Best Viewed With A Shillelagh

Tue, 2008-03-04 04:01

I am relatively new to the Internet. I heard tales of the browser wars at the turn of the century, the eminent struggle between the geek and the corporation. By the time I arrived on the scene the war was over and the victor reigned supreme. Things were good, too. I clicked the blue E on my desktop like everybody else and everything just worked.

Soon after that I discovered Opera and tabs and after that there was Firefox and addons and now I only pull out IE to test a website. This potentially traumatic step in the website building process can only become less stressful in the future. Internet Explorer 7 has been out for some time now, and the IE8 beta has just been released.

It is a time for rejoicing, but the next step will be to encourage all the millions of users to abandon IE6. This will not be easy to do if many sites are still not built to standards and are unusable in the newer browser versions. I really enjoyed this post by Jeffrey Zeldman who explains the whole thing much better than I can. The article was written before Microsoft decided to ship IE8 in standards mode by default, but it is still a useful read.

It will probably be prudent to check any design changes in IE6 for a while yet. This may be less important for bloggers and those who manage geekier sites. I know my stats have shown Internet Explorer use at about 20% for at least a year, no doubt a "birds of a feather" concept.

It was not that long ago when we were all eager to push the tables aside and use the cool new CSS techniques for site layouts. It seemed as though the old, incompatible browsers would never give up and go away. Even the local university used Netscape 4 in the labs long after the Web had moved on and left it behind. In all honesty, that experience makes putting up with IE6 for another year or three seem kinda tame. Working around the bugs might take a little more time and effort, but it can be done.

Eventually folks will figure out one by one that it is their sites that are broken, not the browsers, and they will fix them. The tools they use will have to catch up as well, slowing the process, but it will happen. It is important for everyone to have a voice. Some of those people who go outside sometimes have interesting lives to write about!

What burns my biscuits is to see websites created by people who call themselves professional designers who obviously never tested in anything but Internet Explorer. Usually this involves text hanging out all over the place in a most unreadable fashion. Designers should feel free to browse around in whatever they like, but anyone who makes a living by selling a design should make a small effort to see that it actually works.

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This should make Leo's life

Mon, 2008-03-10 03:00
The Dude Dean's picture

This should make Leo's life easier in a year or two. I am always surprised when he shows me the numbers of people STILL using IE6 for some reason. Don't know why they aren't using Firefox....

Maybe they don't know how

Mon, 2008-03-10 23:11

I know there are some people who still prefer IE, but I am willing to bet there are lots of folks who just don't know how to download and install a browser. Still more probably just don't care. There would be some money made everywhere if Microsoft would just force the upgrade on them all at once. Eye-wink

After that we could just all move forward.

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