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All posts tagged Internet Explorer

The Blogosphere Is Rejoicing Over IE 8 9 10 End of Life…

Microsoft announced this week that IE 8 9 10 would no longer receive support.

This leaves Windows 7 and 8.x users with the option of upgrading to IE 11 or making the leap to Windows 10.

Whilst many Web Professionals, Developers, Designers and Testers in my feed are doing the Happy Dance over the fact they can follow Microsoft’s lead and end support for these versions of IE, there are inherent problems.

IE 8 9 10 Happy Dance

With thanks to the BBC and the 9th Doctor for this “Happy Dance”

Now For The Bad News…

For those of you who are the IE hateful, there may be some aspects of this announcement you haven’t considered.

Whilst blogs like the Verge, Ars Techica and others are touting this news as Microsoft .. killing Internet Explorer. The fact is end of life means Microsoft will actually no longer support these versions.

IE 8 9 10 will no longer receive patches, hot fixes or security updates and whilst Microsoft might remind users to upgrade their browsers, it won’t force it on them. As such, how many people out there are going to be left with unsecured browsers? Not so happy now huh?

Microsoft has faced this problem before with end of life for IE6. Moving users out of their comfort zone is no small challenge. Even if Windows Update is set to automatic updates, the user is almost certainly going to have to opt-in to updating their browser to IE11. Moving users from IE 8 9 10 to Chrome or Firefox? Even more of a challenge.

So Microsoft will be looking for creative ways to entice users with IE 8 9 10 to upgrade and reduce the footprint of masses of unsecured browsers in homes and the workplace. The workplace is somewhat easier, it requires influencing IT Professionals, Ops and CIO’s to take their business back to secure, patched browser use.

The home users are going to be a bigger problem. Telling users they get a more secure browser is too abstract, everyday consumers need a tangible incentive. Many may also not have Windows Update setup to push automatic updates or just see it as an annoyance.

The Warptest POV

I make no bones about the fact that if your PC can handle the move to Windows 10 then upgrading the OS is the way to go. If that’s not for you then you should be running Windows Update right now and updating IE 8 9 10 to IE 11.

If you have been cheering the so-called demise of these browsers then I have a challenge for you. Now you know the browsers aren’t going anywhere, just the support for them, what are YOU going to do to resolve this problem? Each of us know a bunch of people who won’t be updating their browsers, why not do it for them after convincing them that IE 11 is still in their comfort zone, even if Chrome and Firefox aren’t. The UX isn’t a drastic change and the UI is still clearly 100% Internet Explorer. They may just be too anxious to run the update themselves.

There, you just made the internet a safer place and reduced the number of unprotected versions of IE 8 9 10 running out there. Doesn’t that feel good?

Now as for Microsoft, if I can run a crowdsource project like this off the cuff, what are you going to do? Especially for non-techy consumers to make the update to IE 11 or Windows 10, then they need to feel a tangible incentive. This is going to need to serious evangelism, no? Game on Redmond.


Zombie testing applies…

To a state of mindlessness in the tester where certain scenarios or observations are missed.

Sadly, it can be incredibly infectious in the workplace.

When does this happen?

This can happen for a variety of reasons but let’s examine a special case where names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty:

Elizabeth Bennet was a testing manager and was discussing web application testing with Darcy and Catherine, established members of her team.

She asked about cross browser compatibility testing and was greeted with a variety of the usual trollish comments about Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer - zombie testing

One of the many examples of this kind of IE trolling

Elizabeth felt Darcy was especially annoying on the subject but suppressed her irritation and scheduled a test session for the team to test the web app cross browser.

Her suspicions were confirmed when they discovered a variety of hereto undiscovered defects in IE.

Elizabeth sat with her testing team and asked each tester what web apps they work with and on which browsers. No one on the team actually used IE and once again Darcy piped up confidently stating that the “lame” browser had such little market share it wasn’t relevant to test.

George the Product Manager was passing by and heard Darcy. He was quick to jump in and correct this misconception and stated that he was glad Elizabeth had decided to correct this oversight as many of the company’s end-users were IE users.

Bingley the web app Developer was building a new version based on all the new defects found.

Darcy came over to Elizabeth privately to apologize for his mistake and asked for responsibility for testing this in future.

Elizabeth was pleased and agreed but only if they pairwise tested the next version.

The Warptest POV

Testing requires a variety of skills, some of which I’ve addressed in the past but a tester cannot afford to compromise their objectivity by bringing their prejudices into the workplace.

Doing so may leave them open to being infected with the kind of zombie testing mindlessness mentioned in the story above.

pride prejudice and zombie testing

Image with thanks to

In a nutshell, good testing is not zombie testing and it’s worth asking yourself if there is a product or technology you have a blindspot or bias against.

The question you need to ask yourself is if you don’t use it for your own work, will you even think of including it in your testing efforts?

So check the pride, check the prejudice and stow the zombie testing.


