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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Outdated Browsers

I was wondering why so few people had watched the new HD Sonlight videos, but then I heard that they weren't working in Internet Explorer 7.
...that might have something to do with people not watching.

While digging for an answer, I discovered that if you visit YouTube right now in IE7 [NB: It was on IE6, not 7] you will see something like...


Get a Better Browser

Google is suggesting that you update your browser. And I agree. It's really annoying to have to code for earlier IE bugs.

I haven't worked out all the kinks yet, but you can now watch the clips at the bottom of Sonlight's Video page in IE7.

Please: Update to IE8. Or switch to Firefox or Chrome. It will make my job easier <smile>.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father

8 comments:

Ariana said...

*whining* but I haaaaate updating. It eats into my very, very, very limited blog browsing time :P

Ken said...

People still use IE?

carlcamera said...

[flame shields up]

Hating on IE, shaming people for using a certain IE version, requiring a plug-in, or creating posts for the sole purpose of telling people your life would be better if they upgraded their browser without fully understanding the browser and OS ecosystem is altogether naive, arrogant, inflammatory, and pointless.

It should not be the users responsibility to cater to the whim of the content provider. It should be the content provider that caters to the visitor and the capabilities of their browsers.

IE6 and IE7 have built-in WMV capabilities; that you choose a video content provider that ignores (by your own admission) a huge chunk of your visitors is your problem, not mine.

[flame shields down]

Luke said...

Ariana, updating doesn't take that long. And besides... the grass is much greener over here in Firefox/Chrome land <smile>.

They do, Ken. They do. Sad times. In all honesty, though, IE often finds bugs in my coding that other browsers are smart enough to overlook. So, there is some good to the way IE is build. Annoying, but it does force me to get my code right from time to time. Most of the time, though, it makes me code something special just for it <smile>.

Carl, no need for flame sheilds. I won't burn you <smile>.

My intention was not to shame people. My frustration with IE is a common one among developers. But it is true: It doesn't matter if my life would be easier if no one used IE... people use what they will use and we must provide content for them. That's one of our jobs as web content people <smile>.

You are right: I don't fully understand the browser. I don't understand IE much at all <smile>. Though, I do believe I have a rudimentary knowledge of the OS ecosystem--though I've never thought to call it that <smile>.

YouTube, near as I can tell, is pretty ubiquitous. And IE6 is not a huge chunk of the browsing populace. Though I was mistaken in my post: It is IE6 that YouTube is phasing out, not 7. But you're right, it is my problem and not yours. Doesn't mean I--like Google--can't make the humble request that you update <smile>.

~Luke

carlcamera said...

The OS and browser ecosystem is quite complicated. IE versions are tied to Windows versions. IE6 shipped with Windows XP. This means as long as Windows XP is supported by Microsoft, IE6 will also be supported. According to Wikipedia, that date is April 8, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP#support_lifecycle

In the past year, new "netbook" computers became all the rage -- to save costs and increase battery life, many were underpowered (cpu-wise) and did not meet requirements for Windows Vista nor Windows 7. As a result many were preloaded with Windows XP and -- you guessed it -- IE6.

Corporations are running applications designed specificially for IE6 and which break in IE7+. They only allow IE6 on their corporate desktops and they remove user authority to upgrade. Digg.com released an interesting survey http://blog.digg.com/?p=878 that shows that for the majority of people running IE6, they either could not or would not upgrade.

The takeaway is that humble requests (and not so humble requests or lock-outs or pop-ups or fly-ins) are not serving their purpose. We know it's old. But it's still supported and used by millions and millions and millions and millions of people. Can't anyone show a little love?

If YouTube wants to stop supporting IE6, that's fine (my employer blocks YouTube for what it's worth.) You need to decide for yourself and your company if it's worth your effort to continue to support IE6. I would suggest you take a hard look at the Sonlight.com visitor stats before deciding to hate on IE6. Your visitors are older, more cost-conscience, and more likely to extend the life of an older computer than, say the typical visitor to, for instance, foursquare.com.



- Carl.

Luke said...

Carl, I still love XP (running it right now <smile>). Works great. But I didn't realize that XP still came with IE6... that's... that's pretty crazy. I'll have to check my netbook at home. I never even thought to look because I immediately installed Firefox and Chrome <smile>.

We are watching the number of IE6 visitors and do try to make Sonlight.com available to them. We also keep an eye on Dial-Up usage as well. The numbers are shrinking, but we still work our coding tails off to support 'em <smile>.

I had no idea that corporations were running IE6 out of necessity. Yikes. We run some older technology here at Sonlight, but... wow... that pains me <smile>.

Fascinating that according to Digg, 7% prefer IE6. <blinks> I guess that makes sense since we like what we're used to. That's why I was concerned about switching to Win95 from 3.1... but it was so much nicer when I finally took the plunge <smile>.

Thanks for taking the time to post that added background information. Some very interesting points to go along with the statistics.

~Luke

SonlightBlog Reader said...

I feel downright stupid (which I am not). I haven't a clue what you three are talking about. I use a computer like a fancy typewriter. Yes, I remember when the Selectric typewriter was news (I actually learned to type on a manual.) and then still later the Wang word processor was the newest "thing" at the Propulsion Performance Div. of the Engineering offices of Boeing Aerospace. At the time I was on the leading edge having upgraded my keypunch skills to Fortran IV.... we still had to go down the hall to use a computer with actual "tape reels" that looked a bit like a washing machine... (I know that is a run on sentence and it is intentional to show how fast life moves.) I'm not all that old. I am still home educating a 16 year old after all. lol I guess I'll have to ask her what I need to do to watch this video.

Luke said...

Reader, believe me: I feel totally stupid myself because I can't figure out how to fix some of these problems. It takes me hours of fiddling and even then I often break more than I fix. So it's not just you at all <smile>. I'm still trying to figure out how to make it so the videos will work for everyone, but it's slow going.

~Luke


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