Legacy browsers.

What should we as developers do?

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51 Replies - 3627 Views - Last Post: 08 January 2010 - 07:21 AM

#1 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Legacy browsers.

Post icon  Posted 04 January 2010 - 03:11 PM

Okay, this might be a bit of a rant but it is something that has been on my mind for a while. There are a lot of questions here on DIC about sites not displaying properly in legacy browsers, like Internet Explorer 6. Let's face facts. Internet Explorer 6 is software that is out of date. It was, I believe, released as part of Windows XP back in 2003 or was it with Windows ME and Windows 2000? In any event it is now 7 years out of date at least. Should we, as developers, be worried about supporting antiquated browsers when there are free upgrades available to these browsers?

We are now onto HTML 5 and Web 2.0. Is it time to let Internet Explorer 6 rest in peace? There are many sites, such as YouTube, who say that we will no longer be providing support for Internet Explorer 6. Should the rest of the Internet move on and let antiquaited browsers fade into the past?

Discuss.

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Replies To: Legacy browsers.

#2 BenignDesign  Icon User is online

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:04 PM

It depends on who is paying your bills.

I was told when I started this job that my finished product HAS to function in IE 5.5 and up.

At my last job - and in my freelance endeavors - if the client wants it to work with IE 6, you make it work with IE 6.

Simple as that. If my job is to make you happy so I can buy food this week and the only way to make you happy is to make your site work in a legacy browser, then your site shall work in the legacy browser(s) of your choosing. Money talks.
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#3 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:02 PM

You have a point about having to pay the bills and having to please the client. It goes with the old adage of "The customer is always right." when it comes to sales and retail. If the customer must absolutely have to have their site work in an old browser then it should work in that browser no matter what it is you have to do.

I'm just wondering why many are so resistant to change. There is a lot of legacy software out there, not just browsers. I can understand if you've paid a lot of money to buy a product not moving to a newer version of the software. I can also understand not wanting to switch immediately to the latest and greatest. I guess I'm just interested in progress and feel like we are being dragged down by those who are resistant to change. I would love to hear other people's opinions on this.
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#4 Oler1s  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:10 PM

You are highly computer literate. You keep track of new software, you understand the concept of updates, and so on. For many people, they treat the computer as a microwave, or a toaster. It works as is, and they want no fiddling with the internals.
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#5 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:16 PM

If I'm doing web work for a client I make sure to let them know that I do not support IE 6 and that a disclaimer will be placed on the site that the site does not support IE 6. I know some say But the client is always right or You should be able to include all browsers in a site and to that I say hogwash. It's not worth my time to jump through hoops for legacy browsers. I have yet to have a client pass on my work due to this either, I think, once explained, most clients will understand why I do what I do.

That's just my 2 on this, and I surely wouldn't suggest that a new freelancer take this stance because, as pointed ou, you have to pay the bills as well
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#6 BenignDesign  Icon User is online

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:42 PM

View PostOler1s, on 4 Jan, 2010 - 08:10 PM, said:

You are highly computer literate. You keep track of new software, you understand the concept of updates, and so on. For many people, they treat the computer as a microwave, or a toaster. It works as is, and they want no fiddling with the internals.


Exactly. I can't begin to tell you how many clients I've dealt with who couldn't tell me what browser they were using, let alone what version. I've walked many, many people through phone calls of

"Look at the top left corner of your window. Do you see a blue 'E'?"
"What's a window?"

I had one client call me every day for two weeks to tell me his site wasn't working, that he couldn't make it "come up". Every day for two weeks, I tried like hell to walk him through it. And every day, I failed. I had finally had enough of his calls and made the two hour trip to his office to show him in person. The problem? He didn't know where to put the URL. He was typing into the Live Search box.

You will sometimes find a client who understands the concept of updating. They tell you they're using IE 6, you tell them the site was built for IE 8 and they will gladly update their software and go blissfully on with their lives. But there is a staggering number of people who have a computer because someone told them they "should", not because they have the slightest clue how to use it or the desire to learn.

