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The end of IE support doesn't mean the end of IE support

Microsoft (MS) has just announced end of support for older versions of Internet Explorer. As usual, there are a few cries of joy from the dev community. And as usual, I don’t feel like this is such a big deal.

Usage versus Official Support

One reason is: just because MS stops supporting it, it doesn’t that mean people will stop using it. Some people are unable to upgrade their browser (because of technology or administrative constraints), some people don’t want to, and some people don’t know about other browsers.

For example, StatCounter puts global Windows XP users at about 5%: that’s still something like 350 million people using an old version of the browser, and being unable to upgrade (since the Operating System is unable to use a newer version).

Eventually these stats will drop to zero, but it will take a while.

Feature-based support, not browser-based support

More importantly, building with Progressive Enhancement (PE) means that we’re more interested in the features our web things are using than the browsers that are accessing it. If we were trying to make things look identical everywhere, we might be worried, but we’re not (see No and Nope).

We support all browsers, enhance the experience for fancier browsers, and spend a bit more time and optimise for the browsers our audience use.

I feel kind of the same about an announcement of end of support for a browser as I do about the announcement of a new browser: “that’s nice, but I don’t really have to update my (Progressively Enhanced) code for that.”