My first draft of this post focused on all of the good that followed IE6 in the world of web development but I think it’s worth focusing on why we're so happy to be saying goodbye to my nemesis for a lot of the last 20 years. Later this year support for Internet Explorer officially comes to an end and in mid-2022 it will be retired completely.
From 3-pixel bugs, to different implementations and interpretations of the CSS specs, the end of internet explorer couldn’t come soon enough. Never heard of the 3-pixel bug? If you have access to IE 11, then go here and use emulation to pretend you're in IE5 (IE6 is not available for some reason) and you'll see a three pixel indent of the first paragraph in the green box. Maddening.
I had the misfortune to not only have to support IE6 in my development career, but also IE5.5 and even Internet Explorer for Mac too. Internet Explorer for Mac. Truly trying times.
Microsoft eventually moved onto Internet Explorer 7 but the improvements were minimal. IEs 8, 9, and 10 were not much better and even now 11 is painfully slow. Over the past 5 years, I've lost count of how many times I have been asked to look into performance issues and it turns out it's the browser itself struggling. The code itself is good enough for everyone else, the user's hardware rarely an issue and the APIs themselves performant. Every other browser coped without any issues.
Goodbye, Internet Explorer. You will not be missed.