It’s safe to say most Web developers would prefer not to support Internet Explorer 6. They’d rather put up a notice for the user to download another browser, or maybe just display the WAP-optimized version of the site instead.

But sometimes, it’s not up to the developer to decide whether to support IE6. Your employer or client may require it. In a recent blog post Mike Davies reminds us that saving IE6 compatibility until the end of a project is a recipe for disaster. “If you leave IE6 testing and fixing to the end of your project, you have no-one else to blame for the pain but yourself,” he concludes.

It might be tempting to keep quiet and hope the subject of IE6 support never comes up, but if you wait until the project is done and then try to bolt IE6 support on after the fact, you’ll face far more difficulties than you will if you think about IE6 from the beginning. “Leaving any requirement untouched until the end of a project is asking for trouble and pain,” writes Davies . “The fault isn’t in the requirement, but in the developer’s approach to web development.”

Also, Davies notes:

Support isn’t a binary option. It ranges from pixel-perfect rendering, to slight differences in rendering, to completely working with a simpler style, to providing only the core functionality, through to zero support at all. The right level is that which matches the enagement of your audience using that particular browser.

klint finley