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View Full Version : how much should i care about IE 5.01?



coder_seth
02-13-2004, 08:21 AM
it's my limited understanding that IE 6 even has already taken over a sizeable chunk of the demographic. my ideals and principles on top of that make want to ignore IE 5.01 forever. yet i know some people still have it. notably, all the sales guys in my office. >:[

and boy am i sick of tyring to hack for it. honestly though, if we ignore it.. won't it just go away??

Roy Sinclair
02-13-2004, 03:43 PM
The reason people may still be running IE 5.01 is that they also use some Netscape style plugin and all versions of IE past that point no longer allow those style plugins.

It took a long time to get my company to move past IE 5.01 simply because of the cost of replacing one plugin which was used by a great many people.

I suggest you ask someone why they've locked down at IE 5.01 to get the exact details.

coder_seth
02-13-2004, 04:23 PM
well, i know for a fact in our office that it's simply that they don't know any better and/or are lazy. IE is free! there's no reason the whole office shouldn't be to 6.

also, i'm just looking for support on pushing standards compliant design, and CSS-P. IE 5.01 seems to mess things up the worst in that regard. i need some evidence to back me up with my boss.

Nightfire
02-13-2004, 05:07 PM
It's about time they upgraded, even ie6 is way beyond time. If they want free, get them to get firefox :)

zoobie
02-13-2004, 08:06 PM
Heh heh..I was on a guy's comp the other day...He had IE5 and a bunch of other old stuff....jeez :rolleyes:

coder_seth
02-13-2004, 09:50 PM
well, IE is free too..

but i meant more, as a developer.. how much should i cater to IE5 as a responsible professional?

i realize that ideals don't always huff it, and you have to account for certain undesirables. but i really believe we should be doing more with CSS-P and web standards, etc, yet business/sales types think more about the bottom line, and if they're lookin' at IE 5 and occasional customers are too and they say, "that doesn't work." that's all they care about, sadly. :(

allida77
02-13-2004, 10:01 PM
but i meant more, as a developer.. how much should i cater to IE5 as a responsible professional?

If you code directly for the w3c then whatever breaks, breaks and when they ask why their page looks broken you tell them its not your fault its the non-standard compliant browser. Obviously I am kidding and I would think you need to cater to their needs since the page is a reflection of your work. In a hypothetical world we would all code just to the standards and users would actually care, but in reality users could care less about standards and are going to want to use an application that is well designed (aesthetically and usable).

So as a professional you should be coding towards web standards but also understand who your audience is. I think you could talk with the ie 5 users and see if they would upgrade to 6. Most of the time users are just fearful that their internet will be broken if you change it.

coder_seth
02-13-2004, 10:43 PM
yes, i agree with everything you just said. but it's amazing how difficult a suggestion like, "upgrade your browser" is to some people. i can just see it now.. what you suggested is PERFECTLY reasonable to me. that when we come across a user saying, "hey this is broken," that we would reply simply with, "are you using the most current browser? no? then you need to upgrade."

but where i work, we drop trow and bend over at the clients' whim more often than not. people here are too afraid to rub anybody the wrong way that they take that whole "the customer is always right" philosophy WAY to far.

that's a problem with this entire society actually, but that's a whole other thread..

barnettgs
02-15-2004, 12:10 AM
Forget IE 5 as it is now an ancient browser...very few people are using it, and i don't see why you should sweat over it.

On from most of my website, IE 5 users represent only 8% while IE 6 has 77% so I personally won't be bothered about IE 5 users.

You can check Browser Statistics for your website to decide for yourself.

zoobie
02-15-2004, 08:24 AM
Actually, when you look at most libraries, if they're not running NS to avoid viruses, they're running IE5...

beetle
02-15-2004, 09:17 AM
Okay, I'm going to give you advice that I believe is irrefutable.

As a responsible professional, you should still care about your IE5 audience

Let's take barnettgs' web-statistics as an example. The nature of his site is irrelevant, because we are going to apply his numbers to a hypothetical client, Bob Enterprises.

