IE7 has been available for a couple of years, and IE8 has just gone into beta. Firefox 2 is getting on nicely with v3 in the wings and even Safari with version3 is looking pretty good on Windows. Some people even like Opera (actually, it’s pretty cool on the Mobile platform).

So why are folks still persisting in using IE6? 31% of internet users in recent reports. That’s almost a third. More than all the non-IE browser population combined.

It’s old, and it’s got some quirks. And those quirks make developers lives a misery (I should know, I spent many happy years wrangling browser incompatibility issues).

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If all those folks using a version of any browser older than IE7 could just upgrade, get with the program and do their bit (it’s only a few moments to download and install and it doesn’t even insist on a legal copy of Windows these days!) then developers could concentrate on making great web applications using all the cool Ajax, Silverlight and Javascript features without having to worry about testing a load of different quirky behaviors.

It’s not just old versions of IE that are a problem – if you’re running anything older than the current version of a browser then you’re part of the problem – be it Firefox, Opera, IE, Safari, Maxthon or one of many others. The newer browsers still can’t quite agree on what standards they’re complying with and how they interpret some of the instructions in the standards (and I’ve read some of those documents… they’re not exactly unambiguous in places) but they’re better.

I’m not saying you should run business critical processes on bleeding edge beta versions of IE or the alternatives, but at least upgrade to the latest “released” version – you’ll save a lot of developers a lot of pain.

Please. Save the developers. It’s a great cause and supporting it won’t cost you much more than a few moments of your time.

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