When I started doing web development professionally, it was required that IE5 be supported. For anyone who does web development for a living, they will understand that working in IE5 significantly cripples your capabilities. Quickly, IE5 (and IE5.5) were no longer worth supporting. As their usage dropped towards 0, we began focusing only on backwards-compatibility through IE6. This helped dramatically, although still left lots to be desired.
At the time Google Chrome was a rumor, Firefox was on version 220.127.116.11 or so, IE 7 was mid-way through it’s cycle, Safari was barely around, and HTML5 and CSS3 weren’t something you could play with. We were past tables, and into using divisions, but I’ll admit I cheated a few times out of frustration. In my particular job, we couldn’t have cared less about mobile compatibility.
Since then, times have changed. Sorta.
Google Chrome has a ton of market share, Firefox 4 is nearing release, IE9 is nearing release, and mobile compatibility is all the rage. There are many things that I could focus on here:
- With all these browsers, how do you keep everything cross-browser compatible?
- HTML5 / CSS3
- Mobile Browsing
- Anything else I wanted to
We’ll leave those for another time. For the sake of this post, I’m going to keep it simple.
IE9; How does it help you?
The short answer is, it doesn’t. Yet.
Once IE9 has more market share, you may not need to use some of our old hacks we’ve been relying on, but that’s years away still.
Also, I’m certain that IE9 (specifically HTML5 & CSS3) will introduce many more areas we will need to develop “hacks” for. In my opinion, and judging that history repeats itself, HTML5 / CSS3 won’t be properly supported in IE until the next generation of standards comes out. That could be 10 years away. Until then, let’s all celebrate our job security that Microsoft has provided us.
On a more realistic note, the HTML5 standard isn’t even set in stone yet. It’s still being changed (although in minor ways). I just don’t foresee Microsoft fully and properly supporting the standards that we do settle on, and certainly not until those standards are set in stone.
To sum it up: While IE9 does solve some of the standards compatibility problems that remain in IE8, it is bound to bring a whole new level of standards non-compliance in regards to HTML5 and CSS3.