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6 Reasons Why IE6 Must Die

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Internet Explorer 6, released on August 27, 2001, was a package of problems right from the start. Within a year of release, Microsoft silently declared that IE6 would not make enough money for them to continue supporting. The result has been numerous security problems, unfixed browser bugs, and a daily migraine for developers. Six years later, IE6 is still a thorn in the side of developers and it's been perfectly clear that IE6, for the following reasons, must die.

Lack of PNG Transparency Support

I'm a huge fan on PNG images. Though their file sizes can be larger than GIF's and JPG's, they are generally clean, crisp graphics. Internet Explorer 6 does not support transparency in PNG images, rather it displays an ugly gray color as transparency's replacement. Firefox, IE7, Opera, and Safari all support PNG transparency but IE6 clearly never will and that's holding back businesses from using PNGs on their website.

Note: I am aware of the ".htc" patch and CSS fixes, but they aren't a good enough solution.

CSS Float + Margin / Padding Issues

Internet Explorer 6 adds double the amount of margin or padding on DIVs that are floated the same direction as the margin/padding. The easy fix to this problem is using the CSS "display:inline;" attribute:value on the DIV, but it's easily one of the most annoying problems created by Internet Explorer 6.

Lack of CSS Pseudo-Class & Pseudo-Element Support

Pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements are clearly important to enhance website design and control as can be seen in my article Advanced CSS Link - Spice Up Your Links. Pseudo-elements allow you to control the first line, first letter, content before and content after an element. Pseudo-classes allow you to select elements at specific states (hover, visited, etc.) CSS provides for hover/visited on anchors but no other elements.

No Min-Height CSS Support

Min-height is a CSS attribute that I use in every single web project. Most of my website designs (given to me by my talented designer) require layers of background images and DIVs to be successful. Min-height is a valuable attribute because it allows me to set the necessary minimum height of the content DIVs so that the header and footer images (background or foreground) do not meet too closely with the content-area background. There's a very easy fix to this problem in my article Cross Browser CSS Min-Height but I prefer to avoid browser-specific fixes if possible.

CSS Anchor Background Image Flicker

I initially loved CSS because you could swap background images using CSS :hover effects instead of the painful JavaScript "onmouseover" attribute. The problem with using a:hover and background images is that IE6 produces an annoying flicker between changing from the rested state to the hover state -- what a joke! Javascript provides a directive that can fix this problem, but wasn't the goal of using CSS avoiding JavaScript?

Crashing With Code

I've seen quite a few articles on how you can crash IE6 using very little code.

These are just a few problems with Internet Explorer 6. Unfortunately I'm preaching to the choir -- I'm not worried about my blog's audience, but the "Mom'n'Pops'" everywhere that don't understand the difference in browsers. For this reason, millions of ignorant internet users will stick to using IE6 which will result in programmers dedicating valuable time to fix IE6-caused bugs and will hamper pushing websites to the next level.

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Discussion

  1. Eric Jablow

    I would add:

    7. Spotty compliance with HTML 4.0 and XHTML 1.0 standards. IE6 does not recognize the abbr tag, and does the wrong thing with the q tag.

    Dean Edwards has a fix for the abbr problem at http://dean.edwards.name/my/abbr-cadabra.html.

    • Sam

      Hi Eric,

      you have suggested the good thing, i have visited the following site you people can also check the following site for the solution to the problem.

      http://www.commsat.net/

  2. Tufty

    This one I definitely agree with you on.

    I HATE IE6.

    It’s possibly the worst possible thing about working in web development. Most of my sites are coded to web standards, as semantic and accessible as I can make them. Until I have to make them work for IE6. At that point, it becomes a nightmare, with development time to fix its issues typically adding an extra few days.

  3. Martin

    But is IE7 any better?? I’ve had nothing but problems with IE7 and it crashed my entire system. It is better to have a devil that you know than a devil that you don’t.

  4. Alex

    Any IE version is a total crap. IE should be forbidden. I hope it will just disappear some day. It just give headaches to any web developer.

  5. Web Dev

    Only 6? More like 6000.

  6. Sean

    Try PNGCrush (http://pmt.sourceforge.net/pngcrush/) or the PNG output plugin from IrfanView to get your PNGs smaller

  7. I agree that the PNG fixes are in many cases not good enough. When I have a non-seamless reapeating image that needs to be a PNG, i have no real option for IE6.

    I’m sure I could rustle up 7 reasons why IE7 should die.

