So I had my minor tirade about the Apple iPhone 4 this morning, actually it wasn’t a tirade, I think it was just me reviewing the articles in the press and giving my 2 cents worth. Fact: There is an issue with the antenna. Fact: Apple/Jobs are not giving it due attention and that is clear from their decision to compare themselves to the competition as a means of justifying what is clearly a problem. Oh how the mighty have so swiftly fallen.

Let’s turn our attention to something closer to my heart. Microsoft! Yes I am a Microsoft fan. I have done well by them over the years and they try, they try real hard and deliver a huge amount of product. Some good, some bad, some ugly and some fantastic. Let’s take a look at Internet Explorer.

Now to really get a feel for IE I have to wear 2 hats: The Consumer hat and the Developer hat.

Consumer

As a consumer I love IE. It works well, it’s clean, it’s integrated with the OS really well and on a Windows box it just seems like an extension to the OS. Performance is just fine thanks, it plays all the videos fine in all the formats, it renders the pages just fine (caveat here that you need to read the Developer view to get the complete picture).

The Consumers are the masses here folks, they are the people that have a browser that comes with the PC they have bought and they are 90% of the world. That doesn’t mean 90% of the world use IE, they don’t but a lot of people do.

stats provided by Wikipedia

2010IE8IE7IE6FirefoxChromeSafariOpera
June15.7%8.1%7.2%46.6%15.9%3.6%2.1%
A lot of people use IE and they are perfectly happy with it. However, they don’t have to see the ugly side of developing for IE and that is why when I am slothing around on the couch I am perfectly happy using IE as are so many others.

Developer Hat

As a developer I really, really, really dislike IE. Developers are still the masses to Microsoft. We are the ones that have to create the sites that run inside the browsers be it IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome etc.

It is not an understatement to say that getting our apps to render properly in IE, not matter how careful we are with our css, is a right royal pain in the butt.

Case study: This morning I was putting some finishing touches on some work, now that the work is pretty much complete, re-testing across all the major browsers.

Firefox: Couple of minor tweaks, 10 minutes

Safari: Couple of minor tweaks, 10 minutes

Chrome: Couple of minor tweaks, 10 minutes

IE 7/8: 4 hours gone and there is still no end in sight for all the custom tweaks I have to do. [Update] In the end it took me around 8 hours, a whole man day, to fix IE7/8. Not good]

Basically we developers are just a band-aid on the the real problem, one that should be solved by the few (Microsoft) to benefit the many (Developers + Consumers)

Internet Explorer 9

There is hope on the horizon however in the form of IE9. Microsoft really seem to be putting an enormous amount of effort in to IE9. They are making all the right noises, they are being open and transparent about what they are doing and they seem to be doing a good job.

I am running the IE9 Developer Preview and was very happy to see that the issues I am having with IE7/8 with my site are no more. In fact (and this is a good sign) the only tweaks I can see I have to make to get IE9 fully working with the site are the same ones I have had to make anyway with Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

It is my understanding that IE9 also will not support Windows XP.

Good!

It’s time to shed the baggage that XP and IE6 are. These pieces of software have been around for too long now and it is no surprise that they are problematic. Get rid of them.

Windows 7 is so above and beyond what XP or Vista ever were there is absolutely no reason not to move on. There is so much more on offer with Windows 7 so please don’t give me that they should have got it right the first time around argument. Cars never used to have seatbelts or airbags and you don’t expect to use a car forever or get a free one with all the mod cons given to you. Software is no different.

Microsoft you are doing things right and doing things well these days. Keep up the good work and don’t let me down, please.

BondiGeek