  101. 189

    No. Internet Explorer has consistently released programs that are years behind their competitors products. This argument is similar to saying “don’t blame Pontiac for releasing cars years behind their competitors. It’s just something you should deal with.” But you see, in a situation where the end user always has a choice Pontiac was disbanded – as I believe would be the same for IE except for the corporate world where it is still the reigning king (where you don’t have a choice).

    • 190


      No, no and no.

      Right now, there are so many devices capable of accessing the web and your web site in a myriad of resolutions and capabilities.

      IE6 is just one of many, and better than most.

      Once you decide to have an open door policy, all may enter, catered to as is appropriate based on an assessment of their capabilities.

      Think of your website as a church, bidding ALL to come and worship, rather than a cult for the chosen few.

      Once you have (as the author implores) changed your mindset, you’ll find coding a much more happier task, and the space in front of your keyboard much more pleasant.


      • 191


        July 13, 2012 9:07 am

        I agree with Selah, we have to deal with it, full stop. Users are not all member of the web industry and it’s our job to make our websites working, no matter the browsers.

        Of course we all know that dodgy browsers are holding back the web. But at the end of the day, if Miss X located somewhere in the bush can’t display my website on her computer because I don’t like IE, it’s MY fault and thus my responsibility. Why? Because Miss X doesn’t care about those geek problems, she is busy and for her computer is just a tool.

        So yes it’s our problem and we have to manage it. That’s why a front end developer is a front end developer, to provide high and low resolution experiences. Not complaining all the time about IE. Sometimes it’s good to look outside our world and listen to real people.

      • 192

        But you see, even in church, there are as a matter of fact, certain codes of conduct.
        Like taking off your hat, being quiet and so on.

        And microsoft with IE is (sticking to your metaphor) waltzing into church, with a huge bag of chips, constantly stuffing some into his mouth audibly chewing during the whole prayer and while he is at it trying to convince his neighbours to go into the newt pub instead, because it is such a great idea.

        To get back to topic:
        I know it is party of my job to check if IE is properly doing what i can count on with other browsers because i care about being compliant to standards. But that does not mean that i can not in fact try to raise awareness with people i know and perhapes at some point even within MS.

        Because what a jolly world would it be, if MS IE would just accept standards and we would not have to mind it’s fuckups….

        • 193

          So, I assume, because you care about standards, that you do not use any CSS3 or HTML5 in your work. Both of those are not completed standards so you shouldn’t be using them until they are.

          Either the web development industry has had a major turnover of professionals in the last decade+ or the majority is suffering from amnesia. There is a reason IE became the #1 browser and, while corporations had some part in it they aren’t the biggest reason. IE delivered things that web developers wanted, regardless of “standards” and we (web developers) were happy to use and advocate IE over Netscape. We’ve grown up a lot since then, most of us have a better understanding of the role of web standards and we care a lot more about those standards. Even with how much we care about standards these days, we still forgo them when we can do something cool as long as FF and Chrome support it.

          And on the “corporations use IE and you have no choice in it so that’s why it has so much market share” argument. Come on, really? If IE (8 and 9) are so bad, why do IT people continue to support it? Why wouldn’t they force their users to use FF or Chrome? Don’t use the “it’s so integrated” argument either, it’s not difficult to remove the IE icon from the desktop and set the default browser to something else. The integration argument was nullified with Windows XP SP2.

          • 194

            Come on, really? If IE (8 and 9) are so bad, why do IT people continue to support it?


            Are you kidding? That’s your excuse? At my Fortune 500 company, our IT staff supports 10,000 plus laptops and computers with Windows XP and IE8 maximum. You think its because Windows XP and IE8 are so awesome? Give us all a break.

            1. The IT tech guys are too lazy to want to upgrade everyone’s laptop. Of course its a massive overture… but why not everytime you get a new laptop, you KEEP whatever OS is on it? No, that would be too easy. They actually DOWNGRADE brand new Win7 compatible laptops to WinXP to maintain the status quo. So the brand new laptops actually run WORSE than a 5 yr old laptop because WinXP doesnt support all that new hardware.

            2. They dont have a clue how to support other OS’s, so they would have to actually UPGRADE their certification skills and learn Vista and 7 or even OSX. Again, too much work.

            3. Job security….plain and simple. When you have to rely on tech support to fix your PC problems because MS doesnt support it anymore, you have job security, and its just easier to “tell” the CEO’s that it would be too costly to upgrade 10,000 laptops to Win 7.

            4. I have actually had IT people make system wide changes, and not tell anyone, and then when you go to them telling them you dont have access to somethign anymore, they blame you by saying “next time, login the same way everytime”, and then I told them I NEVER CHANGED THE WAY I LOGGED IN.

            I actually got so frustrated with the POS WinXP laptop, I tried using my Sony Vaio with Vista to log into our VPN, and they said “they dont support non company provided laptops”… when it should be VERY simple to provide me access to our VPN. What a joke.

            Anyone who thinks IT people are the all knowing poobahs dont have a clue.

        • 195

          Nick, I hate to tell you this but the IT Techs can easily update the entire network of devices in a few hours using pushes or MSI updates. Aside from the fact that they feel more comfortable supporting the software they already know, most IT won’t update because there’s not enough user training available. Users would throw a fit and become a major headache.. for the most part they don’t take well to change. Many users can’t adjust to a new browser (or worse an OS) which is why they still have IE6.

          It’s a browser… it’s FREE… So why not update? It’s not the price or the steps to update it’s the fact that it’s the user’s SECURITY blanket. Unfortunately, no one is going to be able to yank the security blanket from the user and there’s not a law in place to sanction Microsoft for putting out a non-compliant browser.

          That said, I feel if Microsoft has seats on the W3C they should at the very least adhere to the rules they have approve(d) and implement(ed). Which they haven’t done in the past.

          • 196

            To add to Anna, in reply to Nick, it’s true. The IT guys can update the entire network and there’s just some things they don’t support. Usually, it’s not the IT department’s fault, it’s just company policy. I worked in a corporate IT department and whenever they started rolling out Windows 7, it was a nightmare. The had to keep certain people on XP because some of the software that the company is built on requires it. Don’t even get me started on the 32/64 bit compatibility. It’s just that a lot of the internal structures just were only designed for IE, and when the developers were gone we were left with a very small (and uninformative) user manual.

            And dear lord, if you have a Microsoft based company and wanted to bring in some Macs… good luck with that integration.

            Even though I slightly disagree with this article, I understand the issue. Honestly, I try and tell everyone to upgrade as often as I can and try not to use IE. It’s just one of those things, if I have obviously better (supported) options to choose from for the same price, why would I continue to use the one that causes the most problems? It’s like allowing the bully to continue picking on the nerds, while they never receive the credit they deserve.

    • 197

      Mike Widdess

      July 13, 2012 8:33 pm

      IE9 is more tolerant to html errors than Chrome ore Firefox.
      This means that you can browse more HTML 5 pages.
      However I suspect IE9 is complicit in traffic management.
      When I phoned about problems accessing their own website, via 3 mobile broadband, the operator logged into my machine and saw the error message.
      She then told me to try Chrome. Strangely it worked.
      If that is not traffic management then how can this be explained.

    • 198

      At the end of the day you have to ask yourself if you are going to be a professional and an adult or a childish amateur. A professional works within the constraints they are given and strives to improve the situation. A child throws up the game board and says “I don’t wanna”.

      • 199

        ie, get out of

        September 6, 2012 4:21 am

        In that case I’m a child: “I don’t wanna make the same thing twice only to support the stubborn ones who are lazy enough to make the 3 clicks that takes to upgrade their browser”.

  102. 200

    Edward Meehan

    July 12, 2012 7:59 pm

    Ugh…. we will be fighting this fight till the end of days. March on nerds, swords in hand, to do battle with the evil browsers of the world.

    • 201

      To the battle of browsers!!!
      I shall hold the honorable Chrome flag!

  103. 202

    Michael Meininger

    July 12, 2012 8:00 pm

    I tried to read the article but my IE kept crashing… :(

  104. 206

    Steve Crandall

    July 12, 2012 8:33 pm

    Microsoft is always behind the 8-ball when it comes to supporting web standards. I do not think it should frustrate the author of the article, or anyone else, that the previous articles were complaining about browsers not containing standards. At the end of the day, we all want to deliver for design customers with as minimal effort as possible. Time is money. So, these previous articles are simply spouting off steam on the fact that Microsoft is a bit behind when it comes to standards (mostly web) and sometimes it appears as though they are doing this because they want to introduce their own proprietary concepts in order to sell more software.

    • 207

      Harold McBroom

      January 30, 2014 1:44 am

      I remember a time when computers USED TO WORK, as many of us do, before everything got so complicated… Before Google, Google+, Google Chrome, Youtube, Java 32, Java 64, etc… I’m so sick of these stupid billion dollar companies, looking all innocent, when we can see with our own eyes what they are doing, and why… We get the results of their so called EFFORTS, and it’s not very exciting on our END!

      Too many mega corporations make all the critical decisions for ALL of us… If I want to make my own operating system, I’m screwed, because no games would support it, no software suits would support it! We are at the mercy of these capitalists greedy corn hole companies, that care only about money, and our personal information, and connecting ourselves with our friends, and our work, for their own selfish profit, and you’ll always have aholes out there who will defend them to their dying days!

  105. 208

    Barry Horbal

    July 12, 2012 9:18 pm

    I think I am going to take the middle ground on this.

    I agree with the idea that we need to work with the browsers we are given and use them in the best ways we can to meet our client’s needs. If you look at your client’s stats and they have a high percentage of users browsing in IE7 and IE8, are you simply going to ignore those users and give them a lack-luster experience simply because you don’t approve of Microsoft’s politics when it comes to making web browsers?

    On the other hand, the reason that Microsoft finally started taking IE seriously was because web developers started speaking out about the problems, letting Microsoft know that they would have to shape up or ship out.

    Bottom line: don’t complain with your work mates and clients, just build websites. Save the revolt for those who need to hear it.

  106. 209

    To quote “What makes the Web beautiful is precisely that there are multiple browsers and, if you build things correctly, your sites and applications work in them all”.

    No, multiple browsers is what makes the web annoying. If you build things correctly to standards, then perhaps, your sites and applications will work on them all. Oh wait, just kidding, IE basically ignored all standards until IE9. What makes the web beautiful are standards and progression as a whole.

    “No one is saying you can’t use RGBA. ” – Do you work for yourself? Otherwise that’s another incorrect statement. Many people work in environments where progressive enhancement is not even possible, meaning, we can’t use modern code. For instance, a rounded CSS3 button would likely show up as a square in <IE9. Very frequently, you will get the "that's not acceptable" from your QA department. Having to jump these hoops are what people are blaming Internet Explorer for. why b

    Your argument is like saying people who don't like paying taxes need to stop complaining. You're required to do it, and it'll never be enjoyable. Let the people complain, it doesn't mean they enjoy their job any less, if anything it means they have a passion for the things that browsers are doing right.

    • 210

      René de Kat

      July 13, 2012 10:29 am

      So what you’re saying is: QA is holding back the web. Decision makers are too. They have to be educated. They force us to spend an enormous amount of time implementing things in older browsers that add no value. It’s like saying: here’s a 1960 Lada, and now u must be as quick as Vettels 2012 Red Bull. Of course you can’t do this, but you can still drive the circuit. Similat means, similar experience, but not EXACTLY the same.

      • 211

        Fringe of memory

        July 14, 2012 5:16 pm

        Browsers are free. To update costs a few minutes and brings many advantages to the user and to the rest of the world too! I can’t see any reasonable argument to support the Status Quo. I can’t understand why Zakas is frustated by Lazaris’s article, that simply encourages the old browser users to update, making them aware of the reality and of the risks they are facing. His frustration is quite not understandable to me.
        Progressive Enhancement is a contribution to mantain the Status Quo: if you don’t see something wrong in the sites you are visiting with an old browser, you can’t understand what you are losing. Why we should embrace PE as a solution if it is a part of the problem? PE is not self-evident or something to assume as a dogma. PE is an old masochistic attitude. Time to change!

        • 212

          Jean-Philippe Encausse

          July 16, 2012 5:23 pm

          10 years ago, when IE6 comes to life and Netscape 4 died Fortune 500 spent hundred thousand dollars to create internal webapp based on ActiveX… (in banking, finance, …)

          Moving from IE6 to IE9 for a new fresh Intranet is a real pain because they will have to code all 200 internal website. IT can’t handle 2 browser on laptops … ;-)

          So it’s 10years of pain for us. And I cry each time a designer make round corner without thinking about target browser: IE8 … Client is stuck to the photoshop result…

    • 213

      Luke Robbins

      July 19, 2012 1:09 pm

      Wrong, IE8 was the first browser to support CSS 2.1 and XHTML 1.1 completely.

      Most browser problems are more to do with the fact that most web developers write shocking code (and this is just the markup), if there is proper markup you greatly reduce the number of problems you have.

      Most older version of IE and their flaws are well know and most of the complaints and problems experienced with Internet Explorer 6 are thoroughly documented on MSDN.

    • 214

      What makes the web beautiful is a wide range of designs and ui experiences. Browsers are the Internet equivalent to bureaucracy; they can make the process faster or slower, and most of the time it’s an emotional choice. Microsoft has the potential to make ie THE BROWSER, instead they make the internet’s Buffon.

  107. 215

    Thomas Waters

    July 12, 2012 9:46 pm

    Good article, however, this is a fairly crazy statement: ” If they had waited for feature parity with Chrome or Firefox, we probably still wouldn’t have Internet Explorer 9.” And waiting for a fully featured browser would be bad.. because….. Microsoft is a HUGE company and has all the money and staff it needs to do just about anything, and this is your reason to say what’s missing in 9 is OK? Crazy!

    Please note, I’m not trashing IE 9, rather your rationale is a bit lacking.

    • 216

      You are absolutely right! Microsoft has all needed to make the best, fastest, most standards-compliant and developer-friendly browser in the entire world. So, the question is… why the f*** aren’t they making it??!
      As a rational human being I won’t just accept things when I know they can be better. Especially not for a company with $58 billion in cash on hand.

      • 217

        Personally I believe the web is too progressive for a closed-source browser to stay ahead with standards and implementing new features. Other browsers are built on an open source foundation (Firefox, Chrome/Chromium, Safari etc). The obvious exception to that would be Opera but that is their flagship product whereas IE isn’t Microsoft’s.

        I disagree with the article on points. You have the right to complain as both a consumer (if you use Windows as Microsoft claims its an integral part of the system) and as a developer as it holds you back. It IS your/out job as a developer to get it to work as the end user doesn’t care, and you can’t expect them too, but previous versions HAVE held us back and at the end of the day waste man hours fixing things that shouldn’t be required for a standards compliant website.

        An Australian shopping website has an “IE Tax” for purchasing products using IE 6,7 and 8 purely because of the loss of man hours. Time costs money and although its not the users fault its also not ours! :)

        • 218

          IE Tax!!! hah! thats a clever idea actually!!

          And BTW… your point about closed source software is spot on.

          Releasing 1 version of your browser over a 2 year span (or whatever) is just unacceptable nowadays IMO… And on top of that, not supporting legacy browsers of their own OS


          Anyway, silly neverending debate that smashingmag is cashing in on no doubt.

