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I have an odd feeling that some of you might come away after reading this slightly offended by what I'm about to say, but it has to be said.
Internet Explorer 6 (aka IE6) is my worst nightmare. Why? Because its probably one of the worst web browsers ever created. It lacks in all sorts of ways.
Why ie6 is my worst nightmare.
Here is the boring stuff that only the technically minded might understand. As a web developer, I build alot of upgrades for ephotozine and our other websites. Every time we build one of these, we have to do a browser test. We test on around 7 different browsers. Its a rather long and boring task, but it has to be done to make sure everyone can view and use these great new features in the same way. HOWEVER, out of these 7 common browsers, ie6 is the one that causes the most trouble. It's sheer lack of understand CORRECT css and and html syntax boggles thousands of web developers.
The past couple of days I have been working on improving the code for ePHOTOzine's menu system to make it more lightweight and correct so it loads quicker for everyone. This morning I was about to upload it, but went through 1 last browser check. It looked fine in Firefox 3, Opera, IE7, Safari, Safari (mac), firefox (mac), camino. I thought I was on to a winner. But, then we decide to try IE6 and IE6 decided "I don't like displaying CSS and html correctly like all the other guys. I'm going to do my own thing.". So now, I have spent alot of today trying to find hacks (fixes) to make this new code work in ie6 correctly.
Ie6 is not the only one, just the worst
No, ie6 is not the only one we have layout issues with when doing upgrades, its just the one that tends to cause our workload to multiply by 50. In fact, this upgrade I have been implementing code for it to work correctly in IE7 as well.
Internet Explorer users fail to understand how rubbish their browser actually is. They don't realise that most all the other browsers play nicely, but Internet Explorer doesn't like to. But hey, that's not my choice, I have to live with that choice. I think if Windows Vista was shipped with Firefox you would fine a huge shift in browser use. That is the reason why most people use IE, because it was on their computer already. They don't change until they realise how much better it can be with a different browser. How many better features are out there for security and making web browsing easier and faster.
Get with the Times
If you are an ie6 user and you are reading this thinking "there is nothing wrong with my browser! I can do everything you can do better. IM NOT CHANGING ANYTHING!" Did you know that Internet Explorer 7 was released over a year ago? I bet that you didn't know that despite Microsoft's efforts to make IE7 available for FREE and on automatic updates for Windows, still 25% of our Internet Explorer users use IE6 on ePHOTOzine. So, ie6 user, what is your excuse for not upgrading? It's free, windows told you to update, they even make it easy to install.
I hear the FireFox users shouting at the screen "don't tell them to install IE7!". Hey, its better than IE6. I don't expect you to swap to firefox, that's a choice you can make another time. But at least upgrade to IE7. And if its out of your control (ie: your office's IT department), tell them to get with the program. IE7 is more secure than IE6 any day and its free to download. So what's their excuse?
I conclude with a few links that will help anyone who is reading this:
Download Internet Explorer 7
Browser Bug Lists
I'd love to hear your thoughts either way about this. I'm sure there are many out there that understand where im coming from, and others who want to put me in my place. It's a blog, there's a comments feature, use it!