Let's say Bob Enterprises contacts you to prepare a quote for them for a new website. If you are doing what you should, you will address the issue of browsers as they relate to his user-demographic. Based off recent data from his current website, 8% of his traffic is IE5. Now, tell me, are you going to look Bob in his face and tell him you don't wish to accomodate those users, and as a result he may potentially lose 8% of his business AFTER paying you to make him a new website? I hardly think so. Such an action could neither be deemed reponsible nor professional. Remember, most people paying for a website are doing it for a reason - to make money themselves.

Now, our example aside, barnettgs's statistics are hardly comparable to the norm. Some sites will be lower, some will be much higher. IE5 is by no means recent, but is still a widely-enough used platform to not ignore it. According to the much larger internet-usage snapshot available at thecounter.com, IE 5.x still has over 15% of the browsing public.

Now, I do agree that there are times to leave old browsers behind. When is that time? Well, simple:

When the time invested into a site's browser compatiblity creates a cost-prohibitive production environment based on the client's financial goals and target demographic, then then direct support* for lower-end browsers should be dropped.
*You should always provide upgrade information, or at least make your content degradable

Typically, I think you'll find as I have, this number is around 2%-3% and lower. Let's study this statement with an example:

Let's says Bob gets 1000 unique visitors per month. Let's also say his current customer conversion rate is 3%, meaning 30 visitors per month buy products or services from Bob Enterprises. Let's also say the average profit Bob earns from a customer is $20. Now, 8% of those 30 customers are IE5 users. That gives 2.4 visitors per month, or, about 29 for the year. That means that Bob Enterprises stands to lose about $580 in profits if he loses all his IE5 customers (remember, competiton on the web is steep, and users are quick to move to another site if they have a problem with one) over a period of one year. If it will cost Bob more than $580 in time for you to make his site IE5 compatible, then a cost-prohibitive production envrionment exists and you should discuss this with him. However, even at a decent rate of $50/hr for a freelancer, $580 buys the client over 11 hours of time -- enough in my estimation to make most IE6 compatible sites IE5 compatible. A lower rate would yield even more time. As you probably have figured out, if Bob's IE5 traffic was only 2% then he'd only stand to lose $145 in profits for the coming year - a much different scenario.
Please note that this simple example doesn't include other important considerations with profit models, such as repeat business and the viral benefits/detriments of gaining/losing customers.

So, what I'm saying is that there is no de facto answer to your question. By wrote, you should plan on supporting IE5 until you learn otherwise. The time it takes to make even the most modern looking sites function at a reasonable level for IE5 is still not that bad - nothing like making a site IE4 compatible. Usually involves a separate stylesheet for IE5, some javascript/DOM concessions, maybe a transitional layout, and that's about it.

Who am I to say these things? I've been a self-employed web-developer for almost 3 years, working for the smallest of the small to some of Dallas' largest businesses. Remember, clients hire you to create solutions for their customers. If you can't create a solution to accomodate 5%-20% of their business, they probably won't hire you -- I know I wouldn't.

Personally, a client would have to already exhibit a very low percentage of IE5 users (via existing web statistics) for me to comlpetely ignore IE5.

The web as a whole isn't ready for every site to be CSS-P with XHTML 1.0 Strict and advanced DOM scripting - regardless of how ready you are for it.

I'll leave you with this (http://www.despair.com/ap24x30prin.html) and this (http://www.despair.com/disservice.html). Yes, they're funny, but are related to something you said in your first post and function here as good soothsayers.

</diatribe>

brothercake
02-15-2004, 05:07 PM
I agree with beetle - you have to support IE5. Not until it drops to ns4-style status will the need to support it go away (like, 1% of users requiring 25% of development time to support)

Taken on pure demographics - more people use IE5 than Mozilla, Opera, Mac and Linux users *put together* ... but we still support them, don't we?

barnettgs
02-16-2004, 12:43 AM
There are few reasons to ignore 8% IE users: ;)

8% visitors doesn't reflect as 8% buyers!

Even when I don't care about 8% but website is just workable for them. (e.g. displaying incorrectly but visible, many website still do that to my mozzila browsers yet I still buy from them!)

Ignoring 8% IE 5 users doesn't means they can't view/see my website which is designed for IE 6. Of course they still can view but may experience incorrect layout or fonts etc. How much has changed from IE 5 to 6? I doubt it.

