If you know someone who works in the web development industry, you may have been subjected to moaning and groaning about how much they loathe Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser. But have you ever wondered why this is?
Most of the qualms held by developers are focused on Internet Explorer version 6, but many will argue that Microsoft’s later versions, 7, 8 and 9, are not much better. But what are the reasons behind this aversion?
• Incompatibility: a site that a web developer has been working on will generally work flawlessly in all of the popular browsers, such as Firefox and Safari, without much effort. Then it is tested in Internet Explorer and all hell breaks lose. The web pages will all be messed up, especially if any newer developments have been used.
• Extra work: website developers need to spend extra time on websites, creating hacks, in order to make them work in Internet Explorer browsers. Unfortunately, each version of Internet Explorer needs its own hack, which takes even longer for developers to implement. And, as it is impossible to install multiple versions of Internet Explorer on the same computer, Virtual Machines or separate computers are needed so that the web page can be tested in each version of Internet Explorer.
• Incompliance: Microsoft has long been renowned for failing to comply with web standards. There isn’t an actual, defined set of standards for designers and developers to follow when it comes to creating websites, but there has been a recent shift towards browsers implementing a similar set of standards into their web development – Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is still far from joining this group.
There are many reasons for a web developer’s hate for Internet Explorer, but they mostly boil down to the fact that the browser just isn’t as good as the other browsers available these days. With all the added work that the web browser requires, many developers feel it is more trouble than it is worth.