Why IE9 is a Web Designer’s Nightmare

Why IE9 is a Web Designer's Nightmare

Web professionals have been getting pretty excited lately, and it’s no surprise why. The latest spawn of Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer 9, has just been released. Many people have been talking about the changes and whether the latest version is a solid step forward, or if it’s too little, too late.

In a previous article, Jacob Gube (this site’s founder) had a more positive view of IE9. I’m here to play devil’s advocate and present the other side of the coin.

My Rocky Relationship with IE9

After waking up one morning and checking out my Twitter feed, I spotted a tweet that got me pretty excited: The first release candidate for IE9 had launched!

Now, among web designers, I am probably one of the most skeptical of IE — we’ll skip the IE6 jokes for now — but this time around, I had a great beta experience and saw so much good work. IE9 was different.

I quickly downloaded it and began the installation process. That went well. I then performed the obligatory Microsoft reboot — it’s 2011 and the software still needs a computer restart, but whatever, I’ll live — and then I opened up the browser.

So far, things were turning out better than I’d hoped. It was at this early point, though, that my first negative experience with IE9 occurred. I visited my own website to see how it looked, and what I saw left me with a facial expression that only this image can accurately depict:

If my webcam had been turned on, this is the expression you would have seen.

My website’s perfectly formed layout was broken. Not only was it rendering badly, but the rendering defects were so great that no amount of IE conditional comments could resolve them. (Dear IE9, gray hair from stress on a 27-year-old is not cool.)

At this point, I did what many in my situation would do: I screamed "Nnnoooooooo!!" so loudly that a dog in the street barked in response.

Luckily, I was able to patch the issue using the XUA Meta hack (so much for semantics and well-formed markup).

Perhaps the bugs will be ironed out before the full release. But I’m a realist, and I didn’t feel that lucky.

Internet Explorer Is Improving

Before anyone dives down to the comments and retorts by pointing out all of the great new stuff worth defending in IE9, I should state that Microsoft has done a lot to improve its browser. And truth be told, we need this update more than any other.

So, before we focus on the issues that have made me an IE9 cynic, it’s important to note a few good things about it.

First, although many would like to forget it, IE has been a pioneer in what we now refer to as modern web standards. They were innovators. How we see the Web today is a direct result of their early work.

Granted, Microsoft’s push for change hasn’t always hit the mark, but without browsers like IE6, we may not have seen such CSS3 properties as the overflow-x and overflow-y properties, web fonts, Ajax, and the ever-useful conditional comments (our savior in the development process). New features in version 9 have impressed me, and they’re worth having.

In addition, I’m particularly pleased with the way Microsoft is embracing HTML5 and CSS3. While not perfect by any stretch, the fact that we’re seeing current standards being supported by the browser shows that Microsoft is making at least some effort to ensure a better all-around browsing experience.

Also, surprisingly, Microsoft’s transparency during the testing process (letting everyone get the beta and listening to feedback) is really bringing their browser line back on the path to success.

Will IE9 Be the New IE6?

The early warning signs were there from the start, and people have criticized Microsoft’s choice to include HTML5 and CSS3 (both unfinished specifications), arguing that poor rendering (which does exist) and future changes could leave the browser in an IE6-like situation when it gets outdated. The frequent release cycles and automatic updates (by default) of other browsers will minimize this problem, but given how slow Internet Explorer has always been with major versions, it may well become the IE6 of 2020!

If Steve Ballmer can’t save us from this, who can?

Moreover, the number of bug reports in the feedback program — over 5,000 of them — and the IE team’s announcement thanking the jQuery team for updating their popular JavaScript library to be IE9-friendly makes me suspect that this will indeed be our bleak future.

Microsoft Connect: approximately 5,300 open reports (and mine is among them). Oh dear!

The notion that coders, designers and service providers should patch their code for new browsers is scary. If browsers followed the standards, then bugs wouldn’t be there in the first place.

If the issues are severe enough to need patching before a new browser version comes out, how bad will things really get?

Recalling the days of hasLayout, these problems seem to be the same ones we have seen before. Yes, Microsoft has come a long way since IE6, and yes, it is doing its best to keep the browser up to date. But remarking on how well it’s doing — and going so far as proclaiming it is better than the competition when known issues are left for the rest of us to work around — seems inexcusable.

Marketing Machine

In a quirky letter to Microsoft, Mozilla proclaimed that Microsoft’s boasting of IE9’s high level of support for standards is inaccurate. Microsoft has always had an effective marketing strategy with IE with its substantially biased claims and inaccurate research.

Mozilla posted this to show how inaccurate the claims are about IE.

While marketing doesn’t affect the browser itself, this misleading treatment of consumers, both past and present, only rubs salt in the wounds of those who make websites for IE.

It’s true that while Microsoft’s new browser appears far from perfect, no other browser gets it quite right either. All of the other browsers have their share of flaws and bugs, missing technologies, and incomplete spec implementations.

