The Life and Times of Internet Explorer 6

Over at the design-oriented Smashing Magazine site, you’ll find Brad Colbow’s comic, The Life and Times of Internet Explorer 6. It’s the browser we all love to hate, including we who collect a nice fortnightly deposit from Microsoft into our bank accounts. I got a great laugh at DemoCamp Toronto 21 when I said “If you got a cat when IE6 came out, it’s dead now.”

It wasn’t always this way, as the first section of the comic shows (you can click it to read the whole thing):

Part 1 of "The Life and Times of Internet Explorer 6"

There’s a fair bit of history covered in the middle section of the comic, but I feel that the most important sections are the first (shown above), and the end, shown below:

Final part of "The Life and Times of Internet Explorer 6"

That is the real question: “Can we stop supporting IE6 yet?”, followed by a real answer: You have to look at your audience. If you can drop IE6 support without ruining the experience for the majority your audience (you have to make the call on what constitutes a majority), then by all means, go for it.

Expecting people outside our industry to have as much interest in browser technology is about as fair as my insurance agent expecting me to have as much interest in the ins and outs of insurance as he does. I only care about the amount of coverage, the deductible, the slip of paper that goes into my glove compartment, and how much I have to pay a year. Everything else is just yappity-yap from some suit who’s interrupting my work day, trying to show me pages of boring legalese. That’s how we look to most end users.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


My Statement on IE6

Yes, I know that cats live longer, but I think the quip I made at DemoCamp 21 still makes a good point:

Picture of "Bill the Cat" from "Bloom County" captioned with "If you got a cat when IE6 came out, it's dead now."

Let’s upgrade to compliant up-to-date browsers, shall we? IE8, or even that hippie browser, if you must.

Credit where credit is due: The “cat’s dead now” line is my remix of a line from a review of the Guns ‘N’ Roses concert that took place here in Toronto a couple of years back. The original line went something like “If you got a cat when Appetite for Destruction came out, it’s dead now.”