For as much as legacy browsers can be the bane of developers' existence, many of us can't afford to lose cash by refusing to code to all browser versions, don't have the heart (or balls) to say "no" or work for a company that dictates we HAVE to do it.

Honestly though, for the exceptionally complicated and far too hard to make backward-compatible work I've done, I have occasionally coded some sort of message into it that continues to pester the end-user until they finally click the link and update their browser. I should probably have done this for all of them. :P

This post has been edited by BenignDesign: 04 January 2010 - 07:43 PM

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#7 Amadeus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:01 PM

Also worth keeping in mind that many corporations use legacy browsers (and in fact old operating systems) simply because the logistics to upgrading are enormously expensive and time consuming. Having an individual web surfer change their browser is not big deal...changing it for 45,000 corporately imaged workstations is another matter entirely :)
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#8 Delta_Echo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 05 January 2010 - 12:23 AM

Why should be concerned as to wether the user wants to upgrade the browser. Wouln't it be better just to have the app self-update without telling the user? As long as the GUI doesn't change no-one will know.

This post has been edited by Delta_Echo: 05 January 2010 - 12:24 AM

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#9 Locke  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 05 January 2010 - 12:26 AM

View PostBenignDesign, on 4 Jan, 2010 - 08:42 PM, said:

"Look at the top left corner of your window. Do you see a blue 'E'?"
"What's a window?"

I had one client call me every day for two weeks to tell me his site wasn't working, that he couldn't make it "come up". Every day for two weeks, I tried like hell to walk him through it. And every day, I failed. I had finally had enough of his calls and made the two hour trip to his office to show him in person. The problem? He didn't know where to put the URL. He was typing into the Live Search box.


Fail and fail. I don't know which one is worse.
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#10 remorseless  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:25 AM

View PostDelta_Echo, on 5 Jan, 2010 - 04:23 PM, said:

Why should be concerned as to wether the user wants to upgrade the browser. Wouln't it be better just to have the app self-update without telling the user? As long as the GUI doesn't change no-one will know.


*scratches head*
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#11 BenignDesign  Icon User is online

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:54 AM

View PostDelta_Echo, on 5 Jan, 2010 - 02:23 AM, said:

Why should be concerned as to wether the user wants to upgrade the browser. Wouln't it be better just to have the app self-update without telling the user? As long as the GUI doesn't change no-one will know.


I think a sneaky, self-updating IE would be fantastic, unfortunately that's not how it works. Which is where the concern comes in.
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#12 EdwinNameless  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:15 AM

View PostBenignDesign, on 5 Jan, 2010 - 09:54 AM, said:

I think a sneaky, self-updating IE would be fantastic


Why am I disturbed by this idea?
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#13 BenignDesign  Icon User is online

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:32 AM

I'm not talking standard Microsoft "this thing's not only gonna update itself, but add a lot of crap you neither need nor want". I'm talking just a self-updating IE... so as long as you have an internet connection, you'll always have the latest version.

Then again, quite often something you designed in IE 7 doesn't work right in IE 8 and has to be half re-coded anyway. Catch-22. Joy.
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#14 dsherohman  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:51 AM

For my own projects, I don't worry about standards-noncompliant browsers.

As a freelancer, my willingness to make a site work in IE6 is exactly equal to my client's willingness to pay for the time I spend doing so. (Although, that said, I'm a programmer, not a designer. If the client wants me to do the design also, they're going to get something so simple and brain-dead that it will probably work in IE6 by default anyhow.)
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#15 Toxicterror  Icon User is offline

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Re: Legacy browsers.

Posted 05 January 2010 - 05:27 AM

Sorry for not reading all posts, BUT i say:

Dont support old browsers!

Just make a highlight or something that the client is using an old browser and he should update it! If he doesnt, he has to live with the consequences that not everything may display correctly!

Basta ;)

You cannot support everything forever!
Espacialy not, if its a security risk!

btw: Does MS still support IE6? If not, its almost a crime to still support IE6! :P
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