New Grassroots Campaign Aims to Save Some Developers

As a former front-end developer, I know the horrors of building HTML/CSS sites that work across all browsers. Frankly, the whole cross-browser conundrum was one reason why I got out of it a year or two ago. While I may not get paid to build static websites anymore, I obviously am still vulnerable to these problems with the sporadic interface/visual revamps I make to this blog and other minor web projects I take on. As the months go by, I see my ability to (reliably) develop HTML/CSS that will work in older browsers. That is why I really like the notion of what the Save the Developers campaign is trying to do.

The idea is extremely basic – get owners of websites to put a small amount of Javascript on their sites that encourages Internet Explorer 6 users to upgrade to a more standards-friendly browser. The organizers of the project were smart not to make this some evangelist movement for their favorite browser; rather opting users to choose any modern browser that fits their needs, including the mixed-bag which is Internet Explorer 7. I have decided to participate not only to save the blood pressure of front-end web developers across the world, but for my sake as well. I am a sucker for grassroots campaigns as many of you may know by now. For those of you who are front-end developers yet less fascinated with this sort of thing, may I suggest that the sooner we can get users off of obsolete browsers, the better our (professional) lives will be.

www.savethedevelopers.org

5 thoughts on “New Grassroots Campaign Aims to Save Some Developers”

  1. Interesting concept, but can’t say I’d agree with it.

    My Mam uses IE6, she doesn’t use the Internet much and she gets confused a lot. She doesn’t know what a developer is, and doesn’t really care. She expects websites to work for her and without any hassle. The last thing she needs is some weird popup message appearing on sites she uses.

    It’s up to developers’ to make their sites work in IE6, which last time I checked, still has a massive market share. Anything else is IMO, is unprofessional.

  2. Hey Kevin, I gotta say that I vehemently (yet respectfully) disagree. I think the only way we’re going to be able to better ensure a better user experience is if we are not bogged down developing for obsolete browsers. The only way that can happen is if we actively try to educate the users. One way is to write in-depth articles about the subject and hope they read it. The other is to give a gentle reminder that they should upgrade. Consider it similar to our operating system notifying us that ‘updates are available’.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand where you’re coming from on this subject. I just think that if displayed in a courteous manner, this offers the potential to both educate the user and made the development environment much more stable. If we do in fact get a more stable base, we will be able to ensure a better end product for the user.

  3. I understand where you’re coming from. I guess for me there’s a big difference between a small button encouraging people to get a browser that could improve their online experience, like the “get firefox” campaign and a more obtrusive notice encouraging you to do it for the sake of the poor developers.

    I think maybe we probably just have a different threshold on what we both consider acceptable and courteous, with mine being considerably lower.

  4. Hey Kevin, I think that’s a very fair assessment. I think it’s all about intention and delivery. I am actually going to change the appearance of the fly down to make it a little more warm-and-fuzzy/humorous.

    I’ve actually considered doing much more drastic measures such as shutting off the site to IE6 users one day every month. This is obviously fraught with problems, but it may help create extra incentive for some folks to convert. While my site would not make much impact, but consider the possibility if Google shut out IE6 users once a month on a random day. Conversion would happen immediately and in high percentage. Just a thought… 😉

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