      • 219

        ie, get out of

        September 6, 2012 4:33 am

        The problem lies in the fact that Microsoft has never been able to remove itself from bill gate’s monopolistic view of the world: they just try to impose the new standard, only making things difficult for anyone else. The need to move on from this stubborn view of things.

    • 220

      You’re absolutely right. We can see the Apple’s example. Safari is not the best browser but it’s one of the best, when we talk about web-standards and moving forward the web. (With the webkit stuff…)

      At this moment I’m testing Safari 6 (Mountain Lion OSX) and I can say that it’s not only fast, but seems to be much more light than the previous versions. Totally thinking to move from Chrome to Safari again. And, the most important thing, as always, they just follow the standards that we all need, at this time.

      Microsoft was(is) always behind everybody and always giving us excuses why they are on that position. Seriously, really pisses me off. We need the technology working, today. Internet Explorer 9 is much better than the previous versions, but it’s still a big mess when we talk about the web-standards and it’s the only one that make me spend more time to get my job done. Time is money.

    • 221

      Luke Robbins

      July 19, 2012 1:12 pm

      Throwing programmers at the problem is well known to be counter productive.

      • 222

        Evan Verworn

        July 19, 2012 3:01 pm

        How about some decent Software Engineers…

        • 223

          AFAICT, in most places, a “software engineer” is just a programmer who works in a large company that values feel-good business jargon over words with actual substance and meaning. Depending on how loosely you define “engineer”, either almost all programmers are engineers, or absolutely none of them are.

  108. 224

    Zoltan Hawryluk

    July 12, 2012 8:52 pm

    I totally agree with both sides of the argument. IE is holding the web back with lack of autoupdate and this is not going to change even Microsoft, by some miracle, does add autoupdate to IE10. Even though it is better than its predecessors, it is still frustrating when you want to use new-shiny-HTML5-CSS3-INSERT-NEW-TECH-HERE and IE doesn’t support it.

    However, I look at the “What Do We Do With IE” Issue as more of an opportunity than a problem. There have been a lot of polyfills/shims/compatibility libraries/work arounds/research done to help alleviate “IE Stress”, and knowing about these techniques, when to use each one, when not to, etc, is the mark of a great web developer as opposed to good one. A friend of mine who is a C developer said that he hated web programming because of this, but I think it separates the men and women from the boys and the girls. If you want to be a web dev, it’s the price of admission. I may whine about it in private, but clients like it when you offer solutions around it.

    • 225

      Fringe of memory

      July 14, 2012 6:12 pm

      The top skill, “the mark of a great web developer”, would be coping-and-pasting polyfills/shims/… ?

      I would prefer to see web developer competing in reinventing UI and UX not in filling their pages with cumbersome code for bad browsers

  109. 227

    I’d like to say I partially agree with this article.

    I’ll totally in favour of using progressive enhancement to improve the UX on capable browsers.

    The problem is, sometimes I receive graphics including features easily achieved using HTML/CSS techniques supported by all but IE8 and below. However, the client doesn’t care about this and expects those features to look/function in the same way across all browsers we support (including IE7-9). That’s where progressive enhancement isn’t really an option.

    Often I implement the features supported by browsers released at least a month or two prior, then apply hacks for IE7-8, usually in the form of a ‘polyfill’ (usually selectivizr if I’ve used the >3 year old ‘:nth-child’ selector) or separate JS/jQuery file. The non-IE browsers tend to have a good upgrade policy anyway so I don’t worry about whether they’ll support the new features.

    Shall also mention that using SASS/Compass for CSS development has alleviated a lot of the problems I’ve had with IE7 as many of the hacks are applied for you.

    So progressive enhancement – great in theory, but not always an option in a commercial setting.

  110. 228

    Andre Leubner

    July 12, 2012 10:15 pm

    If we can’t hate Microsoft, whom can we hate instead?

    Some company has to fill the gap.

    • 229

      Apple, Sony, CenturyLink, Monsanto, DeBeers, Wal-Mart, or Goldman-Sachs. Take your pick from those or any of a dozen others.

      • 230

        Why do you want to hate those companies? Any specific reason or because you follow the left wing talking points of “greedy corporations”?

    • 231


    • 232

      We don’t need to pick some company to hate.
      They do that job by themselves.

      …And Microsoft is always on top of that list. :)

  111. 233

    “Internet Explorer 9, on the other hand, is a damn good browser”

    Whoa whoa whoa, let’s not say anything we can’t take back…

    • 234

      Timothy Robb

      July 13, 2012 7:50 pm

      Sadly, I just spent three hours removing malware off of a friends computer that utilized and infiltrated IE. The user had IE9. I can’t say how she got the malware, but IE is an easy target for malware regardless of your Anti-malware software. And I really hate cleaning up the mess. If possible, I recommend uninstalling it and using something with much better security features.

      I also recommend uninstalling all e-mail clients, including Windows Live Mail and sticking strictly with web mail access to your email accounts. (Note, you can add multiple email accounts to your GMAIL).

      Following these precautions, I’ve not had any malware on my Windows 7 PC for years.

      • 235

        Lalith Muthali

        July 14, 2012 2:43 am

        Are you seriously blaming the browser for the users fault? This is like blaming the car after hitting someone with it.

      • 236

        I use IE, Chrome, Firefox, and occasionally Safari. The only one I’ve had hit by drive-by malware this year was Chrome and it has happened twice. That’s two more times than I’ve had the others infected in the last three years.

        IE 7 was a security nightmare, 8 less so. I have yet to get infected using 9.

    • 237


      LOL, awesome.

  112. 238

    Cameron Malek

    July 12, 2012 11:31 pm

    I don’t like this “that’s just the way it is” attitude. It goes against the idea of trying to improve or fight for the betterment of things, and that seems like the opposite of the direction the web development community has been going, i.e. the increased awareness and enforcement of standards, among other practices and new tools.

    • 239

      Totally agree. My grandpa, as much as I love him, has a lot of racist tendencies created by the environment he grew up in.

      When he says, “That’s just the way I am, deal with it,” I’d always say that if everyone thought the same way, nothing would ever change.

      I strive to acknowledge frustrations and work to improve them while not ignoring the reality of how things are now.

      While IE is a reality now, that doesn’t mean we should keep quiet about it. What some call “complaining”, others call “pleas for progress”.

  113. 240

    IE isn’t perfect, but none of the other browsers are as well (though IE is trailing the pack). It’s better than it has been in the past.

    But the long and the short of it is, dealing with browser incompatibilities is really what separates the men from the boys (or girls from the women if you prefer) in Web Development. I’ve been working in this industry since IE 3 and Netscape 2. Heck, we’d even see an occasional Mosaic user in the wild back then. You want to see incompatibilities and browser messes, try those.

    Sitting back and whining about it doesn’t fix the problem. You try to educate your audience, but they are the customer. You don’t get to cherry-pick who your audience is.

  114. 241

    Full Ecma support:
    IE8 ecma3? No
    IE9 ecma5? No
    IE11 ecma harmony? No
    IE12 ecma harmony? No

    Nuff said…

    • 242

      Michael Dengler

      July 13, 2012 12:44 am

      IE9 – Ecma5 – Yes

      “Offering faster browsing, HTML5, CSS3, ECMA5 scripting support and other features, it has dumped the gimmicks of IE8 (did anyone really use Accelerators?) to improve the core browsing experience.”

  115. 243

    As much as I enjoyed this article (especially as a response from a talented web designer) I disagree with Nicholas’ point of view.

    IE has refused to rise against it’s own ego in the past and has placed itself in the cross-hairs of every developer by perpetuating a “you will use what we tell you to use” attitude. Ultimately, their agenda of “world domination thru shear numbers” is what has led to their browser discrepancies. It is hard to divide your time between barking consumers and product enhancement when you are to busy working on proprietary ways to keep your old product on every computer.

  116. 244

    Hallelujah!!! Finally, somebody with a lick of sense! I really appreciate you writing this article because I have been trying to “chill” enough since reading that previous “woe is us” article that I could respond civilly. What I’ve noticed in being a “non-remunerated” blog developer for years, and following probably 50 web-industry “opinion leaders” religiously for longer than that; is, that it seems many “wannabe” writers regurgitate a “let’s hate IE” (or Microsoft, or Windows) article any time they are short on time or run out of ideas. A character on the TV show “Burn Notice” calls spy’s “bitchy little girls” which I think of every time I read something like that previous article (which, unfortunately isn’t rare). Of course, even the great Smashing Magazine isn’t above “shock-jocking” merely to increase “ratings” – and this may be some of that; but, even my “uninitiated” father warned me 50 years ago that “it’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.”

    In addition, what I’ve noticed is that the “lets blame IE” type of person is often the same one who rarely lifts a finger to actually “do” anything about it besides complain in a public forum trying to obtain support for his misguided attitude. While it is true that users of IE6-7 have diminished to the point of rarity, I still currently know personally 27 people who are still in that category and not one of them are doing it to be a burden on our poor “hand-wringing” web-developing colleagues; believe it or not, they don’t even have a clue who you are! The twenty-seven are those who I haven’t yet been able to help out of the hole they are in, either for financial or data-rate or employer or non-web related software issues.

    The answer isn’t all the angst or the arbitrary “let’s sock it to these bastards” warnings or threats on pop-ups. And frankly, it wouldn’t even enter my mind to deliberately harm someone’s web experience when it was in my power to give him information in a pleasing way that they could adequately use. I cannot deny that I’m a bit disgusted when I see developers advocating such measures. Frankly, we should thank God every day that Microsoft was around to pretty much single-handedly keep the internet free and user based. The business model of Netscape and others – namely that you should pay substantially for every browser you used on your computer, every time they wanted to throw an upgrade to you – was thwarted by a “free” browser coming with an operating system. Are we so naive or forgetful to think that if Steve Job’s, Apple business model had been the only choice – i.e. completely proprietary and exorbitantly priced – we would even have an industry as robust as it is today? Thank heaven for Microsoft and IBM who largely initiated and paved the way for open source, and set price-points within reach of the “common” people!

    I think the majority of developers I’ve met are bigger than this. And to lump IE8 and 9 in with 6 and 7 is… well… simply pathetic.

    • 245

      Darwin Santos

      July 13, 2012 12:54 am

      While you’re right in a thing or two, still there’s no such thing as an excuse for such a lousy product as IE, all of its versions. Sitting on the idea of not demanding a better quality of the “tools” we use, as you called it in your analogy, is simply letting more than enough room for the mediocrity to become the standard. I will not support IE until Microsoft releases a fully functional version, all IE versions feel like beta to me.

      I am happy that the brakes in my car have nothing to do with IE. Would you drive a car with such little quality standards as IE?

    • 246


      I wholeheartedly agree with you, Brian and steve42. For now, IE(6) exists. Deal with it.

    • 247

      “Frankly, we should thank God every day that Microsoft was around to pretty much single-handedly keep the internet free and user based.”

  117. 248

    I just one have to say one thing:
    If you are developing with a STANDARD specification, then all software must render EXACTLY and UNIFORMLY ADHERE to that SPEC. IE’s has a long way to go. So what if a browser has Clear View or provide better security? For the users ok, that’s fine. And for the developers? Why do we have to scratch our heads thinking where we went wrong developing the site?
    I don’t hate Internet Explorer itself, but I hate it’s lack of not adhering to a standard and enforce their own while forgetting there developers out there, other than those of Microsoft. They can have HTA’s but please, let it be standards and render stuff as they should… I will not stop blaming Microsoft’s IE until it has proven that it can render stuff other browsers can, without having me to resort to tweaks or hacks, thus bloating my website and making it slow…

    • 249

      the few bytes it takes to support a microsoft or Chrome or Firefox bug wont “bloat your site or make it slow”


      a conditional if in IE or a Javascript shim for Firefox, Opera, Safari?

      people who say that either cant code or dont know how to use google.

      • 250

        Seriously… Is it much to ask all browsers to render standards? I really don’t care about vendor specific properties or unsupported tags. I just need to code something in browser A and it works well on other browsers. Really, why to I have to resort to tweaks when the software I render my webpage does not so? Browsers should have us save time rather than spending it in the everlasting quest of fixing browser rendering engine issues…

    • 251

      René de Kat

      July 13, 2012 10:40 am

      I have yet to come across an area where theory and reality live in perfect harmony. Everywhere you have to deal with less than ideal situations. Not just only in IT. The question is: do you sit and complain or try to make the best of it?

      You can’t force people, because they’ll go into defense mode. However you can guide them. Slowly! My mother taught me that good things take time. This was usually about cooking, but I’ve learned it applies everywhere.

      • 252

        Agreed. But if you code something in any language (PHP, C, JS, wtvr ) results will be the same. Take Java and Android. Dalvik engine knows Java and should work well with it, right?
        Just asking a call to rendering standards that should be ubiquitous. Not asking too much.
        To answer your question: I have no choice but to do both sitting and complain and try to make the best of it. God knows how many times i’ve been forced to tackle IE’s lack of decent rendering… If it is a box with 500px why I don’t get 500px in all browsers?…. That’s is a question that we all should be asking about… Why always tweaking around, fixing, tweaking and fixing again?….

  118. 253

    I agree with this line: “What makes the Web beautiful is precisely that there are multiple browsers”. We need to be careful we don’t fixate on a specific browser or device (take -webkit prefixes for example). Unfortunately, IE sucks; 9 and 10 do to. I can see where you’re coming from when you say 9 is mych better than 6 (it really is), but the truth is that it’s like beating your own score on the mile. IE’s not even in the race, but they’re doing better than last time! We need to stop making excuses for this company. Just because they have their hand in everything doesn’t (read: shouldn’t) give them an excuse to do a poor job. Think for a second about amazon, apple, and google. What have they done? How did they execute it? Now think about MS, and what they’ve done? No comparison. Lots of resources, wasted.

  119. 254

    Eric Stoltz

    July 13, 2012 1:25 am

    If developers had not constantly voiced their concerns over Internet Explorer, Microsoft would never have stepped up to the plate with IE 9. Saying people should just put up and shut up is not the way to prod a lethargic corporation toward improvement. And unless their feet are held to the fire, Microsoft will just let IE 9 improvement lag. That’s their proven nature. Yes, it would be lovely to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that NOW they are seriously going to do the right thing, but It’s the old Lucy-and-the-football syndrome that makes us skeptical.

    And to say that “It is from within constraints that creativity is born” is not helpful. Dealing with IE 6-8 is not an exercise in creativity; it is usually an exercise in frustration. It’s not some fun challenge, it’s untold hours of working late and cancelling dinner only to find it’s a return or something stupid that broke everything. That’s not my idea of creativity.

  120. 256

    Your article seems contradictory to me in that you tell us to stop complaining, but openly admit our complaining has pushed Microsoft to start listening and make positive changes.

    When has silence helped reformation?

  121. 259

    I have to admit I’ve directed both some tongue-in-cheek humor and rage in IE’s direction — IE6 in particular. I can’t say I was right in the trenches when the web was young and tags and spinning globe gifs ran rampant, but I do know IE became a nightmare as the industry shifted toward standards compliance. I do know Microsoft resisted while using market share as a sword to fend off progress. That’s part of the reason I was extremely skeptical about IE9.

