Web Developers & Designers alike can rejoice! As of 12th January 2016 Microsoft will no longer provide security patches and updates to dated versions of Internet Explorer. In an official announcement, Microsoft said:
.. only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates.
This is absolutely great news for anyone involved in web development. No more god awful css hacks, that are a pain to maintain. No more customers saying their site doesn’t work and it turns out they’re using the ancient Internet Explorer 6 (from 2001). No more IE[x] specific style sheets. No more spending extra time to support dated and insecure software. No more statements from clients saying “I’ve been using Internet Explorer [insert old version here] since I’ve had a computer and don’t want to use anything else.”
Personally, I hate the moment you test a perfectly good website in modern browsers, only to try Internet Explorer 7/8 and have some silly display issue. Granted, they are usually small hacky fixes (sometimes …), but it is still time needlessly wasted.
However, I am not as naive as to this this announcement will completely eradicate old IE usage. It is however another (very solid) reason to cite to clients alike. We can now say, “dude, even Microsoft won’t support your old browser and are forcing an upgrade”.
Microsoft finally admit and had a “light bulb moment” in saying:
Older browsers may not support modern Web standards, so browser fragmentation is a problem for Web site developers.
Even for those die hard customers who simply refuse to update, at least I can link them to Microsoft’s announcement post.
First affected is the 5 year old will be Internet Explorer 8, where support will be dropped after a final patch released 12th January 2016. This is comparable to the “end of life support” for Windows XP, that Microsoft ceased to support as of April 2014.
The change will affect a lot of users who insist on using the outdated browser, and rightly so! Internet Explorer 8 is one of the most popular versions of IE in use. The change will only result in a better web for everyone. In particular, developers, who are able to safely use modern features for websites.
For myself, I will continue to say that for my own company, if you want old dated, legacy software supporting you’ll need to pay. I always support IE 8 and above, but anything below that results a a charge. From the developers I speak to, this is fairly common.
I am however unsure how local councils will proceed, whose IT departments are seemingly obsessed with Internet Explorer 6. Will they upgrade, or dig in and continue with IE6.
However, this whole announcement begs a single question to Microsoft. “Guys, why on earth did you wait so long!” 🙂