The need for IE-only sites? (was RE: [thelist] Identify a Web Crawler's request)

Matt Warden mwarden at
Tue Jul 6 17:35:42 CDT 2004

On Tue, 06 Jul 2004 22:40:45 +0200, Manuel González Noriega
<manuel at> wrote:
> David, there are some interesting issues to discuss about this
> situation, if you will
> a) If your users will be using IE6 to access the site, why is there a
> need to look for non-IE users in the user-agent string?
> b) Any well coded site that works ok in IE6 cannot be too screwed in
> other browsers. What's the worry?
> c) Related to b), there are zillions of sites that work perfectly with
> and without IE. What's so special about yours? What IE-only features did
> you code for?

I don't really understand the outlash, here. He's done what a Good Web
Developer is supposed to do:

(1) Analyze his or her site's audience.
(2) Develop predictions of loss due to lack of support for certain browsers.
(3) Determine whether these losses are acceptable or whether it is
worth it to work to support these other browsers.

Now, you may disagree with his results with this process, but that can
be argued ad nauseam in any situation.

Web developers in standards-oriented communities tend to overapply the
"standards are best" mantra. Coding to standards is a great way to get
the most out of 95% of web sites. But, for those other 5%, very often
including specific web-based applications, this is not necessarily the

If he believes his audience to be Internet-naive, which it seems like
he does, I think he would be silly to put any extra effort into
supporting non-IE browsers.[*]


Matt Warden
Berry Neuroscience Lab
Department of Psychology
Miami University

This email proudly and graciously contributes to entropy.

* To an experienced developer (a description which would likely apply
to nearly everyone here), developing for IE and developing to
standards are often the same amount of effort. But, developing to
standards includes a learning curve of its own. If the developer is
not used to doing it, it will take extra effort.

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