    It’s great that Microsoft has taken a step in the right direction, but we can’t ignore that they’re taking that step reluctantly. It’s awesome that they’ve slowly phased out IE6, but there’s still the shadow of IE7-8. IE9 itself, as some have noted, isn’t updated as often as other major browsers and will be outpaced as a result. We may face the same problem with a different skin soon enough.

    As developers, I don’t think the IE hate comes from simple laziness or that IE serves as some sort of skill gate separating professionals from hobbyists. The problem is not that we have to think creatively to solve the many issues that IE presents, it’s that these issues have already been resolved. Revisiting them only extends development time in a way that isn’t meaningful to the project.

    I also agree with Smiley Tom and others that sometimes expectations and the project environment can make progressive enhancement a hurdle. That’s why I think it’s our job as designers and developers to communicate the advantages to the client in a way they understand. Show them how supporting legacy browsers directly impacts their bottom line (increased development time, tons of backtracking, increased page load from polyfills may frustrate those with slower connections, etc.).

    The web is changing, and we have to change with it. We have to encourage our clients to change with it. Show them that sites can work well without micromanaging non-critical parts of the experience. We have to show complacent vendors that market share is not enough to sway us from doing things right. This isn’t just about Internet Explorer; we have to keep our forward momentum.

  122. 260

    I blame IE for all my ill will and woes.

    Seriously though, I’ve had two relationships utterly destroyed because of Microsoft. Who’s to blame? The guy that uses Chrome and Firefox as a guest once or the one who has been using IE since forever?

  123. 261

    I’m not sure I can add more to this than what has already been said. Sympathy for the weakest browser, consistantly, isn’t part of our job and yes, it IS holding the advancement of what we do back.

    The only reason we have to even care about IE is that fact that it is bundled with many corporate servers of which are often very reluctant to upgrade.

    It would be a beautiful world if we all could just ignore the weakest link in the chain and keep moving forward, like everyone else has been trying to do.

    This article, with all due respect, I find weak and a poor excuse to write an article. “Can’t we all get along” is fine and dandy, and I’m sure the majority of us here have been doing that for years. Which, obviously, is what fuels the dislike of IE, period.

    I’m sure you could be happy on your brick cell phone from the 80’s, or your video tapes or even your reel-to-reel movies. Most of us enjoy thinking of how to improve the world and like to contribute to it. After all, that is what has brought us here… allowing you to post this article, have people comment from their phones, ipads, computers… Imagine… if we all just accepted the weakest link in the chain where we would be.

  124. 262

    Firefox Guy

    July 13, 2012 4:31 am

    Um, really? Step back a moment and look at the current browser landscape. How can you defend a browser that has no respect for web standards and has consistently failed to keep up with the pace of the web.

    Look at how often browsers like Chrome and Firefox are updated. When was the last time IE got a meaningful update?

    Even putting the frequency of updates aside, there’s absolutely no excuse for distributing a product that is so utterly flawed and inferior like IE. It’s a disgrace, and Microsoft should feel ashamed of themselves.

    I don’t have a problem with all Microsoft products. It’s just IE that to me is an aberration that should be eradicated from the world and never return; and I mean IE6 to 9. I can’t speak for 10, but if the past is anything to go by, 10 will ultimately suck too at some point.

  125. 263

    Justin Carroll

    July 13, 2012 5:18 am

    I don’t support IE on my personal projects and I don’t lose sleep over it. Microsoft has more funds than any competeing browser and yet they’re the most incompatible – they screw their users, not developers, not me. I’m not held back because to me they don’t exist. Life’s too short to care. We’ve spent too much of our careers hacking our way through their dumb browser – it’s time they bend to our will or lose market share which we’re already seeing. Good riddance.

  126. 264

    Thank you–I was beginning to think I was the only web developer left in the world who still cared about making sites work in IE. (However, based on the comments in this article, I still think I’m in the minority.)

    I know it’s not always easy to develop for IE–and I definitely agree that we should continue demanding excellent, standards-compliant browsers from every vendor–however I don’t understand why web developers insist on punishing the user for Microsoft’s mistakes. A lot of the time, these people usually don’t know any better or have absolutely no choice in the matter. (And don’t get me started on how terribly ineffective or unusable sites are that try to “educate” users about IE with popups or pseudo information bars or whatever.)

    On a side note, I’m a little curious about the clients of web developers who don’t develop for IE. What happens when they or their friends look at your site in IE? Do you always preview it to them in your office so they don’t have the chance? Do you force them to upgrade / download a new browser?

    • 265

      I guess no one here, including me, despite my vicious comments against IE, want’s to force a user to download a browser or shifting to other just because a website calls it. When I code, I try to check my code against IE, but let us say a patch from Microsoft fixes a bug, and then your fix will mess up the website. How much time you think you will be spending searching the bug, fixing it, testing and then upload it?
      Just wasting time with something that should be rendered correctly by default…

      • 266

        I agree–Microsoft should’ve done it correctly to begin with and shouldn’t have been so arrogant to believe that they would always be on top.

    • 267

      Fringe of memory

      July 14, 2012 7:30 pm

      “I don’t understand why web developers insist on punishing the user for Microsoft’s mistakes.”

      It can be easily reversed, Jelina: why web developers insist on punishing themselves and/or their clients (someone is going to pay for the extra work needed) and the users of good browsers (cared less), for Microsoft’s mistakes? And why not prizing standard compliant browsers?
      Or: why IE users insist on punishing web developers and themselves, when it is (at least for most of them) very easy to install a good browser?
      And: why to be frustrated by the Lazaris’ effort to make IE users aware of their real condition and opportunities?

      Please, let’s take in count the overall landscape and all the stakeholders involved here, not just one of them. At any time, resources are finite: wasting time, money and bandwidth is a danger for all.

      • 268

        I had a hard time answering this. I agree with every point you’ve made… in theory. In practice, I’ve found that it’s not as clear-cut.

        You’re completely correct when you say that we shouldn’t be punishing ourselves for Microsoft’s mistakes. However–and I’m sure I’m not alone in this–I define a good web developer as one whom can create a site that ensures their users achieve their tasks as quickly and as easily as possible… Isn’t ignoring IE in direct conflict with that?

        I also agree that it is easy and relatively painless to download a better browser–if you know (and care) what a web browser is to begin with. (If you scoffed at that, I completely understand–it’s hard to imagine when you, your friends and your colleagues can’t escape the browser war… But I assure you, these people exist. Thankfully, Google pushing Chrome is slowly eradicating this problem–but it’s not completely gone.)

        Another related point: What about the people who have no control over the browser they use at work?

        I once had to force Firefox to authenticate as IE through my company’s proxy just to be able to connect to the internet on my mac; which meant the sites I visited also thought I was IE. (It was hilarious at first, but then the messages and warnings about using a terrible browser just became annoying. The ones that actually PREVENTED me from using their site were particularly infuriating.)

        This leads into your second last point: education. Any web dev worth their salt knows that users ignore anything that isn’t directly related to whatever it is they’re trying to do… so why do we think messages and warnings about IE will actually work?

        I’m not defending IE–I just think that, if we’re not developing for IE, we’re only doing half our job.

    • 269

      James Hatfield

      July 17, 2012 7:49 am

      Have you ever tried to resolve IE’s various memory leaks? How about the complete nonsense of their event system or the COM implementation of the DOM? IE9 is much better but still a dog. it’s only through the magic of Jquery and other frameworks that anyone can afford to support those legacy browsers 7&8 (6 is dead).

      A simple website is not a problem. A 100 million annual ecommerce business. That’s a problem. Luckily it’s a problem for everyone, so all websites provide a poor experience on IE.

      Polyfills,, Shims, etc just add more burden to an already slow engine. Sure it looks right but then you go to interact and it’s slow as molasses, while in Chrome it’s like a native application – blazing fast, no overhead and good memory management and full support for all the features.

      The whole time you think – “wish I had time to test this on a tablet or smartphone, too bad I spent all day debugging IE issues. “

      • 270

        You’re right, James. It’s worse than terrible. However, the point I was trying to make was more about people not developing for IE (which, if I ever had to do it, would feel like I’d only done half my job) and not about providing the same experience across all browsers (which is near impossible with IE).

        The end users are all that matter, and we have to accomodate them as best we can.

  127. 271

    As a web designer, I prefer to not hack CSS just to make IE display things properly…

    Using webfonts on webpage nowadays is great, providing more flexibility on our designs.
    But IE seems to get the bad rendering…as mentioned in

  128. 272

    Don’t blame IE ..use some java script in header section :P

  129. 273

    I stopped complaining about Internet Explorer the day I decided to drop full support for it.
    My choice are the standards, if MS-IE doesn’t follow the standards is its problem, not mine, so I decided to Educate my website’s visitors trough a campaign and invite em to experience the improved experience of browsing the internet using a modern & standard browser.

    “Internet Explorer 9, on the other hand, is a damn good browser…” I can’t share your experience as internaut.

    • 274

      Lalith Muthali

      July 14, 2012 2:53 am

      Feel sorry for your clients, they are being forced to piss on 25% if not more of their client/consumer base because of your inability to adhere to common sense.

    • 275

      Yes, and if you would have the possibility you would send all those users of outdated browsers to prison.

      The web is communication. Therefore, the job of web programmers and designers is to communicate to people. If they speak another language than those you speak, then you have to make a translation to make communication possible. If they use other hardware or software that you prefer you have to deliver your messages in a way that they can receive it.

      The web ist not the Sovietunion.

  130. 276

    lost too much money bug fixing IE in the past to stay objective on the argument. just lok at all the replies already.
    sry but Microsoft did harm the internet and we are still paying the price, literally.

    • 277

      No one needs a web programmer if programming would be so simple because all hardware and software would follow exactly the standards.

      The problems with IE6 are with a ten year old browser. At least IE9 works excellent for the user. IE is the best browser who manages the usable displaying of worst programmed websites. This is most important for the user.

      Much more a problem are new browsers for tablets which cannot handle basic standard functions like iframes. This ist much more a problem than the complications of IE6 which are well known by every experienced web programmer.

      Most here ask for support of HTML5 and CSS 3. These are both no standard. You should not use them because of this.

  131. 278

    I agree that IE9 is a better browser than IE6, 7, and 8. It’s even a good browser by Microsofts standards (they set with IE6). I think the problem with IE is not the browser itself anymore, but the long update timespans it has and the fact that microsoft apparently is not able to make some users update their browsers (and their os). There are reasons for this like their 90’s attitude towards developing and selling their os (looong development time and high prices). Other than that, let’s not forget Microsoft has a long history miseducating users about their possibility of choice and using its monopoly power to push browsers that did follow their own standards and not those of the W3C. ( In this prospect, one has to say they earned every bit of criticism and they still earn it today, because it is not the fact that they wanted to develop a modern browser that made IE9 better, it is they fact they had to. But still, apparently, the pressure is not high enough to make them develop a really really good browser, which would maybe involve shorter development and release timespans.

    What you say about constraints & creativity may be right, but I never felt the IE non standards as a constraint to my creativity. They were a nuisance, yes, but other than that, I never found myself thinking about IE when designing and developing (especially since I do not really like rounded corners). I always knew in the back of my head that what I wanted to do would require extra time for IE (the lower the numbers, the more). But constraints to creativity in my opinion are not about the fact that I have to do my layouts again in some sort of other language.

    Finally, I saw a lot of «I’m not supporting IE anymore» attitude here. I think it’s alright if someone decides he does not want to spend extra time on developing for IE. I just hope this attitude comes with a message to the IE user on the page urging him or her to change for another browser. Because just showing a broken webpage may be satisfying your anger, but it’s not a service to the client, and it’s not a service to the web in general (supporting IE and suppressing your anger also isn’t). I think it’s the duty of the web-educated people to show the web-unsavvy how they can do better, and make our lives may be a little bit easier. Because if the downward trend continues, and IE looses more market share, maybe Microsoft suddenly develops the ability to develop a really, really good browser.

  132. 279

    CEA (

    July 13, 2012 9:16 am

    I believe IE will destroy itself soon because of its poor engine. Browsers should fallow WEB not the opposite way. Therefore IE should fix itself for new trends otherwise no one will use this crap in the future (hopefully).
    And also i suppose most of the people who are in developing or designing sector will be preciated with this circumstance.

  133. 280

    You know your right – people should just do what they want and focus on things they want to do – and deal with the sh*t that comes with it!

    Instead of everyone just keeps their mouth shut about this same ultra anoying subject the web will be a better place.

    Ok – it was fun when the first articles about this popped up 4 years ago.
    And ok – it still was a little fun to see the folluw-up articles on those as a reaction to the first ones.

    But are we really going to do this every f-ing single time when some other old-news-rewriting-so-called-autheur publishes the gazzilioned article about something everyone already knows?

    Or is it just a cheap way of getting readers, i don’t know it anymore.
    But it’s realy stupid and a waste of everyones time if you ask me.

    From now on, i won’t ready another article about start with this now, stop with that yester and why explorer or whateverthe-f is whatever.

    Believe me, the article has a very good point, but if everyone just stops with repeating the same stories every year, maybe you’d already found that solution for your problem with IE or whatever!

    Good luck – and good bye same old same old articles! ;-)

  134. 281

    “The reason that I still give talks about progressive enhancement is because it allows you to give the best experience possible to users based on the browser’s capabilities.”

    Tell that to all the clients around the world. “Why this button doesn’t have rounded corners in IE? It has to!” – and all that stuff. It would be great if our clients would even understand what progressive enhancement, but mostly they don’t. Offen they use IE and they don’t care that most features that could be easily resolved using css won’t work in IE. So you have js everything just to fit their needs, and that is why IE is so annoying and it’s holding the web back. And what’s even more annoying is that they do want to see every small piece of page looks the same in every browser and mostly the don’t care how much work it requires and how ugly the code becomes. Why? Because they don;t care about the code, they don;t see it and they don’t understand it.

    • 282

      Clients’ lack of understanding of the differences in appearance of their site across browsers, due to progressive enhancement, is a failure to correctly set their expectations up front, before the design or the build begins, not an indictment of the concept.

      • 283

        James Hatfield

        July 17, 2012 7:55 am

        If someone does not care you can not make them. No education or attempt to enlighten will change that. If you do not do it the way they want they will find someone who will. Besides, it adds hours they have to pay for.

  135. 284

    I agree with Nicholas. If the customer wants the site to run in IE x, than it’s our job to make that happen. It’s like saying your line of business application won’t support Windows XP because it’s mssing feature x and MS should add that feature to a 10+ year old software because you want to use it. Every engineering process has constraints, be it resources, budget or anything else. The constraints are set by the clients and it is the job of the engineer to accomplish what the customer ordered within those constraints.

    Now back to IE. Microsofts point of view is that functionality is only added in major releases. Point releases are only for bug fixing and minor changes. With that in mind let’s look at those browsers again: Did IE 6 support all standards the time it was released: yes and some more. Did IE 9 support all standards the time it was released: almost. So what is MS to blame for: too long release cycles in a world that changes fast! Developement within MS speeded up during the last years. So there’s hope for shorter release cycles in the future.

    Chrome and Firefox are in fact using a similar approach. They just declared that point releases will be major releases (Waiting for Chrome 100 !). So in order to get security updates you must update to a version with added / changed functionality (rember the changed border-radius functionality in Firefox). This is great for webdevelopers wanting to use the new stuff, but it also is a risk to those that need ro keep older line-of-business sites / apps running.

