I dropped IE6 - not yet :-(

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05 Feb 2009 08:12

If there is a single thing that web developers hate most, it is probably Internet Explorer 6. It is buggy, it is outdated, it does not follow most of web standards and the most important thing is that… people still use it.

From my estimate, when creating initial version of Wikidot, making it work in IE 6 took extra 30% of total development time. Today, when adding functionality to Wikidot, special care must be taken to make sure it works with outdated browsers like IE6.

Come on, why do we have to support browser that was released in 2001 and never really evolved since then? The problem is that many people, with older hardware and older versions of Windows, simply do not bother to upgrade their browser, "because it still works". Also, in many corporate environments internal policies lock employees to use specific versions of software, including web browsers.

Hopefully, as I look at Dec 2008 statistics for Wikidot usage, only 15% of our traffic comes from IE6. IE7 accounts for 25%. This is good. Do not take me wrong — IE7 is not that much better than IE6 when it comes to standard compliance, but it is much much better.

Here is the full browser usage stats for Dec 2008:

Browser Hits Percent
Firefox 46881021 45.3 %
MS Internet Explorer 43449910 42 %
Opera 4314782 4.1 %
Safari 3073337 2.9 %
Chrome 2677587 2.5 %
Mozilla 1507299 1.4 %
Unknown 537899 0.5 %
Netscape 257150 0.2 %
Konqueror 89621 0 %
Others 365660 0.3 %

So, Firefox is the clear winner. This is good. Chrome does surprisingly well as for a new browser in the market.

So with IE6 accounting only for 15% of the traffic, when can we drop support for it? This is the question that a lot of people ask.

I would say — for Wikidot.com, not anytime soon. But if we decide to create any new product, IE6 will not be supported for sure.

And the reason I am writing about IE6 today is that I discovered a nice website, http://idroppedie6.com/ :


It is a list of sites that actually dropped support for IE6. I was quite surprised to see http://gmail.com on the list. Still the website is not extremely popular, I wish them good luck.

As a conclusion I think that in 2010 IE6 support among new websites will be marginal. Web evolves, there are so many great new technologies, solutions and patterns that would simply take too much time to make them work with IE6. Would developers spend 30% more time on their project trying to reach extra 10% of users?

Here is a nice chart created by Asa Dotzler:


rating: 1, tags: ie6 web

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