Old Browsers

Sunday, 14th November 2010

If the main body of this page has rounded corners and subtle drop-shadow effects with a stylish Diavlo font face instead of Arial / Helvetica / sans-serif, chances are you are already using a modern browser. If you see square borders and a default sans-serif font, then you should be aware your browser doesn't support the latest Web standards making the life of Web designers rather difficult. This site looks great on Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, but will look rather dated in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8.

Modern browsers such as recent versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Microsoft's upcoming Internet Explorer 9 support CSS 3 meaning effects that previously required a complex maze of background graphics and endless hours of testing of different variants of major browsers can now be achieved with a few lines of code.
Newer browsers also render javascript much faster, making it easier to develop Web applications that look and feel like native applications.

Still using Internet Explorer 6?

Here are just some of the reasons you might want to upgrade:

  • It does not support W3C standards.
  • It is not compatible with CSS3 and only partially supports CSS2.
  • It has a very low score in Acid 3 test.
  • It is insecure and slow.
  • Several movements against this browser have sprung up: IE Death March, Dear IE6, Stop IE6.
  • Google has officially stopped supporting it in its Web applications.
  • A funeral has been celebrated
  • Microsoft has discontinued support, focussing on its next generation IE9
  • The browser lives on in intranets reliant on dated and inherently insecure Active-X technology and unpatched versions of Windows XP. IE7 was released in early 2006.

We strongly recommend that you download one of the following browsers:

Bad Boy Browsers

When the Internet took off in the mid to late 90s, most sites were, by today's standards, rather basic pages, often handcoded and uploaded via FTP.  Tim Berners Lee invented HTML as a medium for linking a web of related text documents. Indeed the image tag was added almost as an afterthought in HTML 2. However, as the World Wide Web expanded, the two main browsers of the era, Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer, added a plethora a style tags and designers began to use tables, originally intended only for tabular data, to implement complex pixel-perfect designs. By the late 90s most commercial sites were a maze of nested <font>, <table>, <tr> and <td> tags with reams of inline style information. When Internet Explorer won the first round of the browser wars, its quirky implementation of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) HTML 4.0 and CSS1 became the de-facto standard and Microsoft didn't see fit to update its IE6 browser released in 2001 until 2006. While innovative in its time, IE6 is simply ancient in terms of Web evolution. HTML is only 17 years old and IE6 over 9 years. For more advanced behaviour Microsoft introduced its own proprietary scripting language, Active X, integrated with its proprietary operating systems Windows 95/98/200/XP. While this faciliated the development of Web applications and their interaction with native WindowsTM programs, it was a security nightmare outside firewall-protected intranets. As Web usage expanded exponentially post 2002 with the advent of broadband services, demand grew for better integration of images, audio and video as well as cross-platform Web applications, but mainstream browser technology clearly prevented further progress without resorting third-party plug-ins such as AdobeTM Flash or more recently Microsoft Silverlight. This means not only purchasing proprietary software (Adobe Flash Studio, Illustrator and/or Photoshop or M$ Visual Studio), but also hiring expensive AS3 developers instead of letting a Web designer accomplish the same ends. While such third-party solutions can provide impressive results for some games and special effects, they are not integrated with other Web standards such as HTML, CSS (Cascading Style-Sheets), Javascript and the little-known SVG standard (Scalar Vector Graphics). It has largely been the open-source community, the Mozilla Foundation and more recently a rather ironically, Apple Inc., to insist on Web standards for multimedia. HTML5 now supports not only more advanced style effects, but also video, audio and canvas elements enabling videos, sound clips and vector-graphic animation to be embedded into your browser natively and directly manipulated by Javascript. Recently we've seem huge gains in browser performance with Chrome, Safari and Opera regularly claiming the top spot with Firefox 4 catching up fast. Even Microsoft, with its new IE9 browser (only compatible with Windows Vista and 7), has shifted its focus from Silverlight to HTML5.
For once we have good news for Web Developers and bad news for vendors of proprietary solutions.
+