back to article Internet Explorer needs fresh dev infusion for a full recovery

Despite years of pressure from government antitrust actions and open-source upstarts like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser still commands more than 50 per cent of the global desktop browser market. While Microsoft remains an obvious choice for many consumers, there's some indication …

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IE developer tools are not exactly great either

From what I remember at least. Last time I had to develop for Explorer was a couple of years ago and the version at the time was IE8. I remember most people were using FireBug and some DragonFly. Opening IE8 debugging tool only happened for IE specific bugs or anomalies. Which means quite frequently, but never by choice. Have they improved over time?

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JDX
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Re: IE developer tools are not exactly great either

Whether as good I don't know but they're certainly better in IE9. And note of course Visual Studio has a lot of web-dev stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IE developer tools are not exactly great either

They are still light years behind what is offered in FF and Chrome. They can put as much shiny, shiny as they like on their browser but one tap on the F12 key shows you what an ugly, clunky pos it is underneath.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IE developer tools are not exactly great either

IE9 is fine. You even get a traffic logger and IE has had a "console.log" thing since IE8 I think. Great for some javascript logging without having to resort to using 'alert'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IE developer tools are not exactly great either

Some Intranet applications are still IE only. So there's a lot of call for improvements to IE's development and debugging tools.

So I'd rather they carried on instead of giving up completely.

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Grandparents (and similar users) do not care about Socialfixer (neither do I tbh) or 4ormat (who the hell are they?). They care about their banking website, eBay, Amazon and the BBC. While the Internet button on their computer works with them, which it will continue to do, they aren't going to use anything else.

IE's market share has bottomed out, at least until Windows market share drops from the Win8 effect.

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Anonymous Coward

red rag to a bull

Oooh, inflammatory comments. I predict our resident Reading based unpaid intern will be along any moment now to put you right and give us all some educational insight into the number of hundreds of security vulnerabilities the free alternatives are sporting today.

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All those things work in other browsers too and the other browsers are better supported by popular sites like Gmail.

And most of those people don't stick with IE because they want to but because they're afraid of changing anything. As you says it works so they don't want to break it. I suspect they would be more likely to change it if they weren't afraid of their computer.

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FAIL

Forget about the grandparents.

It's the developers that are the idiots.

Have a look through Hacker News - there are some hard-core HTML5 nut jobs on there that would rather use the c-word than say "Internet Explorer", irrespective of version. The same nut jobs that bitch because they can't get freeloader VC cash for their new trendy HTML5 -based start-up that includes hipster words like "social", and "cloud", and "lean".

These nut jobs are exactly the same nut jobs that willingly knee-cap themselves by excluding +50% of potential revenue-generating customers that use IE.

Google also develops some sites exclusively for HML5 (e.g. http://www.googleartproject.com/). That surprises me even more. If I were Google, and trying to lure IE users to Chrome I wouldn't just put up a message saying "Install Chrome Frame". Google offers no glimpse of a payoff/reward for making a dubious non-techy install dubious software that sounds close to, but isn't, Chrome.

It beggars belief.

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FAIL

Banking web sites don't necessarily work in other browsers

Errr.... my company has just had HSBC's new internet banking system thrust upon us. I logged in and found half the expected features missing. Called support and was told that I need to use IE7 or 8 (I was using Firefox, but curiously it doesn't flag at login that the system won't work properly with that).

I asked the support guy what happens if I am on a Mac or Linux and was told 'it's fine, just install IE7 or 8 and you can still use it.

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Re: Banking web sites don't necessarily work in other browsers

This was a spectacularly poor decision on HSBC's part. They are not the only one to have made it. I suspect they have gotten a good price for the software and did not realize the hidden cost of alienating half of their customers, who naturally call in to ask why they can no longer use online banking. They should have realized this, so they really have no excuse. Although, witnessing the economic disaster that banks have placed upon us these last few years, I guess yet another stupid decision shouldn't surprise me.

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Alert

Microsoft isn't helped by the fact that a lot of people seem to bash IE because it's "cool". Every time an acquaintance makes a negative comment about modern versions of IE I ask them why. It's generally at that point that they can't give an answer or it becomes clear that they are basing their dislike on earlier versions such as IE6 and haven't actually used modern versions.

I have been playing with IE10 of late and I'm currently experiencing better performance and less lockups than I have been getting in Chrome over the past month or so. When/if that changes I will go back to Chrome. My loyalties are firmly with what ever can get a webpage on my screen without me wanting to throw my computer through the window, nothing more.

