General Question

damien's avatar

Web Developers: Do you still support IE6?

Asked by damien (2394points) October 9th, 2008

I’m in the process of fixing bugs on a fairly sizable community site aimed at students and employers looking for students. I can’t decide whether to ditch IE6 support or not (most of the design bugs are IE6 only and as you can guess, are an utter pain to get sorted). I’m fairly confident the student audience won’t be using IE6 but the employers, I’m not so sure.

If you’re a designer or developer, do you still support IE6? What audiences do you cater for either way?

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15 Answers

Malakai's avatar

I’m not a dev, just a content producer. But we still develop for and test everything in IE6 because a large portion of our site’s users are on a lower end technical scale.
I work for a news website in Memphis, TN.

I think you just have to examine the audience you’re trying to reach.
Maybe conduct a little informal polling on your expected users.
See if it’s worth the trouble or not.

Good luck!

Magnus's avatar

I dunno if I can call myself a developer, but I still despise IE6.

fireside's avatar

IE7 usage is just over 50% with our clients, so we still have to support IE6.

kullervo's avatar

Depends on your client. As 30–35% of people still use it I am forced to support it for client sites. For my personal sites I do not support it.

It’s a horrible browser to support and on some projects I spend as much time fixing IE6 bugs than as actually building the site!

kullervo's avatar

Typical stats:
Firefox (all versions) 30–36%
IE7 30%-34%
IE6 30–35%
Safari 2–3%
Opera 1%
everything else

Will check next month to see what impact Google Chrome has had but as it renders similar to Safari it shouldn’t cause much problems.

kullervo's avatar

For development you are best off developing for a standards compliant browser like Firefox and then working out IE bugs afterwards with conditional mark up/stylesheets.

If you develop it in Firefox correctly it should work in other standards compliant browsers such as safari and Chrome etc.without any trouble. Then going through the IE bugs should be easier as most of them are well documented online.

If you develop for IE6 and then try to fix it for other browsers you are asking for trouble. It’s like a clothes designer using a model that has one leg shorter than the other and then adding extensions to all the jeans they make so it will fit everyone else. Your site will need hacks for all other browsers and future browsers that come out, rather than just hacks for the broken browser.

fuzzyjay's avatar

You can also put in a ie 6 or less css sheet (I’m assuming you’re using CSS) by using the following code:
<link rel=“stylesheet” type=“text/css” href=“NORMAL STYLESHEET LOCATION HERE” />
<!—[if lt IE 7]>
<link rel=“stylesheet” type=“text/css” href=“IE 6 or less STYLESHEET LOCATION HERE” />

The code says if the browser is less than IE7 use this sheet, otherwise the other stylesheet is used.

If you’re looking for a place to test your pages in different IE browsers I suggest:

It’s faster than browsershots, and allows you to test things multiple times.

jasonjackson's avatar

Yep, I too must continue to support IE6 because my stats say that roughly 25% of my users are still running it.

Vincentt's avatar

I never did. Then again, mostly my CSS works in IE6 (I don’t know why, but so many people seem to use overly complicated CSS (e.g. absolute positioning when it’s not needed at all) which mine seem to work fine). Sure, if there’s a small adjustment that needs to be made to support IE (any version), I’ll do it, but my first focus is good browsers (as in: good for the internet).

itmustbeken's avatar

I think we still have another 1–2 years are dealing with this crap…
Then, just like larger monitor sizes, pow! It all changes. Cannot wait to create an IE6 sniffer that redirects dinosaur surfers to a page that says we no longer support crap browsers. Of course a link to Firefox would be included….

Vincentt's avatar

@itmustbeken – then again, smaller browser sizes are on the rise again with the rise of netbooks like the EeePC or the Aspire One.

If newer IE’s will only run on Windows Vista, then I guess you’ll see older IE’s still being used for a while…

thegodfather's avatar

No. IE6 is years old and not standards-compliant, and we experience large amounts of dead weight loss as a result of staying backwards compatible with it, so we post notices to the user that he or she should upgrade to either IE7, Firefox, or Safari (sorry Opera users :)

wenbert's avatar

seriously, there are still a lot of people using IE6. I figured that anything that works in IE6 works in newer IEs. So I test/debug in firefox and then test it on IE6.

Vincentt's avatar

@wenbert – heh, that’s very ignorant, and anything but a certainty.

You could test in IE7 and then add some code snippet to the <head> of your page to tell IE8 to render it the same as IE7.

kullervo's avatar

@wenbert – you can’t “guess” thinks will work in newer versions of IE just because it does in IE6. newer versions of IE use completely different rendering and also have their own set of bugs.

@Vincentt since IE is finally getting close to being standards compliant it shouldn’t need the hacks – making IE8 render all your sites render as an older non-standards browser is not good for the web at all!

For testing check out IETester
– a free tool that lets you render pages as IE5.5 through to 8 beta 2 as different tabs. I test IE6 and 7 using this tool but don’t support IE8 yet.

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