Internet Explorer 8, Enterprise and Intranets

A common question from Web developers is: “when in IE6 going to die?”

Yesterday, visiting the developers behind a large Australian web site, we had a squiz (translated: squiz is Australian for look) at browser use statistics. One highlight was during the week, a larger percentage of users were using Internet Explorer 6. On weekends, and during holidays, the percentage of Internet Explorer 7 users increased. That is, home users have upgraded their browsers to later versions that are standards complaint.

Our hypothesis was that Enterprise organisations have not upgraded their standard installed browser from IE6 to IE7.

If you think about it, when doing online banking from home: you want to ensure your transaction is as secure as possible. And bidding on eBay or updating your Facebook status should be as quick as possible. IE7, and other standards compliant browsers help.

The cost of this reluctance to upgrade is that a browser released in late 2001, pre-XHTML and CSS2 W3C standards recommendations is still out there in the wild. That is, large organisations are using a non-standards compliant browser. One argument for remaining on IE6 is that intranet applications are written to support IE6. These legacy applications are throttling the use of later, more secure and faster web browsers.

Thankfully, in Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 has a change:

IE8 Compatibily View

The Tools>Compatibility View Settings displays the following dialog box:

intranet in compat

“Display intranet sites in Compatibility View.” Better yet, this is turned on by default.

For organisations that spend time working with the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (a prerelease is available for IE8) – this can be customised.

This will aid Enterprise organisations install the latest, fastest and most standards compliant web browser. If you are in charge of creating Standard Operating Environments or developing Intranet applications: please write them to be standards compliant. Your future users, and external web developers will be really, really happy.