Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Just force the browser on us, please!

As a web developer, I understand the headaches of having to adjust code to properly function or display across several browsers. It's the nature of the beast. It's better now than it used to be, as standards compliance keeps getting better across the board. But when a new version of a browser comes out, why keep the old one around? Just force the browser on us, please!

Ok, I know that forced upgrades can also cause support problems, especially when it causes more bugs than it fixes, or breaks functionality which could potentially break an entire web site.

But, by doing so, developers would be more apt to stick to well known standards, which leads to more solid code, and less chance of breakage.

I'm ranting because IEBlog says IE7 will be optional and IE6 will continue to be supported and patched until the lifetime of the OS it runs on is over. A quote:
Everywhere that IE6SP1 is supported today, IE6SP1 will continue to be supported until the OS it ships with expires. Are you running IE6SP1 on Windows 2000 SP4? You will continue to get support for IE6SP1 until Windows 2000 expires (slated expiration: 2010).

2010? I hope people are not still running Windows 2000 in 2010. So the days where one standard codebase renders exactly the same on all browsers and platforms is still a way away. Although today's most modern browsers are converging, it's the old ones that are still around that hurt us the most.

Let the public adjust their habits to forced upgrades. It won't take long before most people get used to the idea that the browser they are currently running is always the latest and greatest. Other software does this, why not browsers?

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