However, the problem with Microsoft is partly due to how it portrays itself and the frustrating way it sometimes goes one step forward, two steps back.

Is IE9 a Modern Browser?

To see what we’re all in for, we need only examine a blog post by Tim Sneath of Microsoft, who opines on what makes a modern browser. The substance of his retort to Mozilla’s open letter is what concerns me.

The "modern browser" earns points for effort but is rather short on substance.

First, Sneath proclaims that Mozilla is narrowly defining the "modern browser." While I agree with him in that Mozilla defines "modern browser" in its own terms and agendas, if Mozilla had broadened its definition, Microsoft would still have come off looking even worse.

Below I’ve paired up points that Sneath’s made with my own view of why the term "modern browser" doesn’t apply to IE9.

"Modern browsers are fast. They take full advantage of the underlying platform to render graphics with the GPU, compile and execute JavaScript across multiple CPU cores and ensure that web applications run as close as possible to the same speed as native applications."

The new version of IE has improved with regard to the interface’s overall speed and usability, and the rendering speed of IE9 does clock well against the other browsers. But in terms of the overall speed of the browser itself (and the intuitiveness of the interface compared to Chrome and Opera), the differences are still quite staggering. The loading times of windows and tabs are not favorable, and regardless of the rendering engine, the interface is not as refined as the ones in other browsers.

The settings menu is a simple illustration of where IE9’s interface shows its inconsistencies. For instance, F12 developer tools is about the worst label I’ve seen in a product; for consistency, it should have been laid out like the View downloads option.

The RSS and Atom feed notification feature has inexplicably disappeared from the address bar, so instead, we must use the less obvious (and hidden by default) command bar. Guess how you turn the command bar on without Googling it. If it’s hard for you to figure out, being the tech-savvy individual that you are, imagine how much more difficult it would be for the average Internet user.

Making the "Refresh" and "Stop" commands as separate buttons is rather redundant; these browser commands are similar to light switches — you either need to refresh or stop the page from rendering.

These are just a few rather simple examples in IE9 that makes the browser’s UI feel unpolished.

"Modern browsers enable rich, immersive experiences that could hitherto only be delivered through a plug-in or native application. They can blend video, vector and raster graphics, audio and text seamlessly without sacrificing performance."

This seems to be pointing to technologies such as Flash and HTML5, which IE9 does rather well, especially with hardware acceleration and within the Windows platform where it can outdo even Chrome in CPU utilization (as shown below).

CPU utilization of IE9 versus Chrome in Windows Vista while SunSpider is running.

"Modern browsers implement features when they are ready, providing predictable patterns that developers can rely on rather than suddenly breaking or removing specifications. They don’t check off support based on a half-completed implementation written to pass a synthetic test, but validate against a test suite that confirms interoperability."

While keeping older specifications in the rendering engine could be deemed a useful compatibility feature that some developers can rely on, I can’t see how maintaining such old standards for the sake of those who couldn’t be bothered upgrading is the mark of a modern browser.

The web has changed, as should standards. Continuing to support old specifications (just like old browsers) will only make compatibility harder to achieve in the long run.

If old code remains supported, then designers will have little incentive to innovate (unless they have a need or interest). As it stands, the industry already has major problems with poor-quality code, semantics and standards. The prospect of having to cater to an old generation of code could discourage designers from staying up to date in their knowledge. While this may not be a problem now, we could do without this stagnation, especially in proprietary technologies.

Another point is that — unlike IE8 — IE9 does not support Windows XP (an operating system that seems to have staying power of its own), which might keep the benefits of this modern browser out of the hands of many users (people on Microsoft’s own platform).

As for Sneath’s reference to the test suite that confirms interoperability, as we have seen throughout IE’s life cycle, the number of test suite entries has never made a difference to the rendering stability expected of the browser. So why would it now?

"Modern browsers do adopt standards at an early stage of readiness so developers can experiment and validate the specification, but clearly delineate unstable prototypes as such."

Finally, this rather non-committal statement underpins the root of my cynicism toward IE9 and why web designers will suffer for years to come. With every new version of Internet Explorer, trying to get users to upgrade remains a struggle. IE6 is still in use to this day. It’s all well and good to allow "experimentation," but as these living specifications gain more adoption by mainstream Internet users, browsers (like IE9) that have intermittent upgrade cycles will undoubtedly complicate the average web designer’s testing process.

Why It Matters

My criticisms of the browser do not stem from some discontent about how it’s turned on me; far from it. The browser has improved, and (like its predecessors) it will help us bring some modern features to a willing audience.

Is IE9 a modern browser? In my humble opinion, no, simply because of these issues of life cycles, patchy support and the fact that other browsers (while not perfect) are making innovative progress.

Web designers should be cynical of any new browser out there, and Internet Explorer feels like just another catch-up release with the same issues we’ve seen before. The Web is evolving, as are the tools and technologies that people use to access it. Only the browsers that meet such needs will survive.

