Tom Watson MP has spent the last few days asking government departments when they intend to upgrade their web browsers from IE6. Yes, that's Internet Explorer 6. Responses ranged from departments which are in the process of upgrading like the Department of Justice and Foreign Office to the MoD, which has no intention of doing so …
OMG, I just did the they're/there/their thing!
"to the MoD, which has no intention of doing so at the moment"
Oh. dear. god - we're all going to die.
*reaches for the tin foil hat*
The reason why web based systems exist is because of deployment costs. Consider how much work it takes to deploy a new version of the application for every single user.
@AC at 13:51 GMT
"save by dumping windows?""
Always the token Linux fanboy. You can't save money by dumping Windows, certainly there are a lot of free unix type things out there but the cost of the operating system itself is a fraction of the overall cost of the operating environment. Moving from Windows to another OS might seem like a good idea on paper but once you start trying to implement it in the real world it becomes a bit much, especially for an organization that can't even handle upgrading a browser.
This sort of thing does however highlight the massive shortcomings of online applications, whether on the internet or a corprate intranet, they're not only slow and often unreliable but usually rely on a specific version of a specific browser and when that becomes dated the whole thing has to be scrapped and you've got to start over. In many cases custom built software could be designed cheaply and efficiently as a frontend to the sort of applications usually handed off to browser apps that would likely have a lower total cost of ownership in the long run.
@Firefox with IETab
Except sometimes PCs in government depts are "locked down" so much that you cannot download Firefox (more accurately: anything), or bring in CDs/pen-drives, to install it from. Any new software wanted on the network has to go through testing before it'll be allowed and rolled out. I'm not sure what the testing involves, but it sure is expensive.
With regards to IE6, I suspect it would be worth the price...
Whats the point?
To me, IE7 hasnt been any faster or more reliable. Tabs are useful, but not essential. So why bother?
Re: haha! & the other people with no idea of enterprise computing
Yes you have missed something. Creating a client app ties you even closer to an OS. What, you don't think it is going to be a big change when you move from XP to Vista or whatever? Do you think you can just roll out a new OS and not test anything? That there won't be any incompatibilities? At least the web app can theoretically work on any OS and is a shed load easier to roll-out.
Ignorance is bliss for you people, but why don't you get yourselves jobs in real enterprises with 100s, if not 1000s of desktops, with some real business critical vertical applications to go with it. Then write back and tell us all how easy it is.
WTF is it with people slagging off things they know nothing about???
Trust the Government
Now why don't I trust the Gov with my personal data, hmm let me see...
Out of date software, out of date government.
This sums up nulab, totally past it's sell by date.
@ AC 09:04
Somehow I suspect a Conservative (or any other flavoured) government won't be rushing to bleeding-edge technology either.
Oh, and what everyone else said on the risks and difficulty of moving large organisations to newer versions or replacement OS types.
Talk about missing the point!
IE6 is crap, I think everyone outside of Microsoft can agree on that, but really, IE7 and IE8 are no better. If you are going to encourage an upgrade then offer FF3 or Safari4, and keep IE6 behind for the kind of crap that won't run on real browsers.
If you let malware get past your perimeter security then IE versus FF / Safari really isn't a big issue.
"Creating a client app ties you even closer to an OS. "
Anthony, the thing is that the whole "web" thing is supposed to be done according to published standards.
Where orgs get into trouble is when they create web client apps that DONT conform to published standards. If they had have done what they should have from day one then these orgs would not be in the pickle they are in now.
So, before you go accusing others of "slagging off things they know nothing about" perhaps you should obtain just a couple of clues for your own use?
So the only advantage is that when the OS upgrades\changes the app will need to be tested? Surly when the OS changes there will be a new browser? Doesn't that require the same testing?
If this is that much of a worry you can write your application in a language like Java, which will provide you with your platform independence, and eliminate most of the downsides vs a web browser. (Apart from the performance.)
And before you start slagging people off stop to think for a second, you actually dont know who I am, nor where I work. I can assure you that you are incorrect in your assumption.
The whole point of web services is because they are being delivered to the general public and you have no idea what platform they will land on, so the browser is restricted on what it can do. The enterprise does not have these sorts of problems. (Generally anyway, if they do then the web is the way forward.)
As for deployment, you know you dont need to have a bod walking around with a floppy any more, right? This is a good use for the web, have a deployment page, one click and its installing. Upgrading? That's not hard, look at any app out there for an example of self updating. (And its trivial to implement, if you really wanted to it can be done in a batch file, though I'd rather have it in code.)
Ill admit for large companies with lots of small offices all over the place which do not have a fast network infrastructure browser based apps would be the way forward, so maybe thats where you work, however all the experience I have is in the financial industry where there is no bandwidth issues to worry about.
The Problem is Not Microsoft
The problem is in the big applications that government departments run to support their business; Oracle HR for example, runs fine on IE6 in one version; want a newer browser just so that a few websites load a bit faster and support more bells and web 2.0 whistles - good luck with that business case when you have to include the cost of migrating to a newer version of Oracle HR or Financials. Or what about all those call centres in government using Siebel 7, where lots of the functions just do not work on browsers later that IE6?
only IE6 or IE7 works with a lot of sites
My friend and i tried "unsuccessfully to upgrade to IE8 from IE7" and lo and behold .. all our banking related sites stopped working .. the IT guys at the banks said - we had to use only IE6 or IE7 .. sorry no support for IE8.. this seems to be a problem with a lot of websites - esp those where you need to get your work done - eg. Government web sites, Banking sites etc.. they seem to just dislike any other browser except IE6 or 7. These include banking majors like HSBC, Standard Chartered etc just to name a few ..
of course as Gordon rightly points out .. coding practices, then prevailing MS policy regarding IE and the general apathy and ignorance of the mass public to knowledge regarding safety / security measures when using the Internet or a browser .. all lead to being stuck with an older version of the browser... hopefully Windows 7 will not enforce IE8 as the default and will allow people to "downgrade" to IE6 or IE7 .. otherwise it will be an useless OS for people whose work programs / intranets etc work only with those archaic unsafe browsers.. It'll be interesting to see how MS tackles a problem they were also partly responsible for creating in the first place ..
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