Last week, I talked about the ugly road Microsoft has set before Internet Explorer. IE6 was the butt of jokes and the bane of web developers, and Microsoft is on its way to repeating themselves.
As stated before, Microsoft’s ten year life cycle support promise sets the stage for ten versions of Internet Explorer floating around the web in 2019. This is a bad idea.
There is, however, a loop-hole.
Firefox and Chrome Model
Firefox and Chrome are moving towards a subtle upgrade strategy. The increase of release cycles isn’t as much of a strategy as it is a symptom of what the web is becoming.
Ninja Geddesign said it best:
A modern browser is an evolving, improving organism, rather than a stale frozen snapshot of partially supported standards.
The IE team must follow suit.
It’s not out of their reach, either. They can move to an evolving web browser and keep their legacy promise of ten years of support.
Again, Ninja Geeddesign lays out the plan:
The day IE10 comes out, IE9 becomes IE10, automatically, in the background. All IE9 users become IE10 users overnight. But to them it’s not really a different product, it’s Modern IE, getting better and better. Does this sound too crazy of an idea?
Nope. Not crazy at all.
I think Microsoft supporting ten browsers at once is far crazier, if not completely stupid.
On Their Way
Because it is so crazy to support this many versions of a web browser, and perhaps even crazier to think the web development community would pay respect to such a scheme, maybe they’re on their way to making some changes on how they do things.
In fact, Microsoft has taken its first step away from Flash:
Running Metro-style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers. Plug-ins were important early on in the Web’s history. But the Web has come a long way since then with HTML5. Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro-style UI.
It is only the Metro-style (Windows 8 “touch-first” interface) that’s pulling the plug on Flash, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
If Microsoft doesn’t start making some changes quick, they’ll never catch up.
Ref: Zune and Windows Mobile 7.
What do you think?