I don't recommend anyone who is buying things using IE 5 browser as it has bigger security problem than IE6.1?? I just don't feel safe in using IE 5.

People who is buying things from internet regularly are probably well aware of browsers issues and security. He/She knows how to shop online, might probably knows about Internet security therefore are more likely to get their browsers updated?

coder_seth, I don't know what makes you bought this up but has it to do with something you have found out your website will not work in IE 5? CSS styling? ;)

beetle
02-16-2004, 12:54 AM
Originally posted by barnettgs
8% visitors doesn't reflect as 8% buyers!
Huh? If 8% of your traffic is IE5 users, then it's reasonable to say that 8% of you buyers are too. Unless you have hard data to prove otherwise, this is a perfectly acceptable assumption.

Originally posted by barnettgs
Ignoring 8% IE 5 users doesn't means they can't view/see my website which is designed for IE 6. Of course they still can view but may experience incorrect layout or fonts etc. How much has changed from IE 5 to 6? I doubt it.
Good point, I even made note of this. Still, I have yet to run across a single client that doesn't was the same appearance for all their users. This is a professionalism thing - a step that should be taken by someone wishing to maintin a professional attitude.

Originally posted by barnettgs
People who is buying things from internet regularly are probably well aware of browsers issues and security. He/She knows how to shop online, might probably knows about Internet security therefore are more likely to get their browsers updated?
Wha? That couldn't be further from the truth. Online shoppers are just a smaller slice of the greater demographic - most are non tech-savvy. Sorry my friend, that assumption is both very bold and incorrect.

coder_seth
02-16-2004, 10:46 AM
beetle has many good points, but he also has a very one sided view of things: the bottom line. a business has to make money to exist, but it doesn't have to cater to the lowest common denominator to do so. to get every last penny, sure it does. but is that what's most important? every last penny?

do the logic and reason of CSS-P and XHTML and their reasons for being mean anything? do they mean anything to the hours and dollars wasted already due to using irrational, illogical and ineffecient methods of the past?

it's a bit of a leap, but what i'm talkin about is the sort of related to why we aren't all driving environmentally friendly hydrogen cars and riding high speed trains all over the world: because there's still a few last pennies to be squeezed out of old techniques. why switch when you can still make money? nevermind all the other legitimate reasons that don't have a dollar sign in front of them.

*shrug*

i mostly brought it up because CSS-P and web standards just MAKE.. SENSE.. and there's no reason to stay behind on this one. IE5.01 just causes a lot of headaches with CSS. but IE5.5 isn't that bad at all. i stand by my feelings that it's not unreasonable to tell a few IE5.01 users to get off their butts and download the newest gear. there's no reason they can't. i'm surprised their Windows hasn't mutated and downlaoded it for them..

beetle
02-16-2004, 10:59 AM
Originally posted by coder_seth
beetle has many good points, but he also has a very one sided view of things: the bottom line.
You got that right. You think the fantastic designs (et designers) at The Garden (http://www.csszengarden) give a hoot about their financial performance? Of course not.

It just so happens that a vast majority of websites are commercial, therefore, a vast majority that are looking to hire a responsible professional do care about the bottom line.

Originally posted by coder_seth
i mostly brought it up because CSS-P and web standards just MAKE.. SENSE..
Yes - but ask your next client which makes more sense - adpoting web standards or throwing the towel at 15% of their business. Please, understand, I'm not saying to do all and everything possible, just that you should still care about your IE5 users.

Originally posted by coder_seth
i stand by my feelings that it's not unreasonable to tell a few IE5.01 users to get off their butts and download the newest gear. there's no reason they can't.
Good for you - and you're right, for individual web-users, the upgrade isn't so bad. But the real problem has already been hinted at: it's not a large group of individuals users that keep the IE5 curve up - it's companies, organizations, and other groups that maintain a large volume of PCs hooked up to the web. Many of the organizations have tight budgets, with little-to-no room for IT. Many of them have their current IT personnel on more pressing issues (trust me, a browser upgrade to a company is NOT a pressing issue).

So - you're right - I take the totally commercial viewpoint - because you asked what a responsible professional should be doing - and I think I shared exactly that.

