Sick Of IE6

Why IE6 is driving me mad when trying to get simple code to work.

22nd June 2004 · Last updated: 5th October 2016

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Every time I try to do anything different with CSS, IE6 laughs in my face. Mozilla and Opera handle my new code with grace. Occasionally they will play up but never in a showstopping way. But IE6? After difficulties getting it to play ball tonight with some perfectly simple code I was writing, I asked myself "Can't IE6 get anything right?". I'm trying out a new style of paragraphs, using indented first lines and no gaps between them. Mozilla, no problem. Opera, no problem. IE6, the paragraphs are too far apart, ruining the effect. OK, I can live with that. But when I then increased the text size, the paragraphs started to overlap. I had to add a CSS hack to supply IE6 with different code. I was using ems - but the only way IE6 would perform properly was to use pixels. Sigh.

As a side effect of my simple paragraph code, IE6 now refuses to draw the bottom borders of neighbouring blockquotes - unless you scroll down and back up the page. Pathetic. This browser has a terrible list of drawing bugs - content can literally disappear. (Remember the first time A List Apart redesigned in green and yellow?) Or lists can gain extra space, text can jump around, all kinds of weird shit. We can do without it.

I'm sick of this browser's shit code handling. Surf all you like with it, but designers will tell you endless horror stories of layout problems, bugs by the million and things it just can't do. Yes, Mozilla has a massive list of bugs too, but they don't get in the way when you try and code something simple and valid. I never spend hours and hours of extra time trying to get round them - unlike with IE6.

Then there are the endless cries of disgust I read all the time from people trying to make IE6 work correctly with servers. Time and again something just won't work in that browser - usually due to an unforgivable bug, where the program doesn't adhere to a required internet standard. I've had to abandon one program I installed on a website because basic forms just wouldn't work with IE6 - naturally, every other browser had no problems. After months of trying to find a solution I had to give up. Ironically, the problem only seems to affect Windows servers.

I wouldn't mind if Microsoft were continually updating and improving IE6 - you know, like other browser manufacturers, who don't even have the same resources to spend, yet manage to release regular updates with new features across a wide range of platforms - not just Windows. Microsoft should have been solving common bugs, adding missing HTML tags (IE6 doesn't even support <abbr>!) and making it ready for the standards-based future. Instead they've let it dwindle - adding only security patches, and a pop-up blocker due this summer. That is until now. Apparently the IE6 team have started work on it again, probably due to the extended delay in IE7 coming out as part of Longhorn. Or it could be the increasing use of other browsers that has finally made them take notice. (Ha, even people at Microsoft are now using Firefox!)

On a related note, The Web Standards Group have just interviewed code guru Molly Holzschlag. Here's what she had to say about the current buggy state of IE6:

I simply don't see how a company as wealthy and powerful as Microsoft cannot find the resources to address all these things, particularly with the delays we're expecting.

It's time to ditch this out-of-date browser into the dustbin of history.

Comments (5)

Comments are locked on this topic. Thanks to everyone who posted a comment.

  1. Don:
    Read your article/RANT about IE6. Have you given MyIE2 a try for your browser? I've been using it for a short time, and like some of its features. It looks like a clone to IE6, with several added features. Can you tell me if MyIE2 is junk, or a decent browser, and if it has some of the same problems you were pointing out in your article? What is the best IE replacement browser you've come across?
    The Brick House you put together with CSS is interesting.

    Posted on 23 June 2004 at 7:58 pm
  2. Chris Hester:
    MyIE2 is an excellent idea. Unfortunately it still uses the IE6 rendering engine, so will be subject to the same list of bugs.

    The best IE-replacement is either Firefox or Opera. Many swear by the former, but I have grown to love Opera. Both browsers are way ahead of IE. It's great to be able to surf without annoying pop-ups (though IE6 will get a pop-up blocker soon) and be free from potential virus programs that IE can let in. After switching browsers a long time ago, I could never go back.

    Posted on 23 June 2004 at 8:31 pm
  3. Chris Hester:
    Another reason IE is bad...

    "Users are being told to avoid using Internet Explorer until Microsoft patches a serious security hole in it."

    Posted on 25 June 2004 at 10:12 pm
  4. Gary Stewart:
    I have to agree. I've almost given up trying to make pages on my own site render correctly in IE, I just don't feel that it is a problem that I have time to address anymore. Work is different, of course, there I have to insure that pages work with IE given that most of the visitors use it. Time and time again I've implemented something, opened it in IE and then had to spend hours hacking away at the CSS or abandoning the update altogether so it doesn't break in IE.

    Posted on 15 July 2004 at 3:44 pm
  5. Case van Rij:
    The only reason I get away with writing html/css/js in Linux/Mozilla is because Im not *supposed* to be the webdesigner in our office - unfortunatly those that are supposed to be just spit out dreamweaver/fireworks/golive/imageready garbage.

    But sure enough, no matter how generic I try to code, it will (eventually) looks perfect in Mozilla, but more-or-less seriously broken in IE. Now if only one of the designers could learn enough to port my Mozilla version to IE :-]

    Fwiw, the easiest way to switch a 'dedicated' (ignorant) IE user/developer over to Mozilla ?
    Tools/Javascript Console. I cant count the number of 'Ohh.. *thats* the problem ??' replies.

    Posted on 22 July 2004 at 8:51 am