Microsoft has jumped on the ditch-IE6 bandwagon with IE6Countdown.com, following in the footsteps of such campaigns as Browse Happy, End 6, and Save the Developers.
Of course, since it’s a Microsoft-sponsored campaign, it’s only promoting upgrades, rather than promoting an upgrade-or-switch message.
Static HTML points out why you might want to put your effort into some other campaign instead. Because IE6 Countdown is only an upgrade campaign, and IE6 users are all on Windows XP or below (Vista ships with IE7), they can only ever upgrade as far as IE8. Given the huge gap between IE8 and IE9 in terms of standards support, HTML5, CSS3, and so forth, IE8 will soon become the new millstone around the web’s neck.
So instead of plugging IE, consider plugging your own favorite browser, be it Firefox, Chrome or Opera. Or perhaps plug another switch campaign. After all, there are quite a few alternative web browsers out there!
Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 yesterday, for Windows XP and Vista. So if you’re still running IE6, or someone you know is, it’s once again time to think about upgrading — or switching. (Assuming, of course, that you’re not locked in by corporate policy or another piece of software.)
- IE6 is now two versions behind the current release.
- IE6 is almost 8 years old (it was released in 2001).
- IE6 is lacking in many capabilities that all other modern web browsers have, in web technology, in security, and in features you can use.
You can read a review at Wired, a write-up from the IE team, or a summary of technical changes from WaSP.
Of course, Internet Explorer isn’t the only option out there. There’s Opera, Firefox, Chrome and a host of other alternative browsers that are worth checking out.
If you’re still running Windows 2000 or some other old version of Windows that can’t run IE7 or IE8, I’d absolutely recommend Firefox or Opera. Either will be much better than IE6, both will run on Windows 2000, and Opera will even run on Windows Me and Windows 98 (but you really ought to move to something more current than Windows Me.)
The IEBlog recently posted about their efforts to improve reliability in Internet Explorer 8, particularly the idea of “loosely-coupled IE” (or LCIE). The short explanation is that each tab runs in its own process, so if a web page causes the browser to crash, only that tab crashes — not the whole thing. (It is a bit more complicated, but that’s the principle.) Combine that with session recovery (load with the same set of web pages, if possible with the form data you hadn’t quite finished typing in), and you massively reduce the pain of browser crashes.
I’d like to see something like this picked up by Firefox and Opera as well. They both have crash recovery already, but it still means restoring the entire session. If you have 20 tabs open, it’s great that you don’t have to hunt them down again. But it also means you have to wait for 20 pages to load simultaneously. It would be much nicer to only have to wait for one (or, if I read the IE8 article correctly, three).
Edited to add:
On a related note, I’ve run into an interesting conflict between crash recovery and WordPress’ auto-save feature. If you start a new post, WordPress will automatically save it as a draft. If the browser crashes, it will bring up the new-post page, but restore most of the form data you filled in. So the title, the text of your post, etc will all be there. But WordPress will see it as a new post, and you’ll end up with a duplicate.
This wasn’t a major problem when I encountered it — I had to reset the categories, tags, and post slug after I hit publish (since I hadn’t noticed that they’d been reset to defaults), and I just deleted the older, partial version of the post — but I can imagine if I’d uploaded an image gallery, I would have been rather annoyed, since there’s no way (that I’ve noticed) to move images from one post to another. Reuse them, sure, but not such that the gallery feature would work.
Firefox: The new release candidate Firefox 3 RC2 is out. No date yet on the official launch, but they’re still saying June. Also, developers are starting to talk work that’s gone into what will become Firefox 3.1, such as completing CSS3 selectors support.
Opera: A new Opera 9.5 preview came out today, showcasing the browser’s new look. Also, the Opera Core team takes a look at what you can do if you put hardware acceleration on the whole browser.
Internet Explorer: IE8 beta 2 is scheduled for August. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve done, and figure I’ll start updating sites to accommodate changes. I held off changing too much when IE8b1 came out, because some of the differences were obviously bugs (triggering the Caio Hack, for instance; and yes, I reported it).
Flock has been moving ahead with small, rapid releases, adding integration for new services each time. They just added Digg and Pownce in Flock 1.2 a few days ago. Now they’re getting ready to start on Flock 2.0, which will merge in all the new capabilities of Firefox 3. That means it’ll get new rendering capabilities, better memory management, probably EV certs and such.