Afterthought
This may require a hard look in the mirror, but many times - in my experience - individuals who are "web professionals" that consistently gripe about browser issues and constantly push upgrading are actually trying to compsenate for the lack of skill required to make a CSS-P site IE5 compatible (or whatever the issue is) by rationalizing away all the reasons that such a task arises in the first place. In my experience, this particular task (IE5 design compliance with CSS-P) isn't that hard.

Or, I could just be completely off base ;)

brothercake
02-16-2004, 03:03 PM
Sounds about right to me - IE5 is not Netscape 4 - it's no biggy to make a semantic XHTML + CSS site work in IE5, you just have to do a bit more work ;)

coder_seth
02-16-2004, 03:19 PM
no that's fair, beetle. your last comment is what i'm referring to. i'm definitely a "nub" in the field, all things considered. and perhaps too much of an idealist at times. but i dunno.


Good for you - and you're right, for individual web-users, the upgrade isn't so bad. But the real problem has already been hinted at: it's not a large group of individuals users that keep the IE5 curve up - it's companies, organizations, and other groups that maintain a large volume of PCs hooked up to the web. Many of the organizations have tight budgets, with little-to-no room for IT. Many of them have their current IT personnel on more pressing issues (trust me, a browser upgrade to a company is NOT a pressing issue).

stuff like that still just kinda irks me because.. that argument doesn't fit in with your pragmatic, "bottom line" arguments because.. it doesn't cost any money to upgrade! it takes little time as well.

pushing upgrades to compensate for a lack of skills? maybe. but at the same time, i don't think you'd call an audio technician who refused to design a recording setup for optimum output on 8-track any less of a professional. that would be called rational and reasonable.

coder_seth
02-16-2004, 03:25 PM
and also, i've almost gotten completely IE5 friendly in short order anyway, so it's not like i'm talking out of my *** and some article about bleeding edge CSS i've read or something.

but once again, for my argument: how responsible is it to expect me (or any web developer) to spend half or more of their total development and r&d time in one area (say CSS) looking up hacks for this or that version of IE, and making sure they're compatible, blah blah blah.

great, we've got semantical HTML, and now our CSS is the Frankenstein.. :rolleyes:

i think there's a little more lenience that this side of the coin deserves.

beetle
02-16-2004, 05:19 PM
Okay - first of all - my "argument" about browser upgrades isn't an argument at all - merely a fact. I don't agree with companies not keeping up their (free) software - but they don't - plain and simple. Sometimes they have very good reasons for not upgrading (a topic too large for this thread, just take my word for it).

Now, the problem here seth, is that you want me to be more on your side - but I already am. We just disagree on how it should be handled. I've very pro-CSS, XHTML, etc. My own site (http://www.peterbailey.net), my fValidate site (http://www.peterbailey.net/fValidate/), and some (http://www.hcysa.com) of my (http://www.cartergrp.com/myia/) client's (http://www.sign-works.net) sites (http://www.ccsb.com/index_new.php) are all XHTML/CSS-P (a couple are transitional layouts). You see, where we both take the same stance on web standards, but, I also understand and respect every reason a client has for not caring/adopting/wanting them. Web standards have been around alot longer than you and I (and most everyone else) has been promoting them, but we didn't care 4 years ago. Web developers (and a select other few) are standards savvy now, but clients are still the same.



how responsible is it to expect me (or any web developer) to spend half or more of their total development and r&d time in one area (say CSS) looking up hacks for this or that version of IE, and making sure they're compatible, blah blah blah.
Well, that varies - again, no "one answer fits all". By and large, clients care very much about how their site looks in all browsers. Let's say ClientA shows his website to his mother, who still has IE5 on her machine. It looks different. She doesn't understand why. ClientA doesn't understand why. Sure, you can explain browser tech to ClientA a bit, but guess who came out looking the fool first? You. Plain and simple. Also, if you actually DO spend 50% of your time on such tasks, I'd imagine your clients would choose to skip direct support for IE5 - but they'd be getting the short end of the stick there. Fifty percent (or even thirty) is way too much time to spend on browser compatibility.