So that's one of the issues, a lot of people dismiss things because it's "in" to do so, not because they are willing to identify the best tool for the job.

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Mushroom

It's not cool to bash IE...

We bash IE because it is a festering pile of proprietary bug-ridden crap.

I personally bash IE because I am sick of the amount of extra time it takes to build a website - the cost of which has to be borne by all. IE10, 11, 12 may be more reliable and better support standards, but what of the festering crap that remains? IE7 and IE8 wil last forever as you can't upgrade this on XP.

Those of us who work in the real world are thoroughly sick of Microsoft's shenanigans and don't forgive in a hurry and especially as we're still cleaning up the mess on a daily basis.

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MJI
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Re: It's not cool to bash IE...

I have upgraded past IE8 on XP - Firefox 15

For XP with IE dead ended FF and co are the best browsers to use.

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I dislike IE (versions 6 thru 9, never used 10). Here are some reasons:

- It only runs on Windows, so I can't use it across my systems like I can with FF etc.;

- There are no proper addons, they are all just useless media clap-trap;

- Dev tools suck donkey-balls. Sweaty donkey-balls. (i.e. there is no FireBug equiv etc);

- It cannot be removed from Windows (I don't use it, so why have it?)

After so much pain with IE over the years, I have now found a toolchain that works really well. A toolchain that is still supported. Why should I bother lowering my productivity just to suffer IE?

Now some people will say "Duh, typical freetard. Why should MS make software for other OSs? Go back to Leenuks you tool." Well, why shouldn't they? Apple do. Google does. If I could run IE on OS X and GNU/Linux I might be prepared to look at it. But why should I bother my ass to learn one tool just for Windows when the likes of FF work well and I can sync my addons/settings etc? Simple answer: I shouldn't.

IE can go play with itself. Actually, that's all it can do!

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Boffin

Re: It's not cool to bash IE...

>I personally bash IE because I am sick of the amount of extra time it takes to build a website

Really? be careful what you wish for - the great thing about browser and now HTML5 fragmentation is the extra work and money. Write once, run anywhere, earn half.

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1) It's slow as fuck. The only time I come to use IE is on relatives ageing machines. Opening the browser window is some sort of feat akin to cleaning the Augean stables, given how long it takes. Opening a tab gives you enough time to read a couple of chapters of your new book. Chrome is much faster to launch up, as it doesn't involve 500 different windows subsystems all churning into life.

2) It's insecure by design. The only time I've had to reinstall windows was when I accidentally opened a website in IE from an IRC link (I know, I know - I thought it was going to open in Opera), which in turn redirected to a windows media URL that trashed my registry. It auto opened it because "IE" is simply a rebadged version of the explorer, the windows shell. This, and activex, are the vectors of so many whack-a-mole bugs (they fix one, 2 months later, a virtually identical exploit is found).

3) It's been like this for years. It's no longer "why chrome is better than IE", it is now up to IE to show to that I should be using it

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Facepalm

Only children, and angry techies use add-ons. Soccer mom doesn't.

I actually switched back to IE recently, never thought I'd say it. Chrome was doing it for me.

But IE and now this v10 on Windows 8 does enough, stable enough and QUICK ENOUGH now - that installing an alternate browser just isn't necessary.

Bear in mind I am using a ton of apps, and doing all the techie things techies do - and I'm doing my job just fine without a single add-in. Amazing but true :) But yeah, just like Linux zealots with their hair on fire, its cool to bash MS (or it used to be in the 90s. I thought we'd grow up since then? Maybe not) MS have had a good renaissance recently. Long may it continue. I also hope all of them do well, RIM, Google, Apple etc - as this competition is ultimately good for us the consumer.

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@hugh wanger - "Only children, and angry techies use add-ons. Soccer mom doesn't."

So what? I wasn't stating reasons why they should hate IE, I was stating reasons why I hate IE.

"doing all the techie things techies do - and I'm doing my job just fine without a single add-in. Amazing but true"

So you are probing/hacking client-side JS in IE10 to test a website? Or a-blocking? Or tracker-blocking? Or agent spoofing? Or.... All without an addons? Why do I not believe you.

IE10 works for you? Great, have at it. But the above is stuff I need/want to do and that is why, for me, IE is sub-standard. I can't speak for others.

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MJI
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IE

Actually I find the version still on my home XP PC might be 7, may be 8, is very sluggish, seems to take a while to do anything, FF is quite quick in comparison. (I needed to compare 2 Ebay accounts).

Q8200 so no slouch.