Today We Heard About Spartan…

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley sparked off the internet and techie blogospheres rumor mill and speculations ran wild based on her report that Microsoft is building a new lightweight browser to run alongside Internet Explorer on Windows 10.

This is Spartan - 300 quote

With thanks to the movie, The 300 for the eminently quotable phrase. Screenclip via Youtube

Spartan is not going to be Internet Explorer the unconfirmed rumors start from there and include lighter, faster, more flexible and the inevitable comparisons to Chrome and Firefox in that Spartan will have extensions or plugins.

Sites like Gizmodo, Techcrunch, The Verge and others are in a feeding frenzy of speculation and many manage to either misunderstand Foley, indulge in the usual troll-like, anti-Redmond wishing-will-make-it-so or are just link baiting. To be fair to both Techcrunch and The Verge they manage to remain mostly calm and accurate.

My prize goes to Gizmodo for their “Report: Microsoft could ditch IE for a new browser named Spartan” as if tagging Report: at the start of any title legitimizes the magical thinking involved here. Remind me to add this to my “Unicorns live in my basement” post to give it extra cred.

What Can We Learn From The ZDNet Post?

After reading Foley’s post these are the four most noticeable points about Spartan: –

  • It will not be IE12.
  • This may not be another Halo homage (like Cortana) but may actually refer to the design, UI or UX of the browser.

Halo: Spartan Assault

Image courtesy of the Microsoft Store and Halo: Spartan Assault Game

The Warptest POV

Okay so we have an unnamed source and the likelihood that Spartan is not going to be ready for the next Developer Preview for Windows 10.

We can all take a deep breath in our respective brown paper bags, IE is going nowhere for now. Developers are not going to be left in the cold after building web apps or Add-ons for IE. That’s right, IE has add-ons which are basically a different name for Plugins or Extensions on other browsers.

A second browser in Windows 10?!?? Newsflash hotshots, there is a second lightweight browser in Windows 8 and 8.1. Search from the Charms menu or open IE in the Metro New Windows UI and presto, lightweight IE browser. Oh and BTW, both are faster than you might expect.

Mary Jo Foley does ask the very valid question of if we will see Spartan ported to Android or iOS. A year ago many of us would have scoffed at the idea but the last year has shown Microsoft investing major resources in developing for both mobile platforms. Taking that one step further, my question is will Microsoft make Spartan open source like .Net?

My advice to the Microsoft Marketing Team:

Pay whatever you need to recreate the “This is Sparta” scene and then segue into Leonidas surfing the web with Spartan.

One thing is for sure, I will be testing Spartan if and when it is released. How about you?

EU Says No to Microsoft

The EU Slapped Microsoft Yet Again.

In what seems to be a bad flashback to the 1990’s the EU has fined Microsoft $731M for inhibiting user choice of browser in Windows 7.

According to Venturebeat the fine stems from a bug in Windows 7 SP1 that disabled a browser choice screen. The EU claimed this was a breach of an agreement Microsoft made with them to prevent Windows users in Europe from simply defaulting to Internet Explorer.

You Want the Truth…

The EU seems obsessively fixated on massively fining American multinational technology companies. Microsoft are not alone here, companies like Google have also been subject to the whimsy of the EU Anti-trust “cops”.

The other ugly truths here are: –

    • The people suing Microsoft are the same people deciding if that case has any validity. As the Roman poet Juvenal asked Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the Watchmen?)
    • This case seems to rest on the flawed premise that Europeans are simply too inept to know how to install a different browser. Really?!??
    • Browser usage statistics over the past several years have indicated a world-wide downturn in use of Internet Explorer. This sort of undermines the premise of this case too. Why? Because other desktop browsers have seized a greater market share and because of the increase in Smartphone browser use.

The Warptest POV

The EU is not exactly displaying enlightened self-interest by fining Microsoft $731M for what was not a malicious or intentional breach of agreement. Whilst this bug should not have slipped thru the testing cracks I still maintain that the underlying premise(s) of this case are so flawed that they would be better served working with Microsoft on what the EU wants for Windows 8.

One could accuse the EU of a pattern of pathological behavior that displays xenophobic, Euro-trash tendencies designed to undermine foreign companies operating in Europe or worse that this is a cynical attempt to line the empty coffers of the EU at the expense of private enterprise.

If Steve Ballmer Skype’d me now to discuss this my advice would be simple: the cost of doing business in the EU just got too high. Microsoft cannot allow a situation where the wolf is guarding the sheep.

Steve Ballmer onscreen at Discovery 2012

In an ideal world I would recommend shutting down all Microsoft offices in the EU and moving the jobs to neighboring countries. Microsoft would have to be sadomasochistic to continue the existing relationship with the EU. Let the EU Competition Enforcement Department run a Linux or Mac OS X computer and see if the same inhibited choice of browsers exist there.

Was this Avoidable?

Possibly if Microsoft had fixed this bug on the spot but somehow I feel that past behavior of the EU indicates that one way or another Microsoft were going to get fined.