About your audio-technician analogy. Firstly, no, I wouldn't call this individual unprofessional in the scenario you describe. The problem when making analogies for the web is that they never work -- it's too unique. You're talking about physical installations and media that are outdated. On the web, it's all intangible - software, websites, etc. Only the computers are physical. Not to mention that IE5 isn't as nearly removed from society as 8-tracks are. 8-tracks are already archaic, items coveted only by collectors and fanatics. IE5 is still very much alive.

oracleguy
02-16-2004, 06:43 PM
Originally posted by coder_seth
stuff like that still just kinda irks me because.. that argument doesn't fit in with your pragmatic, "bottom line" arguments because.. it doesn't cost any money to upgrade! it takes little time as well.

It costs money to upgrade those browsers to the latest thing, the given organization has to have someone go around and upgrade it on all those computers. And god forbid, if they are using Windows 95, they can't even get IE6 for it since M$ won't allow it. And the sad truth is, that there are probably plenty Win95 machines with IE5 on them out there on the net. I'd bet that is where a sizable portion of that 15% of IE5 browsers is coming from. So then with machines such as that, it costs money to upgrade their browser to IE6: a new copy of windows and a new computer all together.

castali
02-16-2004, 07:39 PM
Firefox that's the way ....
myIE2 is good too with Gecko added

coder_seth
02-16-2004, 09:59 PM
thanks beetle, for all your helpful input.

you were right about me wanting you to be on my side, but it's more that i want somebody to come in and say "you shouldn't care at all!" but i think i knew before this thread took off that that wouldn't happen. :)

again, thanks.

p.s. i understand that it costs money to upgrade in that it takes somebody's paid time, but that applies to EVERYTHING in a business (just about), so i figured the point made with how the actual item obtained is free would be clear...

coder_seth
02-17-2004, 01:23 AM
also, beetle.. just wanted to say, about your Afterthought at the top of the page.. one, you have a point, and i acknowledge it. but my frustration also stems from a lack of clear CSS tutorials that explain things in practical terms instead of quoting the W3's CSS specs.

plus, when the "easy" solution you speak of involves a seemingly endless number of CSS "hacks", i'm sure you can see why i'd be frustrated having to design for older browsers.

beetle
02-17-2004, 02:16 AM
I hear good things about Sitepoint's HTML Utopia (http://www.sitepoint.com/books/css1/). Also, a buddy of mine started a series on his blog (http://blog.vinniegarcia.com/oldstuff/cat_back_to_basics.html) about ditching CSS hacks for more pratical methods.

www.alistapart.com also has great articles on CSS.

coder_seth
02-17-2004, 05:27 AM
yeah, a list apart is great. i'll check out those other ones.

i gotta say too, it was comforting to see that your site isn't the same in IE5.01 as it is in say IE6. partly because of little things like unsupported border properties, but your main links aren't positioned the same either.

the same types of generally minor inconsistencies i've been having too. :) i would assume you felt it acceptable professionally. that's mostly the stuff i've been getting harrangued for. early on it was the positioning, but the Tantek hack pretty much takes care of that.

not at all a slight to your site, by teh way. i would figure you could tell, but just in case. your site looks nice though. i especially dug what you did with the <input> borders on your contact form.

coder_seth
02-17-2004, 05:34 AM
this is a nice article i linked to from your buddy's blog: http://www.digital-web.com/columns/keepitsimple/keepitsimple_2003-11.shtml

and i absolutely agree with this guy: i don't like 'hacking' CSS at all. i think it overcomplicates, but i think i keep it fairly limited, as he suggests. i've really kept it to the Tantek hack for the most part. it has solved most of the IE bugs, which are mainly in the box model anyway. most other stuff is often a combination of unsupported attributes/properties and/or coder error. ;) at least, that's how it's seemed.

there's a link in that article to a hack to hide stuff from MacIE5.. that might prove useful.

beetle
02-17-2004, 06:06 AM
No sweat - I redesigned my site over a year ago when I was still very new to CSS-P. I should probably revisit it sometime.

