Don’t use Internet Explorer

Let me share with you a recent work experience: we develop a product that has a (rather complex) web interface, which has to be rendered correctly by Firefox, and both Internet Explorer versions 6 and 7. During the development phase, we use mostly Firefox, because (to my knowledge) it has tools to aid developers that are light-years ahead those of IE. So once the web interface was finished, we tested it under IE to see how it worked. It did so rather poorly. It took us quite a while to figure things out, a consequence of not only the aforementioned lack of proper tools for development, but also cryptic error messages, the helpfulness of which can be quantified as a round hollow nought.

Almost inevitably, some of us, myself included, raised the question if support for IE was really really necessary. After all, it’s a crappy ahem, browser. My boss’ answer was simple and swift: IE6 and IE7 together account for more than 50% of the browsers currently in use, Firefox has 37% (ibid., March 2008), so it’s next to pointless not to support both IE’s. These plus Firefox account for almost 90%, a respectable market share. We knew then my boss was right, we had to support IE.

Unless, PEOPLE STOP USING THAT DAMNED THING!! And there are plenty of good reasons to do that! It’s a long read, and some things maybe outdated (there’re some rotten links), but overall it still paints a fairly accurate picture. If you use Internet Explorer at all, do yourself and the rest of the world a favour, and read it.

Of all the good reasons to ditch IE once and for all listed in that page, authored by a co-worker, I want to point out the one that most affects me (right along everyone who ever has had to write pages for IE):

Internet Explorer is bad for people using it. But it’s also bad for people who make Web pages — imagine having to program for this monster!

For those of you who have never built a webpage before, you may not know what this means but imagine you wanted to build a house and you hire a construction company for that end. You would hand them the blueprints and tell them exactly how you wanted it built but then they’d build it their way and not the way indicated by the blueprints or by you. That’s sort of what Internet Explorer does.

So here’s a small way you can contribute for a better web! Oh and if you’re thinking something like “but everyone uses IE, if just I change, it won’t make a difference”, well, as Gandhi said: “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” And he was able to ditch the then all-powerful British, so … 😉


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