The Browser Wars

I have decided to purchase a second computer, probably a desktop, that won’t connect to the internet but will enable a web-browser to run upon it. Just two: IE6 and Mozilla Firefox.

Let me explain why.

I like to test the validity and web compliance of both HTML and CSS of web sites (particularly my own designs) in multiple browsers – including Mozilla Firefox, Flock, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer v.7, and because so many people are still using it, Internet Explorer v.6.

I started comparing sites on different browsers a few years ago when I discovered the amazing disparities that occurred when opening the homepage for particular Computer-Security company sites.

On Firefox, no problem, everything was easily viewed. But when attempting to open the same page with any version of IE, little areas of the page either did not appear, or tiny blocks of data were stuck in the top left corner.

Through analysis of the CSS, I was soon able to determine where, why, how to fix, and how I could use the information to my advantage. Amusingly it never occurred to me to offer the advice in exchange for chocolate. Eh, I mean for money. (I get paid in chocolate for some work. It’s a deal I quite like!)

Now I mostly do this out of fun, and to learn from the error of others, and to utilise CSS-tricks for my own designs. It’s been most beneficial if not financial.

What’s So Bad about IE6?

Ryan Farley says it best:

  1. Lack of support for current standards for HTML markup, CSS, etc
  2. Support for non-standard features not compatible with other browsers
  3. No PNG transparency support
  4. Released in 2001, we’ve completely moved beyond everything about IE6. This is a browser that PC World rated one of the worst tech products of all time.

Yet, as we all know, there are still a multitude of people out there who are yet to upgrade. Mostly because of costs, but I am sure there are few out of ignorance.

How does anyone not know that IE7 exists? There are still a number of people who have computers, but not the internet. Therefore they are still running their 3-month DEMO-version of IE6 that they managed to acquire back in 1999 … and their computer says it is still 1938.

But the main culprits for still using this antiquated browser are larger business’s where the network has a membership of 500+ users. This includes government departments. I find this weird as you’d think that the biggest employer of staff in Australia would want and need to have a clear vision of their online resources. Their web staff must continue to dumb-down their websites with content-filled table configurations because of IE6’s inability to understand and display CSS-formatted websites. Rather than adopting newer methods, they continue to create websites using <tables> to wrap around the content. As the web standards people continue to develop better ways of showing how text, images and other content is displayed, the better the browser is required.

Where can I Download IE6?

DISCLAIMER, FYI, NOTE, PLEASE_READ.

Before you take any further action: My research tells me that whilst it is possible to install, hack and configure your computer to run multiple versions of Internet Explorer … it becomes a nightmare beyond that point.

The proof is in the questions and answers supplied on the TredoSoft forums.

I, for one, won’t be hacking my computer’s back-end to ensure multi-browser usage. Nobody pays a few thousand for a PC only to have to play with its internal code for the sake of a browser.

READ ON IF YOU WILL

Yes, it is possible to download a standalone version of IE6 from evolt.org. But check out the work that is required to make it work alongside IE7! No thanks. I like my computer the way it runs now, even with its few idiosyncratic oddities, I really don’t need nor want any unfixable crashes happening.

IE6 may well be fast to use, have less rear-end clutter and restrict users on websites they can access. Yet it continues to prove itself both inadequate and antiquated, and because of this web site designers have to allow for these factors.

The future looks brighter whenever history teaches us something new.

So I am getting a second computer that will act much like the computer I had twelve years ago: It won’t connect to the internet.

This is because I cannot let IE6 automatically upgrade itself to IE7 and, most importantly, I’ll be able to see how the other half the population sees my ‘sites. Then I will be able to amend or redesign BEFORE I upload the final version.

There is an alternative that I also like: We stop designing sites that allow for IE6. Interesting idea you might ask, but the concept is to encourage everyone to upgrade their browser regularly.

While I won’t be resorting to this just yet, it appears a few other designers have already proclaimed they will not support IE6.
Both deanmarshall.co.uk and ryanfarley.com have great articles outlining their reasoning, both of which I enjoy reading.

How Can I Get Rid of IE6 in my World?

Visit savethedevelopers.org for more information.

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