View Full Version : Time to draw the line ...?

12-15-2002, 06:26 AM
Not so long ago, consensus among web developers was that supporting version 3 browser beyond anything more than basic coherence and functionality is no longer necessary or worthwhile.

I suggest that 2003 should see us draw the same line under version 4 browsers.

12-15-2002, 09:24 AM
i voted for "Yes, but only with personal projects". the reason is because there are still plenty of people and institutions that are using version 4 browsers, for whatever reason, and in a professional project, you can't tell your employed " i decided not support this browser, because it's old and yucky, and nuts to the people who still use it. so there". especially if it's a site that will be seen by people in other countries, where the percentage of systems that are older, and running those version 4 browsers, is greater.

12-15-2002, 12:53 PM
I went for yes too... it is annoying when people refuse to upgrade, but yes, some cannot afford it, that is understandable... but Windows 95 probably should cost around a fiver. So why stick with v4 or less, I do not know.


12-15-2002, 04:20 PM
I can't remember what I voted for, lol. To many things on my mind, well and it was a few hours ago.

It was either YES or YES but only for personal projects.
My point in this post is just to ackowledge joh6nn's post, exactly what I was thinking when I voted ... I think, well I should have been.

Good job bringing this up though BC! :)

12-15-2002, 08:16 PM
I voted for Yes, completely.

My reason is that looking at recent web stats (just go the The Counter etc.) you will see how many people actually use the 4.x browsers, and there are very very few nowadays.

Kinda reminds me of my thread on this exact same subject just a couple of weeks ago, in which the general consensus was to ignore older browsers.

See, why spend extra time making something backwards compatible, or make the majority of users miss out on the latest stuff that you could do if you weren't trying to please the tiny amount of people with old browsers, too?

Also, there is no reason why anyone has to use an old browser. All browsers are free - yes, even Opera (so long as you don;t mind ads) - and so anyone can upgrade with ease. And if they cannot afford an OS, they can use Linux.

As for educational bodies, well here in the UK they are always slow to upgrade but most of the time the students upgrade the browsers anyway - or else they just moan and then it gets done. I know that my local colleges are up-to-date on that point because I lectured at one from Feb to May this year.

So I cannot really see any reason for supporting 4.x browsers anymore, and indeed I am now only supporting 6.x and above. :)

::] krycek [::

12-15-2002, 08:22 PM
I would take this one step further:
Isn't it time to stop coding for A browser and start coding to THE standard?

12-15-2002, 08:47 PM
Vladdy: in theory, sure, but until the browsers that we have to support, support the standards, then no.

Krycek: most of those statistics that we see, are statistics for the countries we live in, or at the very least, countries that speak the same language as us. for most of the people on this board, that's English. in a lot of non-English speaking countries though, there's a larger percentage of people who, for whatever reason, haven't upgraded. lots of the people i spoke to while i was in Germany, had older systems, and a lot of the time, those older systems wouldn't have run a newer browser.

also, again, there are plenty of English speaking institutions that still haven't upgraded.

this means that if you want your site to be worth looking at for people inside that institution, or living in those countries, then you need to support older browsers. this continues to be an opinion that really only effects our personal sites, because when it comes down to it, our employers' needs come before out personal opinions regarding browser versions. if they need their site to backwards comaptible, then that's how we'll build them, or we won't take the job.

and i think as far as our personal sites are concerned, we're all willing to let the version 4 browsers just rot.

12-15-2002, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by Vladdy
I would take this one step further:
Isn't it time to stop coding for A browser and start coding to THE standard?

Very much agreed, I didn't really make that side of it clear in my post but that was essentially what I was trying to say.

I have become a Mozilla convert in the past week or so, and now I code to the standards only, with workarounds for IE if I really have to.

::] krycek [::

12-16-2002, 03:57 AM
Originally posted by krycek
I have become a Mozilla convert in the past week or so, and now I code to the standards only, with workarounds for IE if I really have to.

You've been talking to jkd too much :D

12-16-2002, 05:24 AM
Originally posted by brothercake
You've been talking to jkd too much :D


12-16-2002, 11:05 AM
I would like to code to old standards, but idealism looses out to pragmatism. If you look at my site as an example (Strategy Conscious (http://www.strategyconscious.com)). You'll find it renders perfectly in Moz -- where it was developed; it almost the same and generally OK in IE5/6 (achieved by a few non-standard things in the stylesheet). But IE4, NS4, and all of the common Mac browsers, it doesn't render even remotely nicely. I don't know about Opera, Konquorer and others. When I finish the page engine, I'll work on a dynamic templating system that will let me include seperate templates for non-standard's browsers.

The point is that designing for professional sites needs to be accessible by the widest possible audience. The designer should take a backseat to the users. There might be a case for designing to v5+ browsers; there is no (professional) case for designing to standards only, especially if you leave IE5 behind.

Even v4 browsers, I am a little reluctant to leave behind for profressional sites. My approach, as I have said, is to template sites. This means that a readable presentation is possible in older browsers. It may be less attractive and less frequently tweaked; but it should still exist.

12-16-2002, 01:54 PM

yes I have probably been talking to jkd too much... he did the seemingly impossible and converted a staunch IE user to Mozilla... so much so that Mozilla is now my default browser! I can't go back now that I have the beautiful Orbit3 skin and mouse gestures...

about standards etc. I agree with what people are saying about backwards-compatibility, especially what joh6nn says about other countries. However looking at the statistics for my various sites in the past two months, I have had a goodly representation of countries, more than I would have expected. I don't want to leave people in other countries behind, but I must say that my target audience is not really those people!

Obviously we code according to our needs, and the projects I am currently working on are not required to be backwards-compatible, but rather, forwards-compatible, which means coding to standards. Not JUST to standards, coz like I said before, I still need to put a couple of fixes in for IE.

Like someone here said, if we always support older, quirky browsers, then we will not be sending the right message, which is that we want proper, standards-compliant browsers. Hopefully one day MS will get that message!

Taking a case in hand, a commerical site I recently completed work on desired a new system which was standards-compliant and left behind the older (including 4.x) browsers. Now, what I did was simply have the site check the browser, and if it was too old, it would get a message page saying to the user that their browser is too old and needs updating, but that they still have two options: 1: continue on to the normal site and see if it works ok for them, or 2: continue to the site but not use any stylesheets, so that the site would just be text.

The site degraded gracefully when used without CSS, however my client soon started getting emails of THANKS... from people that had come to the site and realised that their browser was out-of-date, and decided to upgrade... and then realised how much better the newer version was etc. etc. etc. you get the picture.

So my position on this is still that I, personally would like to leave 4.x browsers behind, although if a client was willing to pay a bit extra for me to take the time to make fixes for older browsers, I might. I think that if handled properly, a modern site can persuade people to upgrade their browsers, and it's not as if it's going to cost them anything! My dad is not exactly computer-literate, and yet I got a call from him about two months ago saying that he had managed to upgrade IE to version 6, with no problems (he was on 4.x before) and although it took a while on his 56k modem, he said it was worth the wait. Why did he upgrade? He found a site that he wanted to view that needed him to use a later browser. Now, if my dad can do that (and be persuaded to do it in the first place!) then there is hope for everyone else out there! :D

::] krycek [::

12-16-2002, 05:46 PM
Yes completely. For Netscape 4 at least; I think that supporting IE 4 still isn't very traumating... but all NS4 is... :mad: evil (no PNG at all, bad table & frames & layers rendering, etc.)