    Is only IE to blame? I guess not. Since skipping IE 6 compatibility, I added more lines of code specifically for mobile browsers. Alot of Android browsers won’t get new functionality in the future. So are those the new IE? What about people stuck on IE 9 mobile with Windows Phone 7. They won’t get any updates either. First / second generation iPhones? Those won’t be supported forever. What about desktop browsers when their metro brothers will be the future on desktop Windows? If you want to blame all those browsers in the future, you will need a lot of time..

    So while both arguments are true, the fragmentation of the browser landscape will become bigger and bigger. For developers there is only one conclusion: Make your decision what to suppert and do that as good as possible.

  136. 285

    A web surrounding is like a national economy. It would be ideal, if the best wins and the worst vanishes into thin air. But like in the real world the perfect way is always a subjectively biased way.
    So on one hand, Microsoft of course won’t let their their top dog just slide away as they won’t do with all their other software. In the last years there has not been much innovative stuff. But because of their size and the number of customers they have, they can just jump on the bandwagon and collect enough earnings with their existing customers. Even if the final experience isn’t as impressive as the initial idea from the inventors. That is a working business model, even though it wouldn’t be mine ;)
    On the other side there is also a good reason, a very personal one, to watch out for the things that fall behind. If you do not want to end up like these poor bastards in the finance industries, who had to deal with their overwhelming ego and no boundaries for many years, please stop thinking you live in a vacuum where only your own speed counts. The world is full of complex reasons why old browsers are still online and why they shouldn’t be.
    Overall the transition to better browsers hast to move forward, which also means that it sometimes will stop and other times the development goes ahead of our understanding. So just kick back, enjoy the current achievements in web development and once in a while get loud about the things that slow you down…

  137. 286

    Jack Sheppard

    July 13, 2012 11:10 am

    I have more problems with Firefox 3.5 than IE6 anyway.

  138. 287

    Dear Nicholas,

    You mention that complaining is a way of making Microsoft listen, but we should now stop and give them a chance (since I assume they’re now listening, because they said so).

    Because we have to model our business and workload, and ultimately sacrifice user-experience due to the laziness of a company or another, that has financial advantages from promoting the use of their products, with complete disrespect for standards. Right?

    I mean, disregard we criticized IE5.5 until they came with IE6. We should have stopped there, and accept IE6 as the ultimate browser.
    Following your logic, we wouldn’t have IE9 right now.

    Complaining, giving negative feedback and constantly requesting better browsers, ensures that we developers can spend more time on building better products and applications, better user-experience which in return means happy users, happy clients.
    Obviously you ignore the amount of time needed to use all sorts of polyfills to achieve standards, so that the user has a uniform experience regardless of the browsers. And you obviously ignore the fact that the time spent, is either taken from the actual web product or app development, or from the clients’ budget.

    So basically, our products (and the final users), or our clients have to suffer, just so that we wouldn’t complain anymore.

    Without complaining about mistakes or lack of improvement, there wouldn’t be any improvements at all, so I’m really baffled by the fact you’re encouraging the suppression of it.

  139. 288

    so if “The only reason it doesn’t have all of the features as Chrome and Firefox is because they rebuilt the thing from scratch so that adding more features in the future would be easier.”

    Why does it still not have proper css3 support if its “easier” to add new features. Its been around long enough for hundreds of updates. Windows updates are there for a reason..Why doesn’t Microsoft use it to make small incremental updates to the current major version of IE?

    I personally hate all versions of IE, IE9 not so much as at least most things work, but the really nice frills that other browsers support degrade gracefully from what I’ve seen in IE (e.g. a div with rounded borders and a gradient, just reverts to a rectangle), no work arounds are needed to make a website not look sh*t in IE9 (that I’ve come across), but for a massive company like Microsoft, its simply not good enough provide a browser that is not up to date with the latest web standards.

    IE DOES hold the web back because extra time and consideration is always required to fix IE bugs, when more time could be spent on new stuff.

  140. 290

    Rony Mattar

    July 13, 2012 1:25 pm

    Please stop defending Microsoft.
    I agree with Louis, because why would new born browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari… would always be step forward IE?
    It is not acceptable from Microsoft to make a browser that doesn’t support PNG files, it is not acceptable that it does not even support CSS selectors and pseudo-class which can save too much time on the front-end developers.

    Microsoft is not a company born yesterday, and they created amazing applications but concerning browsers, the work they are doing is not acceptable at all.

    I’m also a WebGL developer, I always advise my clients not to use IE at all, you say they made it from scratch, I don’t like working on a half project, if it is not perfect better not to be public.

    HTML5 is an amazing step forward, why most of do not use this technology?
    It’s all because of IE bugs and bugs and continuos bugs…

    I respect your point of view Mr. Zakas and being a senior developer at Yahoo, this means that you have a respectful background, but I cannot be silent on IE bugs and yes it is holding back the web, this is too much from Microsoft and not acceptable at all.

  141. 291

    Steve Stevens

    July 13, 2012 3:41 pm

    IE browsers are a painful fact of life. Life gets better as Microsoft has been bolder on officially ending support of old versions but you still must deal with the past couple versions, workarounds, and hunting down mystery issues. It has been that way from the beginning and continues. If a client calls with a website issue, nine times out of ten it is in IE – even when reliable content management systems are utilized. And yes, IE keeps you from working on the latest and greatest in HTML and CSS if you want your site to display reasonably for the masses and you don’t mind the time and energy devoted to building dumbed-down versions of progressive sites for the IE enthusiasts.

    For me the pain and impact of their arrogance started early on in the mid 90’s when we only had 256 colors to work with – no wait – Microsoft decided we only needed about 245. It was more important for them to display their logo in Microsoft colors so they took colors away. Other corporations, and the presentation of their colors and imagery, be damned!

    In the mid 90’s through the early 00’s they spread their version of joy and merriment throughout the design community by marketing Front Page, and Office, as the every-person’s design tools: who needs professional designers? Microsoft will forever be known as being responsible for more schlock on the web that any corporation in history. (How many “Abobe Killers” have they released over the years in an attempt to dig out of that hole?) And they created the browser wars by insisting the world should submit to the Microsoft way of life and let them define the standards. But thank you for that. The plan pretty much back fired and in the long-run I got a lot of work as folks realized their sites weren’t that great and every-person couldn’t design or think through a website build.

    Where are we today? Still in a world where your pain is caused by IE. As a designer you either become complacent or continue to let Microsoft know things could be better; shut up or talk about the issues. No, it’s not yet time to stop blaming IE. I will stop when it is possible to build a fully functional site, as I promise to clients, and not have to include work-arounds or spend extra time to make what follows standards and simply works in other browsers work in IE. As a designer, either you build in IE issue dollars or bite the bullet and work for free to resolve them. I wish statistics were kept keeping tally of hours spent and dollars devoted to dealing with IE. I believe they would be staggering.

  142. 292

    I think car analogies always work (except when they don’t), so let’s compare this to Firestone tires of 2000.
    Yes the tires looked like good tires, and they were from arguably one of (if not the) biggest tire manufacturers in the world…so people trusted that name to be a good reliable product that would not only do the job intended for them, it would do it well. Obviously this was not the case as they would up and explode. Did we blame the owners for buying these tires though? No. We blame the manufacturer for taking shortcuts in the manufacturing and not testing the product fully and releasing a sh!tty product into the market that ultimately could do a ton of harm.
    While people aren’t dying bc of IE (although plenty of developers have wanted to kill people over it), it still is a product put out by a company with more than enough resources to develop a great product, that chooses to skimp on development and just rely on their name recognition and marketshare to inundate users who don’t know better with a half-ass product.
    The argument that there are plenty of ways to make a site work in IE is also flawed, bc most of us aren’t building websites for fun with unlimited time and budgets. We are building websites for companies that want functionality x,y,z and for it to look modern and have certain bells and whistles…all for a set price and we as developers are expected to build this site within these time and budgetary constraints. Thus we have to hold back features (clients don’t understand and don’t want to hear about ‘this feature will only work in Chrome, Safari and Firefox and we have this nice static fallback option in IE’), and the organic growth of web development on corporate websites really slows down…thus Microsoft and IE ARE holding back the growth of the web, and they CAN be blamed.
    Yes the bitching sucks, but if developers just stay quiet about this, how can we hope or expect change? Personally my biggest complaint is that we (developers) have been complaining about IE not following standards and not keeping up with the competition since IE7/8 and Microsoft has literally spent years ignoring us. They consistently give the development community a virtual middle finger and don’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

  143. 293

    Andre Morgan

    July 13, 2012 3:52 pm

    Anyone cheering for ie websites must look poor in graphics and features.

  144. 295

    Ryan Wagner

    July 13, 2012 4:51 pm

    IE is the worst browser ever!! Microsoft is always releasing cramp that does not work. They are a monopoly company so they want to make the web their way and not CSS and HTML standards like other WORKING browsers. Hopefully that will change one day because there are a lot of people switching to Apple products and the number of PC purchases is dropping. Go MAC and any other browser except IE!

  145. 296

    Universal XS

    July 13, 2012 4:59 pm

    Yes, IE9 is a whole lot better than IE8, which was better than IE7, which was loads better than IE6. Still, IE9 is not a good browser. It lacks good CSS3 support and it will never have it.
    Where other browsers release version 11.0, 11.2 and 11.5 (Opera) or release 3 versions in 6 months (Firefox, Chrome), IE only gets an update every once a year or even less, so they will ALWAYS be behind in CSS/HTML support. On top of that, IE9 does not work on Windows XP, which unfortunately is still used a lot. IE10 will have better CSS support, but will only be available for Windows 8.
    So yes, encouraging people to switch to a browser is still a good idea.

  146. 297

    10 times a charm!? I highly doubt it.

    Every time I meet with a client I ask them what browser they use….and that’s my standard for that project.
    Do I explain progressive design, YES.
    Do I try to make the site work in old crappy browsers, YES.
    Do I charge extra if the client is adamant about something looking a certain way in an ancient browser and it’s not a quick fix, YES. (I also let them know before hand, “If you want you site to work in X browser, it will be this much more.” – I do have my price standards, and it correlates with browser versions.)
    Do I tell clients that are using IE to jump to another browser, EVERY DAY.

    To not complain is to not have progress, to bitch about it and not attempt to do your best job for older browser is a poor developer.

    Bottom line, every situation is different, do what’s best for your end client not the end user. If your client cares about that 6.6%, then you have to care too.

  147. 298

    Ron Buesser

    July 13, 2012 5:11 pm

    Those of use who have been dealing with cross browser issues for a couple of decades now have encountered every imaginable variation of this argument. Remember IE4 versus Netscape 4? This solidified for years and people adapted to create very elegant designs and experiences.

    If it were easy to build a single code-base to support IE7, IE8, IE9, Firefox 3.6 and beyond, Safari 4 and beyond, Chrome, Opera, iOS tablets, Android tablets, Kindle and Nook, then we wouldn’t even be having this debate. The reality is it just takes hard work, and last time I looked there was no Hard Work jQuery plugin out there.

    One thing I rarely hear in these technical debates in the methodological/architectural concepts of Audience and Platform Analysis. Do I really need to support every broken version of Opera? IE6? Blackberry 8850? Depends on who your audience is and what their needs are. For instance when I architected Hertz’s mobile site several years back, I sure had to take Blackberry into account – ( eg. Corporate Car Rentals ). It was terrible and painful. Have a problem with IE? Try Blackberry’s internal browser. Do I really need to support IE6? Only if stubborn, corporate managers and illegal Chinese Windows bootlegs are my target audience. If not, then IE6 users can twist in the wind. Common sense ROI must replace religious stridency in these arguments.

    The reason HTML Boilerplate is now usable is because they discontinued some of the IE6 insanity. How long are people going to continue to include those pathetic curvy corners and PNG transparency scripts which kill the DOM. The reality is if you take a moderate and reasonable stance, relying on graceful degradation, you can support 99.9% of your real users. The development cost to cover that last .01% is probably double your entire budget. Revenue projections will determine if that effort is worth it. That said however, IE6 accommodations will surely tank your mobile web app performance, so destroying the 99.9% experience needs to also be factored in as well.

    Even leaving IE6 behind though, IE7, IE8, and IE9 still must be accounted for in any commercial software. CSS3 transitions and animations replacing certain javascript would be wonderful indeed. I am all for progressive enhancement, but the interaction design is not an ancillary consideration, it is the core functionality of the product, and no level of graceful degradation will account for that. IE7, IE8, IE9 and other Microsoft abominations will pervade the web for years to come. Deal with it! If you can’t, someone else will, and be paid well for their efforts.

    Stop complaining about the wind.

  148. 299

    Many other industries have same problem but move forward. Take the music industry. When was the last time a band released they’re latest hits on a cassette. We got better equipment that has better technology so we don’t make cassettes anymore.

    Technology is so far advanced than ie6 that we must stop always catering to those that want to use it. We need to teach them that old technology will not be supported.

    It is time for us as technologists to share with users to upgrade or we will not support them.

  149. 300


    July 13, 2012 5:55 pm

    Same circus, same clowns.

  150. 301

    Dave Clements

    July 13, 2012 5:56 pm

    I somewhat agree with Nick, but the argument that they rebuilt the browser from scratch isn’t much of an argument. Chrome was built from the ground up just a couple of years ago and continues to surpass IE in functionality. That’s an excuse. They’ve been harbouring bad habits for years, and are slow to move forward, which is killing the web. Most people choose IE out of ignorance rather than choice, so they’ve got a responsibility to make it a decent experience for designer and user alike.

    • 302

      No, it wasn’t. Chrome is built on the WebKit rendering engine which Google didn’t even create.

  151. 303

    Dropping *any* version of IE or not is a complete non-issue for me personally.
    For me, browser support is simply a byproduct of the prtocess of making my client’s target groups happy with the sites I build!

    I simply try to look at the cold, hard, facts of my client’s statistics and go from there whenever possible.

    If “there be dragons” in the browser fallout in recent statistics, you handle those browsers.

    If not I *know* I can safely ignore “legacy browsers” and “step up” the feature set I choose to use a notch or two.

    Old browsers *always* go away eventually – and people will eventually stop using them.
    Until then, I’ll continue to build for the “edge” and provide fallbacks to “the legacy” as I have always done – no matter how much I pray, wish and hope for reality to be different !

    It’s IMHO That simple.

  152. 304

    Brilliant. Thank you for this article.

  153. 305


    July 13, 2012 8:12 pm

    Amen! I totally agree.

    This is a part of our everyday job to deliver a product to the largest audience possible. Users don’t have “just to update their browser”. It is not how the web is working.

    We totally can moan, in response, to those front-end developers who use -webkit-vendors only when the other browsers can do the same with their own vendors.

    Please, community, don’t raise a new “this site is optimised for” area. Because this kinda war on IE is so bad, but we can use those fancy Webkit only properties, is what we are leading on with that kinda mindset.

    The web belongs to everybody: it’s our job to render it so.

    • 306

      Fringe of memory

      July 14, 2012 9:19 pm

      Quote: “The web belongs to everybody…”

      … and because of this, nobody has the right to damage the whole enviroment holding back the web for the sake of backward compatibility with obsolete browsers

  154. 307

    It is because of people like this guy that web developers are unable to create engaging and beautiful expriences for users. You can’t waste too much time developing good things because later on your will have to test if they even work on Internet Explorer.

