Google stops supporting IE6

At last! Rejoice! Take a look at this article from Google.

From 1st March 2010 one of the big players will officially stop supporting IE6.  This great news can only mean that more larger corporations will finally start to phase out support for, probably, the worst web browser ever created.

Other experienced front end web designers will share my relief and prey that the pain of developing for such a badly designed web browser will fade away into the abyss of gladly forgotten crap.

In case you have no idea why Internet Explorer 6 (AKA IE6) is such a bastard to work with, let me enlighten you with a few examples:

  1. No support whatsoever for the alpha transparency layer in PNGs which is pretty odd considering Microsoft developed this format (fixed in IE7).  This is probably one of the most annoying things about IE6 for me as it clearly affected the potential for creativity utilising background graphics.
  2. No minimum widths or heights on div elements which means that your layout cannot possibly render the same in different browsers.  Well, we just avoid using this feature.
  3. Double margin bug - the margins that you create will render twice the size that they are meant to in IE6 only which means that pixel perfect layouts (especially fixed width layouts) are impossible for cross browser rendering.  The way to fix this was to use the 'padding' attribute instead or set the div element to display inline (which is not always feasable).
  4. You can almost guarantee that you would have spent the best part of half a day or more hacking away at the CSS (stylesheet) to make sure that the website looks the same in IE6 as it does in all of the other major browsers (Firefox, Opera, Safari etc)
  5. Why we should have to implement 'fixes' for 1 browser is beyond me.
  6. Creating a web browser which clearly does not understand Cascading Style Sheets is like building a car that only drives in reverse!

The above should give you at least a small insight into why web designers hate IE6.  One positive thing that came from the frustrations of IE6 is that more and more web users looked at other OpenSource web browsers which no doubt assisted in raising the bar for web standards.

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