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Internet Explorer 8 Broke My Website!

If you are trying to view this site using a system running Windows XP or Vista and using Internet Explorer 8 to browse it, you’ll notice it doesn’t look/act correctly.

Now it’s an easy fix for Vista users as you can make sure service pack 2 is installed and then upgrade to Internet Explorer 9.

But for XP users, you’re screwed. No, not really, if you get an alternative browser like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari this site and many like it will work correctly.

But if you are still running XP with IE 8 you really need to consider upgrading. You may know I previously called upgrading a potential waste of time and money. But if you’re using a system with Windows XP, you REALLY need to upgrade. I mean Bill Clinton was still President when XP first came out:O

Software is developed for compatibility with current and at least 2 generations back hardware. If developers were to look for unlimited compatibility with all old hardware/software we would never get the level of improvements that are needed for both design and productivity purposes.

It’s not just games, backward compatibility needs affect development of software for many different things. And things are especially rough for website and browser developers.

Over the course of 20+ years, website coding has evolved extensively. These evolutionary steps are needed for more features and compatibility, like the coding needed for interactivity and media in website design. Also, with mobile devices taking over, we need to ensure that websites look and act friendly on a wide range of different devices.

I won’t bore you with much technical discussions. But the new “standards” in coding with HTML 5 and CSS 3 are simply not compatible with Internet Explorer 8 and special expressions have to be made in the code to allow for this in the designs of websites. This limits the power and flexibility in the overall layout of websites that choose to make this adjustment/concession.

I believe, as do many, that we have to look forward, not backward in both software and hardware development. If we spend too much time concerning ourselves with decade old (or more) equipment we can’t progress as fast or as far.

Windows XP is (was?) awesome, I still use it on my HTPC (Home Theater PC). And I use a modern web browser on it, Opera–my preference for many years because of the implementation of email within the browser. But, I know that I’ve limited myself with this (O)perating (S)ystem and even though the hardware its installed on could easily handle Windows 7 or 8, I’m happy with the limitations for now as I don’t hardly ever surf the web on my HDTV.

But if you use XP on your primary system you need to upgrade. For a few hundred bucks, or less if you look around (Dell Outlet is a good start), you should be able to find a computer that completely crushes your existing system in performance. And it’ll include all the bells and whistles that the latest Operating Systems like Windows 8 provides. And remember, companies like Microsoft are also forward looking. They write security and feature updates prioritizing current Operating Systems.

Security is now the number one (or should be!) consideration for computer/mobile device users. If twelve-year olds can write code that gets your email address book, you system passwords, and gains access to you private files/folders how safe do you think you can be using the most pirated OS in the world (Windows XP). The vulnerabilities in XP are legendary. And as Microsoft prioritizes securing computers running Windows 8, how secure do you think the 12 year Windows XP is? Official statement from Microsoft: After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates. ‘Nuff said.

Opera and Chrome (and Firefox) are cool, and I use them extensively. And you can safely use them on any system running XP, Vista, Windows 7 & 8 and beyond. But most people use the Windows system default (Internet Explorer) and why? Simplicity and look–the truth is most websites, including this one, looks best on Internet Explorer (9 or 10 that is). When 100s of millions of people have IE and use IE, using coding that is both modern and Internet Explorer friendly is the best practice.

Internet Explorer then is the Standard by which web developers code websites. And it is wholly integrated into the operating system for core functionality, like system updates and file/folder access. Internet Explorers 9 and 10 won’t work in XP. So you’ll need a modern system with a modern OS to get a modern Internet Explorer.

I could easily try and justify why this website looks best on modern browsers by telling you that I’m a “today kinda guy”;) But I really want the modern look with all the features needed for mobile device users. And I don’t think spending time and potentially lots of money paying someone to streamline my website for just IE 8 is an effective use in resources. In fact I’m not alone, many websites (the numbers are growing) have begun to limit access and usage of their features to only users with modern web browsers.

That’s it. Happy surfing.

Chad, August 2013