My daughter recently got a new Win 7 laptop, she installed Firefox rather rapidly

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Anonymous Coward

"But why should I bother my ass to learn one tool just for Windows when the likes of FF work well and I can sync my addons/settings etc? Simple answer: I shouldn't."

Can't? Well.....

Won't? Stupid.......

Bugger you then, cut your nose off to spite your face if you want. Plenty of others out there that will happily.

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WTF?

Re: I actually switched back to IE recently

Good for you.

Would you please be kind and go around and install IE10 on the 100 million other systems which aren't running Windows 8. What's that, you can't?

You obviously don't develop for a living as you wouldn't be using the non-existent development tools. Nor do you support thousands of desktops. Nor use all the myriad other add-ons which the other browsers support. And you're only running W8...

All of these are reasons why IE remains a festering turd of a browser.

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z-index implementation

has been making me bash IE(7 &8) this afternoon

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Re: It's not cool to bash IE...

"Really? be careful what you wish for - the great thing about browser and now HTML5 fragmentation is the extra work and money. Write once, run anywhere, earn half."

I'd rather have twice the number of clients and not have to waste half my time pissing around with IE's fucking MENTAL bugs.

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@Obviously - "Bugger you then, cut your nose off to spite your face if you want. Plenty of others out there that will happily."

Jolly good for them, butt I never discussed them. As for cutting my nose of; I support IE and test in IE but I do not use IE because (get ready for it) it does not do what I want or need. My other tools are cross-platform. I can sit an GNU/Linux, OS X or Windows and carry on quite happily bar a few filepath differences. Does IE even have some of the tools I depend on? No.

One of my major requirements - cross-platform. Does IE do that? No.

Does IE run even on all current versions of Windows? No.

So why should I bother to bring IE into the mix when it is only going to cause me grief?

Knowing when a tool is of no benefit is just as important as knowing when a new tool adds value. And, to me, IE of no benefit and negative value.

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Devil

IE vs Chrome

If I had to make a choice it would be IE. Microsoft are 1.2% less evil than Google.

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Re: IE vs Chrome

IE10's alright. If Adblock+ was supported, I'd consider using it as a "main" browser.

And then, through inertia, keep using Firefox.

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Tired of MS playing politics

I think ultimately devs are getting tired of MS playing politics with web standards. Whether it's WebRTC, WebGL, HTML5 etc.

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JDX
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Re: Tired of MS playing politics

Care to elaborate? They seem to be big into HTML5 now. And I thought WebGL was a deliberate choice due to technical issues rather than political.

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Re: Tired of MS playing politics

WebGL and IE isn't a technical reason. They claim it's due to security. I suspect they will fight WebGL until they can find some way to push DIrectX then it'll be acceptable to them to do WebGL-like things.

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Re: Tired of MS playing politics

Sure, see this for an example. Also see here for MS being pretty deceptive still.

As to WebGL and IE. If by technical issues you mean MS don't want to implement it, then yes it's a technical issue. If they wanted to they could implement it without trouble.

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Re: Tired of MS playing politics

WebGL... I hear echoes of MS trying to kill OpenGL on Windows. The market overruled them back then, it will this again if WebGL takes off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tired of MS playing politics

>And I thought WebGL was a deliberate choice due to technical issues rather than political

Yep - http://blogs.technet.com/b/srd/archive/2011/06/16/webgl-considered-harmful.aspx

http://cvedetails.com/ has plenty a long list of critical zero days for browsers which have bitten the magic bullet.

.....on a pragmatic level its also not likely to get much use anyway other than as a viewer - Stage3D will own at least the Windows and OSX desktops, is 5 years ahead already and improving much faster.

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Re: Tired of MS playing politics

This is how the standards game is played. You can't influence standards (or insert your own extensions) if you aren't "big" in the standards committees. MS have long played this game, XSLT for example, which they "broke" by virtually inserting their own XML transform spec into the mix, making XSL 1.0 implementations very different.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tired of MS playing politics

>This is how the standards game is played. You can't influence standards (or insert your own extensions) if you aren't "big" in the standards committees.

Not really true - surprisingly talentless and unemployable developers with the time to put up with the processes of W3C have a far more disproportionate influence on Standards.

.......this, much more than transparent and obvious corporate agenda pushing, is why the vast majority of W3C Standards ultimately fail - by which I mean they are ignored completely by the real world [probably 50-75% of W3C Standards] or end up being fixed with proprietory tweaks when a Standard is unavoidably necessary as with html5+.

