Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) Must Die

Sorry people, but the time has come where I tell you the worst kept secret on the web:

Internet Explorer 6 is evil - pure and simple.

There I've said it.  By continuing to use this browser years after its useful life are over you are placing an intolerable burden upon people in my profession. Please stop.

We at Dean Marshall Consultancy Services will no longer support this browser on *any* of our own websites.

We shall recommend clients also cease - but of course this is a recommendation only - final say will be theirs, we serve our clients after all. Please continue reading this article for a full explanation why we have taken this decision and what you should (in our opinion) do next if you are still using IE6.

Don't worry - we won't deliberately cripple the site or set out to ruin the browsing experience for anyone using IE6, but we won't tweak our design to suit IE6. If it works for IE6 users then that is fine by us. If the site breaks and misbehaves - well, that is fine by us too.

Now - you probably feel that this is an unwarranted decision on our part, and that so far no basis for the decision has been offered.  You are of course correct so let us attempt to offer justification here and tell you why we decided to no longer support Internet Explorer 6.

As an end-user and an active participant in the online community you should care about IE6 for two reasons:

One: Update Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) due to security issues

Like most software, Internet Explorer has seen numerous security flaws. Unlike other applications which are fixed in a speedy manner, the number of exploitable security holes in IE6 has been alarming and at the same time Microsoft has been less than forthcoming with timely fixes.

Brian Krebs of the Washington Post wrote:
For a total 284 days in 2006 (or more than nine months out of the year), exploit code for known, unpatched critical flaws in pre-IE7 versions of the browser was publicly available on the Internet. Likewise, there were at least 98 days last year in which no software fixes from Microsoft were available to fix IE flaws that criminals were actively using to steal personal and financial data from users.

Seriously, it is in your best interest to abandon IE6 and get a better, safer browser.

Two: Update Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) due to technical issues

Web designers are well aware that each browser has its own quirks when it comes to interpreting the styling of a page. These  differences are usually minor, as most browsers render pages the way they should be rendered as they follow web standards (or are "standards compliant"). Internet Explorer (IE), until version 7, made no attempt to be standards compliant. It interpreted styling requests in its own ways. While IE7 has made improvements in this direction, it is still far from perfect, but we will come back to that point another day.

I know that significant additional time has been added to every website project I have worked on, just to make pages work in IE6. This has cost my clients dearly and also has cost me personally as some silly niggles take such a long time to sort that I have felt unable to pass on the full burden to the clients and have had to take the hit myself.

IE6 is now a dated browser: IE7 has been out for over eighteen months and Microsoft itself has been quite strenuous in pushing it out to users (even those with knock-off copies of Windows). With IE8 due out very soon and an anticipation of an extra burden in supporting this new browser it is no longer appropriate to continue supporting IE6 considering the amount of work required to do so.

If you are using IE 6, you will get the site as is. I hope it works for you - but if it doesn't - well, that's a shame but please don't come running to us about it.

Alternatives To Internet Explorer 6 (IE6)

Many users don't realise it but Internet Explorer is not the only way to access web pages. Internet Explorer is just one example of acategoryof software known as 'web browsers'.

Once upon a time Internet Explorer wasn't even the most used browser - in fact it was far from it - but then Microsoft abused it's monopoly position and distributed Internet Explorer with Windows killing off the competition.

Over the years a number of new browser manufacturers have sprung up. Three leading browsers are:

Firefox - from the Mozilla Foundation - probably the leading alternative to Microsoft due in part to its history (it is built on top of the browser that Microsoft buried with its anti-competitive practises) and partly because of the sheer volume of extensions (add-ons) available add new functionality to the Firefox web browser.

Opera - a very slick browser indeed. Many of the features that you need to add to Firefox with external add-ons are just there in Opera - built-in and ready to use from the start.

Safari - from Apple - the people who brought you the iPod and iTunes. many people will have ended up with this on their PCs thanks to Apple's new Microsoft style sharp practices. Did you ever hear the saying about becoming the very thing you hate - that's where Apple seem to be headed. Anyway - the browser is functional and would make a good alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

And if you really, really must stick with Internet Explorer
Upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 (IE7)

For the love of all that is good - do us all a favour and stop using Internet Explorer 6. On your start menu you will find an entry called 'Windows Update'. Or in Internet Explorer you will find the same 'Windows Update' listed on the 'tools' menu.

Please pick one of these methods and use it. Even Microsoft want you to stop using IE6 - honestly. IE7 has been out for nearly two years now. Actually Internet Explorer8 (IE8) is under development and will be released soon - but please don't wait. Update today.


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