Why Web Developers Hate Internet Explorer
Years ago I used to browse the internet with IE6 and from a user's perspective I didn'tÂ really think much about the performance of the program, the speed of download or tabbed browsing. As far as IÂ was concerned that was the the internet and that was how it was. It wasn't untilÂ my brother showed me this cool new web browser he'd started using (something called "Firefox") that I realisedÂ exactly how slow and buggy my internet experiance had been.
When I started to develop websites, Internet Explorer quickly became the cause of soÂ many head aches for me. I'd write what seemed to me a perfectly coded page, upload the files and view it on Firefox, Safari and Opera (these were the days before Google Chrome) and it looked exactly as I intended it to look. ButÂ then I'd try it on Internet Explorer ... and it was a complete mess!
Was it Just Me?
I think I went through the standard phases most web designers go through when they start out;
Confusion, "The code'sÂ perfectly XHTML compliant, how is this possible?".
Self Doubt, "Is it me? Maybe I'm not up to the grade, my codeÂ must be wrong some where.".
Frustration, "But it works perfectly on every other web browser! What's going on?".
Denial,Â "Well it can't be the browser, maybe it's my computer.".
For a long time I think I settled some where between SelfÂ Doubt and Frustration, and stayed there until I relalised my problem wasn't unique to me.
Why Hate IE?
I found alot of guys out there that were having the very same problems as me, check out I can haz real browser? Infact when you read about IE and search for it you find that an overwhelming numberÂ developers have a real dislike for it, and the same issues keep cropping up;
- It is not a standard-compliant browser. Microsoft has set its own â€™standardâ€™ with IE.
- I don't think MS have ever heard of W3C.
- CSS rendering doesnâ€™t happen.
- IE needs very specific (non-valid) commands within your CSS to render properly (opaicy/alpha anyone?).
- Itâ€™s a Microsoft product. (Just saying)
- No support for transparent PNGs.(IE6 has Zero support. Granted IE7 does but very poorly, ever tried gradiented
- levels of transparancy? Not pretty in IE7.)
- Random non-specific general buggieness.
The biggest problem of all with IE is that you can't ignore it, if you are a developer you are tied down to theÂ buggy limbo that is coding for Internet Explorer because 65% of web users are browsing with IE. That's alot less than it used to be, it was around the 90% markÂ a few years ago, so we are going in the right direction, but we are not where we'd like to be.
IE is a Microsoft product, it's not like there is a shortage of funds that wouldÂ hinder development of a quality product. So how is it that IE is the most inferior web browser about? How is itÂ that a team of supposed paid professionals are being out stripped by people who develop as a hobby? I've heardÂ people argue that it is complacancy with a lack of competition they stagnated and their products became stale.Â Probably so, but that doesn't excuse non-compliance with the standards or being a resource hog. Regardless of the answerÂ this is translating in to IE becoming less and less attractive, from a user point of view, when compared to theÂ alternatives out there (as is evident with the fall in market share over the years). Alot of Â people seem to have a lot of hate for Internet Explorer, one Twitter campaign that made me laugh was the IE6 Must DIE campaign.
If It Is So Bad, Why Is It Used?
So if IE is so bad why do people continue to use it? Most of the time it is convience, ignorance or impotance.Â For most people they use a computer, which runs on windows, and it will be preinstalled with Internet Explorer,Â and so why would they need another browser? For others they know that IE is a pain and that it crashes alot and Â makes the computer go slow or stop altogether, but they aren't aware that there is another way. The most frustratingÂ senario is when you want to change browser but you can't, and this is where alot of users find themselves. I readÂ an interesting article on Dig on this subject, and the jist is basicallyÂ people want to surf with the browser of their choice but lack the admin powers to make this happen.
Moving Forward, to a Brighter Future ...
What about the future then? I hope that IE get their act together and finally produce a product that can stand upÂ next to its rivals. Not so much for IE's sake but for my own, if I don't have to spend an extra half hour to sometimesÂ five hours IE debugging, for every one hour spent writing web code I'll be very happy. My ideal solution wouldÂ be for Internet Explorer to vanish altogether, Whether that will come to pass I don't know, but I really hope so.
Google Chrome (my primary browser)