End-of-Life for Internet Explorer 6
I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and officially drop support for IE 6 on January 1st, 2009. From then on, I’ll only test my sites on IE 7, Firefox 2, Safari 3, and more recent versions of those browsers (no offense to Opera users, but I rarely have issues with Opera if a site works in Firefox and Safari).
If you’re a client and require full support for IE 6, I’ll be including an additional line item for the time spent reworking the code (probably around a 10-15% surcharge).
Lots of reasons, most of which boil down to this:
It’s really really really old!
For some specifics, visit M. Dave Auayan’s IE Death March, which includes an enlightening list of things younger than IE 6. Most revealing item: the iPod. Think about the growth of the iPod in the past seven years — support for video and photo, a touch interface, a storage expansion of over 30 times the original — and consider that IE 6 has received only security patches during that time. No innovations. No new technology. No augmented support for Web standards. Nothing.
It’s time to move on.
(To be fair, Microsoft did release IE 7 two years ago, but uptake has been doggedly slow, and frankly it was only a marginal improvement from a developer’s standpoint.)
Will My Sites Be Broken Now?
Probably not. By writing standards-compliant code, my sites are usable in nearly every browser in use today — including IE 6 — without resorting to nasty tricks and hacks. In most cases, there may be a column out of place, a solid background on an image that should’ve been transparent, or some squared corners that should’ve been rounded. Most issues will be cosmetic and fairly minor.
And if you absolutely must have support for IE 6, I’m okay with doing the extra work, but it’s extra work, and so it will cost more. It’s nothing personal.
If we’re lucky, IE 8 will be released in early 2009, and it has a “compatibility mode” that will allow users to view a site in various different ways if it appears to be broken. We’re all hoping that this will encourage people to upgrade from IE 6, since they will have access to its quirks if needed, but they’ll be in a modern browser otherwise. Maybe in another year, we’ll have forgotten about IE 6 altogether (not holding my breath, however).
Personally, I’m excited about the prospect. As Tyler Durden said,
You wanna make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs. Once we’ve cracked the steely shell of Internet Explorer 6, we’ll have us a mighty tasty omelette.