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There was a time when the website designers made websites keeping in mind compatibility with Internet Explorer- the web browser that comes bundled with Microsoft Windows. They did not have much choice for website designing either. IE became the dominant browser in the late 1990s and dominated the market for a few more years owing to Microsoft’s aggressive promotion and marketing strategies. The rival browsers were not strong enough to take on IE and they did not enjoy the backing of a software behemoth either.
However, things changed drastically after 2005-06. Firefox emerged on the horizon and in 2008 Google Chrome made a powerful entry in web browser segment. The sheer speed and functionality of these browsers gave Microsoft enough reason to worry and its developers went back to the drawing board to revamp IE.
The Birth of IE7 & IE9
The result, IE7, was an improvement on the sluggish and buggy IE6 by a margin but it was still not good enough to thwart the march of the rivals. IE 8, its successor was another big improvement but its market share did not grow phenomenally either. With a large section of users switching loyalty to Google and Mozilla candidates, Microsoft realized the need for an overhaul in browser development. The result was IE 9 which was touted as the next best thing by the company in web development and browsing.
The web developers have agreed that IE9 is a much faster and feature rich browser but they have doubts on its ability to cater to the need of modern website design. This is because the web design industry has been going through significant turmoil and changes in recent times. Several new standards have been embraced by the web designers that are not fully compatible with IE9.
Microsoft boasted of the hardware acceleration capacity of IE9 before its release which takes advantage of the GPU in a PC to display complex graphics and web animations. This can help the online gamers for sure but for business websites this feature remains a glorified calculator.
IE9 Doesn’t Support Windows XP
The number of users sticking to the 10 year old OS, Windows XP is not insignificant! After the failure of Windows Vista a lot of Windows users decided to stick with the old OS and many of them are unlikely to upgrade in near future. Sadly, in its attempt to make IE9 future ready, Microsoft dropped support for XP. Therefore, making a website compatible with IE 9 is equivalent to largely ignoring the people who use Windows XP. In fact, the number of Windows XP users worldwide is more than the Vista and Win 7 users combined. This is what a website design company should consider while making websites that leverage exclusive features in IE9.
The major caveat of IE9 is undoubtedly its lackluster support for CSS3. A web design company that makes use of CSS3 for dynamic website development will find several compatibility issues with IE9. This is where the rival browsers have left IE9 behind by a large margin.
Despite the brouhaha made by Microsoft about IE9 being a ‘modern’ browser, it falls short on several counts from a web designer’s perspective.
The CSS 3 incompatibility issues may thwart its success as a web development platform.