    It is NOT or job to support old Internet Explorer versions, to the hell with people who just refuses to update their browsers or try others. I would say the web developer cummunity: STOP supporting and testing your sites on Internet Explorer just develop by following the W3C guidelines and those of us who have a good browser who abide by the standars will enjoy the content. To hell with the rest of the stupid people who are using Internet Explorer.

  155. 308

    Steve Stevens

    July 13, 2012 9:53 pm

    Motivational thought: the web is a public democracy and everyone’s vote counts. It is our job to watch and respond to the audience. Since May, globally, there are more Chrome users than IE. A year ago it was about 45% IE and 20% Chrome.

  156. 309

    There is only one standard to follow: your customer/public. If over 50% of your customers use IE, then thou shall develop first for IE…!

  157. 310

    I do focus on the good part of my job – progressive creative application design and beautiful user interface design.

    AND DON’T TELL ME I / WE CAN’T CHANGE THIS because a lot of us are getting sick of corporations holding back human and spiritual and creative evolution.

    Why can’t we have a WiiPlayBox?? Why does my iPhone have proprietary screws in it that a mini phillips can’t open? Why do light bulbs burnout so fast? Why do I have to replace my entire motherboard to upgrade a chip? The reason always boils down to money and greed. We never think forward or long term because we’re always trying to screw each other over short term to make a buck of artificial debt currency which in this day an age has no value left to it anyway.

    I’m sick of this nonsense and don’t tell me I’m negative for being a dreamer. How can progress ever be a bad thing?

  158. 311

    Compliant browsers = less problem solving = a less technical field = less money = still complaining.

  159. 312

    “Albert Einstein issued one of my most favorite quotes, in the history of the spoken word! In the middle of opportunity…in the middle of difficulty…lies opporTUNITY! My name is Phil Davison, and I will not apologize for my tone tonight!” My fellow web developers, IE is our opportunity. lol

  160. 313

    Tiago Donatti

    July 14, 2012 7:16 am

    Would be great to ear someone from IE developer team about all this.

    What they think about their browser holding back the web? What we can expect from the IE10?

    SmashingMag fantastic people, please make it happens! :}

  161. 314

    “What makes the Web beautiful is precisely that there are multiple browsers and, if you build things correctly, your sites and applications work in them all.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Great article – nice to see someone standing up for Internet Explorer.

  162. 315

    Himanshu Gupta

    July 14, 2012 2:14 pm

    Mostly Indian government website is only run in IE…neither in Chrome…nor Mozilla…and these are most viewed website in India.
    Their preferred lined in bottom is -> Best viewed in IE 6 and above <-

  163. 316

    The author is not a programmer. He is a speaker, bla and bla.
    And he has an opinion on programming. That’s nice, that you for sharing.
    Now I have to go back to programming.

  164. 317

    Great post and I share your thoughts. Its part of our job, lets get on with it. For far to long (I draw experience from a recent portal project I was on) we have complained that IE sucked, and while yeah its not a modern browser. In my space mostly Gov clients, these agencies have a lot of internal tech (HR, Job Tracking/Issue Management, etc etc) that is specifically written to run on IEX. So while a new browser comes out that is better, it can take years for the funding to catch up to re-write or procure new apps to take advantage of the modern way.

  165. 318

    Well, here’s the truth about IE6-8. It costs money! As a freelancer that works mainly with SME’s, these old browsers cost me time thus money. I’m tired of annoying bugs, hacks, conditional comments, html5shims, polyfills, proprietary filters…and the list goes on. I decided to drop IE6-7 a couple years ago by just redirecting users to one of the many sites that provide different upgrade options, and I haven’t got any complaints so far. Most clients and users don’t understand technology like us geeks, but they do understand that technology gets old, and if they see these messages often enough on the web, they’ll eventually find a way to upgrade. Although I still support IE8, let’s be honest, it’s an old slow browser that needs retirement soon.

    It’s not a secret that most people using old browsers are either not very technology savvy or stuck in last-century work environments. The excuse of IT departments in fortune 500s not upgrading is just dumb. These companies have a product or service, and their job is to make that product or service sustainable yet able to evolve in today’s marketplace. I personally have some experience working at places where computers are just work-stations with the only purpose of “gettin’ shit done” and trying to surf the web in a modern fashion on these computers is a challenging experience. Fortunately we have Chrome Frame to fix this problem so there’s no reason for IT departments not to install it along with their predefined unattended Windows installations; it’s an easy task that won’t take more than a month for these huge companies if done efficiently. The real and honest answer on why they don’t do it is control, not time, not money, control.

    About IE9 and future Microsoft browsers, I predict we’ll have the same problem yet again. This situation could be easily improved if Microsoft decided to opensource IE letting the community decide what’s important. I believe this is one of the main reasons why competitors like Google or Mozilla are able to keep their browsers up to date with the latest and greatest. Microsoft’s long term support policy is not compatible with browsers, it just doesn’t work. They need to make updates seamless, not just part of system upgrades with Windows Update.

    Just my 2c.

    • 319

      Maybe you have simply choosen the wrong profession. If there is no problem to solve then every dummy could do this job.

      In the ancient times when ie6 was new there was the idea that the owner of a computer really is the owner and decides by himself if he want to update or change anything on _his_ computer.

      I trust your words when you say that no one is complaining about your stratgy to redirect users of old browsers to a download page for new browser. In former times the same game was played in favour of ie or netscape. I always left websites immediately with such crazy ideas which look like provided from amateurs.

      The really important websites simply dont use functionality which is not available in all browsers which are in use. It is difficult to make something simple. This is the challenge. The work around of special behaviour of the different versions of IE should be evident in the brain of every experienced webprogrammer and should be no problem.

      • 320

        “Maybe you have simply choosen the wrong profession. If there is no problem to solve then every dummy could do this job.”

        If building websites involved nothing more than finding ways around IE’s flaws, that is …

        The job of a developer (web or not) can essentially be summarized as conceiving and implementing technical solutions to fulfill a need. This requires conceptual skills, theoretical and technical knowledge (preferably extensive), practical experience, often enough a more than superficial knowledge of the target field, possibly graphic and interface design skills, communication skills, managerial skills …

        Dealing with bugs and flaws in someone’s else product is not a primary purpose of a developer. Furthermore, if doing so becomes an impediment to what the primary purpose of a developer *is* or worse, an impediment to efficient implementations, exploring other options may be a good idea.

        Until such a time ‘every dummy’ acquires those skills, learns HTML/CSS/SQL/javascript/php/whatever, developers will have plenty of work to do whether or not flawed products like IE even exists.

      • 321

        -“Maybe you have simply choosen the wrong profession. If there is no problem to solve then every dummy could do this job.”

        That’s just non-sense trolling.

        -“In former times the same game was played in favour of ie or netscape. I always left websites immediately with such crazy ideas which look like provided from amateurs.”

        You got it all wrong. It’s not about favoring one browser over another; it’s about gradually deprecating old browsers so they can eventually disappear and we can move on.

        -“The really important websites simply dont use functionality which is not available in all browsers which are in use.”

        This is of course not true. Have you heard of progressive enhancement? Quoting from Wikipedia:
        “In Progressive Enhancement … a basic markup document is created, geared towards the lowest common denominator of browser software functionality, and then the designer adds in functionality or enhancements to the presentation and behavior of the page, using modern technologies …”

  166. 322

    Abdulhamid Alattar

    July 15, 2012 7:48 am

    It’s not easy part to tell the users not to use something they found by default in there machines and they are used to it.

    I think IE9 is a very good start and it will eliminate the old IE browsers with time, but till that time comes designers should try to make their work compatible regardless.

  167. 323

    What a load of rubbish. If we were all happy to have the web look as dull as then your argument might be fine. However as a designer I can’t get excited about that and its not something I can sell to my clients either.

    People complain about IE because it costs them (a lot) of time and money to hack it into performing somewhere close to modern browsers. OK IE 9 is much better but just highlights how terrible its predecessors were. I don’t see why we should stop complaining about it since it still falls short.

    “What makes the Web beautiful is precisely that there are multiple browsers”. This might be fantastic for you who makes money from theoretical talks on progressive enhancement (I’d love you to spend some time selling this concept to some of my clients and see how long they tolerate you talking before their eyes glaze over). For the rest of us its a complete pain with hours/days of lost time on each project trying to patch things up to work somewhat consistently in different environments.

  168. 324

    Erkan Yilmaz

    July 15, 2012 9:33 pm

    The Never Ending Story!!! (again!!!!)
    I think everone said enough … let’s wait till IE99. Perhaps those discussions will end against that time!!!
    Let’s use Opera, Firefox or Chrome … MS shall follow … as always!!!

  169. 325

    Designers should design for the device; for the browser; for the platform; for the framework; to the specifications of the medium which the design is accessed. Hating on Internet Explorer doesn’t change the fact that Website X’s audience is 45% IE users, for example. It’s our job to make things more usable and more accessible, and present products in a way that makes their use more satisfying — sometimes that means delivering custom solutions for a medium we may not enjoy delivering solutions for (i.e. IE). What’s important to remember is that design is about the user, not the designer — we create experiences for people, not the mediums that host them.

  170. 326

    I think all the trouble is coming from Microsoft’s IE upgrading/windows sales strategy. On the early days of internet, since the .com bubble days, they used to update their infamous browser ONLY when they upgrade their OS, as it was their OS ultra-killer-feature.

    Let’s see: IE6 in XP. IE7 and 8 in Vista and IE9 in Windows 7. Now, IE10 in Windows 8. So, I’ll establish some common ground here: IE IS NOT FREE. IT SEEMS TO BE FREE. It comes with the OS. It is PART of it. IF you have Windows, you can have it. If not, try your luck with some Wine port or any virtual machine. Portable or not, they need part of the RIGHT Windows environment to run. And Windows is not free nor open sourced.
    IE is part of their main product: WINDOWS. And it is their hot beer model. It’s used to lure potential 3rd-party users to BUY Windows, promising a better web experience. Sounds familiar? One of their promisses since XPs. And IE is a part of a whole sales model. Never wondered why you could not have more than one IE installed? Just because it is MELTED into the very core of the OS. Take it off and BAM!, OS starts to glitch. Put 2 of then together in the same machine and voi-la! 2 semi-useful browsers! Too much for pixel-perfect web dev. That’s their business model guiding their programatic ways!!! Monetizing above developers. Just that. I love competition because it is forcing them to rethink this flawed strategy. Detaching web browsing apps from the very core of M$ OSes will significantly increase their developing speed. I would love to see IE paired with their competitors. Yes, they’re capable of doing awesome apps. But I still doubt if they are ready to abandon their actual business model to something more competitive.

    Said that, I strongly disagree with this article. M$ can do better. Market is pressing it to do better. But I believe that many (almost al) things presented on this page (and comments) are collaterals of their misleading sales model, not by their “programming laziness”. Question is: why resist? Why not adapt and let evolving happen? Release us from those petty constrains! M$ can be awesome too! Release the IE (i could not resist :D) )

  171. 327

    Josh Smellie

    July 16, 2012 7:20 am

    “Supporting” Internet Explorer is not the same as “making your browser look the same” on Internet Explorer.

    I will always give out the option to support older browsers, when I can and it won’t cost me too much time and effort to do so. Why? Because it’s common courtesy. Just because I know what is an outdated browser and what isn’t doesn’t mean my viewers do, and why should they? That’s not their primary purpose for visiting most websites (obviously excluding websites related to this very issue). There’s also no reason you cannot attempt to educate your viewers (with older browsers) on the benefits of upgrading.

    But the thing people don’t seem to think about is that you can support older browsers without making your website look like a carbon-copy on all browsers. I will design your website so that it’s functional and user-friendly on an older browser like IE6, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to use complex hacks and coding to make the it look exactly as it does in the latest versions of Firefox or Chrome.

    A good practice would be to develop your websites how you want to, and how your client has specified (if they have). If you or the client then wants IE6 support then you can then add it after, but make mention to any prospective clients that this will cost more, because you’ll be essentially redesigning the website to work on an older browser (and despite what this articles author may think this -does- take time; -a lot- of time).

  172. 328

    Really?! Did u get a paycheck from the guys at Redmond for this article? Do u even know wht a css means? Have u developed any website at all? I bet anything u dont.. so stfu. Now I feel sorry for Yahoo (aol) :/ imagine all their “front-end devs” having similar mindsets like yours. There r a lot of things money really cannot buy :)

  173. 329

    The attitude of “users should just upgrade their browsers” is, frankly, elitist and exclusionary.

    I don’t work in the design end of web development, but rather in web based document management systems, mostly for corporates and government organisations. For these groups “just upgrade your browser” isn’t some trivial thing. Some of our customers are still on IE6 precisely because upgrading 10,000 machines isn’t trivial – and they understand that still being on IE6 is a problem. The thing is, it’s one of 99 problems they have.

    Worse, there’s also the level of user capability. As developers, we are familiar with trying new software, and using lots of browsers. Many of the staff at our customers have never (knowingly) used a browser other than Internet Explorer, and changing that will cause some of them problems. I know, it’s incredible – but that’s the way it is. This is the same reason that some of them still use Office 2003(!) The change could cause organisational turmoil.

    The idea that Microsoft can “force” users to upgrade like that using auto-update is laughable. They’d probably end up in court. No big corporate or government department is going to accept someone installing updates without their say-so. If you were Citibank, how would you react if you came in one morning to discover that Microsoft had upgraded all your browsers? What of any plug-ins you’d had written? What of your security policy? (Although, actually, banks tend to be pretty up to date)

    If fact, I’ll bet good money that Microsoft themselves don’t want to support IE6, 7 or 8. But they have to cajole their customers, not act like autocratic dictators. That is, after all, a long standing complaint about Microsoft.

    Now, all that said, I don’t like IE much. At home I use Safari, and I do like Chrome. I agree that IE holds back web development – but so do users. The constant – and, it seems, accelerating – software technologies generally risks leaving them behind.

    The simple truth is, whatever browser gets used, you’re still going to look at having to support it for 5 years because companies and government don’t have the time, money, or business drive to update their browser every year. And that’s true for any browser. So keep pushing for better – but try to have a little compassion and understanding for those who can’t keep up.

  174. 330

    “It’s not actually old browsers that are holding back the web, it’s old ways of thinking about the Web that are holding back the Web.”

    Couldn’t agree more! We’ve just started re-evaluating our target browsers and resolutions for our site and the IE6 debate has become a hot topic. I’m a huge supporter of progressive enhancement and I’ve never relied on the ‘this site is best viewed in browser ABC’, It shouldn’t matter how a user views (or interacts with) your site, you should always strive to provide the best UX possible. If you provide a positive and unique experience then everything else will fall into place.

    Great article!

  175. 331

    Jamezs Gladney

    July 16, 2012 10:14 pm

    The thing with IE is it is not automatically updated and any version of it is exclusive to a specific operating system IE10 is coming now but instead of programing it so it works on Win7 and 8 they programmed it so it only works on Win8 when the platform works on Win7. So when everyone (mostly) is on win8 they will roll out a IE11 and say yay we are keeping with automatic updates, but in two years when Win9 comes out and they are rolling out IE12 it is only going to be on Win9.

