For most web developers, the most frustrating part of their job is tweaking websites to work with non-standards-compliant browsers such as IE6. Microsoft has long been behind the browser curve due to their resistance to open standards. Two recent developments from the folks at Microsoft seem to indicate they are ready to re-engage with the web.
IE6 Just Won’t Die
Ask web designers what the most frustrating part of their job is, and most will go into a 15 minute tirade about Internet Explorer 6.
The Microsoft browser (which was last updated in 2001), is infamous for its security flaws and lack of adherence to open web standards (maintained by the W3C).
Even with these flaws, it managed to hold on to a huge share of the browser market. It was still prevalent among 55% of businesses in December 2007, over a year after the release of Internet Explorer 7.
Even with the recent release of Internet Explorer 8, IE6 still currently holds about 20% of the global browser market
The web has been trying to push IE6 out for quite some time, but it looks like Microsoft finally gets the point.
They have even started a web campaign (see left) to educate users about the flaws inherent in IE6 and urge them to upgrade to IE8. The site is currently hosted at Microsoft Australia, but will hopefully be expanded to users around the globe.
Ever since Google (and YouTube) stopped supporting IE6, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the web followed suit.
While the elimin ation of IE6 is likely going to be a slow, tedious process, at least it’s a start.
“IE9 looks great”
At a recent conference, Microsoft announced plans for Internet Explorer 9. To the delight of the web community, everything seems to be moving in the right direction.
Even the folks at Mozilla have kind words for their biggest browser rival. “IE9 looks great, very glad to see it. Congrats to the IE team!” said Mike Shaver, vice president of engineering at Firefox backer Mozilla, in a tweet (right).
There are many improvements planned for the latest incarnation, but the major ones are as follows:
- HTML5 Web Standards
This version of IE will focus on the latest in open web standard, meaning less browser-specific coding for developers. It is also focused on passing the Acid Test, which is a common measure of standards-compliance.
- Developer feedback
Microsoft has released a “test drive” version of the browser to gain feedback from developers as it goes through the remaining stages of development.
Microsoft finally understands that to make a better web, the focus should be on open standards, not proprietary technology. With Microsoft aboard, it will keep the entire browser industry moving forward (instead of holding it back).
Now that Microsoft is back in a big way, Firefox and Chrome better step up their game.
What do you think? Will you be using Internet Explorer 9?