My favorite method for handling IE5 (or 5.5) is to use conditional comments (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/workshop/author/dhtml/overview/ccomment_ovw.asp) to include an IE5-only stylesheet. It's not hackish at all - just merely uses a device of IE's HTML renderer to include content for specific versions.

coder_seth
02-17-2004, 04:45 PM
that sounds like a neat trick, but some quick experiments with it didn't work. i tried just what was in that article, to display a simple <p>, but it didn't work. ?

me'
02-17-2004, 05:18 PM
Originally posted by coder_seth
this is a nice article i linked to from your buddy's blog: http://www.digital-web.com/columns/keepitsimple/keepitsimple_2003-11.shtml

and i absolutely agree with this guy: i don't like 'hacking' CSS at all. i think it overcomplicates, but i think i keep it fairly limited, as he suggests. i've really kept it to the Tantek hack for the most part. it has solved most of the IE bugs, which are mainly in the box model anyway. most other stuff is often a combination of unsupported attributes/properties and/or coder error. ;) at least, that's how it's seemed.

there's a link in that article to a hack to hide stuff from MacIE5.. that might prove useful. Heh, that was one of the most shouted at articles by web dev bloggers. Sure, in a utopian society, great morals, but hacks are necessary and they're here to stay.

beetle
02-17-2004, 05:55 PM
That's fine me', just remember that the popular opinion isn't always right.

me'
02-17-2004, 06:14 PM
Originally posted by beetle
That's fine me', just remember that the popular opinion isn't always right. By their very nature, opinions cannot be regarded as 'right'. So, the most popular opinion may not be right in your view, but in most people's view it is, and therefore that article won't be taken into account my as many people, and we won't see any techniques mentioned into it hit mainstream CSS practices.

beetle
02-17-2004, 06:26 PM
I'm just referring to hazards of groupthink, that's all.

coder_seth
02-17-2004, 06:41 PM
saying hacks are here to stay is irresponsible, if you ask me.

did i not in that same breath that you quoted mention how i do in fact 'hack' my CSS as i find it necessary? but you shouldn't if you can help it.

and what's more, there WILL come a day when CSS is supported as it should be, and hacks will NOT stay.

unless people like you insist that they do!

barnettgs
02-17-2004, 09:39 PM
You are all seemed to be sweating about IE 5? ;)

As I was saying before, 8% IE users isn't 8% buyer because some of them could be browsing just for infomation and some of them could be buying.

You know, when you spot a problem in IE 5, you fix it and when test it in IE 5 again, you see new problem developed there, then trying to fix it......in the end, it works fine in IE 5 with loads of coding rubbishes and filled up few buckets from your sweating trying to get it working? ;) Not worth it.

The same can be said for very old computer, I would tell them to get new computer otherwise they would lost money in investing in their upgrades only to find out they need a new computer in the end!

coder_seth
02-17-2004, 10:59 PM
you have a point, but i think you fail to adequately understand the whole "bottom line" side of the argument. fact remains that many business-types are business-types for a reason: their primary goal is profits, and ANYTHING that even REMOTELY interferes with the POSSIBILITY of such is bad bad bad.

sucks, i agree, but it's not actually THAT much sweat to code for IE5. the biggest sweating is done LEARNING HOW to do just that. this has been my grief of late. but i've progressed significantly, and IE no longer intimidates me so much.

beetle
02-17-2004, 11:12 PM
Bingo, Seth. Once you have the knowledge, it's not a big deal.

barnettgs - I think you need to take a statistics class or something. True, 8% of users that have IE5 might not all be buying. However, conversely, the very same is true of your other 92% of users -- not all are buyers. So, once again:

If 8% of ALL your visitors are IE5 users, then it is logical to assume that 8% of your buyers are IE5 users as well. Only hard data can be used to controvert this hypothesis.

Besides, no one is pining over IE5 - it's just that some things can be left to opinion, and some cannot. This cannot. I understand that the effort isn't worth it to you - that's your opinion. But just because you think it isn't worth it doesn't change the FACT that people still use IE5, and that clients want their sites to function in it -- this is NOT an opinion but an empirical FACT.

gsnedders
02-19-2004, 04:53 PM
IE5 is the latest version available for Mac...

coder_seth
02-19-2004, 05:24 PM
k...

beetle
02-19-2004, 06:01 PM
It's actually IE5.2, and it behaves almost completely differently than any IE version for the PC.



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