Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

JScript 5.7: Fixing IE6

Category: IE, Performance, Tip

Erik Arvidsson lets us know about the JScript 5.7 patch that is zooming out to IE6 users:

The JScript 5.7 patch is now being pushed to an IE6 computer near you…

IE6 uses Jscript 5.6 which has some serious design flaws when it comes to garbage collections. This by itself prevented us from releasing Gmail 2 for IE6. After talking to the JScript team we (and others?) got them to realize that this is a critical flaw in Internet Explorer 6 and it is now being installed on all Windows computers (even those without a valid license). Expect Gmail 2 to work on an IE6 computer near you after a few more rounds of QA.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 7:53 am

4.2 rating from 42 votes


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What will happen to IE6 for Windows 2000? The linked document doesn’t mention it at all.

Comment by estebanav — December 18, 2007

There should exist only one,and it’s firefix

Comment by blankyao — December 18, 2007

And what about IE7 ?

Comment by Snowcore — December 18, 2007

Windows 2000 is no longer supported. I guess they expect those users to upgrade to XP or Vista.

Comment by Site Smart — December 18, 2007

the jscript.dll that the hotfix replaces is only available as an installed…. so developers who have to run MultipleIEs to have a standalone version of IE6 are left out as well.

Lets please push/ask for the the dll itself to be made available directly for the developer community

Comment by naterkane — December 18, 2007

MultipleIEs is pretty buggy (in my experience); better off running the Virtual PC package that Microsoft/IE team provides.

Comment by Andy Kant — December 18, 2007

This problem may occur if a script creates many variables at the same time. This problem may also occur when a script contains many unique values that are parsed at the same time. This problem occurs because of the way that the JScript engine performs garbage collection.

The garbage collection algorithm monitors the following values:
• The number of variable allocations in the script
• The number of literal values that are used in the script
• The total size of the string values that are allocated in the script
When thresholds for these values are exceeded, garbage collection occurs. The garbage collection process interrupts scripts that are running. Therefore, those running scripts are suspended until garbage collection is completed.

**** Doesn’t sound like it will fix any memory leak I know of. Just sounds like JScript garbage collection will not occur as often. How Google can get Microsoft to move on something this obscure while we deal with the same IE hacks day-in day-out is beyond me. Could someone at Google please get them to fix IE’s layout rendering?

Comment by Chris Phillips — December 18, 2007

Hey, any updates to JScript on IE6 is good news. Always take what you can get from news like this.

Comment by Dustin Diaz — December 18, 2007

I am with Dustin!

A few less bugs in IE6 to deal with is almost worth breaking out the champagne over!!!!

I am sure that somewhere down the road, I will save some time by not hitting these potholes, that are now being mended. This is great news, no matter who got who to fix it.

Comment by Morgan Roderick — December 19, 2007

I don’t really see this as positive news, now there will be yet another browser version to worry about IE6-updated.

Comment by Afraithe — December 19, 2007

Are you people insane? This is HORRIBLE news!

Who exactly do you think is still using IE6? What percentage of those people do you think update their systems regularly? What percentage of them do you think are still using Windows 2000 or Windows XP before SP2? What percentage of people who use IE6 AND update their systems regularly would MANUALLY DISABLE the IE7 update?

This is horrible news for us web developers because it means that supporting the most popular browser on the internet is going to be much more difficult, not easier.

This is going to give new developers a false sense of security because they won’t be able to reproduce the critical bugs that the MAJORITY of their users WILL experience.

The only “official” way to even test older versions of IE is to install them in Virtual PC. This news means that you’ll now have to have two Virtual PCs just to test IE6. One for JScript 5.6 and another for JScript 5.7.

But since Microsoft expires their VirtualPCs, will you even be able to get ahold of IE6 with JScript 5.6 anymore?! Assuming you’re one of the few developers who even know that you should be testing on it.

Those of us who use MultipleIEs are now left in the dark for this new update.

Thank you so very little Microsoft. Just leave IE6 as the pile or flaming donkey turds that it is and stop trying to further fragment our web developer testing environments!


Comment by Thomas Aylott — December 19, 2007

Thomas: IE6 is still widely used in corporations who standardized on IE6 and haven’t gotten around to recertifying everything for IE7. Those people are very likely to push this non-breaking update.

Comment by Joeri — December 19, 2007

@Thomas – I’m curious what the browser usage stats are on your sites. For sites I work on, IE7 usage passed IE6 during the past month.

Comment by Will Peavy — December 19, 2007

I have to second Joeri comment. The corporation, I work for is still using IE6 as standard and even the “NEW” standard corporate computer image, which is being deployed as I write this, still has IE6. IE7 and FF are both on the do not install/do not support list. So sadly, while IE7 might be better(as a personal disclaimer, I use FF and I don’t use IE7 at all, I just didn’t like the cut of its jib), its not going to be replaced where I work for at least the next year or so.

Comment by nblade — December 19, 2007

I didn’t mean to imply that this was in any way bad for users or corporations.

Congratulations for them and everything, but this DOES effect us poor web developers.

So Microsoft is most certainly not really trying to hurt us developers directly. They’re understandably trying to help those poor pathetic companies that chose to standardize on IE6. Obviously.

My point is still valid though. How do they expect us to support this new version of IE6? Answer: they don’t care.

I refer to Microsoft as a single solid entity even though I know very well that it’s made up of thousands of humans and untold dozens of organizations and management structures. There are many many seriously excellent people at Microsoft that would love nothing better than to make us developers happy first and foremost.

Blah blah blah, it’s still going to make my person life harder. As well as every other web developer who needs to support advanced web dev tech on the many IE6’s.

I’m glad that some people are going to be delighted with this news, but it’s most certainly not me or any of my clients, friends, relatives or associates. So the net effect to my personal life is negative.

Comment by Thomas Aylott — December 19, 2007

@thomas – just don’t install the update and you can develop with the worst case scenario. otherwise people with the update will see faster performance, not bugs.

Comment by RobRobRob — December 19, 2007

I’m not sure that they don’t care (and I have no love of M$), but they are in a bit of situation as you pointed out, where there is no way to win.
I do have to say the scenario that you listed above can apply to any change in any browser software via an update. There will always be those with the update and those without. A developer can only test so many browser versions (and sub-versions) and sadly, no matter how “Standard” compliant the browser and the code is, how the browser maker implement those “Standards” is always going to different. So does that mean this update is going to cause issues, I’m sure it is. I feel for your plight, but most of us are just going to buck up, curse M$ (as you seem to have done) and try to move on. Good luck to you and hopefully this M$ Update doesn’t cause you any lose of sleep.

Comment by nblade — December 19, 2007

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