As a web developer, I am keenly aware of many quirks of various web browsers. Many people don’t realize this, but different browsers often display the same content differently. These days, one of the biggest problems holding back cool new features in HTML5 and CSS3 (the latest and greatest in web development) from being widely adopted is the fact that too many people are using outdated browsers that don’t understand that new code.
Once a month, I compile statistics on which browsers have how much usage on the Illinois Wesleyan website. This information comes in handy when I’m developing new apps on php.iwu.edu or writing new code for the site as a whole. I was very encouraged by some of the statistics for December. Notably:
- Chrome (my personal favorite) is now handling 25.26% of pageviews. Safari (on Mac OS) is at 23.17%. Firefox rounds out the top three, with 20.89%.
- Old versions of Internet Explorer are declining significantly, while newer versions are rising in popularity. In the month of December, IE9 and IE10 represented 10.50% and 0.30% of pageviews, respectively. IE8 decreased from 8.83% in November to 7.87% in December. The two worst enemies of web developers, IE7 and IE6, are now at 1.36% and 0.04% (!), respectively, and both are on a steady downward trajectory.
- Mobile browsing continues to increase in popularity, with iOS at 8.67% (up from 6.99% in November) and Android Browser at 1.52% in December.
These numbers are all encouraging to me, and they should be for you, too, as a web content provider. The fact that 88.79% of visitors all run on advanced, standards-compliant browsers means you don’t need to do too much cross-browser testing when rolling out innovative features, and when you do, chances are, everything will work as expected.
IE8, 9, and 10 all do relatively well with new CSS3 and HTML5 features, so checking compatibility in IE8 tends to suffice for me; IE9 and IE10 tend to be somewhere between IE8 and Chrome when it comes to compatibility. Most of the time, if it works in IE8, it’ll work in newer versions, too.
And as for IE6 and IE7 users, well, these statistics are showing me, month after month, that the time I spend fixing things for them is becoming less and less justified. Big changes will still be reviewed in IE7 (for now), but, frankly, I’m not even sure I’ll need to keep a copy of IE6 around for testing much longer. And that makes me incredibly happy.
There are no (ITS-related) reasons for keeping older versions of Internet Explorer around anymore. If you’re one of the people running an outdated version, you can upgrade on your own or contact Help@Ames (x3900) for assistance.