Software development is a relatively new discipline, when you think about it. Civilisations have been building bridges and structures for millennia. Scientists and inventors have been working with electricity for centuries. Computers, on the other hand, have only been around for decades, and younger still is web development, which only really started to take off in the late 90s. Because of this, computer scientists and software engineers are constantly learning and revising their approaches – sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. It’s often impossible to know which until they’ve taken the plunge and learned from their mistakes. Nobody is immune to this, not even software giant Microsoft. Microsoft has often tried to innovate and break the mould with less than favourable results, and the most famous example of this is Internet Explorer.
The end of an era:
12th Jan, 2016 marks the end of an era for the web developers around the world. – Long have we been challenged by multi-various versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer and the many different ways in which they render web pages. We are just hours away from the official, end of life date for a collection of these MSIE versions. (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/WindowsForBusiness/End-of-IE-support)
As from 12th Jan, 2016, the only officially supported MSIE version (with few exceptions) will be MSIE11. (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle#gp/Microsoft-Internet-Explorer) – Windows Vista users are expected to be updated to SP2 and they have MSIE9 available to them, this will be supported through to April, 2017 (this is the notable exception for desktop users). All Windows 7 users are expected to be running SP1 currently, and this supports MSIE11. All Windows 8 users are expected to be updated to Windows 8.1, this too supports MSIE11. Windows 10 shipped with MSIE11 available through the new ‘Edge’ browser.
Another notable exception are those users who use some form of Windows Server 2008 SP2, some might use remote, thin client connections onto a Windows, Terminal Services Server on this version. If you do, then you will have MSIE9 available to you through to the end of support for Windows Server 2008 SP2; amazingly this is as far out as January 2020. Most desktop based users will not fall into this group, they should be a small group and as such may not attract sufficient attention to warrant dedicated, and continued support for MSIE9.
Forcing people to upgrade:
Microsoft will release an update to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2, SP1 users to add a ‘nag screen’ function which will tell them that they need to migrate to MSIE11. This will be triggered each time MSIE 8, 9 or 10 are opened. (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3123303?sd=rss&spid=14019)
There is little reason why organisations should not look to upgrade from Windows Server 2008 through to Windows Server 2012, SP2. This will allow them to use MSIE11. There is also little reason for anyone to stay on Windows Vista.
Formally MSIE 7 became unsupported when Windows XP (April 2014) and Windows Server 2003 (July 2015) became unsupported.
Permitting development organisations to become more future focussed:
Significant changes were made within MSIE with the rendering engines used and with their CSS compatibilities. MSIE8, 9 and 10 are now old and do not fully support CSS3. (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh781508(v=vs.85).aspx)
MSIE11 is the first version of MSIE to fully, wholly support these standards, even MSIE10 does not fully implement CSS3. For developers, looking for a consistent experience when delivering software, having to cater for the lowest common denominator is painful, time-consuming and costly and it does not allow us to deliver the very best, cutting-edge User Experience within products.
It has been a long time coming; waiting for this significant change in support policy from Microsoft, and this will now enable development houses to modernise their own support policies in line with what can be reasonably be expected of their user-base.
Enigma’s end users are commonly not home based users, they are professional health workers. Professionals who interact with an individual’s health data within web based products have a reasonable obligation to ensure that their systems are kept current, up to date, and suitable for such use. This means that they must be capable of being supported, with the latest in the way of security, and other IT software updates. Without these they will become exploitable and could be unsafe for use with sensitive / personal data.
This note was published, relating to USA Health related use (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/WindowsForBusiness/End-of-IE-support):
Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA should conduct due diligence to assess whether they are still able to satisfy compliance requirements using unsupported software.
As a development house, if we’re not constantly having to look backwards to ensure that things work for out-dated versions of software, we’re not held-back in the same way as we have been; we can use modern display frameworks, which both speed up development and deliver a better and more consistent look and feel to the users. As such, in-line with Microsoft’s latest end-of-life support changes, Enigma will be updating our Terms of Service, and our supported browser lists to focus on the latest, and currently supported sets of all mainstream, commonly used browsers.
If you have any questions or concerns about how these changes may impact you, your organisation or your users, please feel free to contact Enigma for some advice. https://support.enigma.co.nz