Did IE6 Make Web 2.0 Possible?

In 2000-2002 I worked for a company doing financial services. At the beginning the UI was Java/Swing, etc. But quickly we switched to using XMLHTTPRequest to push stuff to the browser, and then remaking it with XSLT and XQuery. The results were good, but it did require a fresh install of IE6 with every client desktop. And at that time, a lot of the potential clients were wary of this additional “dependency”. But there were a lot of people working on this stuff around then.

Microsoft IE is a pain in the ass… I am convinced NO ONE at microsoft has a clue what they are doing. Stnadards? INGNORED on ALL levels. Firefox is a superior product in ALL ways. It is my contention that IE6 and IE7 have RUINED web 2.0 not helped it. I design to standards then have to hack it to display correctly in IE 7… only to find i have to hack it again to display in IE 6… Could Mircosoft make ONE quality product? Just ONE? I’m still waiting…

innerHTML, on the other hand, is a Microsoft invention. Given its usefulness, I’m actually surprised it hasn’t made it into the DOM standard. It outpeforms the DOM methods in every test on almost every browser that implements it.
See Quirksmode: http://nurmagomedov.blogspot.com

The problem I have with IE6 deals with security…

lulz, it was the rise of fast enough computers/graphics to make client-side proccessing of data other than simple elements feasable. every javascript manipulation needs to redraw sections of screen, which is computationally expensive. Webpages need to be snappy, in the order of milliseconds, or users will get frustrated. CPUs are so much unbelievably faster than they were, so DHTML can do so much more than simple things now. Try running some of the prettier ajax on a PII and you’ll see. Now that said, I haven’t seen any decent browsers in a long time. They’ve become far too bloated with old standards, and quirks mode handling. Frankly, I don’t think a page should render at all if it’s not a valid w3c page. It’d prevent all of this bull from ever even occuring, and make webpage development just that much better

I disagree with you Ole on your final note. We are developping advenced web 2.0 applications and in my if…else statements to be cross browser compatible, I see more parallels between IE and Safari than between Safari and Firefox.

It’s interesting to note that the Ajax boom really didn’t start until other browsers had also started supporting XMLHttpRequest. I like to think that this is because the kind of really smart developers who drive this kind of new technology exploration are also the kind of people who understand the Web’s value as an open platform and are inherently uncomfortable building applications that tie you to one browser. Sure there have been IE-only apps that took advantage of XMLHttpRequest (OddPost is a good example) but this stuff didn’t explode in popularity until the other browsers started supporting it.

I think your argument makes a lot of sense Jeff. A flip side of the same coin is that investing in Javascript development for important website features has become feasible because it’s no longer necessary to support Netscape 4 (nor Netscape 6, nor IE 5 for the Mac). Javascript and the DOM on those platforms was a true nightmare, or at least severely different from IE on Windows and Safari.

Compared to the nightmare of targeting the 2004-era platforms simultaneously, the current platforms (IE 6, Safari and Firefox) are all pretty darn similar to one another and easy enough to target. What differences there are are fairly well defined.

So it’s not just the stability of IE 6 that’s to thank, but also the collapse of the most divergent platforms. Which might be due to Microsoft’s success, and also just to the passing of time.

"At the time of its release in Q3 2001, IE6 had groundbreaking support for CSS."
From what I read, it was not really groundbreaking, but it did have OK support for CSS1.
"Later, as MS released IE 4 and 5, which were also incompatible with Netscape, as well as with IE 3, the situation just got worse."
Yea, it was around that time that the Web Standards Project was created.
"And while Navigator 4.0 had its flaws, it was the debacle that was Netscape 6 that really did them in."
Yea, cancelling the Mariner project (Navigator 5) was a big mistake.
FYI, see: