IE6 - May You Burn in the Eternal Fires of HELL

With web development being my primary focus, I’m constantly reminded of the pitiful existence of a browser who’s name evokes a broad spectrum of emotions (mostly bad ones) in my fellow developers …. INTERNET EXPLORER 6.

One must wonder why. Why must a browser that is going on 8 and a half years old, superseded by no less than two newer versions in its product family, be installed on 20% of end users machines still? A browser with so many horrific DOM, CSS, and JS quirks that it eats up a grossly disproportioned amount of development time/money budget just making sure even the most basic of web apps works on this clunky piece of trash?

It’s WELL past time for IE6 to slip into obscurity. Please. God.

Personally, when I develop websites, even basic ones with little to no JS, I target IE7+ now. I work in the smaller-scale end of the web market so I’m blessed with not usually needing to worry about larger organizations with a persnickety IT board who force ridiculous things like IE6-compatibility on me.

However, one of the organizations I work for has a contract for a fairly large government-initiative website. The website has been “completed” for a good year and a half now, with many further additions and changes since then. The initial contract did stipulate that the website should be presentable and operational on IE6, and it was. However as the website evolved and many things were added ad changed, little thought was given to IE6, as a result the site today is fairly broken in IE6.

My question is, where does the buck stop? Where should the line be drawn? Sure, maybe in the initial contract you stated the website would be compatible with IE6… But my belief is that unless your contract/maintenance agreement states something to the effect of: ”IE6 will be supported, even when its obsolescence surpasses the point of ridiculousthen you should not be bound to sacrifice your soul on the altar of IE6.

Thankfully, IE6 was implicated in the hackings of some big corporations, with big names like Adobe and Google in the list, so its days are truly numbered now. Google Docs and Youtube are now displaying big ugly warning messages to IE6 users, urging them to upgrade. There are also movements like http://www.bringdownie6.com/ fighting the good fight.

IE6, may you die a painful, cancerous, leprous, acid-poured-down-the-throat-erous death.

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