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Cover image for Why to not support Internet Explorer
Jack Domleo
Jack Domleo

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at jackdomleo.dev

Why to not support Internet Explorer

All my articles are first published and hosted on my blog, but you may also find these articles posted on blogging platforms such as DEV.to and Hashnode. If you like my articles, you will also like what I share on Twitter and LinkedIn.


So you're thinking of supporting Internet Explorer? Don't.

Why you should consider no longer supporting Internet Explorer

  • Microsoft dropped support for versions IE10 and below as of
  • Microsoft strongly advised its users to move to Microsoft Edge because IE11 and below are not secure
  • Supporting Internet Explorer could mean double the development time because Internet Explorer cannot handle the new funky CSS, such as flexbox
  • It's old, when someone says "a modern browser", absolutely no one thinks of Internet Explorer
  • Internet Explorer is not an evergreen browser

Where does Microsoft stand on Internet Explorer?

Microsoft have advised all users to not use Internet Explorer and to move over onto their more modern browser, Microsoft Edge. Microsoft have stated that they can no longer guarantee the security of Internet Explorer.

They currently have plans to shut down the browser on approximately .

Where do I stand on Internet Explorer?

As a front-end web developer, I feel supporting Internert Explorer is not the smartest move.

I feel IE has held back the development of the web, if IE was shut down many years ago, the web would have progressed much further by now.

Supporting IE means all the modern CSS you know and love, such as flexbox and grid, can no longer be used, or will need polyfilling with a hack that will temporarily support IE. Performing the task of rewriting the same CSS twice is doubling the development time that is wasted time you could be spending on something more valuable.

What resources can you read that backup my argument?

Read the below resources on Internet Explorer:


Cover image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Top comments (22)

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karandpr profile image
Karan Gandhi

Sometimes it's not an option.
On a personal note, I worked on a project where majority of userbase used IE as their main browser. Suggesting Chrome or Firefox was not an option. This is very relevant if you are developing for some sort of internal system and the paperwork / retraining required to change default browser is too much. It was mandatory to support IE. And I had to support till IE 7. (they asked for IE 5 but well I had to put my feet down )

Barring the restraints I learnt a lot on the project.

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jackdomleo7 profile image
Jack Domleo

I respect that. I think I'd like to know why in 2020, so many corporations haven't upgraded from Internet Explorer.

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karandpr profile image
Karan Gandhi

Funny story.
Basically the project I was working on had a plugin which only worked on ie 5. The plugin was very important and couldn't be easily decoupled. My task was to find the best possible workaround while not breaking the existing stuff.
On my another project, I asked a IT support eng. why they didn't update to chrome or Firefox . He said that it's easier to fix issues than make a suit realise why they should switch to modern browser.

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jackdomleo7 profile image
Jack Domleo

Interesting, I've never really been one for the easiest solution. Where possible I try to strive for the best solution but not always possible. Also, sometimes the easiest solution is the best solution.

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karandpr profile image
Karan Gandhi

It was fun. Learnt lot about migrating from a legacy system to whatever version it is possible. (There were lot of project restraints ).
Faced some really weird bugs.

I think we will face similar situation once chrome becomes default browser and starts stagnating.

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reinhart1010 profile image
Reinhart Previano K. • Edited on

Rather explaining the whole thing, I'd rather to show users and developers a picture of Francine (respective GitHub repo and Twitter thread) and tell them that this picture looks great on modern browsers, but even worse in outdated browsers.

Note: The image was created in pure CSS and originally made for Chrome

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miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐

Simple answer for me is: users. 20%+ of my users. Still 10% of visitors to Wikipedia from a desktop. Corporates are still on IE11. If someone visits your site from a work computer some of them will be on IE11.

Personally I obviously hate it as much as the next person and wish it would actually really die, but it wont for those of us who make enterprise software. Roll on 2025. We are experimenting with users installing actual apps in Electron, but really, that's just causing more pain for the client and lower adoption. So polyfills it is, and they are actually pretty good.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

In contrast, the traffic to DEV literally rounds to 0%. This is 44 out of the last 1,263,490 visitors.

IE traffic

This varies massively from case to case.

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miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐

Yeah I mean what developer goes anywhere on IE lol. I'd never open anything except the app I'm debugging. This is the problem with caniuse etc. I grin and bear it when I start the VM and think oh good.

For clarification - if you can get away without it then do! All about the audience...

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Yup, and one shouldn't look at the traffic to, say, their personal side project, and think their boss is crazy for trying to support IE.

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jackdomleo7 profile image
Jack Domleo

I agree with you on that. The stats do show that almost every corporate enterprise are so far behind... It's going to be a real shock when 2025 does come around. I do respect that though. Where I work, when we were planning a new web application, we decided to not support IE at all and when we sell it, the sales guys are going to make it clear that a modern is browser is needed. Especially because we're a HR software company handling sensitive data, IE11 didn`t seen like a good idea anyway. Thanks for your feedback! πŸ’ͺ

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miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐

Totally with you on that. If you can control the start of the conversation, and you are important enough in the organisation to get it through (sounds like you app will be) then I agree. I think one of the things to watch out for is caniuse.com showing low stats for IE, but they only show stats for visits to them etc. That's why I use the wikipedia stuff. I've been trying to convince people that we should be actively pushing modern browsers for new apps once those Wikipedia stats drop a bit more - but I work in Health & Safety, I'm sometimes lucky I don't need to write CSS for an abacus...

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invot profile image
invot • Edited on

20%+ of your users should be seeing something like this almost everywhere they go:
image

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miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐

Ummm. Your screen shot has IE on it...

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invot profile image
invot

I was being lazy and pasted the top google images result. But yes, something LIKE this, but clearly without IE

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miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐

My point is that lots of things, like LinkedIn, totally support IE11 for the very good reason that lots of people still use it in work settings. So my users don't frequently see any such message unless they go to some modern site that doesn't want to care as they consider their audience to not include people at work.

If a site doesn't support IE 11 and it does have a work based audience it will lose out to the competition who do support it. Whether that matters depends on the product in question and the people who might be interested.

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annietaylorchen profile image
Annie Taylor Chen

I convinced a small client of mine to add a javascript code urging people to update their browser if they still use IE otherwise all our new design will be in hell. However, for a big company that demands IE support from work... we just had to do that. They pay the bills. We had to write more code and don't use certain fancy new CSS for layout.

If I can personally eliminate IE from web and liberate all devs I would. :P

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jackdomleo7 profile image
Jack Domleo

Haha so would I! I hate how IE holds everything back. It baffles me large organisations still use IE even though Microsoft said it's not secure...

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annietaylorchen profile image
Annie Taylor Chen

My guess is they don't have budget to upgrade their internal system which requires IE as the only web browser... some company requires you to use their own computer, and forbids you to install or update anything. If they are the users/clients of the website you're building... then you have to cater. Business often don't care about developer experience lol.

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jackdomleo7 profile image
Jack Domleo

So true πŸ˜…

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isarisariver profile image
Marian

I found this while researching how to port my extension to Internet Explorer (if that's even possible). I think I'm cured now. :)
Apparently roughly 6% still use IE 2020, more than Firefox. I don't have a lot of users yet, so cannot really comment on that for my app.
I like LinkedIn's idea of asking users to upgrade their browser. I think I'll do that.

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jackdomleo7 profile image
Jack Domleo

Yeah, I've worked on some things in the past to detect IE then advise the user to update. πŸ™‚

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