Haven't We Suffered Enough?

About 20 months ago, I underwent a procedure.  Although my life was never in danger and I didn't have to spend a single night in the hospital, the procedure was not without pain or difficulties.  Regardless, the last 20 months have been like a whole other world.  I benefit from greater flexibility, better vision, and a better resistance to virii.  All in all, I will never regret the final step of dropping Windows – and more importantly Internet Explorer – for Ubuntu Linux.. and more importantly Firefox.

Let's face it, we do have some things to thank Microsoft for in IE6… namely the XMLHttpRequest object.  This concept was copied by all the other browsers and eventually became the Ajax that we know and love.  Without Ajax, the web would not be as much fun and we'd still be all web1.0 and junk.

But haven't we suffered enough?

As of August 2008, Internet Explorer 6 is now officially seven years old.  We know of security vulnerabilities ranging from nasty jpeg-based
attacks to storms of popup windows to ActiveX attacks to just about everything else under the sun.  According to Wikipedia, it hasn't had a major update since 2004 and IE7 is a required upgrade.

IE6 reigned supreme for years simply because the other browsers didn't weren't in the game.  Netscape Navigator was stuck in the land of 4.7 and the updates released were bloated and not well accepted in general.  The featureset simply wasn't there.  But the latest available browser statistics from w3c (below), show a positive trend: IE6 is quietly withering away 1-2% each month while Firefox and IE7 have both grown steadily.

 

2008 IE7 IE6 Chrome Fx Moz S O
October 26.9% 20.2% 3.0% 44.0% 0.4% 2.8% 2.2%
September 26.3% 22.3% 3.1% 42.6% 0.5% 2.7% 2.0%

Since both IE7 and Firefox are superior browsers – for numerous reasons – this has been a good thing, but Martin Ringlein of nclud notes that this trend is likely to flatten at this point until the next version of Windows… and unfortunately, I think he's right.  Some people are using – and will continue to use – Windows 95, 98, and 2000 until their machine physically dies and they buy a new one…

So yes, we've suffered enough… but we probably have to suffer a bit longer..

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