    So we are back fighting the browser again, but this whole time it has not been the browser, it has been the OPERATING SYSTEM! Microsoft is realizing this but fixing IE will only lose them profit. Yet it would be “the right thing to do” to make the Internet more secure, but the marketing point of “you get a more secure browser when you buy this $300 piece of software” is to alluring for the marketing team to give up.

    The popularity of XP lead to the annoyance of IE6. The automatic update system needs to span operating systems, and until it does I am going to be rightly prejudiced against the browser, because developing for it will only be temporary. I prefer to design in chrome, spot check in Opera and Firefox and depending on how broken things are in IE8-6 I might fix somethings.

    But like I said its the Operating systems fault not the browser, and MS would let it transcend version or operating system, its an “easy” thing to do all the competition has done it and Microsoft will profit due to it because no one will get another browser if they where not bombarded at a specific point that their browser was bad!

  176. 332

    I think this is spot on. The web was designed to begin with based on the concept of accessibility. That means you should be able to visit your site on any browser. Even Linx. Even mosaic. You can’t predict what requirements the users of your site have. Maybe they need a special reader that doesn’t support javascript? If they’re blind they definitely wont see your fancy transitions.

    Does this mean you need to bend over backwards to get old browsers to look the same? No. Does this mean you can’t use the cutting edge technologies? No.

    It means you shouldn’t alienate any audience for any reason, because the web isn’t about a single browser, or feature set. It’s about connecting everyone, and that means even the most basic browser should have some kind of support.

    Of course, practically this can’t always be done. Budget and time restraints still apply, so some times you need to just do the best you can with what you’ve got. That means supporting your largest audience first (and everyone has a different audience). After that, support the lowest common denominator. (This means hypertext and actions through http requests. Your website should be accessible by a text only browser). Then, if you want to do extra star filling in the gaps with progressive enhancements.

    I think the trap many designers fall into is that they want their website to look exactly the same on every browser. You do not need to do this. It can look poor in some browsers, but, it does need to at least work. If in some browsers the text is slightly mis-aligned, that’s ok. Take a deep breath. Those users know they don’t have the newest browser, and they’re used to websites not looking perfect. You don’t need complete control over every UX. Just the most common one.

    • 333

      I agree entirely but there seems to be a shortage of adult professionals here.

  177. 334

    A little harsh on Louis considering he recommended your book as one of the top three books for Web app developers ( ). IE9 is an improvement, yes, but it doesn’t mean that Microsoft couldn’t have gone further with it…

  178. 335

    Don’t be so dumb… Instead say “Thank you Microsoft!” and pray for confusion, chaos and fragmentation. The complexity of developing a good website is why we are valuable and well paid.
    Imagine a world with perfect browser standards. Coding for the web is now sooo easy! In fact it is so easy that anyone with the newest version of Dreamweaver can pop out a flawless compliant website with no training at all. So now all the skills we developed over the years earn us maybe $10 bucks an hour. Think it through to it’s logical end. The easier the job becomes the less you are worth.
    Get some historical perspective. Stone masons used to be highly respected extremely well paid craftsmen. Now a guy that “lays block” for a living can’t even pay his bills. The smartest thing to do is encourage fragmentation to the point that it is impossible to do anything online without us. Create so much chaos that we are seen by our clients as a cross between Gandalf and a Rocket Scientist and then increase our fees with a smile on our faces.
    It worked for lawyers and accountants.

  179. 336

    The author is way off the mark. Dealing with poor, out-of-date technology isn’t an enriching development experience – it gets in the way of them.

    The fact that MS controls the OS yet still couldn’t make a modern browser work on XP, while Chrome and Firefox could, staggers me.

    The IE project will be used as a cautionary tale to future students of tech, as a case study in how to dig a hole that took years to climb out of. It has damaged MS’s credibility with web developers, and rightly so.

  180. 337

    I can´t believe what I´m reading… any webmaster on earth knows what IE really is – the only one browser that is not fully compatible with itself !

  181. 338

    IE is the bain of every Web Developer’s existence. ‘Nuff said.

  182. 339

    Total sarcasm here… I love how “modern” websites restrict you from using their full on features UNLESS you are using Internet Explorer or Safari. Otherwise, in all other browsers it won’t work.

    …cough, cough, Yes, if you have them, you know what I’m talking about. Ridiculous.

    And I don’t completely agree with this article. Microsoft continues to implement bad products and when they release something new it’s far behind. Why?

  183. 340

    I do agree that having deprecated browsers does make us web developers’ jobs more challenging because we take the time to make the web experience work perfectly in every browser, then the red headed step child has to render it 3 pixels out of alignment. Most of the time I just use my little friend *hacky to solve the problem but sometimes this may require a completely new approach. Conditionals for IE stylesheets are a good work around but doesn’t completely solve the problem, sort of like electrical tape over the check engine light.

    These old browsers ARE holding the web back, no question. There have been so many times during our think tank meetings when we are conceptualizing a web experience and someone says, “That feature would be really cool…oh wait it won’t work in IE.” So instead of supplying our users with a really great experience, we have to deprive them of it and provide a mediocre, less exciting experience. #NoKidLeftBehind

  184. 341

    Erkan Yilmaz

    July 17, 2012 8:43 pm

    If you want to use IE7-8, buy Windows XP.
    If you want to use IE9, buy Windows Vista..
    If you want to use IE9-10, buy Windows 7…
    If you want to use IE10, buy Windows 8….
    If you want to use IE10-11, buy Windows 9….
    If you want to use IE11, buy Windows 10…..

    Got it??? ;-)

  185. 342

    I am going to have to disagree with the author on this one, to an extent. You see you are right that we should be creative to use progressive enhancement to use the new and cool HTML5 and CSS3 techniques. This should allow us to build for the old and outdated browsers and still build for the new feature rich browsers and give that cool experience. But this is why I think Louis is right in that the old browsers are holding us back and its something that was never mentioned. That one little thing is called a budget. To accomodate for all browsers within a budget we may have to strip out some of the cool things we want to add because it would require more work to add that functionality. Therefor, decreasing the user experience and thus being held back by old technology. Working at Yahoo you probably don’t experience this as much because the budget is much more then those of smaller businesses.

    I would also like to further prove my point by saying, imagine if IE doesn’t exist anymore. Just imagine that Firefox and Chrome own 100% of the market share. Can you build a better experience for cheaper? If your answer is yes, then I believe Louis is right. Old browsers are holding back the web.

  186. 343

    This article misses the point. The browser is a poor product and we don’t need it. What we should do is break our sites for it.

  187. 344

    People! JUST stop doin’things for old browsers – that’s it…

    Why blame old, crappy browsers or ppl who use them? Developers are the only reason old browser still exists – you ppl produce code which is running good on ie6, or even ie7,8. Stop doing that and tell your clients, to upgrade or change browser.

    3 MONTHS – this is time when old browsers will disappear from desktops when ALL companies, agencies, freelancers and big corporations say NO, to old browsers…

  188. 345

    IE built its own reputation – no one just randomly thought, I’m going to hate on IE for no valid reason. YES – it is a web developers job to have a website gracefully degrade for older platforms if the desired target market uses them.

    – IE deserves what it gets.

  189. 346

    Wow, we finally hear an adult message about this and the blowback is enormous. I see a lot of negative people I would never consider hiring for any professional work responding to what is a well reasoned and practical article as opposed to the original it’s rebutting.

    • 347

      I was hired to build a substantial real estate website. It took two months to build and displays beautifully if one uses Firefox, Chrome or Safari. I have spent the last three weeks ‘attempting’ to produce the same desired output in Internet Explorer. I have had to tell my client that one of the needed functions is going to have to be removed if he wants it to operate on Internet Explorer. There is an enormously good, rational reason why I haven’t used IE to browse the web for the last twelve years. I am absolutely riddled with negativity and contempt for this dreadful piece of software.

  190. 348

    I agree that IE9 is a huge step forward, but at this point, every time Microsoft releases a new version of IE, extra time is added to projects to work out bugs. This either costs the developer or the client, and I personally don’t appreciate that.

    As far as I’m concerned, Microsoft should pay a third party and package a better browser with Windows. At what point is it unethical to keep on pushing products that are universally recognized as being subpar to their competitors?

  191. 349

    All IEs are expensive pieces of shit. Microsoft should have enough money to develop a normal browser, where is their proud? They have no nuts.

  192. 350

    I could not disagree more with this article. Microsoft’s dev team is compiled with some of the most stubborn leaders who just absolutely refuse to admit their faults and then fix them the right way.

  193. 351


    July 19, 2012 9:18 pm

    Dude, If Peter Parker worked for Microsoft everything would be fine.
    He knows, that with great power comes an even greater responsibility.
    Yes, we can deal with IE, that is not the issue.
    maybe if we camp outside the Redmond campus in tents for a month we can bring awareness to non-devs and designers out there.

    That being said…I guess for now the responsibility of getting people to upgrade browsers is on us (the dev/des community). Use facebook twitter whatever just get the word out.

  194. 352

    Worst audience ever … must’ve been the 6am talk. Great job Paul. I came in thinking MS must’ve paid you to get people to stop hating on IE. But I like the way you’re looking at it. You’ve changed at least one mind :)


  195. 353

    Nicholas C. Zakas, you aren’t a user, are you?

  196. 354

    Wesley Terry

    July 23, 2012 10:30 pm

    What is everyone going to do when IE is actually better than the other browsers out there? They are already set to go on CSS Grids.

  197. 355

    Dead to IE!

  198. 356

    IE sucks, full stop.
    Use Chrome.

  199. 357

    Nicholas Zakas is a Javascript developer whom I greatly admire and his books have helped me a lot to write maintainable and scalable Javascript code.

    Most certainly, Internet Explorer happens to be one of the tight constraint in front end development. Whenever I developer web applications for group use. (Such as a classroom) I could dictate which browsers were to be used and it worked fine. Zakas’s advice of using progressive enhancement however has helped write better code which still works well in IE if not the exact same way as in Chrome of FF.

    While it is true that IE is one of the worst browsers and we all would wish it death, I think a true engineer should always think like Zakas does. It is a just a constraint.

  200. 358

    Marian Driscoll

    July 24, 2012 7:57 pm

    IE is holding the web back because it is a platform-dependent browser. That means designers/developers need to run Windows to see what they create. This annoys Linux and OS X designers and forces us to use VMs of Windows.

    We don’t really have that problem with any other mainstream browser.

  201. 359

    Aaron Kahlhamer

    July 30, 2012 8:15 pm

    An idea for web applications where IE6, IE7, and IE8 is costing a bundle to keep supporting.

    Let’s say you have a super simple registration form – with just enough fields to get them in. But, if they have IE6 – IE8 redirect to a different form. At the end of the form ask them a few questions such as…

    We see you are using Internet Explorer 6. Why?

    A. I can’t upgrade because my employer has administrative rights to my computer.
    B. I do not know how.
    C. I can not afford a new computer at this time.
    D. My parents won’t let me get a new computer.
    E. Other

    Then from there you’ll have a better idea what to do with these users. For ‘b’ give them download links and a video tutorial for Chrome or Firefox. If ‘c’, consider a gift card for Best Buy/Dell – because it might be more affordable than having your team spend time developing for legacy browsers. For ‘d’, your product might not be meant for children.

    And for ‘a’… If they can’t upgrade because of administrative rights I would request their contact information. Get a hold of them, and their company, and see if it’s worth the investment.

  202. 360

    rubbish. Anyone who is anyone wants to use SVG, WEBGL, etc… and everything else that would create an amazing experience for everyone with ease.

  203. 363

    I don’t agree that progressive enhancement represents “the way the web is supposed to work.” The very idea that that there is one correct way to do things runs anathema to your thesis–that developers are empowered to decide how to address what essentially amounts to a multiplatform launch, existing under the misleadingly monolithic monicker of a “web application.”

    The underlying problem is that browser makers and device manufacturers wield enormous power over what technologies and IxD metaphors gain and attain mass-adoption. For proof, just look at the death blow that Apple dealt to Flash/Flex. We now accept that HTML5 is the right way to do interactive design on the web–but we’ve largely come to that conclusion because our other tools have been removed as viable options.

    Even now, the HTML5 standard is hardly a standard–its implementation and compliance varies greatly between browsers, necessitating the use of shivs and polyfills as a matter of course. Similarly, the CSS3 standard is all over the place, requiring developers to constantly write redundant rules. Sass and Less help with this–allowing this junk code to at least be encapsulated and consolidated within mixins–but this solution is hardly ideal. I would prefer to avoid bunk code entirely.

    This brings us to the underlying problem with progressive enhancement as a philosophy. Whereas graceful degradation presents the latest and greatest as the standard–the product, really–progressive enhancement caters to the lowest common denominator first, allowing for the addition of bells and whistles thereafter. This simply does not work in practise.

    A real-world example may be instructive. Imagine I want to create a responsive web application. If I want to support aging browsers, doing this via viewport selectors simply isn’t an option. That means I’ll have to use JS instead–either leveraging off of an existing JS responsivity framework, or crafting my own. In this example, I’ve been forced to ignore an excellent CSS feature out of hand, for fear of forcing a recalcitrant community of backwards web dilettantes to upgrade their browsers.

    Now let’s address this same problem from the graceful degradation model. Here, I would satisfy 90% of my target userbase with responsivity via viewport selectors at fixed widths. This method is compatible, performant, and easy to implement. Next, I would do what I could to bring some of these and other features to older browsers, using shivs. Beyond that, HTML conditional classes would move to a fixed grid or something for ancient browsers. This is a much more sane approach, as it caters to the people who care about fancy new features in the first place–those who upgrade their browsers more often than once every five years.

    Do we really want web development to operate on the Microsoft model, where legacy OS and browser versions proliferate for years? Or do we want to operate on the Apple model, whose users adopt new OS and browser versions within days or weeks of a release? I would surely opt for the latter.

  204. 364

    I couldn’t agree with you more… I hate all the compatibility whining and in most cases I think it has more to do with posturing and newer developers showing how hip they are than any genuine development issue. Not unlike the whole Comic Sans whine that’s gotten so tired over the years. Nothing shows someone’s status as a beginner designer quite like talking about how much you hate Comic Sans, and going on about how awesome Helvetica is. It’s the same with whining about IE.

    The fact is, if a site is properly built, there should rarely be any compatibility issues. If you find you’re spending hours trying to get a page to display correctly then chances are the problem lies in your experience level and not so much with the browser.

  205. 365

    Supporting IE 6 up to 8 is a huge waste of time and (consequently) money.
    I’ve been spending more than 50% of my time checking, fixing and hacking issues caused by IE’s lack of compatibility with standards.
    IT companies would save a lot of effort spent if we didn’t have to support IE’s problematic versions. Our clients would also save money, since a lot of the development and testing is spent in fixing these issues.

    • 366

      How much more than 50 percent of your time? Is this the browser base most of your clients target market uses? If so I would hope you are spending at least this much time verifying your work in these browsers. Although most of my organizations clients come through IE 8 we spend more time fixing issues within Firefox, Safari, and Chrome combined.

      I find this article to be very accurate. It simply states to start your development in the basic form HTML > CSS > JS. Then enhance it with the HTML5 > CSS3 > modern JS where applicable for any modern browser.

      Without Google in the Webkit world Safari will hurt. And Firefox has its own bugs, why are we still having to use MOZ prefix for things that Chrome and IE have already rolled out.

