Webolution: Embrace the browser shift.

1995: The birth of Internet Explorer

2012: The beginning of the end for Internet Explorer

Have you ever visited or heard of the IE6 Countdown? The IE6 Countdown is a website dedicated to counting down the days until the end of Internet Explorer. If you’re like me, you might find yourself wondering:

“Just where is IE heading?”

and…

“How did IE get to the point of counting down the days until its impending demise?”

As recently as last year, IE8 and older versions of IE have seen support and usage decline. In an announcement from Google in June 2011, Google communicated their desire to help improve the web. They confirmed the line of Google Apps would only support the three latest versions of IE, resulting in the proverbial nail in the coffin for the oldest versions of IE. As soon as IE10 is released, IE8 will be put on the chopping block. Sure, Google is a widely recognized organization, but they can’t possibly drive everyone to stop using IE8 and previous versions, or can they?

The answer is no.

Let’s jump ahead to June 2012. Only 4 months prior, the jQuery team, one of the most popular JavaScript libraries, laid out their plans for version 1.9 and 2.0. Now in October 2012, jQuery is currently involved in version 1.8.2 with 1.9 and 2.0 scheduled for release in 2013. So now you’re wondering, what’s the big deal? Well, once jQuery 2.0 is released, it will not support IE6, 7, and even 8. However, jQuery 1.9 will be used as a backup plan for users that still require legacy IE support. No big deal, right? jQuery 1.9 and 2.0 are almost identical except for the differences in browser support. However, jQuery will continue to advance in its own versions, which means that eventually IE will fizzle to extinction. With 2013 only a few months away, we could see complete disregard for IE browsers as soon as the middle of next year.

But, here’s the kicker.

Microsoft, the company behind Internet Explorer, began rolling out their upgrade plan in August 2012. Users can say ‘bye-bye’ to ‘recommended’ updates and say ‘hello’ to ‘important’ updates. These ‘important’ updates will be installed by default alongside other Windows updates. While the user can still opt out of the updates, this is a huge step in the right direction as far as automatic updates are concerned. The most exciting news is that fewer headaches will occur resulting from countless hours of development for legacy browsers.

And there you have it, three powerful announcements that appear to be kick starting the coming age of web evolution.  While you’ll have more enterprises and few users that will not update, it’s comforting to know that life on the Internet is evolving, and soon there will be less legacy browsers holding developers back from doing what we truly love, making the “www” cool.

Bonus: Inform your users, they may need a push http://code.google.com/p/ie6-upgrade-warning/.

alewis

Written by Alex

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