As a web developer or web designer most likely you've heard somebody say, "it's not supported on IE." Or worse, "it's not supported in IE6."
I've had people say this to me on tutorials where I would show people WebKit experimental properties such as CSS3 filters. At the time of writing this tutorial, CSS filters were only available on WebKit browsers. I said this in the tutorial and still had people commenting on the post saying they will never use it because it's not supported by IE.
There's always changes happening to the latest browsers. Chromium has nightly builds where you can upgrade the browser. With all these changes happening so quickly there's going to be new properties coming out all the time that solves problems in front-end development. One of these is CSS Flexbox; personally, I think this is a big game changer with CSS it solves so many problems we've had before with floats, same height columns, and vertical centering.
But still, you get the people who say they won't use it because it's not supported in IE9.
With global usage at 96.92% and all the benefits you get from CSS flexbox, it is perfectly fine to use it now.
I know there are still a lot of corporate companies, public sector organisations and banks that still use older browsers such as IE8, but anything lower than IE10 is not supported by Microsoft. They will not be making improvements to the browsers; they will not be fixing security flaws. This is why it's very important that people are upgrading from IE10 and lower. The main reason people aren't upgrading from IE10 is because of cost. If you have a big company upgrading hundreds and thousands of computers can be very expensive. Another reason is because big companies of this size have internal applications that the company has used for years like a holiday booking systems. These were probably built to run on IE6 and I've seen companies where they will only work in IE6.
This is why people don't want to use new properties or techniques, as it will mean the small percentage still on these older browsers can't use it. If you look at the current browser stats IE8 is the highest used IE browser other than 11, and globally this is only 0.77%.
I believe that as web designers and developers, we should be at the front of pushing people to upgrade to the latest browser. This has many benefits:
- You can use new CSS techniques.
- You rarely have to do browser-specific techniques. You may still need browser prefixes like -WebKit- but you don't need a WebKit stylesheet and an IE6 stylesheet and an IE8 stylesheet.
- You can use newer properties like image reflection in pure CSS.
- The benefit to the company is the security updates. By upgrading there is better protection for the users of the system.
- Newer browsers also provide a better user experience.
When we do things like not using a widely used CSS property, like CSS flexbox, we're making it okay for people not to upgrade their browser, when we should be encouraging people to upgrade the browser to the latest versions.
Flexbox Without Flexbox
I found this article by Kenan Yusuf about being able to duplicate some of the flexbox properties with older techniques. It's a nice idea and he's done a great job at recreating these properties, but I think he's trying to solve a problem that doesn't need to be fixed.
What do you think? Should we be working out how to continue creating websites for unsupported browsers or should we be encouraging people and businesses to upgrade?