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Why do you enable old browsers?

 9:57 pm on Aug 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm just curious of all the reasons designers continue to coddle the older browsers.

If we all stop doing it, they'll be forced to upgrade when nothing works properly.

Let's face it people, those still using Flash 4 can't see modern videos, or worse yet they still have it's pre-cursor Shockwave installed.

Those technologies moved forward, the old code won't display the new files, yet the web pages works perfectly on all the browsers.

Not trying to start a Flash discussion, just using it as an example of how they force upgrades and eventually the latest version you need requires the latest browser, etc.

Here's the point:

When the new technology moves forward in browsers, instead of forcing everyone to upgrade like Flash did, us webmasters for whatever reason keep coddling people using the old tech.

It costs us TIME to implement, MONEY wasted on old tech, RETRO TESTING lots of browsers that should be buried, BLOAT all the retro code bloats CSS, javascript, HTML, etc., it's a big old mess and it's time to stop the madness.

Instead, why don't we just cut the umbilical cord and only keep code current for the last couple of browser versions? Even that's enough to make you go bats.

That's why I rely on things like Bootstrap and jQuery to worry about all those backwards compatibility issues and if their code fails, so be it.

I'm not spending one waking moment worrying about MSIE 6, 7 or even 8. They're all past tense.

Bottom line: If everyone stops supporting the old junk, people will have no choice but to upgrade to keep pace or simply stop using the web. We're responsible for the web not evolving as quickly as possible by enabling Neanderthals and Luddites to stay online.



 4:42 pm on Aug 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Technology is intended to evolve, yes but...

  • Depending niche you can loose readers
  • Depending niche you can loose conversion and ROI
  • Depending niche people just WONT upgrade
  • Many upgrades are not really needed
  • It's easy for me to see in many cases: upgrade = slower machine
  • Sometimes upgrading software forces you to upgrade your computer, many won't cross that line
  • Many times upgrading means less battery life

At times I think this is like the PDF market. 80%-90% of document needs are basic, simple, YET we are forced to upgrade to new, bigger, slower and heavier apps only to read the same pics and text documents. Ohhh forms and interactive stuff? most documents we come across are simple pics and text. Doesn't really make sense to me.

Besides not every user refuses to upgrade, I worked on a laaaarge company and upgrades were blocked, it depended on the admin for all the people in the building. I'm talking 500+ minimum. And many versions of browsers and stuff were related to the company own apps (not compatible with newer browsers).

I go KISS and it works for me.


 11:54 pm on Aug 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

I go KISS and it works for me.


Everything depends on presentation... and somethings just don't require "new" browsers.


 12:27 am on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

Everything depends on presentation... and somethings just don't require "new" browsers.

We're not just talking about static sites.

People are making web site apps, like Google Docs, Gmail, anything on their site pretty much behaves more like a program than a text page and without a modern browser you cannot use it.

Same with many other popular sites, even Yahoo! Mail now requires a fairly modern browser, so upgrades to the most recent 3 versions, as documented above per actual quotes from Google, is pretty much mandated.

Using Google's 3 latest version support mandate [googleenterprise.blogspot.com] with MSIE, 3 versions means it's FIVE (5) years old which is hardly ""new" browsers" by any stretch of the imagination.

So why do sites lower than the upper echelon feel that they don't need to follow the defacto leader of the entire WORLD in websites?


 5:47 am on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I suspect Google's browser support varies across products: I cannot find any thing on what other Google sites/services support.

I agree that it is unlikely that it is worth supporting old browsers in a web app of any complexity. I am developing one at the moment (a lot less complex than Google Docs obviously - but our resources are a lot more limited than Googles!) and, thankfully, my client is fine with only supporting recent browsers.

However, if your user base uses older browsers, or if the front end is simple enough that the extra effort is small, then you may support older browsers. If the front end is simple enough to degrade degrade gracefully, why not?. If much of what you are doing is via libraries that support older browsers, again, why not?


 6:03 am on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

However, if your user base uses older browsers, or if the front end is simple enough that the extra effort is small, then you may support older browsers.

