Re: IE 5 *required* for accessing a web site?!

Subject: Re: IE 5 *required* for accessing a web site?!
From: "Bill" <spicytofu -at- sympatico -dot- ca>
To: "John Wilcox" <jwilcox -at- tcsi -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 14:10:37 -0400

Pearls from the fingers of John Wilcox:

> I just went to dataloom.com to check out the company, which has just
advertised
> a TW position on the techwr-l employment site. I was taken aback by a
message
> indicating that I needed to have Internet Explorer 5.0 or better to access
their
> site! No Netscape or other browser, no pre-IE5. I've seen requirements
for
> Shockwave or something in order to view certain content, but having to
have a
> specific browser just to visit the site?! Why would anyone intentionally
limit
> visitors in such a way? It seems to me this is like a store saying, "You
must
> drive a Ford to shop here." Has anyone else ever seen such a limitation?

The company that I just left was working on an online service application;
part of my team's job was to research what features could be implemented
online. We discovered that most of the features essential to our application
could *only* be implemented in IE5, due to massive differences in browser
capability.

In order to make an application, or even a fairly sophisticated web page,
functional across browsers requires not only different coding for different
browsers (and different versions of browsers), but also the implementation
of "sniffers" to determine what you visitor is running, and hopefully to
direct their browser to the appropriate code. You can imagine the mess that
creates... and then there are many excellent and useful functions that
simply don't exist outside of IE5.

We were very, very tempted to recommend an "IE5 only" policy, just for the
time it would save in development and testing, and also for the firmer
platform that would be created.

However, I do think that in the case of the site you were visiting it was a
foolish decision; there's no need to exclude visitors at entry level. It
seems to contradict the whole idea behind a corporate website... if they
must use higher functions for certain essential portions of the site, they
should cordon them off into a subsite.

Just my highly opinionated opinion,

Susan Guttman








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