Save the Developers! Stop Using Internet Explorer 6

Because a large population is still using IE6 and web developers are struggling to get their sites IE6 compliant, Ron Goff and Kevin Thompson of the Conveyor Group started a campaign:

savedevelopers_3 News Save The Developers – Say No to IE 6

Our current campaign focuses on assisting users in upgrading their Internet Explorer 6 web browser. This campaign will result in former IE 6 users having a more enjoyable experience on the web while (hopefully) creating a less stressful and complicated environment for web developers by hastening the retirement of an outdated browser.

If you’d like to support our cause, you may do so by going door to door urging the inhabitants of your town to upgrade their browsers. Alternatively, you can place a call to our browser detection/upgrade recommendation script on your site to show your support.

This script will show a pop-down window on your site when someone uses IE6 to view it.

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Clicking on this pop-down will bring you to the Save The Developers website where you can choose which browser you’d like to use instead.

Erick Schonfeld over at TechCrunch reports::

Even though the more recent version of Microsoft’s browser, IE7, has been around for more than two years, IE6 still represents 31 percent of all browsers out there (versus only 22 percent for IE7 and 36.5 percent for Firefox). This upgrade lag is simply unacceptable—to programmers, that is, who find it a real pain to make sure their Web apps work on five different browsers. Not only that, but IE6 supports some non-standard features and functions that are not compatible with other browsers. The security vulnerabilities aren’t too much fun either.

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These statistics are provided by w3schools. Let’s take a look at how these are here on LiveSide:

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Those stats are from the past month (February/March). As you can see it doesn’t differ much from the W3schools findings (IE 54,4% total in February), IE still most used followed by FF, be it that IE is taking an even larger share here. But from that percentage the majority is using IE7, not IE6.

So why haven’t people upgraded to IE7? For a part it will be because IE7 will not run on their OS, but why didn’t those who could? Maybe they simply don’t like IE7, how it works, how it looks… Maybe IE 7 wasn’t pushed enough? Will IE8’s New Features, standards compliance and the IE8 Address Bar Improvements be enough for people to upgrade to IE8 (if their OS allows) once that’s released?

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The average user will not care if the web developer has to go into all kinds of bends to make their sites compatible with their browser, it’s stability and ease of use they want. Maybe some handy features will make the difference…

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More Activities (Ebay, FaceBook, StumbleUpon, MSNBC and more…)

Will an alternative ever become the most used? Will a modular Windows 7 make a difference (I doubt IE will be in a separate module, but who knows)? For a non standard (alternate) browser to become the most used, they will have to make everybody, including the less comp savvy, with a computer aware of their existence and/or be the best browser there is (security, features, ease of use, fast loading, standards compliance).

Can Firefox or perhaps Opera, who recently announced to have reached a 100% pass rate at the Acid3 test (test to check how well a web browser follows certain web standards). And what about Safari 3.1, which recently was pushed upon those of us who have the Apple Updater (for iTunes, QuickTime). Will their pushing result in a bigger share of Safari users? At this time Safari can not load a number of Microsoft Web sites, including Windows Live Hotmail at all and is having problems with Flash. Currently IE8 in standard mode can not be used on several Microsoft sites either, hooray for the emulate IE7 button.

The OS requirements for the mentioned browsers

Internet Explorer 7 – Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and is included as a feature within Windows Vista.
Firefox – Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Mac OS X 10.2.x and later, Linux.
Safari  – Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac
Opera – Any system running Windows 95 or later (98 or higher recommended), Mac, Linux

So if you have a computer running on anything below XP and don’t want to use IE6, you get to choose between Firefox or Opera.

The number of users still using IE6 may also drop pretty fast because of Microsoft’s decision to set Windows XP end-of-sales date at June 30, 2008. This means everybody buying a new Windows computer after that date will get Vista with IE7.

If you are a web developer and wish to help make IE8 the better browser, read IE8 Beta 1 launched. Before installing don’t forget to read the release notes. IE8 can be installed on Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).