If a site happens to cater to clients all using older browsers that makes sense, but for the majority of sites, that's not the case.

Forget scripting, as far as simplicity goes HTML 5 and CSS 3 are as simple as it gets. I certainly wouldn't go back to any lesser HTML version and all those deprecated attributes no matter what the case.


 6:10 am on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

That's a good point about web applications versus static sites. If you want backwards compatibility you can't use most of HTML 5, especially things like keyframe animation and canvas... Giving up HTML 5 sucks. I have yet to need to create a completely self contained application that runs on the client but the fact that it's possible is beautiful. I'd happily exclude older brower versions if the need arose.

I do make small concessions so that things degrade well enough in old browsers but that's it lately.

Also any functionality for back-end administration, I've started requiring current browsers. It's reasonable to expect most companies can figure out how to get their employees using modern software.

I'm fortunate though, I have yet to run into a niche where old browsers are common. I assume they exist but after 20 years I'm starting to think the myth is bigger than the reality :-)


 10:12 pm on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm starting to wonder what "old browser" means. IE8 (2009) is about the same vintage as Firefox 3 and while IE has only incremented its major version number by 3, Firefox and Chrome have incremented major version number by 30 even though nothing "major" was actually changed between each release.

If I install any of these "old browsers" today I will be able to search and shop online to my heart's content. So what am I missing? Just what do new browsers have to offer that I would be interested in?


 12:27 am on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

There is something to be said for "degrades gracefully" on older browsers.

I recently rewrote an old web page that still gets views, from inline styling to CSS. Prior to this effort, the page looked the same on an XP machine with IE8 as on a modern machine using the latest Firefox browser.

After the change to CSS, the page once again displayed the same on IE8 as on the latest Firefox browser EXCEPT there was no cursor on the Firefox browser! Nothing, NADA. The page is basically static except for some Javascript and a custom Perl script for a search box.

I discovered the problem was the use of code in the CSS for position:absolute versus position: relative for a couple of DIV references. Going back to the inline styling for the page, I used some of the styling from that page for the CSS instead of the new code I had written.

These minor adoptions fixed the problem in Firefox and cursor control was regained. As before, the page displayed the same in Firefox as IE8.

Did I find a bug in Firefox or was it a problem with my new CSS code? I do not know the answer. Nonetheless, using IE8 allowed me to find the problem with the lost cursor on the Firefox browser.


 3:21 am on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

People are making web site apps, like Google Docs, Gmail, anything on their site pretty much behaves more like a program than a text page and without a modern browser you cannot use it.

This is true, yet... most folks with older browsers already have a word processing app, email, and most other apps that apply to their needs... this web-based stuff merely duplicates what they already have (and introduces third parties for their content and control which they may not wish to give up). There remains, to this day, a large number of "if it ain't broke" kind of folks (including large IT departments, etc.) The number of XP machines is still fairly large, particularly world wide...

HAVING SAID THAT, I do agree that web evolution will eventually take care of things and one can urge that along by refusing to support a percentage of the web. Nothing wrong with that. And I'm sure there are those who want to write the next killer app, so go for it!

I'm just reminded that we still use pen and paper (an admittedly old technology that even the oldest browsers do not support) and in that I merely point out that not all pages/content require the latest and greatest, and those to do can certainly alert in that regard and let the user make their own choice... if they can.

If site development means dropping support, then by all means take that leap. I do recognize that coding old, coding web, coding mobile is getting to be time-consuming and something has to break.

In the long run there is yet one other consideration: the growing number of privacy concerned users who disable all JS to avoid Canvas, third party, ads (in some cases), etc. Disable JS in any MODERN browser and it works no better that IE 6. How do you code for those folks? Obviously you don't, just know they are out there


 4:09 am on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

growing number of privacy concerned users who disable all JS

For the record, people said exactly the same thing 15 years ago, and 10 years ago and etc... The growing number never arrives at a significant number.

Of course it's different if you're in a market where a lot of people have a reason to be anonymous, using something like TOR.

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 40 ( 1 [2]
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