2001: A Browser Oddity

The summer 2001 was a time when “Friends,” “Will and Grace,” and the West Wing topped the TV viewing lists. The hype over the first Harry Potter movie was starting and Apple launched the Iconic iPod. Remember? These were the days when most people though Osama was a side dish from a Japanese restaurant. Well this is also the time when Microsoft Launched Internet Explorer Version number Six, that’s IE6 for short. This quickly became adopted as the world’s number one browser thanks to it being included with Windows. Let’s flip back to the iPod for a sec; the 2001 version with a scroll wheel that actually turned! Its tiny 5GB of music (current model is 120GB) and pathetic battery life. Hands up everybody who is still using theirs today? ermmm that’s right, nobody… Now hands up all those who are still using IE6. Hmmm, it appears that 42% of corporate America put there hands up.

WHY?!??!

After some research, it appears the high number is thanks to the use of internal legacy applications, intranets so poorly programmed they only work in one browser etc. Also, IE is apparently so easy to keep up to date using group policy & WSUS to push out updates. Which means that they fixed the browser and windows XP that it runs on with so many patches and layers of security that they feel in control of it. I think the latter excuse serves only to blatantly point out that the security on IE6 is a joke and instead of trying to patch a broken browser, why not use a new secure one instead?

Another reason is, new browsers use more memory and resources. Maybe they are worried because they are using brand new Pentium 4′s that just rolled off the production lines back in 2001 too. But fair is fair. They have a point indeed. This is true if you only have one browser open. But the advantage is lost when for every window you open in IE6, you cannot use tabs, and have to open a full application each time.

From a Website design point of view, IE6 is terrible. The two main points being no PNG transparency support and horrific CSS management, ranging from no min height support to flicking backdrop and crazy padding issues.

If you want your website to be IE6 compatible, then yes you can, but it will look like a cross between Wikipedia and Craig’s List and become the vinyl siding of websites.