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Schadenfreude and Internet Explorer 6

August 3rd, 2010

In a few weeks Internet Explorer 6 will be 9 years old, and with its popularity hovering around 17% I’ve noticed an interesting trend among Web developers that’s been growing over the past few years… a shadenfreude surrounding anything that mocks IE users, or diminishes their browsing experience. The Universal IE6 CSS file is a great example of this. It is a stylesheet intended to make a Website look bland and generic, but functional for IE6 users. Its a manifestation of the philosophy of “Design for better browsers, then design alternative solutions to handle IE6 bugs.” Another project, a Javascript library blurs the page intermittently for IE6 browsers, further to encourages this joy we experience from the pain of others who are:

  • naive enough to think that IE6 is an acceptable browser
  • shackled to a corporate IT policy that doesn’t want to retrain their in-house Windows XP experts
  • working under the umbrella of an accounting department that won’t pay to upgrade the 8-year-old IE6-only Web-based expense reporting system

I’ve heard developers relishing every opportunity to use CSS rounded corners, CSS dropshadows, and any other trick that they can dredge up from the When Can I Use Website just to stick another finger in the eye of Internet Explorer 6 (and occasionally IE7) users. The item I came across online that has me thinking about this trend this morning was the following on a Web site promoting a package of beautiful free HTML5 video player code (yellow arrow and box my own):

ie

The site is actually promoting code as being compatible with “Internet Explorer with Chrome Frame installed.” Chrome frame is a further Internet Explorer insult from Google, which is a package of the main functional part of the Google Chrome Web browser distributed as an ActiveX control (think plugin) for Internet Explorer. That’s like saying the Uhaul truck you are driving has air conditioning because the car its towing has air conditioning. This last thought, because of my own schadenfreude, unfortunately has me laughing out loud.

Browsers, Web Code

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