Tweakers.net has a quite simple support criterium when it comes to browsers: we actively support all current major versions (current as in public releases, not alpha- or beta-versions) and the major version before that. E.g. for Firefox this means we support version 3 and version 2; when version 3.5 comes out we will drop active support for version 2.x.
So now that IE8 is the current major version of Internet Explorer, by our policy, we are finally able to drop support for IE6! Of course this has been a matter of debate since IE6 is still being used by around 7% of our users (which by the way is more than the usage of Firefox 2 which was released even later than IE7), but then again it doesn't mean we will remove all IE6 workarounds right away, so for now Tweakers.net will continue to be functional in IE6 but new features may break or become less functional.
Being able to drop IE6 support is currently every web developer's wet dream, and I'm lucky to be working for a website where IE isn't the dominant browser any more. But for those of you wondering why IE6 is so horrible, here's a nice picture that actually pretty accurately describes how much time is involved in support for non-standard compliant browsers such as IE6:
It is a well-known fact among web developers, especially those dealing with front-end development, that IE6 is far from standards-compliant. IE6 was released in August 2001 in a time where Microsoft's monopoly on the browser-market after the browser wars was almost complete. At that time IE6 was far ahead of the competition both technical and feature-wise, so it is no surprise that this also made it a preferred platform for all kinds of web-based business applications.
Also Microsoft finally could not ignore this trent any more and re-assembled the IE team and delivered IE7 in 2006, more than 5 years after IE6, which a.o. fixed a lot of the standards-issues of IE6. At that time Microsoft made a commitment towards standards-compliance and with the recent release of IE8 they seem to be holding on to that commitment, although not all of their actions seem to favour that.
Meanwhile some companies are still struggling with their web based applications that still require IE6. In that time it probably never occurred to them that a web based platform might have a shorter release-cycle than their applications. They where lucky that IE6 has had such a long life-span but now with IE7 already being more than 2 years old (which is ancient compared to other browsers) and now being replaced by IE8 they will no longer have any choice but to upgrade their applications or provide a different application for their employees to surf the web (safely). I still feel that MS could have saved itself a lot of trouble if they had introduced a separate IE6-based "Intranet Explorer" together with IE7 - they now seem to be able to incorporate several rendering modes in IE8, so why was this not considered then?
Back to IE6, which support has taken us considerable time in the past few years, time we could have better spent otherwise. We will be putting up a notice for IE6-users soon pointing them to ways to upgrade IE or install an alternative browser
Update 23-03: meanwhile we have implemented a warning for our IE6-visitors. This is how it looks like for those of you that are lucky not having to browse with that antiquity:
Dat nog veel websites mogen volgen.
http://www.pushuptheweb.com/ is misschien hier leuk voor
Degenen die dat niet doen hebben gewoon de auto-update aan. Ik zou zeggen: Microsoft; druk iedereen gewoon IE7 door z'n strot via de auto-update. Problem solved, right?
Wel bieden we ook Firefox 3 aan als alternatieve browser, maar ook wij hebben applicaties die IE6 of 7 vereisen ..
Hoewel hij het gebruik van alternatieve browsers zoals Chrome Portable en Firefox wel stilletjes aanmoedigt blokkeert hij wel firefox.exe waardoor je hem moet hernoemen naar iexplorer.exe en de launcher naar explorer.exe Toch wil hij om een vage reden niet Firefox als alternatief aanbieden terwijl het zoveel voordelen heeft, zo heb je dat gebruikersprofielen nu echt per gebruiker kunnen zijn (we gebruiken de H: als mijn documenten, en je zou Firefox kunnen vertellen H:\Profile te gebruiken als profiel).
De reden waarom Firefox misschien niet als standaard browser wordt aangeboden, is dat dit verwarrend kan werken voor de doorsnee gebruiker. Jij en ik weten wel dat wanneer je intranet websites wilt raadplegen dat je dan IE6 moet gebruiken maar voor de doorsnee gebruiker werkt dit verwarrend: de ene website met Firefox en de andere met Firefox.
Verder werkt Internet Explorer ook prima met Windows gebruikersprofielen wanneer er roaming profiles gebruikt worden.
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