2016 is fast approaching, sparking many discussions about technologies which will thrive and flourish or be forgotten. Our industry moves fast and the new year will kick-start with Microsoft dropping support for older versions of Internet Explorer. The only version of it’s browser to continue receiving regular security updates will be IE11. While this will seem trivial to some, it’s game-changing for others, we, as web professionals, must acknowledge the impact it will have on the web industry.
How does it affect web users?
Without security updates, hackers are able to exploit all vulnerabilities with no opportunity for patches, opening a door to numerous ways of hijacking sensitive data and identity theft. It is highly recommended that users update to the latest version of IE or one of the other popular modern browsers, such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Please note that Microsoft will continue to support IE9 on Windows Vista, though the number of users running the OS is relatively low.
With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has launched its new web browser, Microsoft Edge. This has been rather well received within the web community and offers major improvements to performance, more closely followed standards, and enhanced rendering to match it’s competitors standards.
The web has been accelerating massively and it is amazing what we are now able to achieve. It poses a challenge for browsers as the technologies they are built on improve at such a rapid rate the browsers become quickly outdated. It results in a lot of websites not being rendered to their full extent. This usually limits how beautiful a design is and/or a lot of functionality that allows for better usability and performance.
How does it effect the web community?
Lack of support for outdated versions of Internet Explorer means that most users will update to the latest release in the first quarter of 2016. We will eventually reach a point where support for all versions below IE11 will no longer be viable to businesses. Currently, a lot of our time is being invested into cross-browser support for new and existing web development projects. We have observed that about 80-90% of that time is usually invested into fixes for IE10 and below.
Less time spent supporting old browsers means that our efforts can be directed at design, user experience, usability and performance – further improving all of the crucial elements of a website.
In order to drive web in the right direction, we need to stay agile. Our industry moves at a remarkable speed, talented teams are building products that were considered impossible only a few years ago. It makes sense to ensure that the tool we use to browse our planet’s information allows the user to have the best experience possible through use of the latest technologies.
Facilitating a community where ideas blossom and support this journey, is crucial to a positive outcome for us all.