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Why is Internet Explorer still targeted.

cross-browser-compatibility internet-explorer ie

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#1 bobble14988

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:41 AM

I am, by no means, an expert web designer or developer. I am primarily a software engineer and work quite a lot on server-side code of web applications. But I've been wondering about this question for some time and I've tried to find somewhere appropriate to post this question as I'd like to see some discussion so I apologise if it is the wrong place.

My parents have been running a business for almost 10 years and have recently asked me to redesign their website. I've been looking to build up my portfolio so I thought it would be an interesting side-project.

After many hours of planning the design and laying out the basic structure of the page (testing only with Chrome, for now) I ended up with a solid design I (and my parents) liked which was ready for content. I felt proud of my first website designed from scratch and could see myself doing it more often.

I typically use Chrome so, after installing various other browsers, I started testing the site for cross-browser-compatibility. The site looked exactly the same in all browsers except Internet Explorer. The CSS rules for my titles don't have text-shadow, the divs didn't have border-radius and the positioning was all over the place.

The my frustration was palpable. I know there are tricks for creating IE-only stylesheets and so I was expecting a few issues but not to have to design the entire site twice!

There are many articlesabout Chrome overtaking IE as the predominant web browser in use and, at its current rate of decline, Firefox may even be more popular soon, so why oh why are web developers still going to all the effort of designing websites for the ugly ducking which is Internet Explorer?!

Would it be the case that, if no new website targeted IE and only the "good" browsers, then IE would simply die and Microsoft would have to replace it with something which conformed to the standards of other browsers? Or are web developers destined to design two sites for two different class of browsers? Is it worth going to the effort, or should I simply include a check when they load my site which redirects them hereif they're using IE?

I assume that experience is key to designing a site with perfect cross-browser-compatibility and I will know for next time to take this into consideration earlier in the process.

Thanks for reading :)

#2 zed

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:49 AM

*yawn* - Most cross browser issues are down to poor coding, not the browser.

#3 funsella

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:33 AM

*yawn* - Most cross browser issues are down to poor coding, not the browser.


Cant say it better myself a +1 for you!!

But I think its a bit unfair to compare the old browsers to the new browsers. Microsoft is trying to get people to install IE9 which is way better than its predecessors but unfortunately they cant force the users to upgrade their browsers and i am sure they don't have the man power to go to every PC and manually upgrade them.

*edit*

what you could do is leave a message that will only display to user using IE8 or lower. You can them suggest that they should upgrade their browser. This way if you do get an IE visitor your not sending them away from your site.

<!--[if lte IE 8]><p class="browseHappy">This website was made for a modern browser, <a href="http://browsehappy.com/" target="_blank">download one</a> and browse happy!</p><![endif]-->

drop that in at the top below your opening body tag and style it appropriately

#4 jamesosix

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:41 AM

well nothing is stopping you redirecting to a say no to ie site, but really then you would be alienating a (small) section of potential customers.

#5 bobble14988

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:54 AM

I guess the crux of my issue is, when my site (and I'm sure many, many others) work automatically in ALL browsers except Internet Explorer, and Internet Explorer is becoming less popular by the day, what incentive is there for me as a developer to target that browser?

*yawn* - Most cross browser issues are down to poor coding, not the browser.


Poor coding, maybe. But, as I said, I'm not an expert and still learning.

It'd be nice to know, however, why you put a text-shadow property, which is supported across all browsers except IE, down to poor coding?

Edited by bobble14988, 26 September 2012 - 11:54 AM.


#6 zed

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:03 PM

It'd be nice to know, however, why you put a text-shadow property, which is supported across all browsers except IE, down to poor coding?


I thought you said, and I quote "The CSS rules for my titles don't have text-shadow, the divs didn't have border-radius and the positioning was all over the place.
"
so I don't understand your argument. If it's not supported in IE then you can't code for it and if you're getting layout issues across browsers then that is most likely down to poor coding. I'd put the text-shadow property down to unsupported by that version of the browser and live with it.

#7 funsella

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:04 PM

There are a lot of developers out there that are adopting the "graceful degradation" method.

Basically you develop your site and get it done using all the rounded corners and shadows that you like. But on older versions you leave it without these elements. The people visiting the site will get the content and they will get the message. They will be missing a few twist, turns and shadows.

I like this method because it gives users a reason to upgrade their browsers.

#8 ELITE

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:13 PM

I don't think it will help you with your text-shadow but modernizr may be something you would like to take a look at, it can give you a fallback option, if what you are trying to do in IE is not available then modernizr will provide you with a alternative way.

http://modernizr.com/


#9 bobble14988

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:09 PM

This is some good discussion on the topic and I appreciate the feedback.

However, my question still remains, why do web developers continue to target a browser which seems to be working against their best efforts?

I understand the argument for not wanting to alienate a portion of users but, as IE becomes less and less popular, won't developers want to target that browser less and focus more on "better" browsers which help make their lives easier?

Edit, I found these two articles on the topic interesting, maybe a little bias but still make their argument well. Suffice to say, this is not an isolated problem only I'm having and not necessarily down to poor coding.

http://www.theregist...mozilla_on_ie9/

http://www.devprocon...ernet-explorer3

Also, Mozilla's comparison of IE9 and their browser http://people.mozill...ie9_vs_fx4.html This points out many, many things which are missing in IE9.

Edited by bobble14988, 26 September 2012 - 03:39 PM.


#10 ELITE

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:30 PM

This is some good discussion on the topic and I appreciate the feedback.

However, my question still remains, why do web developers continue to target a browser which seems to be working against their best efforts?