      If you want to talk about segmented markets look at my following organization’s browser data:

      IE leads 38.5 percent (IE 8 – 50%, IE 10 – 29.9%, IE 9 – 16.5%, IE 7 – 4.35%, (total number of version 8)), Safari second 23.8 (even split of versions 7, 6, 6.0.5, and 5.1.9 (total number of versions 46)), Chrome third 19 (total number of versions 159), and Firefox fourth 8.8 percent (total number of version 68).

      How do you think you will ever test and guarantee that your site works perfect in all versions. I prefer IE for consistency, although it has limitations; progressive enhancement provides the best user experience for everyone.

      Design and Develop for the target market you strive to reach. Example I work for a company that reaches thousands of people a day from young to old, all working classes, all various educated levels, so it is our responsibility to make sure everyone can access the site with few limitations.

      I am not saying do not be creative, just like Nicholas stated you can implemented the latest and greatest for those who can use them.

  206. 367

    Simple Solution

    1. Set up a Union of web workers.
    2. Stop supporting any browser that doesn’t do what we want
    3. If people keep using it just make the ENTIRE internet stop for them!!
    (bit like a general strike!)

    Give people a reason to change. The problem is NOT the user (most of them don’t even know which web browser they are using!) The number of government pcs in the UK still running IE 6 is a joke.

    Soon they will have to upgrade anyway – why not go the whole hog and switch them to linux!

  207. 369


    I 100% respect what you are trying to say here. However, I have a couple points to make on this as a developer in the industry for over 14 years.

    1. Let’s be honest here, It’s not a “laziness” issue when it comes to putting in the work around’s for IE it’s more of a why should we have to work around issue.

    2. The wonderful: [if IE] comment conditionals.. tell me if I am wrong here, but we have ALL had to use them. Which show’s me that Microsoft is FULLY aware that we will have to hack and tweak to work with their browser to accomplish certain things.

    3. Features? Lack of HTML 5 support that causes us to load in 3rd party java-scripts to work around the lack of support for it. CSS 3? Finally we have “general support” for CSS 3 but not full support yet.

    4. Silverlight anyone? The Microsoft response to FLASH that now has an HTML 5 response? Well, I cannot see to many people really diving into becoming a hardcore Silverlight developers as I do not see a future in it.

    Let’s face it, Microsoft has dropped the ball on Internet Explorer and always has. YES Version 9 is the most stable version of IE I have EVER SEEN! and the best version by far. But honestly, there are MUCH better options that we don’t HAVE to work around and hack our way through to make up for Microsoft INTENTIONAL lack of support for Standards.

    Why would Microsoft not want to fully support Standards? It is against the business model, the attempt to monopolize on the industry which is failing miserably on their behalf according to W3C’s latest statistics on browsers.

    As the Sr Architect at the company I presently work (which by the way is the largest company in the world who does what we do), We have officially dropped support for IE 7 and ONLY support IE 9 at this point why? Because Microsoft themselves do not support IE 7 why? Because they no longer support Windows XP. So you cannot get the newest versions of IE anyway without upgrading your computer to a system that will let you install them. And even with the new versions we still prompt our USERS stating that if you experience Issues in Internet Explorer please switch to ANYTHING BUT IE and it will work fine (Funny isn’t it?) Not to mention we develop on a LAMP environment here so in order to use IE we virtual box out etc.. etc..

    Sorry for the long reply, but that’s my 2 Cents.

    • 370

      IE 9 !is not comparable to the latest Chrome 31. Most HTML 5 and CSS 3 (basic) elements are compatible with IE 9 though. And apparently you haven’t seen or used IE 10 and now IE 11. Forget conditionals, the future is conditional-less. They are there to assist in correcting bugs in old browsers that people are still using as to not impact the load times of your best work.

      We forget that CSS overstepped the boundaries when it started including interaction within the development. It was for the longest time CSS is presentation and JS is interaction. Now the lines are blurred and browsers have had to change with the times.

      At least it is only 3 main browser versions for IE. Thank goodness Chrome isn’t the ugly duckling cause that means in my organization we would have to test 159 different versions of Chrome to verify. I can almost guarantee that within those 159 different versions there would be breaks and they will never get fixed because there is no way to check it and fix it.

  208. 371

    I think pain and misery makes life more interesting. There’s nothing like a root canal or a good kick in the scrotum to make a man feel alive and invigorated. I also like Internet Explorer.

  209. 372

    IE is a nightmare, to put it lightly.

    It has hurt and held back this industry for way too long. It doesn’t matter if millions are still using it. The point is to stop enabling.

    I used to lose sleep over building a valid, clean-coded webpage that looked good in every single browser only to find out that in reality, it looked good in all browsers, EXCEPT for IE.

    IE is a mockery in the face of standards-compliancy. I DO blame Microsoft, for packaging poorly coded proprietary crapware with their OS.

    How many countless man hours and dollars need to be spent on appeasing IE until enough is enough?

    Thanks, Bryan

  210. 373

    I really couldn’t disagree with you more.

    The concept of web standards is to ensure your website renders the same across browsers.

    IE often does things their own way thus forcing developer into conditional CSS and other work-arounds just to accommodate this single browser. To me, that is not what makes the web “beautiful”.

    If every keyboard you typed on had a different layout of key characters, could we claim that this diversity is what makes keyboards so great?

  211. 374

    We should support and emphasis the Microsoft ” CRAPWARE” model, until the world wakes up.

    Surely, all you techies if Gangham Style can be a hit, Microsoft CRapware message should be a stroll in the park

  212. 375

    Can we also get rid of this fixation loons have for facebook and twitter, it can not be useful in real life, maybe just bring down an arab dictator or 2, but other wise, how come people accept to pay to exchange invasive details about their private lives, or has the www just produced a society that only see the emporors new clothes, as they are told by the www managers, facebook and twitter are “IT”.

    The only people to benefit from facebook and twitter are the top tier who are share holders, – Ponzi Schemes under a false label – ever seen one of those ???

    Emporors New Clothes – Again.

    It is a pity the www can not be used for real education – still, you can not educate people who don’t have a functioning organ

  213. 376

    Look at some of IE’s bugs. IE 8’s 4095 selector bug, IE’s limited CSS selector nesting, etc..
    This are not a mere lack of features, than can be polyfilled. This is a piece of sh*t that needs to die!!

  214. 377

    Thank you!

    I’m an old geezer, and I’m sorry but these web developers running around calling themselves “programmers” are the problem! They have no clue what programming is, nor do they understand the very first point of your article. Their JOB is to support users, not the other way around.

    So maybe all of the shiny, floaty, gee-whiz graphics are not going to materialize in IE6. SO WHAT! The content is the important part, not the gee-whiz! How hard is it, really, to stick small section of code in (and, by the way, learn something about structured programming and reusable code while you are at it) to recognize legacy browsers and deliver content appropriately. NOT HARD AT ALL for a real programmer.

    But, like I said, I’m an old geezer. I grew up on assembler, structured programming, learning the right programming techniques before learning the language.

    I can tell when I meet a web developer who is a real programmer, because they don’t whine and complain like the hacks do.

    I love your article, and I suspect you are one of those rare birds in the web development world. A real programmer who happens to be developing web sites (rather than a web hack who happens to be trying to program).

    • 378

      Chris Vincent

      March 5, 2013 6:06 pm

      Imagine if, when you wrote Assembler, every compiler except one had a *slightly* different understanding of the object code, and as a result produced slightly different opcodes which rendered an unusable or otherwise subpar program for roughly half of your customers. Then imagine that, in order to support that one compiler by figuring out what it was doing differently, you had to go from searching through arcane manuals to outright guesswork, because of course the source code to the compiler itself was proprietary and closed to public scrutiny.

      You’d be pissed off, and rightly so. That compiler, like it or not, is used by about half the people who will need to run your program, usually for reasons completely unbeknownst to them and completely irrelevant to the problem at hand. Hell, you’d probably try your damnedest to evangelize the other compilers which do a better, more consistent job and with far greater transparency and predictability. (What kind of engineer, given the choice, doesn’t prefer transparency and predictability in the subsystems s/he works with?) But, of course, you’d still trudge along making things work with that one damn compiler and all its quirks that just won’t go away, because that’s your job and you don’t just let shit fall by the wayside.

      But be honest, man. Talk all you want about your level of engineering experience, but if you’ve ever really built any kind of web application that needed to do more than just spit out plain HTML pages with minimal additional styling or behavior, you’d know damn fucking well that the wrenches Internet Explorer throws into the works are not of the kind that can be removed by application of mere “structured programming”. You could program the fucking Matrix in Lisp for all I give a damn. Your amazing programming doesn’t matter if your interpreter inexplicably fails 31 levels deep without so much as a helpful stack trace to guide the way (, just to name one of the uncountable and completely avoidable oddities of working with that browser whose name I shall type no more.

      The worst part is that there is a widely accepted open source web rendering engine available which receives contributions from all around the world (including from different companies in direct competition with one another, so there’s your precious diversity right there). They could use (and contribute to) that engine, with zero additional restrictions placed on their business, and immediately improve the lives of developers everywhere (and, by proxy, users of the web in general). The only reason I can imagine that they don’t go that direction is pure hubris and lack of vision. The browser wars are over. The web is moving infinitely faster than that damnable browser ever has since the death of Netscape. Let’s move on and continue to build. We can do it way faster without this completely unnecessary vestige of a bygone era. How anyone in this industry can defend its continuing trend of clear inferiority is beyond me.

    • 379

      I can’t brag i programmed in assembler. I mainly used CC++ for programing on almost every platform. Web developing is a way to make poket change. And you are wrong. If every browser uses a standard and IE does not it is not ok. Also it is very annoying to use progid statements in a browser. Technically a browser should be cross-platform, since this is what the web is about. Yet IE is not. Ie is crap.

  215. 380

    Really?! And who would you like to blame? Everybody else “in the world” that follow and support the WC3 standards? Get real, who paid you to write this article?

  216. 381

    Supporting IE nearly doubles the development cost and forces web based apps to be rigid instead of modular. What kind of way of thinking we have to change while projects are costing more man/days for an ugly browser support? The most stupid idea I have ever heard, probably, you got some money from Microsoft to write these… Better if it was 1 million dollar, otherwise it doesn’t worth…

    In short, in my opinion, IE devs should change the way of living. They could be great fishermen or formula 1 pilots, why they are still developing that abomination, I wonder.

  217. 382

    William Snell

    May 17, 2013 7:27 pm

    I agree that dwelling on blaming IE for development issues is unproductive, but so is ignoring the problems it presents. If you have a team of semi trucks dropping off supplies, some of which can only drive at 25 mph, a lot of your product is going to arrive late, whether or not you dwell on it. Even with IE 8-9, as a professional web developer I spend extra time on each project for testing and writing fixes for those two browsers. IE 8 in particular poses several problems when dealing with JavaScript and CSS. This is time and money spent for no other reason than that IE is not the equivalent of other browsers, but continues to maintain a market share because MS ties is to the Windows OS. I cannot tell you how happy I was when my company dropped support for IE 6-7. And they might have rebuilt IE 9 and done a much better job than previous IE versions, but that was a low bar to clear in the first place. It still isn’t that great.

    So I don’t spend my time moaning about the evils of IE (unless it’s causing an immediate and specific issue), but I don’t ignore it.

  218. 383

    Hello there,

    I am learning Web Design & Development, just a newbie at this time. In my textbook, it is constantly reminding that many of the CSS (design) features are not suppored by IE8 and lower. I understand what you’re saying about IE9 making up for many transgressions, and that is good to know if my work ever upgrades to 9, hooray. But the problem is, that’s great for ME, but when I build a webpage for other people, I have to keep everyone in mind. The whole point of the web is accessibility. There are many new rules for CSS that help create the most comprehensive site possible, that are just going to fail in many people’s browsers if they aren’t upgraded to the most recent IE.

    Until most people are upgraded to at least 9, I will have to include a “switch to basic HTML” option for IE users.

  219. 384

    IE 6 and 7 will be “past transgressions” when they are no longer used.

  220. 385

    No. No no no no no. The fact that you wear a fedora leads me to believe you’re stuck in the early two thousands – the rest of this article confirms my suspicions….

    Flash went the way of the sabretooth because it’s privately owned by Adobe. You should know this….

    Additionally I think most developers would agree that Microsoft has used IE to try and shepherd web development away from open standards in the past. They have the money to rewrite internet explorer in 6 months but for WHATEVER reason it took them more than two years to catch up to Chrome, Firefox, and even Opera.

    Having only glanced at your blog (and your hat) I can only assume that you have no appreciation for aesthetics and that is why you would write such a silly silly article.

    IE 10 , however, is a good browser.

  221. 386

    tried to add this as an edit but that timed out as well :s
    just wanted to add as PS:
    I love how one person commented that “IE 10 is a good/decent browser”. Clearly the fact that it took them 10 versions for you to make that statement doesn’t pose you any problems, because clearly you’ve been waiting. And remember, this is just “display technology”.

  222. 387

    I had a long comment written out, nicely structured and objective but then my connection timed out on me and I lost the text.
    The jest of it was, no amount of time should be spent defending an application which can never seem to be up to date when it comes to something as technically unchallenging as rendering a simple html page. I mean its just tags, content, some styling to define how things appear and maybe some coding needed, only complex in the realm of plugins. This in a time where we are able to code “self learning” artificial intelligence, and approximation algorithms to solve calculations which would take an infinite amount of time otherwise, yet getting a handful of programs to display simple “display” code, now thats mission impossible. Clearly! From the very start IE has been “lagging” and by far not the best browser, ever. I remember the days when Internet “came out” and already then Netscape Navigator was more effective. They came out with a stable version of a multi tab browser about a decade before IE finally did, and even with their delay they couldn’t even get it on the first try. The argument can certainly be made that IE is holding back both technical progress and creativity. They’re always 3 steps behind the other “main” browser, not even just relative to whichever is best. If you want to have a good idea of what I mean, go to and notice when going through its vast library of Web elements and concepts how many of them work for All browsers. I’d even give money to someone capable of finding one element on that web site which is described as only working on IE. Anyone in Web Design knows just how hopeful it is to be banking on IE in the future. Most of the “goodies” out there that we get to use and implement in our websites like plugins for example, contain a “does not work on IE” mention.
    The fact that despite IE being installed on windows based systems by default makes it that much more curious to see the statistics for global browser usage which clearly show IE pointed at a 45 degree downward angle towards oblivion. Clearly even on machines featuring IE its not the most used browser.
    And then to the lunatic paragraph in the article about “the internet being a vast and beautiful” thing and seeing joy in choice is insane if they can’t even do a basic task like rendering out a basic layout. Even on non dynamic implementations of code there are obvious shortcomings with IE. Here’s a line quoted from that very paragraph, which to me says it all : “They might not necessarily work exactly the same in them all, but they should still be able to work.” Ok, so they might not work, but they should still work. Ok. That makes sense, not to me, but to someone I’m sure.
    With this set of super simple ingredients, one shouldn’t be getting different results. If you go to several chemists with a formula and a set of ingredients, you expect them all to get it right the first time, not different sets of results. You’ve just applied Einstein’s definition of insanity to your justification of using IE. You see sense in getting different results from the same parameters.
    My problem with IE is that it’s always lagging behind all other browsers and always the last to implement anything. I have a subjective feeling about it, through objective experience. You seem to be doing the opposite, dressing up your subjective opinion as objective reasoning.
    Wake up and smell the CSS will ya ?!

