As a professional web developer I have the authority to say this, Internet Explorer is a pain in the ass to support. IE 6 is the browser that shipped with Windows XP, so it was pretty wide spread. Every year on the web is like 10 years in any other industry. This makes IE 6 about 80 years old in practical terms, a literal antique. Microsoft is now on version 8 of Internet Explorer. IE6 is not considered a “modern browser”. Modern browsers honor web site development standards and promote a consistent visual experience are users. The most notable of these modern browsers are FireFox, Chrome, Safari, and even Opera.
In a nut shell, a web browsers is an interpreter of code. Programmers write the code to power a website, but the displaying and presentation of the site is up to the web browser. Modern browsers will all react the programmers code in a similar manner, this gives users a consistent experience and lets programmers worry more about making cool stuff instead of worrying about how to make their pages look consistent on all browsers. IE 6 doesn’t play by the modern rules, it does its own thing, which is often unpredictable. This means that programmers have to write special code just for people who use IE 6 to look at their site.
Despite IE 6 being a horrible browser that is full of security holes, people continue to use it which is mind blowing to me. Upgrading to IE 7 or IE 8 is free, and mandatory if you have Windows XP service pack 2 or 3 installed. Better yet, IE 6 doesn’t come with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Get with the time people and upgrade your computers!
Because IE 6 is still widely used but doesn’t play by today’s rules so to speak, and it is old, the decision has been made, IE 6 MUST DIE!
Major website announced this week that they would be displaying special messages to IE 6 users telling them to upgrade to a modern browser or lose the use of the site. Some of the big boys behind this effort include Twitter, Facebook, Digg and YouTube. In time these sites are going to stop worrying about IE 6 users all together.
I think this is an amazing step towards the future and would like to see some of the larger websites join together to solve some of the webs other problems.