Saturday, December 31, 2005

IE: officially a piece of shit

I picked this up at Chris's place ages ago, but forgot to post anything. I'm afraid that I just can't let this go.
The researchers tracked three browsers (MSIE, Firefox, Opera) in 2004 and counted which days they were "known unsafe." Their definition of "known unsafe": a remotely exploitable security vulnerability had been publicly announced and no patch was yet available.

MSIE was 98% unsafe. There were only 7 days in 2004 without an unpatched publicly disclosed security hole.

This underestimates the risk, because it doesn't count vulnerabilities known to the bad guys but not publicly disclosed (and it's foolish to think that such things don't exist). So the "98% unsafe" figure for MSIE is generous, and the situation might be even worse.

And one of the commenters flags up my particular beef with IE...
IE also sucks because it has its own particular, frustrating, and often incomprehensible ways of rendering code. Anyone who has tried to design a site for several browsers will know what I mean.

While that may not seem like a security issue straight off, I would submit that having to add a lot of complexity and workarounds reduces security. Also, lack of compatibility can constrain people's ability to use more secure browsers.

Quite so. Add in the fact that IE for the Mac rendered code completely differently to IE for PC and you've got even more of a nightmare.

So, would the 54%, or so, of people who view this site using Internet Explorer, please not do so? You'll find Firefox links at the top of my right sidebar. If everyone dumped IE, they would be doing me (and all web developers) a favour, they would bring down the cost of website development and they will save themselves a whole host of security problems.

Without IE, the cutting-edge web techiques detailed in places like CSS Edge could actually be deployed properly, and not used as proof-of-concepts and webbie toys that they currently are. Just imagine; drop-down, nested menus that don't need Javascript or Flash (to see and example, click the Start button (although, not if you are using IE))! Many other very cool things, like fixed image (which is often usefully used to make divs appear translucent) would be used a lot more. Websites could, much more easily, be really beautiful...

So, please, for your sake as well as ours: get rid of IE.



MatGB said...

Oh. My.

That topmenu stuff is beautiful. I want. All with css as well, very impressive.

Having just booted up IE to compare it, ye gods IE is bad.

Hmm... Could that div based hiding of info be used to create a 'fold' for blogger entries, so you get a read full article thing on the homepage and archive pages? Especially useful for things like the docudump, but also, y'know, upping page views significantly, 60% of my readers never leave the frontpage.

Oh yeah; the highest my browser use has got to 50% since I started counting was when everyone linked to the Boris /up-down thing, it's normally 30% IE. I'd say I had a better class of reader, but I know it's actually because I've just got less of them...

Anonymous said...

One thing that annoys me out of my mind is when sites have notiuces saying "this site is designed for IE on Windows" as if that is somehow acceptable. The whole point of the W3C and web standards is that anyone should be able to view the information, even if they have a non-standard set-up or a physical disability.

Another thing I noticed over Christmas, browsing sites via Windows rather than Mac OS X, is that Windows browsers do not 'anti-alias' fonts. It makes all my sites look ever so slightly shitter than they did when designed on a Mac. Its very frustrating.

A great web design site you didn't mention, by the same people as CSS Zen Garden, is A List Apart.

Ally said...

I visit you because you almost always hold different views to me and you make me think - sometimes I even go away muttering angrily under my breath ... but with this, I'm behind you 100% :).

Devil's Kitchen said...


A List Apart is great, and you will find it linked to on the DS2 site.



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