What’s wrong with Internet Explorer? A better question, with a much shorter answer, would be: what’s right about it?
- It’s proprietary Microsoft software, meaning there’s very little movement in innovation and usability.
- It’s as secure as Windows is (need I say more).
- Cross-browser-compatibility becomes a nightmare and a half. IE’s never even tried to be standards-compliant, keeping up with web innovations like CSS3 and HTML5, that all other respectable major browsers have. In all fairness, note that IE is just now barely coming around on this issue, but feels like too little, too late.
The issue of compatibility is a nightmare for anyone, anyone, who’s either building a website or having one built. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients and provided support to thousands of customers with a very common and reoccurring issue:
“My website looks and works great in all browsers, except for IE. What gives?”
What gives, is that Internet Explorer is one of the worst pieces of software around. Sure, there a plenty of technically horrible and buggy pieces of software far worse than IE. However, what truly makes IE the worst, is because of how popular and widely used it is. It is the most popular browser and one of the most popular programs in general, period. So, the formula is simple:
Popularity X Horribly Written Software = Worst Browser
How in the world did it get so bad and why in the world do people still use Internet Explorer? Because they either do not know any better or because they have to (a lot of old company proprietary software is built on top of IE and it just costs too much to update).
It happened originally, because Windows is the most popular operating system, which comes stock with plenty of other Microsoft proprietary crapware, including of course, Internet Explorer. So, people have been using it for years. And like in most walks of life how people blindly follow, use, or do whatever they’re told or are comfortable with without ever really thinking for themselves, they just use it and it never occurs to them that there might be something better.
In a nutshell, designers, developers, programmers, etc., continue to have to put up with this nightmare because people are dumb consumers. I’m sorry, but I’m an honest person. I can’t think of any other logical answer to why this issue primarily exists and continues to exist.
The amount of effort, time, man hours, etc., that goes into making websites and apps, services, and the like compatible with IE has easily got to be in the millions of dollars. Just saying screw IE and washing my hands clean of it really isn’t an option either. Most people still use IE and you have to appease them and their stupidity or lose out on a lot of visitors that convert to readers and even potential customers. It’s one of the saddest truths in the web industry that is holding it back, suffocating creativity and productivity.
What Should People Be Using?
How do you feel, what’s your favorite browser?
Here’s a snapshot of the browsers my visitors use:
(it’s important to note that my blog is a web and tech blog, which means I’ll have a more tech-savvy audience than the average site, which in turn means, they’ll be using better browsers — this is definitely not normal across the web)
UPDATE — I had someone comment on my Facebook Page that I must be a Mac user (in reply to this article). Although I can see that assumption taking place, it’s important to note that I actually use Windows. Always have, for well over a decade now. But, I am indeed going to give Mac a try the next time I upgrade.
MAJOR UPDATE — Kudos to Microsoft, they’ve finally retired Internet Explorer and are moving forward with a modern web browser, built from scratch. However, we’re not out of the muck just yet. Remember, that even though Microsoft is moving forward with a better browser in Windows 10 onward, many people are still on older versions of Windows and therefore, still on versions of Internet Explorer.