Where do you stop supporting old browsers?

May 8th, 2002

I recently had a remote scripting support question about Netscape to which I responded:

You don’t say what version of Netscape. If it’s 4.x, I don’t even have it
loaded any more, so I can’t debug it at all. It’s time to let it break and
force people to wake up and get a decent browser.

The response I received said (edited for clarity):

The version I use is 4.79. The application has to be compatible with every browser.

No it does NOT have to be compatible with EVERY browser. Are you making it work with Lynx? Are you making it work with Spyglass Mosaic 1.0? Are you making it work with Cello? Are you making it work with Netscape 2.0? Of course not. They’re all irrelevant to web applications. So too is NS4.x but it won’t ever lay down and die as long as people keep propping it up with superhuman hacks.

4 comments to “Where do you stop supporting old browsers?”

  1. We recently decided to drop Netscape 4.x support from the web app I’m working on. Truth be told, lazy developers is the real reason. There is no technical limitation that prevents Netscape 4 from working, it’s more a matter of doing things right. Too many developers write code, test it under Windows/IE and proclaim it works. Nevermind the code doesn’t properly validate and IE silently ‘repairs’ some problems to make things work. I want Netscape 4 to go away as well, but I won’t tell people to ditch it unless there is some serious reason.

  2. Pete wrote:

    > I won’t tell people to ditch it
    > unless there is some serious reason

    CSS1, if one is using it, is the
    serious reason to ditch Netscape 4.
    Netscape 4 does not support it well.
    Pages that validate to both HTML 4.01 Transitional
    and CSS1, and display correctly on IE 5.5+,
    Netscape 6+, Opera 6+, and Mozilla, do NOT display correctly on Netscape 4.

  3. For the web projects that I’ve worked on it usually comes down to the fact that it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to devote 90% of development time supporting NS 4.x for 0.1% of customers who actually use it. We find that people who really want to use a real web application will have a real web browser installed otherwise they are normally off surfing the net and not interested in using real web applications anyway.

  4. Gosh darnit Brent, I want my lynx support! 🙂