Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 13th Aug 2009 22:06 UTC
Internet Explorer Let's continue the browser talk for a while. Let's move from the pinnacle of browsing, all the way down to the very drainage pit: Internet Explorer 6. To me, Internet Explorer 6 is that annoying zombie that just won't die that chops off 80 of your health in a grueling midnight Left 4 Dead expert session. Microsoft may not say so outright, but they seem to be implying they agree with me.
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Microsoft is going to support it until the end of Extended Support for Windows Server 2003 R2 (, which is the last OS that shipped with it.

The reason it's so popular with corporate users has everything to do with Microsoft making it very easy to make browser plug-ins using Visual Basic or Visual C++. IE6 was the first browser where the plug-ins actually worked as advertised on a somewhat stable platform. IE 4, 5, and 5.5 were different degrees of horrible when it came to browser plug-ins compared to IE6, and that's saying a lot.

This meant that the very large developer community that is well-versed in writing VB/VC++ applications was able to easily transition over to writing browser plug-ins for IE.

People forget that AJAX and all of the really good client-side DHTML/HTML5/AJAX frameworks just weren't there yet, and adding some plug-ins and the ability to easily call OCX files made development of complex "web" apps really easy.

Of course they were also varying degrees of insecure. When Microsoft started trying to clean up the mess they made of it with IE7, a lot of the shortcuts that were in place that enabled such plug-ins to exist, and to easily have them call DLLs on PCs started getting blocked off.

Many of the applications in corporate America were built to run on IE6 using said plug-ins, which include Oracle JInitiator, Crystal Reports/Business Objects, GE Centricity, help desk software, various printing plug-ins, and a very large amount of bespoke code written by in-house developers. These in-house developers are/were the largest users of Microsoft products, and many of them are trained as something else and picked up VB on the side.

I suspect that Microsoft will be finding a way to even have IE6 run way past 2015 in some way, shape, or form for some of these users by using XP Mode in Windows 7 and its successor operating systems. You can run IE6 and some plug-ins now on WINE, but that's taking chances.

The reason why is because that code runs some critical aspect of someone's business, and they're not going to change it unless they absolutely have to.

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