So, Internet Explorer is in big trouble. Both the France and Germany governments have called for web users to find an alternative browser this week this week. Most tech-savvy users have already moved to Firefox and Chrome (Iâm now completely using Chrome), but the majority of surfers still use the default IE.
Even more interesting, most corporate environments Iâve worked in support only Internet Explorer internally. You are simply not allowed to install another browser. Iâve worked on projects where the intranet application we are developing only works with Internet Explorerâusually because of bad coding/testingâbut no one will fix this because âwe only support Internet Explorerâ.
I remember one high-level manager in an investment bank tell meââSeriously, Eric, I canât see us ever moving away from Internet Explorer.â
The lack of cross-browser support in the ASP.net developer community has been a big pet-peeve with me for years. You donât find this with PHP, Java, or Ruby guys. But Microsoft developers stick with Microsoft browsers.
Iâve had the arguments so many times in various contractsââWe should support Firefox too. It only takes a few minutes to test functionality if we do it early enough, but will be a huge task to implement it later.â I can remember having this argument a half-dozen times, at least.
It has never been easier to do cross-browser development (you should have tried it in the Netscape 3/IE 3 daysâthat was painful), but it still gets overlooked.
Even the online banking site for my business bank account only renders properly in Internet Explorer. This is a huge pain to go through all the necessary security logins for bankingâonly to realise you are in the wrong browser and you canât read the page. Iâve nearly changed banks because of this frustration.
An ideal web development team would have different developers using different browsers. In a team of 4 people for example, have one person on each of the 4 major browsersâIE, FIrefox, Chrome and Safari. Better yet, adhere to proper XHTML or HTML syntax (most of the time, apps only support IE because of some malformed html that Explorer allows).
But for years Iâve heard the same argument from different people–âWe donât have that kind of timeâ, âItâs an internal application and the we only support Explorerâ, and âWeâre not a software house. But now, when governments are recommending that we switch browsers, these developers havenât even given their users this option.
This could kill Internet Explorer or at least severely weaken it. I see a lot of âMake this website work in Firefoxâ projects coming up.