Internet Explorer 8: The Dawn of a New Era

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

Microsoft has announced its Internet Explorer 8 release candidate, which is the last step before the final, official release of IE8. This release fixes a lot of major problems that previous versions of Internet Explorer have, and web developers the world over have been looking to this release to take away the pain of developing websites for Internet Explorer. One Digger asked, “Is this finally the end of the IE development headaches?” Unfortunately, the answer is no.

When IE8 is officially released, IE6 – the primary source of our collective headaches – will still be in widespread use. Even though IE7 (which fixed many of IE6’s problems) was released in October of 2006, many people continue to surf the web with versions of the browser up to 6 years old. For whatever reason, those people either don’t know or don’t care that a more secure version, which will improve their Internet experience, is available for free.

As my boss, Ryan, points out, a significant part of the problem may be I.T. departments that refuse to upgrade. I also point my finger at Microsoft for not making IE7 a priority update - after all, IE6 is still riddled with security holes. If Microsoft doesn’t make IE8 a priority update, we’ll be stuck with IE6 that much longer. That means the web development headaches will continue.

If Microsoft doesn’t step up to the plate, how do we eradicate the Internet of the IE6 scourge? Doing so will come down to us: the web developers. If you attempt to visit this site using IE6, you’ll be redirected to a page telling you why you should upgrade to IE7 (or, better yet, Firefox). As frustrating as this surely is for users, it (hopefully) educates them and narrows the margin of users running IE6.

I sincerely hope it doesn’t come down to every site having to do that, because it is very jarring and confusing for non-tech-savvy users. Only time will tell if Microsoft is willing to clean up its own mess and alleviate the headaches of web developers world-wide.

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1 Comment

  1. Tom

    When I first upgraded our public workstations at the libraries to IE7 the security program on workstations hid the print button and the menu bar, so the patrons couldn’t figure out how to print. I finally got that fixed. Recently I tried to update a workstation to IE8. It kept popping up messages that would confuse the patrons, so I had to go back to IE7.

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