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

Tom Dell'Aringa pixelmech at
Wed Jul 7 14:10:03 CDT 2004

--- David Travis <dwork at> wrote:
> Consider this browser filtering a "system requirements" list of the site.
> There is nothing wrong in "system requirements" when it comes to games,
> right? That's the same thing. My site requires a lot of features I found to
> be available in IE.

The comparison to games is definitely apples and oranges - not the same thing at all. I'm not
arguing that you have the absolute right to make system requirements of your users, especially in
a closed system. I just argue the need to do so. We used to do that here at ServiceMaster because
they, like many people, thought they "had to" and that it made good business sense. When I showed
them it made *better* (much better) business sense using standards, we stopped doing IE only
stuff. We'r far better off for it.

> Besides, most companies don't have Linux versions of their software. It is
> not wrong to say that you develop to a specific platform.

Not sure where linux comes into the argument. 

> But to achieve non-HTML effects in all browsers requires developing twice...

I can't think of any statement that is further from the truth. To achieve non-HTML effects in all
browsers requires you develop it *right*. Also, said non-HTML effects best have a very good reason
to exist. (I'll assume for case in point, they do.)

> Since my site is to be used by specific users I find it reasonable to require them to use
> a specific browser.

*YOU* find it reasonable - what about *THEM*? The problem with developers is that they only think
of THEMSELVES. They are *developer* centric instead of user centric. Theres are reason why
everywhere you look there are new user experience, usability and accessibility books out. These
things are driving business results.

> Not only this, I can tell you that most users use XP machines, so I can be
> 90% sure that they already have IE6. Guys, this is all part of the whole
> picture...

Most of *what* users? Most of YOUR users? Let's assume you have the logs to show that. How do you
know that because your users HAVE IE6 they PREFER it? Many people in our corporate environment run
on win machines but use NS, Opera, and FireFox, because the experience for them is better. 

> And just to clarify one issue, if this was a commercial site there is no
> doubt I'd create it to support most browsers.

That's good to know :)

> Here in Israel we are always complaining that browsers are not designed to
> handle right-to-left languages (even with dir=rtl there are bugs), and
> that's our problem here. But the advantage we have here (over US and Europe)
> is that MOST MOST MOST users here use IE. That's a fact too, so we can allow
> ourselves to ignore other browsers when it comes to solutions like mine (I
> think I didn't say it is an E Learning platform).

That's a legitimate point. I've actually worked on projects that used RTL languages and it started
out as a IE only project. I convinced them to at least write as much cross browser code as they
could, which they did. 

Really the bottom line is, you aren't locked into IE6 only because all your users have IE6
installed. And it doesn't necessarily make good business sense to develop that way. In some cases,
its bad. I think people are just getting folks with your point of view to realize that.

Ask yourself what would happen to your application if you all of a sudden had to support Netscape
7 because your new boss says so. People say "that would never happen". Never say never :)

Ok, I'm out of this now for good!


===== - read my latest blog posting!

John 3:16

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