Internet Explorer 6 is not dead enough..

Wanted Dead

On Dec. 31st, Microsoft finally announced that Internet Explorer 6 has dropped below 1% in the United States. This usually signifies some type of death in the browser world when your number have fallen below this particular number. When the news first dropped, I was literally ready to rejoice. Whenever I’m tesing a website in Internet Explorer 6, I usually make a separate section in my bug repository just to house all of the nasty CSS issues in IE 6 because of it’s ridiculously poor support for web standards.

When I say web standards, I usually mean HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0, CSS 2.1, DOM Level 2, and the ECMAScript Language Specification. These are published by international standards organizations, and together,well, define the backbone of the web. So it’s not much of a surprise that Internet Explorer 6 may soon be forgotten.

However is this not really truly the case. As it stands today, these are the current stats of users around the world using Internet Explorer 6.

IE 6 die

World-wide users are still at 7.7% and the U.S. is at 0.9% which means this number has not really dropped much in the U.S. since this announcement in December. So why aren’t we like Norway, Denmark, and Finland whose usage is below 0.5%? Many of the 0.9% here in the U.S. are apparently corporate users tied to old network structures, like me.

So why am I still using it, regardless of the fact that it Well because although these numbers are pretty low, most of our exiting client’s web sites were built to support IE 6 and whenever we make a new deployment, it still has to support IE 6 as per the client. Also, because it’s an iffy grey area about whether to support it or not (Supporting IE 1.1 isn’t so iffy.) because the entire world has not completely jumped on the bandwagon to finally put this browser to rest. Therefore we are stuck developing for this browser and I am stuck testing for this browser.

Now during our requirement building phase with new clients, we now ask if the client wants their new site to support Internet Explorer 6 when we build it. Most, if not all of the time the answer is yes for various reasons. While performing user acceptance testing, the client will also be using Internet Explorer 6 as the foundation for giving feedback and making enhancements, granted they are tied to their old network structure, just like me.

Putting code on your site to state this fact hasn’t worked. Personally declaring ‘I’m officially ending my support for IE 6’, won’t do it either. If you see a half-dead animal on the side of the highway, rejoice in it’s death, but at the same time periodically perform CPR on that half-dead animal, he won’t just die right away. In turn, this is the case with Internet Explorer 6; we simply just have to stop catering to this browser and stop asking the question. And if we are still asking the question, IE 6 really isn’t dead enough. We just have to pull the plug and let go.

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