  223. 388

    If developers stop developing for IE8, eventually users will stop using it and move on to something else. If your users still want IE8 compatibility, charge them more money, an IE8 tax. The truth is developing for IE8 in today’s web will take a good amount of more time and time is money. So instead of complaining about IE8, use it as a tool to increase your profits and income. If people want IE8 compatibility that bad, they’ll pay for it.

  224. 389

    There’s a lot of talk in these comments about IE issues, against the writers theory. Rather than looking at words on a screen, I decided to put it into action. I opened this article in Chrome, Firefox, Opera and IE. I even played around using different versions of IE and Quirks mode.

    The first 3 browsers, are nearly the same; some differences in placement, but for the most part, identical. IE, is a completely different story. Does that mean Smashing Magazine no longer designs for IE?

    In IE 8 and older, there are two logos across the top and the navigation is listed vertically instead of horizontally. And the right sidebar is omitted completely.

    Whether or not you take the time to create an IE-specific stylesheet (or relevant hacks) or not, the bottom line is to stop making excuses for Microsoft. Compliance is compliance and standards are standards. It applies to everything in life. If the goal is to create uniformity across all browsers and give every user the same experience, regardless of the computer, resolution or browser they are using, then you have to do just that.

    One gentleman claimed to be and old toot and blames the issue on developer laziness, but there is something greater to consider. If you have Windows XP, you’re stuck with IE8. IE comes pre-installed on most computers. Point here is, if you bought a compter in the past few years, you are probable running WIndows Vista or 7 – if you’re in the category of being “old” and not keeping on the cutting-edge of technology. That said, if you’re computer isn’t 10 years old, you probably aren’t running IE6 (and if you are, then you installed an older version than what came pre-installed on your computer, and that makes you the problem, not the developer).

    If the theory is, we are supposed to heck the hell out of a website to make it “work” on prehistoric versions of IE, then are we also supposed to design for 80’s era computers on the off chance that one of our users is using one?

    No. Fact is, it is now 2013 (understanding the article was written in 2012) and we cannot and should not be writing for browsers of the 90’s. The fact remains that less that 5% of Internet users worldwide use IE. Whether it is web design and development or selling candy canes, you have to focus on the greater majority; and the fact that over 95% of Internet users are using browsers other than IE which are compliant with new standards means your job is to develop for those people and not the 5%.

  225. 390

    How much did microsoft pay you to write this? IE is the worst web browser, the slowest and isn’t compatitble with any web standards. Its annoying as hell that Web Developers and Designers have to treat IE like a special needs kid.

  226. 391

    Matthew horne

    December 3, 2013 6:32 pm

    IE 8 and below need to be dropped, there is no excuse.

    I complain about it, sure I might be a younger developer whining as some of the older devs point out. However just because in the past some text and a few colors laden with tables was ok, does mean it’s ok today.

    Content is important, but so is the way your site looks and functions. If older devs want to stick to older times so be it, but don’t fucking complain about younger devs who wanna make nice looking websites without spending half their time hacking the shit out of it so some stubborn users can view it.

    I also optimize websites for speed and efficiency and adding hack after hack simply degrades performance which is another key factor of web development.

    I no longer bother developing for IE8 and below, if users want to view a site on these obsolete browsers then they should donate some money to pay for it.

  227. 392

    I hate this foking software from all my heart. I hope the creators of this imbecile browser will burn in hell. I lost countless hours fixing little things because some dumb version of IE didn’t want to display elements correctly. I really hope karma does exists, and if so, the guys who released this crap to the public will reincarnate in a dog shit in their next life.

  228. 393

    BS. There are bugs in IE11 that don’t even occur in IE8.

  229. 395

    Just out of curiosity try to validate yahoo.

  230. 396

    I totally agree with the author. Website developers need to quit whining about CSS and Browser incompatibilities, and determine a baseline Lowest Common Denominator Browser support level, and program for that. If you are building a web application you can force your users to use a certain browser, but with websites its a whole different matter.

    Fact is web developers are becoming far too lazy. They have become more graphic designers than programmers. Fact is I can build a webpage using HTML tables and basic CSS 2.0, and perhaps add a small amount of basic javascript, and I can make it look and act just like any other webpage you can design with a plethora of DIVS and CSS 3, and HTML 5, and all this superflous stuff. And it probably would work fine in IE 6!

    • 397


      March 27, 2014 6:32 pm

      Fact is, no you can’t. Period.
      Provide some examples of your genius or STFU.

  231. 398

    This is a rubbish article. Microsoft must have paid you well to write this nonsense……if all other browsers acted and gave the same heartaches as IE then you would have a case. Makes no sense that you are making a case for a bs browser.

  232. 399

    So I guess you are still using Window XP, right?

    “IE basically ignored all standards until IE9” thats why they NEED to rebuild IE9 from scratch !!!

    “Nicholas is a strong advocate for development best practices including progressive enhancement, accessibility, performance, scalability, and maintainability.” ….. are you kidding me?
    Can you explain these terms in IE9?

  233. 400

    I think that Microsoft should stop developing browsers and stick to OS.
    They’ve should how many times?? that they don’t do a good job when it comes to that. Microsoft – stick to OS developing and keep fingers crossed that no noob-friendly open source (linux-like) OS comes out.

  234. 401

    I somewhat disagree with the point of the article. So, I’ll make my comment topical.
    1. ‘IE9 is a damn good browser.’ Close; IE 9 is a decent browser; at least 10x better than IE8. That being said, it DOES lack features other browsers had at the time. Older versions of Safari, Firefox, and Chrome had now basic features IE9 didn’t. While I understand they rebuilt it from the ground up, doing so should have allowed them room to add these features, at least in an experimental way.

    2. IE has consistently been inconsistent with – and behind – the performance and rendering standards of other browsers. IE10 and 11, while faster, is still inconsistent with the later versions of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Pixel for pixel, IE has been inaccurate, and because the later versions of IE ignore media queries, I’m sometimes forced to create media queries for OTHER browsers, which increases my workload even further.

    3. That being said, as a developer, while I encourage those around me to try other browsers, some people will always prefer their IE, and it is my job to make sure they have the best experience possible. Unless I’m developing some proprietary product that’s only for specific browsers, there is no reason to disregard other older yet widely used browsers.

    4. To be fair, all browsers render things slightly differently and have their quirks. For example, I find myself occasionally writing separate CSS rules for Firefox when IE and Chrome are performing correctly.

    5. I feel like Microsoft would be better off focusing on their OS, and partnering with Google or Mozilla and shipping with another browser, or rebuild IE with Webkit. They could choose a web standard that they don’t have to manage, and focus on building software to boost the performance and UI of the browser.

  235. 402

    Yes the new browsers were rebuilt from “scratch”, but so were almost all new breakthrough inventions that changed the modern standard of what’s “acceptable”…what a terrible excuse. In technology, if someone builds it better than you then you should probably start changing your design to be more like it if you want to survive…duh

  236. 403

    …ignore my last comment, I misread the original content…actually that’s good that IE was rebuilt from scratch…but they didn’t finish the job, IE (pick a version) is still every modern front-end developer’s nightmare

  237. 404

    My site are CSS3 and HTML5 compliant and the only browser with some intermittent issues is IE 11.

    I couldn’t be bother trying to complied with previous version, just ask the user to update their browser.

    Still have some intermittent browser issues. IE generally just try to compatible with their .net framework i presumed.

  238. 405

    I didn’t even read this article. I just google (on Google Chrome) “internet explorer is crap”, because I searched for arcgames, the site Star Trek Online game is connected to, and it came up with plenty of other results, but not the most obvious one. The website that’s actually called So I tried typing the HTTP address directly, still didn’t find it.
    So I copied and pasted the address from my Chrome browser, and it still could not find it! I’m not a tech wizard and can’t be bothered finding out why it didn’t work I just wanted to say IE is rubbish. You shouldn’t have to be a tech it should just work. Like Chrome. Or Firefox. They just work. And have never in my life had an error other than when my internet connection is down. Never.

  239. 406

    Ricky Yoder

    May 12, 2014 3:18 am

    Well, I’ll admit that this a different perspective on IE that I did not see before.

    However, supporting IE in some cases is either too difficult or even impossible to do, simply because IE does not offer specific CSS properties or JavaScript APIs.

    I have no choice but to scrap IE completely for some of the current web app(s) that I’m working on, all because IE doesn’t support things such as say, media capture.

    There’s no workaround for THAT now (at least not one that works…), and so I shall bid IE adieu until it catches up with HTML5 multimedia and a few other misc. tidbits I’ll be using for my web apps.
    And when IE DOES support what I’m using, I will have no problem going in and creating/changing a few lines of code.
    I’d choose a few lines of code over the troll’s riddle any day.

    Not saying that I’m lazy and I wouldn’t add more code.
    Again, IE just doesn’t support things, and some of those things have no workarounds.

    But I’m really focused on Google Chrome because of:
    1. The desktop browser
    2. The mobile browser
    3. Chromebooks

    Chrome, Chrome Chrome. It’s everywhere now. And personally I like it.
    Even if IE caught up and (surprisingly) had more working drafts/standards than Chrome, I’d still use Chrome. Sorry IE.

  240. 407

    If you don’t want to develop for IE, make a case for it and Stop developing for IE. IE users are on the decline anyway – if they don’t represent enough of a percentage of your market share, encourage them to upgrade. If whiz-bang features are your milieu, review your audience, and you may realize that IE users are not your target anyway.

  241. 408

    Pavel Horal

    June 5, 2014 10:12 am

    Found this article while searching for a solution to my problem. Its 2014 and I still struggle with Internet Explorer (9, 10, 11)… it simply behaves unexpectedly in some situations and is not a good browser. My whole career I’ve been building enterprise web applications for Microsoft based customers (which means IE is primary browser we need to support). And I am struggling all the time with complex JS, HTML, DOM, integrations, authentication (even Firefox has better support for Microsoft’s SSO). I hate that browser.

  242. 409

    You happen to be so cool man, the post in your blogs are super terrific.*;:;”

  243. 410

    On my experience sometimes being a programmer that follows standards very well, validate pages and constantly read specification documents is completely useless with some features in IE (newer versions are less bad but they are still bad). It’s really frustrating to have to deal with something as bad as IE after have the preparation and experience you were supposed to be focused on, and have to work silly tricks and time consuming hacks as if you were an amateur programmer just because IE is bad.

    Even if the new IE versions are getting better, I always discourage the use of IE on my personal and work life, and it makes me really happy that on some parts of the world Microsoft is required to NOT add this piece of garbage to the windows operating system.

  244. 411

    Hmm, IE anything still doesn’t run on my Linux box, soo… I don’t really care how good it is, it’s worthless garbage to me.

  245. 412

    Rodrick Kirkman

    July 21, 2014 9:05 am

    Stephen: I’m interested in your Letters in the Mail subscription. I’m a high school English teacher, and that i considered this could be a very good way to obtain my students to write responding towards the letters. However, I’ve to be certain that the topics with the letters will likely be appropriate for my students 9, 10, and 11th graders. Will you please comment on what the topics will probably be in general? Thank you.

  246. 413

    Mathias Hagensen

    July 31, 2014 10:11 am

    IE10+ is good, but still behind Chrome and Firefox
    IE9 is decent.
    IE1-8 should not be used anymore.

    I usually spend 95% of my bug-fixing hours on old versions of Internet Explorer and I’m not sure if it is even worth it. Clients usually don’t want to pay extra money for a fix to a 0.1 – 3% market share.

    My main issue with Microsoft is that they don’t auto update their browser. Windows Update is not good enough. People should have no choice in the matter. So i guess I still blame Microsoft. They have seen their competitors doing auto update for years, so there is no excuse.

  247. 414

    Yes, it’s a good tool for who wants to download firefox or chrome

  248. 415

    And then came IE10 and IE11 and the problems are back. IE is now at the lowest level of usage in years… about 11% market share and lagging far behind Chrome and Firefox. It’s terrible software and it always will be (if they haven’t gotten it right in 20 years, I see no reason why they ever would).

  249. 416

    Internet Explorer & Safari exist only as a means to download decent browsers like Firefox & Chrome.

  250. 417

    Gerald M O'Steen

    October 30, 2014 10:55 pm

    The entire Internet progresses forward through the process of introduction, review, discussion, revision and publication of standards. The majority of life-changing technology world-wide, on the Internet, has come about through this very process. Standards are what allow us to move forward unhindered throughout the Information Age and beyond. Microsoft has continuously demonstrated not only an unwillingness to accept this but has attempted, at nearly every turn, to force a de-facto ‘standard’ in which they define the terms alone. If people are unwilling to rid themselves of Microsoft technologies as a whole, at the very least NOT catering to a web browser that is quite literally, by its definitive lack of support for existing and emerging standards, holding the entire Internet back. Further, Internet Explorer daily endangers the personal security of every user that suffers even an accidental opening of the application. Yes, many other browsers also have major security concerns, though they’re often patched within a day or two that the error is reported. Microsoft’s timeline for patches is abysmal and this is precisely the reason that browser updates should be permitted independently of operating system updates. There is not now, nor will there likely ever be, enough of an excuse for me to support Internet Explorer.

    Users have little to no trouble downloading a technology to support content that they’re attempting to view, be it Flash for some active content on the web or PDF software or even attempting to view an office document. If there is an easy way to suggest to users that they need to download a different technology to view the content for which they’re seeking, then there should also be an easy way to suggest an alternate browser that is less likely to ruin or complicate their Internet experience.

    I know I sound like a mad & prejudiced developer, but that is not [entirely] the case. I was developing back when HTTP was not yet in widespread use and have watched the evolution of the Internet, the web and technology as a whole since then. It has become apparent to me as an undeniable fact that Internet Explorer remains one of, if not THE, worst browser(s) on the planet and should have been deleted long ago.

  251. 418

    That’s sure a lot of red on the ie side and a lot of wasted hours on my end.

    – Front-end Developer

  252. 419

    Wait a second.. Browser auto-upgrades are the solution?? No freaking way.
    Internet Explorer is at LEAST just as horrible in it’s 11th version. The browser is not only slow, when you start it up, it completely HALTS when you try to initiate the program, and uses an excess of system ressources trying to just LOAD one bloody page during the start-up. And it works so close just closing tabs. And this is the case whatever computer I use. All because Microsoft has to inflate it with all sorts of bureaucratic, plug-ins(?) and arbitrary measures – seemingly, as neither Chrome or Firefox has any problem loading and starting. That’s only if the system is sufficiently burdened on beforehand.
    The latest upgrades for Internet Explorer on my Win7 laptop only made it worse and more of a clay-feeted colossus than it already was, if anything. Applying immediate updates to a browser that is built on a totally unstable and somewhat incoherent foundation is not a solution. I’m only saying it from a user-perspective, but it has long been the way Microsoft patches its failures – and as a long-time Windows user, I’m definitely not thinking this apply for Windows products in general. Outlook, Word, a.o. has never brought me disappointment.

  253. 420

    Why has it been made necessary to cause IE11 to fail rather than shut down normally? And is it not damaging to have to do that most evenings when I’m almost falling asleep already?
    Best start-up still remains FF’s optionality – but IE is still the only one with decent, usable tab grouping and therefore gets more of my support than it really deserves.


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