Six Reasons Coders Celebrate the Death of Older IE Versions

It’s official. Support for the older versions of Internet Explorer ends January 12th, 2016. From this date on, only the most up-to-date versions of IE will receive tech support and security updates.

Should we be mourning this event and dabbing our eyes whilst thinking fondly of old Internet Explorer versions? Hell, no! In fact, is anyone still using it? Not if these statistics are anything to go by.

Here’s why we see the announcement as welcome news.

Reasons Why It’s Good to See the Back of Old IE Versions

Less hacking, crashing, and security breaches

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Sure, for a while IE was the search engine of choice. But let’s face it – we all knew it was the least safe browser in existence. In fact, its poor reputation is so widely known, that the US government even had to issue official warnings in the past, highlighting its vulnerability to attack.

Bugs and glitches galore

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True, Internet Explorer fixes bugs on a fixed schedule. However, as Michael Horowitz from Computer World so succinctly points out, “Bugs are not discovered on a schedule, which means IE users remain vulnerable to known bugs until the next scheduled bug fix.” We don’t know about you, but we don’t relish the prospect of being at the mercy of bugs until IE chooses to resolve the problem.

And while we’re on the topic, IE is the only browser we know of that has a habit of inserting nonsensical text characters in the middle of JavaScript strings. Why, IE? Why?

Time to keep up with other browsers?

None of the other browsers support earlier versions. Nah, they prefer to keep it simple – self-updating and ensuring that we can only support the latest versions. However, with IE, half the stuff that works in the latest version is bust in the earlier versions. Likewise, a tiny percentage of the stuff that did work in old IE versions is now completely messed up in the later IE updates.

In fact, each and every version comes complete with its own unique bugs and irksome limitations. In a desperate bid to deal with the problems, developers are forced to write erratic, lengthy code, and come up with time-consuming, creative workarounds, just to get IE to behave itself. This is a hassle we can do without.

Weak features

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We’re not a fan of IE’s “Developer Tools” interface. But even for simple, everyday tasks, good old IE lacks many features. You can forget about syncing your bookmarks, passwords, preferences, and other data to other computers or a worthwhile extension library. You can give up hope of life being easy. Instead, IE opens every new browser tab in a new taskbar window – and tries to force you to use other inferior Microsoft offerings, such as the dreaded Bing. Our word on the matter? Thanks… but no thanks, Bing. We’ll go with Google every time.

Delayed updates

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When it comes to system updates, IE is often well behind the pack. It took five long years for Microsoft to finally release IE7. The result? The added tabs made the browser slightly more tolerable. That’s it. And let’s face it, this benefit was counteracted by the annoyance of having to make the pages render correctly in two lousy browsers instead of just one.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Microsoft then made us wait another two and a half years for IE8. We quite liked this version. It offered better CSS support, plus some excellent new features like private browsing and tab isolation. However, this worthwhile update simply came too late. By this point, most designers had hot-footed it to Firefox, with a firm eye on moving to Google Chrome. Internet Explorer? Remind us, what was that again?

Restricted coding

Internet Explorer doesn’t really do compatibility – a fact which has been driving developers mad for years. This is mainly because the browser is so lacking in features, not to mention irritatingly delayed in updating the few features that it does have. By failing to keep up with the times, IE has simply managed to transform itself into a difficult-to-use, self-contained monster.

Think we’re being harsh here? Well, here’s some evidence. IE8 didn’t support CSS3 or SVG. IE9 didn’t support CSS3 gradients, text shadows, or flexbox. And even IE10, a fairly recent update, still failed to support flexbox and text shadows.

Internet Explorer – What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts about saying goodbye to old versions of IE? Are you a fan of the browser, or do you prefer working with Firefox or Chrome?

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