Thursday, April 16th, 2009

10 Cool Things We’ll Be Able To Do Once IE6 Is Dead; And A Few We Can’t

Category: IE

James Edwards has a fun little list that dares to dream about life after IE 6. He gives us a list of 10 things that we can look forward to in that sunny time:

Use child selectors

No more having to define endless descendent rules to cancel out other descendent rules. With CSS2 child selectors we can specify CSS rules that only apply to direct children, not to descendants in general.

  • Make full use of 24-bit PNGs

    No more blending images against different coloured backgrounds so that the edges have decent anti-aliasing. With PNG alpha-channel support we can use images with shadows, glows and other opacity effects, safe in the knowledge that all graphical browser users can see them.

  • Use attribute selectors

    No more having to define type classes for inputs — things like <input class="text" ... /> — when we can address them with CSS2 attribute selectors like input[type="text"]. We can even use CSS3 substring-matching attribute selectors (supported in all modern browsers including IE7), which can be very useful for defining selectors that apply to a range of different attribute values, thereby reducing significantly the amount of code it takes to address groups of elements with similar class names (for example).

  • Use a wider range of display properties

    Being able to use things like display:inline-block instead of float:left means no more endless float within float within float, or the slightly-dubious use of overflow:hidden, just to get blocks to clear properly. (Though I should point out, we had to wait until Firefox 3 for this one too!)

  • Use min-width and max-width

    Although IE6’s implementation of width is very similar to the correct implementation of min-width, it’s not the same, and it doesn’t serve every purpose; and it doesn’t do anything about max-width. With the end of IE6 can come a new renaissance in block-layout design, with the greater flexibility that designers have been crying out for for years.

  • Throw away 90% of CSS hacks (and 90% of the reasons for needing them!)

    No more worrying about bizarrely repeating characters, mysteriously invisible blocks, or frustrating double margins; with the end of IE6 comes the end of needing to be able to diagnose and cure such a large array of rendering bugs.

  • Add abbreviations that everyone can see

    Although personally, I only use the <abbr> element and never use <acronym>, still it does occasionally irk me to remember that IE6 users won’t see the expansion, and bugs me even more on the odd occasion that I need to script for them (and can’t).

  • Trust z-index again

    No more scratching our heads as we ponder why layer X is on top of layer Y when it should be beneath, wondering what we might have done wrong, only to remember that — d’oh — we haven’t done anything wrong, it’s a stacking context bug in IE6.

  • Save time and money

    Significantly less time spent hacking means shorter development time and lower development costs.

  • Enjoy ourselves again!

    Writing CSS will become the pleasure that it used to be. That is, until our expectations rise again, and IE7 becomes our nemesis …

  • But we still have to wait for CSS Counters, box-sizing, and decent JavaScript (and much much more…. like Canvas / SVG support!).

    Hopefully the automatic update plan for IE 8 will kick this into gear.

    Posted by Dion Almaer at 6:32 am

    4.4 rating from 63 votes


    Comments feed TrackBack URI

    Maybe I’m just being blind, but there’s no source cited for this article. So:

    Comment by PJC — April 16, 2009

    I’m afraid that IE6 will be with us for years to come. There will always be those people who refuse to upgrade for whatever reason or don’t understand the reasons to upgrade.

    Then there’s the corporate people that cannot or will not upgrade due to some proprietary code they have in use that requires IE6.

    I think the only way to push things along is to just simply stop writing code for IE6. A message of some type is required on the site because I’m sure a number of people will think the website is broken not realizing that the browser they choose to use pretty much just sucks.

    For me it’s a mixed bag. Any internal pages I create for my office I do not worry over IE6 at all since I know everyone who will view the pages are running IE7 or better.

    Our web stats show that around 16% of our traffic is IE6. IE7 is just over half. Firefox is gaining while IE in general is falling. I’m predicting that IE6 will fall below 10% by the end of the year but even then it’s a significant enough amount of people that browser checking will still be required.

    I’m guessing that if one of my young daughters decides to become a web designer then maybe, possibly, she won’t have to worry over the scourge that is IE6.

    But do I dare dream such a dream?

