How I broke up with a tyrannical beast

Last week, I made an important, life-changing decision. One that I should have made years ago, but I’ve cowtowed to abuse for too long. From here on out, I will no longer be developing websites that work in IE6.

I will, instead, be using the fabulous IE6 Update script on all of my websites. (There’s even a WordPress plugin. It’s going to be so simple, it’ll almost be automatic. In fact, if you run a WordPress site, could you just run out an install it, right now? I just did. It feels good.) I won’t even bother trying to check what I’ve created in IE6 any more (though I’ll admit I didn’t often).

According to Netmarketshare, almost 17% of the internet still uses IE6. That’s utterly insane, given that IE6 is nine years old, three versions out-of-date, and famed for being the scourge of the internet. If you’re bored one day, sit a web designer/developer—or whatever hybrid you prefer—down and mention IE6. I can almost guarantee you’ll get a frustrated or sickened face, and maybe a string of expletives, if you’re really lucky.

I came across this wonderful article called Stop Developing for IE6 that lays out a number of excellent arguments for the cessation of the practise, primarily:

1. It’s saving you money.

Because developing websites that work properly in IE6 requires more work, it costs more money to make a website that works. My new policy, then, will invoke a surcharge for IE6-compliant sites. And I really, really, really hate even looking at IE6, so it’s going to be a lot.

2. It’s making the internet better.

Most of the problem is due to the fact that developers used hacks in order to make sites that behaved properly in IE6. This meant that their code didn’t follow best practises, because it had to resort to hacky methods in order to trick IE6 into displaying its content properly. Continuing with these practises holds the web development community back.

3. Even Microsoft actively wants it negated.

This is more true now, with IE9 in the works. Microsoft’s been trying to rid the universe of its deformed little creature for years, and there’s really no reason to update. Typically, the rationale that has been used (and that still is used, especially in government and other large organizations) is that some proprietary internal sites are built only to support IE6, which is a whole other problem in itself. These organizations really ought to invest the money into fixing their systems—they’ve over five years old, anyway, so it’s probably high time for an update. If they can’t, it’s entirely possible to run multiple versions of IE on one machine, and it’s even easier to use IE6 only for internal hacky sites, and use Firefox, Chrome, or any of the other well-built modern-day browsers for everything else.

So I’m decided. It’s high time. No longer will I bend to the reign of tyranny that was IE6. And I’m going to spend as much energy as I can encouraging everyone I know to upgrade their browsers, move to better browsers, or generally get on board with Not Being a Part of the Problem anymore.

Are you using IE6? Please upgrade.