To Advocate For or Abandon the 10%

Back in 2002 or 2003, when Internet Explorer reigned at the undisputed leader in browser market share, I was very outspoken over the need to support all browsers – even those with only 5% share or less. I argued about the need to provide a consistent experience for all users, regardless of what browser or version they decide (or as forced) to use. This ideology was all the easier to adopt considering how had market share at the time – I feel as though my strong feelings were just as much about not idly allowing the “evil” corporate browser to swallow even more share by helping make it the de-facto browser on the internet. Fast forward 5+ years and oh, how the tables are turning. A new generation is jumping online and they’re not just blindly clicking the blue ‘e’ on their desktop. Firefox 3 shattered the record for most downloads and, according to some metrics, is passing up 20% global market share and well above 40% in some European countries. The underdog is now the up-and-comer.
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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.