Musielak Marek

Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 by Marek Musielak

Internet Explorer 6 - Web Developers Nightmare

I finally have a short break from fixing bugs and writing C# code. I'm creating new templates for one of our products instead. Yeah, I know, developers should not be responsible for html and css stuff. However I do really want to diversify into new areas, cause no one knows what future will bring to us. So I started my work. It's a pretty relaxing activity. No compiling, no complexity - just html, Firebug and me. I wish it were so easy...

Opera, Safari, even Chrome - everything looks smooth. Then I opened what I'd created in IE7. Few fixes and it looks exactly as I wanted. I did it even without Developer Toolbar. I was nearly there - just one last glance in IE6 (Multiple IE is veeeery useful here). Well said "one last glance"... Layout of the page is completely crashed. I feel like I'm writing the page from the scratch. 4 additional lines in <head />:

<!--[if IE 6]>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/Styles/ie6.css" type="text/css"
media="screen" title="IE bugfixes" charset="utf-8" />
<![endif]-->

and here we go. "display: inline-block", "border-collapse: collapse" (a friend of mine, master of design, didn't even know that such an attribute exists), "clear: both; overflow: hidden;" nearly everywhere. Is my template so wrong? Or maybe it's the "browser". Heh "browser" - maybe I should not even call it with this word.

Maybe if I catch a goldfish or find Alladin's Lamp, I will have a wish "No IE6!". Maybe if I concentrate really hard... Ehhh who I'm trying to cheat. Hope often blinks at a fool. Let's check the reality. Fortunately I have an access to the real data - our products :) Let's look at a sport portal first - over milions page views per day - it seems to be a good place to check stats.

Sport portal users
BrowserPercentage
IE 732.7%
IE 624.7%
Firefox 311.2%
Unknown8.0%
IE 5.55.9%
Mozilla 55.3%
Safari4.1%
Mozilla 42.7%
Firefox 21.4%
Opera 91.5%
IE 8.00.5%
......

Nearly 25% users with IE6? I hoped it would be significantly less. And who still has IE 5.5? Maybe it's because of the fact that 50% of visitors are form UK and about 10% from both USA and Nigeria. Maybe rest of the world prefers other browsers? Let's check another site - 10k users per day, 26% from Canada, 8% from Span, 4,5% from Philippines, 4% from Lithuania, all other countries less than 1%. Yeah this is really international site.

International site users
BrowserPercentage
IE 6.045.9%
IE 7.032.3%
Firefox 3.09.2%
Netscape 4.04.1%
Mozilla 5.02.5%
Unknown 0.02.1%
Safari 5.01.3%
Firefox 2.01.2%
......

Looks like the world loves IE6. Maybe because it's very slow, maybe because it doesn't display properly thousands of pages, maybe ... I don't even want to guess their reasons. The truth is as you see above. I wish I were allowed to put a big banner on all the sites that my company creates, saying "Still using IE6? With other browsers surfing will be funnier and faster. Don't believe? Try one of the links ... " and display it whenever browser is recognized as IE6 or lower.

Wanna know my opinion? We will never be able to stop supporting IE6. You probably know that old code never dies. I must worry you, old browser never dies neither.





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2 Responses to Internet Explorer 6 - Web Developers Nightmare

  1. dami
    January 28, 2009 at 9:13 AM
    I think most people visit those pages from work. And there many companies keeps IE6.0 or even better IE 5.5, because nobody cares about software updates, exluding that really important (for the company of course).
    By the way, I'm really sad to say it but... nice article again :)
  2. Anonymous
    March 1, 2010 at 5:20 PM
    got the same issues with IE.6, and today it's only 10% from w3school statistic.
    i wonder who was creating those stupid browser anyway? why only IE.6 that failed in many coding with CSS, it's frustrated to think cross browser checks with IE.6.
    would you share the "Styles/ie6.css" please?

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