Well for starters 30% of visitors are using IE7-IE9 so let keep 30% of my visitors happy while they are here they my buy something

I understand the argument for not wanting to alienate a portion of users but, as IE becomes less and less popular, won't developers want to target that browser less and focus more on "better" browsers which help make their lives easier?


if it was easy wouldn't everyone be doing it?

if i was your client and wanted an e-commerce website what would you tell me if i asked about browsers would you redirect my visitors to a no to IE page, don't forget that's 30% of my visitors, i may have paid for that visitor with google adwords at £3.51 a time or they may have found us by our keywords that's come from spending time doing SEO

#11 MikeChipshop

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 04:08 PM

You build for people not for browsers.
If a large percentage of potential visitors are going to be using IE then you have to build with it in mind.

I go for the graceful degradation route myself.
I no longer support IE7 or below and 8 gets graceful degradation.

In your case you were using modern techniques so of course an old browser wont support them.
IE10 is now heading our way (I've got it on my Win 8 machine) and it's a huge leap forward. Still lacks a decent plugin engine but apart from that it's a lovely little browser that's fast and has a superb JS engine as well great support for HTML5 and CSS3.

#12 MMMedia

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 04:20 PM

Not supporting IE is perhaps the most moronic thing I've ever heard, but still people suggest doing so.

#13 steveking

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 04:21 PM

This is a bug bear of mine, I am by no means an advanced designer/developer. So I go my own route and design in my preferred browser (firefox) then add all the addition css code for webkits, opera and ie. It may not be a perfect method and I am sure that there is a quicker much more efficient way to be doing it but so far it works. :)

#14 bobble14988

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:50 AM

You build for people not for browsers.


I guess this is the best response so far. But, after doing some research on the subject, it is nice to know that I am not the only one caught out by Microsoft's lack of standards compliance.


*yawn* - Most cross browser issues are down to poor coding, not the browser.


Also, after doing research, it is nice to know that poor coding isn't the root cause of the problem.

#15 ELITE

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 11:13 AM

Also, after doing research, it is nice to know that poor coding isn't the root cause of the problem.

To help you with your coding just use the validator, if your site validates there is more chance of the website looking how it should do in all browsers.

http://validator.w3.org/


#16 bobble14988

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 12:20 PM

To help you with your coding just use the validator, if your site validates there is more chance of the website looking how it should do in all browsers.

http://validator.w3.org/


I coded the site with xHTML validation in mind. It is an ASP site so it doesn't pass W3C validation but the xHTML is correct.

#17 bobble14988

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 07:57 PM

In the interest of completing this discussion, for anybody who stumbles on this thread, a single line of code has resolved my problem (for IE9 at least).

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" />

Reference here: http://davidwalsh.na...rounded-corners

Including that above where you import your stylesheets should fix most problems.

Why you need to do this for IE only is still totally beyond me but I'm happy that I've learned from this frustrating experience.

Edited by bobble14988, 27 September 2012 - 07:59 PM.


#18 Wickham

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:11 PM

In the interest of completing this discussion, for anybody who stumbles on this thread, a single line of code has resolved my problem (for IE9 at least).

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" />

Please explain. This site http://stackoverflow...content-ie-edge says

Edge mode tells Internet Explorer to display content in the highest mode available. With Internet Explorer 9, this is equivalent to IE9 mode. If a future release of Internet Explorer supported a higher compatibility mode, pages set to edge mode would appear in the highest mode supported by that version. Those same pages would still appear in IE9 mode when viewed with Internet Explorer 9.

So you are making viewers see your page as IE9 (if the user has IE9 otherwise whatever the user has, perhaps only IE7) so I don't know if it will cure the problems for all viewers.

Your link says "Internet Explorer did not support border-radius until IE9, much to the frustration of developer and designers. With IE9, the important steps are using the edge META tag <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" /> and provide the border radius: " but if a user only has IE7, I don't see how it will help. I think all that IE-edge does is stop someone with IE9 using compatibility mode IE7 (not sure about that).

I agree with others that when you say "positioning all over the place" you should be able to deal with that without using "X-UA-Compatible" method.

I used the "X-UA-Compatible" content= "IE=EmulateIE7" method a lot when IE8 first came out and most users still had IE7 but don't use it now. I think it's a bit of a cop out. You should code so that your page looks decent in all browsers, but not necessarily the same.

Edited by Wickham, 27 September 2012 - 08:28 PM.

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#19 fleur

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:23 PM

Troubles will coming soon not only with IE but with Opera too. Opera officials wants to support Webkit but in strange way. CSS styles in browsers will too much different. So.. it will hard time for developers..

#20 Sitesupplier

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:38 PM

Of course Internet Explorer are not up to speed when it comes to standards-compliance, but as a developer it is your job to make sure you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the browser in question. While Internet Explorer has a bad reputation, it certainly isn't as bad as many believe believe and/or claim. Internet Explorer has brought some good creations with it, despite lacking support. For example the "contentEditable" <div> was a Microsoft IE innovation which has now been adopted by all browsers. You must also be aware that the older versions of Internet Explorer are still used by a large number of people, and those older versions have support for non-standard attributes. For example:

function test(event)
{
    console.log(event.target.id);
}

This code will not work in older MSIE versions because it is the standards-compliant method, to support MSIE < 9, you'd need to use:

console.log((event.target || event.srcElement).id);

This is just to demonstrate that MSIE does do everything, it has just done it its own way for much of the time. My belief is that they once owned the Web, so had no real requirement to follow the standards so rigorously because they were the only player.

Another reason to support MSIE is that many people are still using the browser. The Opera browser, according to Opera's own FAQ, is used by 275 million users. Being such a minor browser should put into perspective just how many people are still using MSIE; and that is why you must maintain support for it.





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