IE7On Thursday I stumbled across a campaign to Trash All IE Hacks. The idea is that people only stay on the ancient, buggy, feature-lacking, PITA web browser, Internet Explorer 6, because we web developers coddle them. We make the extra effort to work around those bugs, so they can actually use the sites without upgrading.

Well, yeah. That’s our job.

And a bunch of random websites blocking IE6 aren’t going to convince people to change. If I were to block IE6, or only allow Firefox, or only allow Opera, I’d have to have seriously compelling content to get people to switch. Mostly, people would get annoyed and move on. Who’s going to install a new browser just so they can read the history of the Flash? Or choose an ISP? Or buy a product that they can get from another site?

Slapping the User in the Face

It’s so easy for someone to walk away from your site. One of the tenets of good web design is to make the user jump through as few hoops as possible to accomplish whatever you want him/her to do. Every hoop you add is an obstacle. Too many obstacles, and they’ll just go somewhere else more convenient.

Back when I was following Spread Firefox, every once in a while someone would suggest blocking IE. Every time, people like me would shoot it down. Continue reading

The WaSP Buzz recently posted several links to CSS resources, including a rather thorough CSS Reference at SitePoint.

The ISC reminds us that IE7 will be pushed out to WSUS next week, which should help get rid of IE6. Yeah, I’d rather more people switched to Firefox or Opera, but I’m at the point where I’d love to be able to stop worrying about IE6’s shortcomings when trying to build sites. IE7’s shortcomings are much easier to work around. (Sorry to keep harping on this!)

The inventor of Norton Antivirus talks about computer security and has some rather interesting ideas on what policies are worth pursuing…and what policies aren’t. Long passwords? Great for protecting a stand-alone machine, but on a 10,000 machine network, they only need to crack one. Patch everything? Not every vulnerability gets exploited. I’ll have to read the Slashdot thread when I have time; that should be really *ahem* interesting.

Internet Explorer.It’s confirmed: For the month of January, hits from Internet Explorer 7 significantly exceeded hits from Internet Explorer 6 — and that’s with IE6 hitting at least one extra file per visit to work around its problems with PNG transparency.


Breakdown of major browsers according to AWStats:

Usage Browser Notes
62.8% IE (all)
34.2% IE7
28.1% IE6
27.2% Firefox
4.7% Safari
1.8% Mozilla (not sure if this is SeaMonkey or some catch-all designation)
1.3% Opera

The gap between IE7 and IE6 is solid, nearly 6 percentage points. That’s Safari and Opera combined. And the gap between Firefox and IE6 is closing, with Firefox climbing and IE6 falling. With any luck, it won’t be long before Firefox overtakes IE6 here.

Of course, stats here always seem to skew higher for alternative browsers than global stats. I think it’s because most of the traffic is for a comic fan site. Visitors are probably a bit geekier than average, and therefore more tech savvy than average, and therefore more likely to have installed something other than the default IE.

If you’re still running IE6, and you aren’t required to for policy or compatibility reasons, it’s time to look into a change. The web is moving on. I highly recommend that you either upgrade to IE 7 or switch to an alternative like Firefox or Opera.

Opera.Firefox.I’ve been using the Opera 9.5 previews across the board since September, and the Firefox 3 beta 2 on my secondary work computer for the past month, and I just can’t bring myself to go back. The full-history search available in both browsers has got to be the most useful new feature I’ve seen in a browser since inline spell-check.

Really, the only things holding me back from jumping up to Firefox 3 on my main computers at home and at work were Firebug and some of the HTML validator extensions. Firebug is complicated enough that I didn’t want to rely on the Nightly Tester Tools to disable the compatibility checks. Then I found out that there’s a Firebug beta that does work with Firefox 3. That was enough. Last night I took the plunge.

IE7Meanwhile, things look good on the ditch-IE6 front. After last month’s false alarm due to a local maximum, it looks like IE7 has solidly overtaken IE6 on this site! For the first 13½ days of January, Internet Explorer accounted for 62.5% of total hits. IE7 was 33.5%, and IE6 was only 28.4%. Even better, that’s barely over 1 percentage point from Firefox’s 27.2%!

Most likely, a lot of people got new computers for Christmas. New Windows boxes would mostly be Vista, and would ship with IE7. Another factor might be techies visiting their relatives and helping clean up/update their computers. They might have taken the opportunity to install IE7 or Firefox.

Internet Explorer.I know global statistics still show IE7 only taking up 25%–35% of overall Internet Explorer usage, but stats on this site show a slightly different story (usually skewed toward the crowd more likely to install/upgrade a browser). For the first three days of December, I’m seeing more IE7 users than IE6.

Not by a lot. IE7 has 32.7% and IE6 has 30.3% of the total. And I expect it’ll level out or even reverse as stats from a regular work week filter in. But still, something has finally surpassed that moldering, zombified, shambling heap of a web browser.

Next step: getting Firefox’s numbers (currently 26.8%, also above the global levels) over IE6.

Come on, let’s put a stake in this relic. It’s done.

Update (Thursday): And now Microsoft is finally starting to talk about IE8…even if it is just to say they’ve picked out a name. Whee. 😐

As for the stats, the gap has closed somewhat in the last 2 days, with IE7 at 31.6% and IE6 at 31.2%. This is definitely looking like a home/office split. I’m going to have to write a script sometime to do a daily breakdown of browser versions and see if this actually fits.

Update (Saturday): Yes, IE6 has caught up. 32.2% to 31.1%. *sigh* It turns out I was just seeing a local maximum. 🙁