    Comment by travisalmand — April 16, 2009


    Comment by jgeerdes — April 16, 2009

    It is fun to dream, but IE6 is going to be with us for a while yet. IE7 going on automatic update hasn’t solved the problem. I just hope that MS killing Win2k next year will be a step in the right direction.

    Comment by erisds — April 16, 2009

    Add abbreviations that everyone can see.

    Quick fix has always been:

    Overall, I couldn’t agree more \o/ Hail to the death of IE6

    Comment by BtM909 — April 16, 2009

    I am a great fan of “sorry, we won’t sell you the thing you came here for because your browser is too old and we simply moved on. click to go back to Google and spend your money elsewhere instead, thanks”.

    Comment by christoff — April 16, 2009

    Building iPhone sites is bittersweet. You can use all of these features and more. It’s like developing for the internet that should have been. Sometimes I’d even have to undo hacks upon remembering I didn’t need them anymore (e.g. using .first instead of :first-child to style the beginning of a list). I’m always depressed when I go back to PC audiences.

    Comment by pendensproditor — April 16, 2009

    I couldn’t wish for anything more than the death of IE6 (world peace is a close second but Jeez, perspective!). The site I’m currently working on could be developed exactly as it is in Illustrator without using a single image if IE didn’t exist, I’d be able to have flexible width and that nav bar would be a simple two rule hover. But as it stands I’ve compromised, it’s a non-transparent graphic haven of tags that serve no purpose other than to round off corners and clear awkward floats, I’d have a balanced layout that works whatever the browser window size (even mobile!) and that nav bar wouldn’t be rule on rule of adjusting the size and adding in minus margins just to simulate a nice subtle shadow effect.

    Why does IE even exist anymore? Microsoft pride?

    Comment by StuartJ — April 16, 2009

    Don’t forget that the z-index bug rears it’s head, although differently in IE7, where the order in which elements appear in a document can prohibit z-indexed items from stacking properly. When IE7 was just launching I ran into it while building (as can be seen with the overlaying arrow they insisted upon on at the top of the right column)

    Comment by naterkane — April 16, 2009

    Comment by jamiethompson — April 16, 2009

    I don’t know about IE 8, but IE 7 still has PNG-24 problems. Any pixel that isn’t entirely opaque or entirely transparent will be treated as opaque in IE 7 if the image element or any of its containers is not exactly 100% opaque itself.

    Comment by eyelidlessness — April 16, 2009

    I want my HTML5.

    Comment by grayrest — April 16, 2009

    If you really want ie6 dead , then don’t develop for ie6 :). you probably say ‘oh come on 17. % they still using ie6’ … oh come on!! , let them upgrade them browsers! (as flash do it, everybody understand.. this concept)

    Comment by marlonbtx — April 16, 2009

    For some it’s not just a matter of updating their browser.
    Some are die hard Microsoft users and won’t switch from IE and either can’t or won’t upgrade their O/S to Win XP SP3 or Vista to be able to use IE7 or 8. I don’t see IE6 going away until Windows 7 is released and Windows 2000 reaches EOL.

    Comment by whutevr — April 16, 2009

    Are you kidding. I’m already clamoring for the death of IE8 and it hasn’t even been released yet. Not even released and it’s already 2 years behind! IE 6 is so dead in my eyes that if a user has it I don’t need them, period, they can just piss right off.

    Comment by mojave — April 16, 2009

    @mojave: lol, it _has_ been released. ;)

    IE6 is a zombie that has dodged many a bullet, IE7 was an epic fail as a catch-up attempt and then IE8 actually caught up – with the browsers of 2 years ago… Where is the HTML5/CSS3 support?!?

    We will be living in the stoneages forever if we can’t get new specs supported in majority browsers.

    If only we could uninstall IE remotely and replace it with Firefox, Safari or Chrome. There must some IE/Win exploit waiting to be used.

    Comment by rasmusfl0e — April 16, 2009

    Of course I agree with the majority of this but the idea that CSS could ever be a pleasure is going a bit too far.

    Comment by okonomiyaki3000 — April 16, 2009

    and for this while, you can use this :D

    Comment by fusionbr — April 17, 2009

    multiple class selectors, eg.

    .aClass.anotherClass {
    // some css

    Comment by siwilkins — May 8, 2009

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