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Die Hard IE6.

Die Hard IE6.

IE6 Seems To Be More Unkillable Than…

Just about any action hero out there. Could IE6 be more unstoppable than even John McClane?

Die Hard Movie Poster

That said Microsoft are doing their utmost to retire IE6 for good.

Microsoft is pushing hard for a crowdsourced, cross-web solution that combines common sense, education, an embedded code snippet for websites and a webpage that delivers the message simply and elegantly.

Check out The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown  for all this.

 Internet explorer 6 Countdown

The Hard Truth

IE6 is a vestige of a bygone age. An over 10 year old browser. The combination of inherent security issues and the need for developers to add extra code to ensure their websites function in IE6. Web technology has made quantum leaps since IE6 and this makes supporting it a costly and often annoying business.

There is even some precedent here: Australian online electronics retailer Kogan instituted an IE7 Tax last year. The justification for this was allegedly to cover the additional cost in maintaining the code to support IE7 (forget about IE6).

Let’s be honest though the screengrab from Kogan’s site says it all about their (perhaps) subconscious intent. Overtly they are “taxing” IE7 users but actually when they mention better browsers a newer version of IE is noticeably absent from the browser icons displayed.

Kogan IE7 Tax

What Is This Crowdsource Of Which You Speak?

Microsoft seems to get that the carrot beats the stick and so they have provided all us website owners with a snippet of code on the aforementioned IE6 Countdown Site.

This will pull up a banner with an upgrade link when someone browses your site using IE6:

 Upgrade IE6 Message

Kudos to Microsoft for recruiting us, the people who most need IE6 to retire gracefully, to play our part in encouraging others to upgrade.

The Warptest POV

I’m fascinated to see just when IE6 is going to be considered retired especially as we can expect IE11 sometime this year with Windows Blue (a subject for another post).

I don’t agree with site owners like Kogan that users who remain tied to legacy browsers deserve some form of punishment.

If you can’t draw flies with honey then you damn sure shouldn’t be using vinegar.

The real questions though are:

  • How much more life does Windows XP have in it not just IE6? (It’s going to be interesting to see how Microsoft encourages users to pull the plug on XP.)
  • When can we expect to see this happen for IE7 as well?

As a tester I can honestly say that I don’t remember the last time I was asked to include IE6 or 7 in my testing matrix.

So ask yourself this, who do you now still using IE6? Why not take the time to show them how to upgrade and use the newest Internet Explorer their OS can support.