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Goodbye IE6, join the countdown to history

Priyanka Naskar Majumder

Finally Microsoft has decided to mercy kill IE6, one of its old family members and the browser is counting it’s last days from 4 Mar 2011 at ie6countdown.com. Many may feel sorry to say goodbye, but now all web developers designing websites (specifically corporate sites) can enjoy a “IE6 hack” free life :).

The site shows a percentage breakdown of who uses the ten-year-old browser in what parts of the world, along with other links like “Join the cause”, “Educate others”,  and Internet Explorer 9 download.

ie6countdown-web


Now, what is the problem with IE6?

Some people may say, “I am loving it!” and also use it to their hearts’ content, but it has certain issues that they may not be aware of. According to Microsoft “IE6 usage continues to drop at a steady clip but there are still some users who continue to use Internet Explorer 6”.

SECURITY VULNERABILITY

Released 10 years ago in 2001, Microsoft have relentlessly been patching IE6’s security holes to address the vulnerability risks, and since then they have released Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9. Although each new version has improved considerably upon the last, ie6 kept coming into discussions resurfacing with new issues every now and then.

The security of Google, Yahoo, and around 20 other companies were compromised due to people still running IE6. January 2010, Google (mentioned in their blog) began phasing out support for Internet Explorer 6 and the same year March, YouTube also began to phase out IE6 support.

UPDATE MAY 2011: WordPress also discontinues support for Internet Explorer 6.

yahoo-ie6

YAHOO’s message for IE6

facebook-ie6

FACEBOOK’s message for IE6

youtube-ie6

YOUTUBE’s message for IE6

wordpress-ie6

WORDPRESS’s message for IE6

World governments are also suggesting us to switch browsers: Both Germany and France have issued warnings about Internet Explorer, asking citizens to switch to prevent the same type of breach that affected Google.

HAMPERS MODERN WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT

For general website users the following terms may not seem important, but yes, they do diminish your pleasure of experiencing a Web 2.0 website, and for web-developers and web-designers, designing a fully featured modern website and making it work perfectly in IE6 is a nightmare :(.

– CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): This is the code that enables the look and formatting of a document on the web, it is used to style web pages written in HTML, XHTML and XML with layouts, color and fonts. Just to make them load perfectly in IE6, designers have to hack up websites, and this doubles the work procedure.

– PNG Transparency: A great deal of .png images don’t display correctly in IE6. Internet Explorer 6 does not support transparency in PNG images, rather it displays an ugly gray color as transparency’s replacement. To solve this also requires a hack.

– HTML 5: HTML 5 is a new version of HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 focusing on the needs of Web application developers as well as evolving HTML and addressing issues found in the current specifications. HTML5 adds many new features, and streamlines functionality in order to render these processor-intensive add-ons (Flash, Silverlight and Java) in ipads and iphones unnecessary for many common functions.  To start with check out whatishtml5, for more detail visit diveintohtml5.info.


What should I do now?

You can upgrade to Microsoft’s latest browser IE9 at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/ , the name seemed a bit odd to me for Microsoft but yeah, it’s registered to MS 🙂 . Or choose any other modern browser like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera etc. And.. there are lots more. From my personal experience I would recommend Firefox, works great in all the operating systems – Windows, Ubuntu (Linux) and Mac and also has lots of plugins / addons that enhances your browsing experience. But you are always free to choose anyone that suits best for your type of job and your OS.

more-browsers

I AM STUCK!!! MY OFFICE USES ONLY IE6.

Microsoft says “Many of the lingering IE6 users are enterprise and business clients who use internal Web pages and applications that were designed specifically to work with 6 and will need to be rewritten for 8.”

If you happen to be stuck with IE6 and would like to be able to complain to IT that it keeps crashing and you need a new browser, here’s all you need to do. (But before that please install any other alternate browser like Firefox, Chrome etc. otherwise you will be not be able to browse the internet.)

1) Click this link with your IE6 browser or
2) Set your IE6 browser’s home page to ms-its:%F0: (0=zero not O)


JOIN THE MOVEMENT

If you have a twitter account, tell your followers to quit IE6 by tweeting “I’m doing my part to get IE6 to 1% #ie6countdown http://t.co/N3DVSFx via @IE” or any other message that you seem appropriate.

If you are a website owner and hate IE6 too, you can also join the movement by putting a banner.

ie6countdown-banner
Process 1: Copy the code below to use in your website pages anywhere between <body></body> section. (Please refer to original code and more details from Microsoft’s “Join us” page on the official website theie6countdown.com)

Copy this to embed in your site:

Process 2: Use as wordpress shortcode for pages (with no sidebar):
Add this code below to your functions.php file.

//-----IE6 Countdown------//
add_shortcode('ie6countdown', 'theie6countdown');

function theie6countdown() {
 return '<!--[if lt IE 7]> <div style="clear: both; height: 59px; padding:0 0 0 15px; position: relative;"> <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/products/ie/home?ocid=ie6_countdown_bannercode"><img src="http://www.theie6countdown.com/images/upgrade.jpg" border="0" height="42" width="820" alt="You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today." /></a></div> <![endif]-->';
}

2A. Now either add “[ie6countdown]” (without quotes) to the pages in your wordpress post/page editor just where you want your code to show up!
2B. Or add this code directly in your header template.

 <?php echo (do_shortcode("[ie6countdown]")); ?>


Process 3:
Try this wordpress plugin (use at your own risk) http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ie-6-countdown/


User-friendliness of a website, and presentation of informational content in an eye-catching, visually engaging arrangement but keeping the website properly functional / working in all browsers and OS’s should really be the future.

I hope sometime pretty soon we all will be able to admire and enjoy the true “Beauty of the web”! R.I.P IE6

Last modified on May 20th, 2015 at 1:20 pm.

Priyanka Naskar Majumder - the Owner, Eyedea LAB. Graphic & Web Design Studio, lives in Kolkata, India. Interested in: Usability research, Graphic Design, Web Design & Development.

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