What's your browser? Posted by John H.


Date: March 17, 2011

What web browser do you use? Hopefully not Internet Explorer version 6 which was released during the dark ages of the internet, circa 2001. Why does it matter you say? As web developers, we adhere to a set of standards defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) and we write code that is compliant to these standards. It is the only way to consistently produce our work and know how things will look and work. The trouble is that not all browsers follow these standards.

Browser Logos

Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Google Chrome all built their browsers around the same standards and have been releasing better, faster browsers with each version.

Microsoft, as much as we "love" them, seems to think they can do whatever they want with their Internet Explorer web browser. To a certain degree, they have that right since they still hold a 60-80% share of the browser market (depends on whose stats you believe) even though they have steadily been losing market share over the last couple years. Internet Explorer version 6 (IE 6) is by far the worst offender when it comes to standards compliance and is ridden with bugs and other things that are just plain broken. We spend a considerable amount of time (around 20-30% of your project budget!) implementing workarounds so things look right and work properly in IE 6 which is why we cringe at the mention of its name. The good news is two-fold; first, IE 6 is almost dead. It is down around 6-10% of usage and the only people still using it are the corporations that built their web applications around it 10 years ago and haven't yet upgraded them. Second, Microsoft IE versions 8 and the soon to be released 9 actually do a pretty decent job at competing with the other three "real" browsers.

So if you are using IE (especially version 6) please stop! Switch to Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Google Chrome. It only takes a few minutes and it is FREE! It is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your browsing experience.

Update 03/04/11- Microsoft just released this website www.theie6countdown.com which is encouraging!