    IE8 is already in development, but when they are stating that it will “Support for more of the CSS 2.1″ it will probably be just as crap. Konqueror already supports pretty much all of the CSS3 spec, if they cant even get 2.1 in they might as well admit their browsers have been one of the biggest inflictions on the 21st century.

  8. *afflictions, sorry

  9. I got so sick of this stupid browser that I’ve started a campaign to try and get people to switch at http://www.end6.org.

    - Hudin

  10. jd

    I love IE6. It works great with the vested table sites I did in the early 90s. jk… IE is an embarassment for Microsoft, always has been, always will be… it should definetly die.

  11. I don’t know anyone who loves IE6, or really any version of IE. It’s such a nightmare to code for and I’ve never been able to get that .htc png fix to work. However if you have to code for IE6 and you need a good png fix I collected a few and explained when they’ll work and when they won’t here:

    http://cssdivine.com/?page_id=27

  12. I hate IE… It just makes the page code longer, larger, time consuming and and and… Lets start a petition to ban this useless “toy”!

    @Hudin: It’s a good start ;)

  13. Victor

    I hate this browser, it’s giving me serious problems with a customer who wants to keep its version 6.0 installed yet knowing that there are things that don’t work the same way as in IE7 or even in other browsers.

  14. IE 5, 6, 7, …. All just make me mad while I design… Nobody makes me that mad as IE does…

  15. Iwulff

    You are all absolutely right! I do have occasionally a ‘problem’ with other browsers, but when I open a site in IE, it might and probably will turn into a horror.

    IE6/7 are to my opinion also really slow compared to Opera 9.5 and FF3.

    @Jess, I know a few people who love IE, I tried to convince them otherwise. But they see things the other way around. They say that IE is how it should be, and that everything that doesn’t work on other browsers shows them that those browsers are crap… ?!? xD

  16. Gregory

    I just don’t understand the very position of M$ here. Why they didn’t fix some really annoying bugs by autoupdate? Only one thing comes to me, they just didn’t want to! I know good .NET programmers who think IEX rulez. No explanation can wash that brainwash out. It’s so sad to me.

    IMHO those campaigns you started aren’t good enough. People which use IE6 don’t travel to pages like this one (I mean, campaign site)… Don’t understand nor believe in our developing problems…

    We have to create some universal code, to put on every page which does a yellow strip on top of site (in IE5-6 only) with information like: “You are using an old and unsafe browser, please, update it or change to different one from ..links.. [X]“. This strip should be visually the same as one from IE whenever user is asked to allow something.
    Unaware IE6 users will trust it and update ( I hope ).

  17. BeechyBoy

    Only six? IE666

  18. Chris

    IE6 also repeats random characters from the previous div if you use html comments between them. Why does IE6 take a blind bit of notice of comments – it should ignore them!!

  19. Aaaamen. I hate IE6 – desigining a complex CSS site now and cycled through FF/Chrome/Safari/Opera previews – all good… IE6 – AH WTF! its a mess!

    Must die. Muust diiie.

  20. IE6 is a mess! and doesnt help us web designers!

  21. SkyRider

    Well .. I like IE.. it’s gr8.. that is why I use FireFox :)

  22. I really hate that M$ is not ready to update its IE6 to support current day technologies. Why keep an obsolete product. update it !! I hope ppl understand it and move to Firefox.

  23. jerome

    It seems like Microsoft sets it’s third elvel rejects on the browser team, for some reason. Seriously – some of the stuff they overlooke3d is so obvious, and the design is so poor, that 2nd year students at a university could have done better. Wait, reminds of of Windows!

  24. @jerome: LOL

  25. IdontDance

    i use ie6 it comes with the windows, so its good. Never had any problems with internet explorer, and never had any security issues, so i dont see the point to update to 8 or use another browser, everything works great. If some site doesnt work with my ie6 its not my problem and i dont go that site anymoore :)

    Regular net surffer. little blue E letter in my desktop is internet :)

  26. And it crashes on simple javascript code. :)) I’ve made a website about that just to make fun of IE6. http://crashie.ajaxmasters.com

    Thanks for the great post.

  27. I wish i could ‘not-support-IE6′ starting 1st Jan 2009, this is my ‘secretly buried deep-down my heart’ new year wish.

    But then if i manage to do so, i will be jobless, homeless, wondering on the streets barefoot in this chilly winter night, with no food & blanket :(

    May be 1st Jan 2010…….

