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Dev says: Stop banging on about IE6

Enough already, says Remy Sharp: support IE6 or don't. But just stop going on about how it should die

Remy Sharp
Remy Sharp would like devs to stop moaning about IE6, because the argument is moot

In an article that might be interpreted as more than a little angry and sarcastic by anyone who has powers of reading and comprehension, developer Remy Sharp has expressed the wish that everyone would just shut the hell up about why IE6 should die.

What do you mean, you don’t like IE6? Really? argues that designers should stop posting about why they won’t support IE6 and either get on with doing so or just stop. “We all know IE6 should die. Microsoft knows IE6 should die. Heck, even IE6 knows it needs to die. It’s been walking around like a fucking zombie for years,” he says. “While we’re at it, when IE6 does eventually die, who’s going to do the find and replace on all the blog posts from 'IE6' to 'IE7', then 'IE7' to 'IE8'?” asks Sharp, who, presumably, was banging his head against the desk in despair at this point, while trying hard to type.

Sharp tells .net he was tipped over the edge after reading a post by a young developer explaining why he doesn't support IE6, but he says that's not what drove the content of the blog post.

“I wrote it in response to the years of seeing articles, hearing about websites, online petitions and conference speakers telling us that IE6 must die,” he says. “It’s not new news. We all know IE6 must die, but there's the simple fact that IE6 is part of the job for many people.”

Sharp notes that many clients simply don’t have any choice in supporting the ageing browser, and that designers should either suck it up (and, if they like, charge more for supporting obsolete technology) or just get out of the way and let someone else do so. “Why folk don't support IE6 is old news. Trying to justify it to yourself or others is just a way of deflecting the fact that you're not up to the job,” he adds.

Sharp also thinks some developers are putting their own well-being and convenience above the needs of their clients in claiming they won’t support IE6 under any circumstances: “It’s not the right approach to say you won’t support a browser. The developer can justify why a client shouldn't support a browser, but ultimately it's not our call. If the client loves IE6 and only uses that browser, then if you want the work, you’re going to have to support it”.

Sharp suggests developers do more to find out about a client’s traffic before coming to any conclusion, and argues that poor browsers can even be an opportunity to sharpen skills.

“Often, I find clients want to support IE6 without even knowing what their traffic is like or what the usage is. It's often just a gut feeling. If that's the case, I simply quote separately for IE6 support, so the client can make the decision, which is much easier when there’s an associated cost,” he says. “And knowing about and dealing with browser quirks are two of the things that make a developer good at their job.”

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