If you haven’t heard by now, you might want to pay attention. Microsoft has been working up to this point for a couple months now, and today is the day that they pull the plug on versions of Internet Explorer 8 - 10.
Now don’t freak out…yet. If you are using one of those versions (which a lot of people are, so don’t feel too bad) all this means is that Microsoft isn’t going to offer support for them anymore. That means if you have problems on your computer that are Internet Explorer related, if it isn’t version 11 related, you are on your own.
How this impacts you as a user
If you are a regular user and you have IE8, IE9, or IE10 as your regular browser, you probably won’t notice any major differences or issues for a while. Generally speaking, the browsers run pretty good as they go, and unless you get a virus or corrupted system files, the day to day impact is going to be fairly low. It took over a year for users to move off the IE7 browser platform.
A potential problem can come from increased security risk, however. Since there won’t official support from Microsoft any longer, that makes the older browsers prone to exploits from bugs, hackers, and the like. Each version of an internet browser that comes out is usually more secure than the version before it, which is why you are encouraged to upgrade if possible.
If you work in a company where you have to be involved in any part of the website, you’ll probably notice more of an impact on your daily life. As a general rule, web developers try to stay on top of the newer browsers that utilize code technologies more efficiently. It’s not uncommon for users on older browsers to see issues with a website that nobody else can see.
How this impacts you as a developer
As a developer, this is probably the best news you’ve heard all day. It’s truly the bane of our existence to have to trouble shoot for browsers we haven’t actively used for over a year. Each browser version comes with its own inherent issues, but usually they are a step up ( I say usually because the whole IE 8-10 thing was a mess) in terms of functionality and stability.
It’s going to be much easier to do quality testing on development builds and website layouts from this point forward. Of course not everyone is going to make the switch immediately, but as a developer you’ve now got a much stronger foothold for when you want to make it clear you can’t support defunct software (win!).
Why the push?
It’s no secret that Microsoft is trying to kill the Internet Explorer experience, and they made it much more clear when Windows 10 came out. With a move to the new Edge browser, it seems the days IE are coming to and end. For those who haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet, there’s Internet Explorer 11, which is now the only recognized child in the family. Microsoft Edge is a bit of a different experience, with casual nods back to the IE days. It’s a fresh look at things, and it does fairly well when you compare the standards of operation with leading competitors like Chrome and Firefox.
At the end of the day, however, don’t expect much to change until it absolutely has to. Corporations are notoriously slow about updating software on network computers, and the average user at home probably won’t see the importance until someone insists on doing it for them. For the rest of us, the alternatives that have been around this whole time will continue to work just as they have been, outside of the IE bubble.
Creative thinking and development are just a part of what makes James tick. When he's not working on a project for a client, he's usually working on a project for himself. When he's not doing that he can be found snowboarding, hiking, or enjoying a broadway show with his wife.