  28. Kishq

    Ah, yeah, the old famous unpopular IE, the most annoying, headache, computer throwing disaster browser ever I have come a cross in my whole life!!!!!! I am 100% with you on IE must die. :)

  29. I’m a fellow IE6 hater as well and I totally sympathize. However, the .htc fix for PNG images is a solid fix, and if employed with conditional comments, it does not add overhead to any web application viewed with anything other than IE6. Even then, the overhead is minimal, and can be gzip compressed to reduce transfer time and bandwidth.

  30. This is exactly why I created “Upgrade else {dIE}” http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/upgrade-else-die

  31. oohhh if i got paid a dollar everytime i had to deal with the IE marging issue i would no longer need to be a web developer

  32. I’ll second the comment about the .htc fix for PNG’s, that has got me out of trouble a couple of times, but it really does need to be utterly destroyed, I don’t think I’ve got a single website that doesn’t have some IE6 specific Javascript or PHP…

  33. tequ

    surely, if programmers don’t like having to fix ie6 bugs, they could refuse on moral grounds??? and if there are enough visable bugs, people’ll start looking into firefox or something??? or is that a bit too much like direct action???

  34. @tequ: Depends on if you’d lose business by doing so.

  35. That’s the question. There’s a lot of corporations out there who won’t upgrade because of IT costs. YouTube recently cut out IE6 support, so that’s a good sign.

  36. I think there is more than 6 reasons :)

  37. How about the duplicate char bug? Damn! I hate IE6.

  38. The pages I develop are tested under Windows XP using the latest versions following browsers: IE, FF, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Flock. With annoying regularity, when I try something nice, e.g some neat JS functionality, usually IE is the capricious black sheep.

    I still think IE is the best browser… FOR DOWNLOADING FIREFOX! >:D

  39. i stopped supporting it forever ago, and just told clients, “Sorry the page looks crappy, Try updating your browser!”, give them the link, and move on with life.

    ie was utter meecrob the day it came out.

    DAMN WHY DID VISTA HAVE TO SUCK SO BAD THAT NOONE WANTED TO UPDATE AND GET THE NEWER BROWSER AUTOMATICALLY!!?>??!

  40. João

    I’m having a lot of IE6 “fun” with a POST that generates PDF data. If I save the PDF data as a file, it opens fine, but if I just open the file… ta-da! No can do! Error!
    Sometimes I want to KILL the BUNCH OF IDIOTS who built IE6. I **HATE** this browser **SO MUCH**.

  41. Andrew

    I refuse to support any version of IE, and I’m not afraid to take direct action. Any version of IE gets a message saying they are using a non standards compliant browser and that my site is only available on browsers that respect international standards.

  42. I’ve been working on a social networking web site, and while I plan to forcibly disable access in any way I can by IE6 browsers and direct them to Firefox, Chrome or Safari, I can’t see the point of eliminating a large amount of users who are using IE7 and IE8.

  43. With the aim to forestall the mistakes in the dissertation reference, it can be the best to purchase the great information related to this good topic from the dissertation service in web. It’s easier to have the PhD taking this great way.

  44. yes man only six. I like things about IE6. Its interested to me.

    @BeechyBoy:

  45. John

    We should support IE6 as much as IE6 supports us. In other words we shoudn’t support IE6 at all!

  46. Jenny

    I can describe my feelings only in one way

    I HATE IE6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. IE6 is a slow hunk of junk… Even today Microsoft is still putting out not-quite-compliant browsers. I love the “view as broken” button in IE8 that will let you see a view page correctly that was designed incorrectly so it would work in IE6.

  48. IE6 also has issues with multiple classes which is a pain in the butt.

    Yeh, I don’t think anyone has much love for IE6, it has however created a lot of work for front end developers, which is great for the economy. LOL!

  49. It’s time for IE6 to go. I setup some talking points and real solutions for web developers to deal with their clients.

    http://scottgale.com/blog/internet-explorer-6-the-universal-stylesheet/2010/11/01/

  50. Alex

    DIE IE !!!! I will be the happiest man on earth when IE will DIEE !!! DIEEEEE

  51. meera

    I hate IE6…. We can’t do a good looking website with the support of IE6. but the problem is most of the people still using IE6..
    Now I am changing a website,which is not perfect in IE6.Last day i saw a beautiful website with rich java script. but that website not working in IE6,shows so may errors.. Last day one of my client angered on me , because of IE6,their website not working in IE6 properly…
    IE6 Is daily head-ache….IE6 MUST DIE…USELESS BROWSER….

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