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Not my obvious choice

We're still landed with it - I can't say my experience of IE10 is a good one. I am only "forced" to use it as some websites throw a wobbly with FF, and I've never trusted Chrome. My opinion is that a lot of the improvements have made it even worse, it is annoying and still difficult to configure for the average user.

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Megaphone

More meaningful statistics

I'd like to see the stats comparing corporate to personal. I'm not sure if it's possible to do this via IP address ranges or other means but browser usage is heavily influenced by usage environment and these statistics would be more meaningful if we can see the difference between choice (home users) and policy (corporate users).

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Re: More meaningful statistics

That's my view on why the numbers have dropped but have stabilised - the choice users have chosen and the policy users have stuck.

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I don't think it's correct to say jQuery is dropping IE8;

Instead they are providing two versions with identical APIs

1.9 will support older versions of IE

2.0 will support IE9+ only, and so will be smaller/quicker.

See http://blog.jquery.com/2012/06/28/jquery-core-version-1-9-and-beyond/ for details

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JDX
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That's good to know, I thought it sounded dodgy anyone would stop supporting IE8 while so many PCs remain on XP.

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Stop

Adobe Flash installs chrome and add-ins

my son asked if he should update 'flash' as it requests/advises recently, without looking I just said yes.

I came back a few seconds later to see it had nearly download google plug-in and chrome! manages to hit cancel in time and then download the flash update and disable the google bit.

what is that all about? why are Adobe distributing chrome?

I bet a good number of people get googlized by this.

I'm sure MS have been blasted for such activity, but this is a bit different I suppose - Google promotes Flash via YouTube, Adobe promotes Chrome via Flash.

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FAIL

Re: Adobe Flash installs chrome and add-ins

Not just Chrome but also Norton AV. Adobe are just pimps for the IT world's whores.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Adobe Flash installs chrome and add-ins

>what is that all about? why are Adobe distributing chrome?

Probably for 10 or 20 cents a download - though Adobe now share the source code of FP with Google (and Microsoft) meaning approaches and development are getting a little more joined up than with the moribund plugin from Adobe models.

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FAIL

Re: Adobe Flash installs chrome and add-ins

Quote: I bet a good number of people get googlized by this.

Only if you suffer from Microsoft Click Monkey Syndrome. That is the inability to READ, and carefully notice what actions you are attempting to perform. I have no doubt that you didn't pay any attention to the "pre-checked" boxes in the download section. That is most likely HOW that additional shit got downloaded.

It can't be said enough: Some people are too fucking stupid to use a computer.

</rant>

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Re: Adobe Flash installs chrome and add-ins

In my younger days I was unfortunate enough to have to provide tech support for IBM 5250 and 3270 terminals used by bank tellers. One particularly bad day I had a call from a teller who told me her terminal screen was just blank. I went through the usual checks, cables plugged in, etc.. She was painfully slow in carrying out my instructions and I was more intolerant than usual that morning. Finally, I packed up a replacement terminal and lugged the heavy thing across town to discover that she had not turned on the power switch. Needless to say, I was not pleased and let her have it for being so stupid. The end result, however, did not affect her, and I nearly got sacked for my intolerant and rude behavior.

The moral of the story: many stupid people, of necessity, must use computers. The rest of us must live with this fact and do what we can to limit the damages. Those who would prey upon the stupid, (Adobe? Google?), are evil.

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Makes a change

There used to be lots of sites that openly told the user that they wouldn't work with anything but IE.

Even the NHS site couldn't do a simple standard form submission with Firefox.

Building a site is going to be so much easier when we can strip out the reams and reams of IE conditionals that try to force the various IE versions to behave like standard browsers.

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Anonymous Coward

I think as a decent developer you would have to concede that MS have made strides into making Internet Explorer far less hateful than it was, specially from a development standpoint. Support is much better than ever.

Though if it was possible I'd still take IE out of the office and kick it to pieces, Office Space Printer style.

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Agreed, I generally find IE8 to be quite well behaved only requiring a few specific CSS hacks to make sites work (if any). Compared with the huge amounts of extra CSS I would have to generate for IE6 and IE7 it's a big improvement. Debugging on IE8 is crap, but generally I find the JS engine to be fairly well behaved too. It's not perfect but it's good progress.

If anything, I wish other browsers supported the <!--[if IE 6]> way of hiding browser specific stuff, as ever so occasionally Safari or Opera will display differently to everything else and it would be nice to have one tidy method for including specific .css hack files rather than doing anything server side or in JS to detect other browsers.

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