Saturday 9 August 2008

Stop Avoiding Coding For Internet Explorer

Apple are the latest participant in a very limiting trend that I've seen on the Internet and that's developers making the choice to simply not support Internet Explorer for some functionality. I pick Apple because of it's high profile warning when you access MobileMe using Microsoft's browser. Instead of taking the time necessary to code for the most popular browser in the world they just stick up this warning and think that that is the way web development works. Well I'm afraid it isn't. In the end it would be much easier to be able throw up a message stating that the service doesn't work with Safari, an unsafe and unstable browser with a tiny share of the browser market, or Firefox, competent but again a browser without a majority share. I'm fed up with seeing web pages telling me that the developers couldn't be bothered programming for the majority of their viewers and if they don't care about providing me with a fully working service then why should I bother using it at all. If they can't develop for Internet Explorer then say so but don't blame it on the browser.

And for all the fan-bois out there who think that this is the behaviour that will bring down the Redmond Giant and is being done to make some sort of stand then just bare in mind that the iPhone and all iPods are fully compatible with Windows with no difference in functionality between Mac and PC. The major products are compatible because they won't sell if they aren't and profits are what matters most, bottom line. Minor services don't matter as much and obviously get less attention so ask yourself is your service minor and insignificant or will it be the next big thing? If the answer is the latter then sit down at you development environment, remove the warning message and get to work.


  1. I would imagine that for MobileMe (Previously .mac) the majority of the users would be on Safari. Just as for Hotmail/Windows Live Mail the majority are on IE and Safari/FF are not fully supported.

    Just a thought.

  2. Not a chance of it. For a public site, you'd have to weigh up effort vs reward. For a private site, or a backend client, as long as it works in IE that's enough for me.

    You don't code to a browser you code to standards. If Microsoft are incapable of or unwilling to design to standards then that's their problem.

    Designers have 2 options, once they've coded the site correctly. Invest vast amounts of time (and time=money) hacking their code to make it work with IE's dodgy behaviours, or be content with the site working in IE and recommend a proper browser for an optimum experience.

    If a client is happy to pay the extra that it would cost to fuck about with non-standard code to force a square peg through a round hole and make IE do what they want, all well and good. Not sure I would though.