The first browser I used on the Internet to find information was the text based lynx browser. This was quite an improvement (at the time) over Archive and Gopher. When Netscape released their Navigator browser for Windows, I abandoned those old tools, moving on to a new way to access information across the world.
However I primarily worked in a Microsoft world as my career grew and that meant using Internet Explorer, or IE. In fact, I remember thinking all the ActiveX extensions and the bundling on installations of Windows meant that the browser was convenient. It was even nice to program on, since it dealt with poorly formed HTML fairly well. However it had plenty of issues and was a never ending source of calls from customers that had stability and security issues.
In fact, sometime around Windows XP, I moved to Firefox and never looked back. I only had IE installed on my systems because Microsoft included it with the OS. The last 5 or 6 years, I’ve run Chrome and Firefox together, only using IE when a few specific sites required it. Even then, I’d give an inward groan each time I clicked on the familiar “e” icon.
However times have changed. This month, on January 12, Microsoft ends support for all versions of IE prior to 11. While IE will still be run for many years by some people, just as Windows ME and NT 4.0 still exist in places, Microsoft won’t provide support or patches, and we can only hope that people switch to another browser quickly.
I haven’t been thrilled with the Edge browser in Windows 10, as it hasn’t worked in some sites I use regularly. That seems strange to me, but alas, the idea of a Microsoft browser not working the same as other browsers is nothing new. I can only hope that Microsoft fixes the issues in Edge rather than having web developers include code to handle the finicky nature of Microsoft’s browser technology.
The death of IE shouldn’t matter much to us, as data professionals, but I wonder how many of us still have applications using web browser controls based on IE technology. I suspect quite a few, and it’s entirely possible moving forward that we’ll continue to deal with issues of poor rendering of data from our databases through web controls for many years to come.