By Mike Gifford

April 1, 2010

I'm happy to hear of the Government of Canada's recent announcement that they will no longer be supporting Interent Explorer 6.  This is not an easy decision as many government departments chose to develop applications for a single proprietary browser rather than based on international standards. It will be expensive to retrofit many outdated systems, but it is important to fix what is widely understood to be tragically short term thinking.

Although IE6 held considerable market share historically, many security problems are causing governments around the world to officially drop support of this old browser. Both hackers & foreign government agents are able to hack the system to gain access to critical systems in governments and business.

Google's reduction of support for IE6, starting last month, is also a consideration. So many Web 2.0 tools are connected to Google these days and with the government looking to connect more with it's citizens, this is going to be a problem.

 

Furthermore, IE6 has many quirky features which make it very difficult to design for. By not adopting standards compliant browsers earlier the Government of Canada has wasted millions of dollars by having to insert CSS & Javascript hacks to insure that their sites can work for both IE6 & modern secure browsers like Firefox, Chrome & Opera

Although there was interest in considering moving ahead to the stable IE7 or IE8 releases, or even development releases' of IE9. Some even considered adopting open source browsers like Firefox which would allow security experts to fully evaluate and customize releases for our government.

However, our government has decided to roll back the officially supported browser to IE5.  Although no longer officially supported by Microsoft, it's clear that Microsoft isn't keeping up with security support for IE6 anyways.  Also moving back to IE5 ensures that important government & tags will work again. As an added bonus, government security experts have dug up the security certificate for this software.

Image of search ranking for government Canada IE6Sadly the notice that IE6 was no longer going to be supported in the Government of Canada was just an April Fools' joke. Like so many other technology companies, we just couldn't resist. Maybe next year this will no longer apply. However, in the mean time we encouraging designers to start charge a premium to clients who insist on supporting IE6. Just twitter with. "I pledge to charge a premium for IE6 work! #premium4ie6pledge"

By Chris Wright

CodeFest was a great introduction to an important project for me. The organizers were careful to provide a solid mix of topical talks and technical explanations. I often, over the two afternoons, had to make a tough choice between two interesting talks. It was a nice problem to have.