UK Government won't Upgrade from IE6!
What do you think of the government's response?
IE6 is still worth supporting, even outside of government. 20% [ 1 ]
A pragmatic decision to get us through hard times. 0% [ 0 ]
Short-sighted cowardice which they (i.e. the public) will pay for later. 80% [ 4 ]
Counter-factual nonsense which puts us even further behind Europe. 0% [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 5
(The little "exit poll" at the start of this message ends on 1st September 2010. Hope I've got a fair spread of choices.)
It's also worth mentioning that IE8 includes a sophisticated "Compatibility View" feature, which makes the page render using the IE6 branch of Trident. This feature is automatically triggered by lots of common scenarios.
IE6 mode is the default for IE8 when accessing sites in the Intranet Zone. (That's why your local tests often look different to your live tests in IE8.) This setting can be affected by Group Policy, as I recall, thus letting IT departments manage which systems are rendered as IE6 would and which use web standards.
The longer IE6 is held onto, the more expensive government websites and intranet software becomes. And the more expensive it becomes to administrate public sector IT networks. My local school is experiencing this, where some of their products support IE6 while others support W3C standards.
However, the problem with that is that it isn't actually a true IE7 view, but rather IE8 pretending to be IE7.
So essentially, you end up with IE6, IE7, IE8 and IE8-version-of-IE7, the latter of which there is no way of targetting using conditional comments to serve specific CSS.
However, all is not lost as there is a Meta tag which can be used to disable Compatibility View in IE8. If this line is included, you'll notice the Compatibility View button in IE8 is disabled.
|<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8" />|
Whilst I understand the argument that using this is wrenching some of the control away from your users, my personal view (and the view held where I work) is that this is preferable to having yet another quirky browser flavour which we're unable to target with specific CSS.
Slight tangent, I know, but thought it was relevant.
|It is therefore more cost effective in many cases to continue to use IE6 and rely on other measures, such as firewalls and malware scanning software, to further protect public sector internet users.|
- I once received an infected link in an email from a genuine MOD recruiter—herself infected by the same virus. I determined that the virus relied upon an IE 6 vulnerability to install itself. Heaven knows how many other people were less cautious and got infected themselves.
- Supporting IE 6 is not a trivial or cheap proposition. Indeed, as web developers' expectations and skills evolve, it is becoming a non-standard requirement with serious cost implications—especially with respect to maintenance. I doubt it will be long before IE 6 intranet apps become the new COBOL.
It is true that upgrading will not be without cost; however, I think it is incumbent on those who rest their case on this to also consider that the costs of not upgrading are increasing by the month.
One approach I've seen is to include a clause in a contract which explains that IE6 is 9 years old and very much an archaic piece of kit, and states that "reasonable effort" will be made to ensure things look/work correctly in IE6, but that if it's deemed that a significant portion of work needs to be done to achieve that, the client will be given the choice of either a) having a site that perhaps isn't 100% identical in IE6 or b) paying additional costs for the extra development needed.
Obviously that doesn't work in all cases (large corporations, Government sites etc), but for freelancers and smaller agencies, I think it's definitely a step on the right road.
I highly recommend using some of these:
Johan De Silva / Portfolio
Currently we use CSS Pie and modernizer to support older browsers on our HTML 5 sites.
Design, development and marketing for the web.
Edge Three Sixty Ltd: Web Design Liverpool
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