Is IE9 a good browser? Yes. Is it at the same level as its competitors? Maybe. Will it remain at this level for its lifespan, and can IE survive to version 10? I’m not too sure.

For IE9, the future is up for grabs.

As for me, it’s back to business as usual, patching and hacking my work for another Microsoft browser.

Related Content

About the Author

Alexander Dawson is a freelance web designer, author and recreational software developer specializing in web standards, accessibility and UX design. As well as running a business called HiTechy and writing, he spends time on Twitter, SitePoint’s forums and other places, helping those in need.

This was published on Mar 18, 2011


Haha, the first image and caption had me on the floor!

Missy Mar 18 2011

I’ve not seen a single site broken by IE9 yet. The last line of your post sums it up, I think. Stop patching and hacking!

Lillan Backa Mar 18 2011

Very good article!

Johny Symons Mar 18 2011

“Patching and hacking my work for another Microsoft browser.”

Great points here Alexander.

The thing is, the web developer community simple shouldn’t trust Microsoft. We all know that the only reason Microsoft didn’t clean up it’s IE6 mess sooner is that it had most of it’s investments out of the web industry. Which meant a fast growing innovative web not in their control, wouldn’t be profitable for them so, they put something in the market that can deliberately sabotage the process. And so far, they have succeeded. Just look at how IE has held the web back.

The web developer community should only trust movements that have actual big plans for the future web. And we all know that Google needs an innovative web to make profit. It’s pretty much all they have invested on.

Michael Gunner Mar 18 2011

Alexander, I’m bemused. Every single website I have ever built, I have tested in IE9. I’ve not had one single problem with any of them.

So it seems a bit quick of you to point the finger at IE9. I don’t know if you remember, but when IE6 was king web developers coded for IE6 but were shocked to discover their websites broke when they loaded them in the relatively new on the scene Firefox.

Was Firefox to blame? We know now that it wasn’t.

So if every website I’ve ever built works perfectly in IE9, but your website is broken, perhaps it is just as possible that it’s because you have coded your site for specific browsers, rather than testing across the board to ensure your code was consistent and worked for everybody.

I agree regarding some of the usability issues you point out, but in the grand scheme of things they are minor and easy to fix. Lets not forget also, it’s still very early days for IE9.

It just seems all too easy in my opinion to hate a product of Microsoft, but so far for me IE9 has been good. I won’t stop using Chrome, but I will give IE9 and the people developing it a chance.

As for that Mozilla letter, it struck me as remarkably childish and immature.

Neil H Mar 18 2011

I expected a lot from IE9, but the ‘lot’ that I got lasted on my machine for the time it took to a) do the install, b) test the performance, and c) do a system restore to pre-IE9 install.

First sign of impending problems was the (apparent – citation needed!) massive amount of install code that needed to be downloaded by IE9.

Second sign was the need for my machine to be restarted in order to ‘finish’ the install (see fourth sign also).

Third sign was that the IE9 browser itself (for all the reasons mentioned above in addition to the fact that the ‘Back’ button didn’t fit, and no amount of toolbar tweaking could make it fit thus causing an OCD incident on my part) while appearing to be ‘faster’ now than other browsers, was only actually faster because it had somehow managed to slow my entire machine down. Cursors when going on ‘hover’ showed a consistent extra few ms delay before changing, etc.

Fourth sign was that (having decided I did not want IE9 on my production machine)was that the restore point created during the install and which I needed to use to remove IE9, was not labelled ‘IE9 Installation’ as one would expect, but ‘Microsoft Modules Installation’ which (more than?) hints at a messing around with Microsoft OS integration, rather than the installation of a lightweight modern browser. It felt like a return to the early nineties, early Microsoft or early AOL-type screwing with my system.
(Quad-core / Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit / 8mb ram)

It pains me to know I will have to install this on a testing machine at some point.

As a Designer/developer I am tempted to write a conditional statement for all webpages that redirects IE users to the Mozilla downloads page. If only my clients would allow it.

Please, PLEASE can someone come up with a solution to FINALLY kill Microsoft IE (whatever version)?

Tiago Castro Mar 18 2011

Well, first of all I think this is a very well written article. I got to agree when you say that IE9 is (or is going to be) a Web designer nightmare. One of the main features that I like in Google Chrome is that we don’t need to update the browser over and over again. A new update is available, check this out, it is ALREADY INSTALLED! This allows developers to use new technologies and allow users to see content with no restrictions. Although the big step that Microsoft has taken with IE9, it does not support CSS3 Gradients, for example. While there are browsers that do not update automatically, I think that we’re always going to have an IE6. That is a problem not only to developers but to the users too. I’m certain that the Google’s browser growth is because of that. People don’t want to interrupt their work to update the browser, to restore the browser, or even to restart computer!

somebody Mar 18 2011

“My website’s perfectly formed layout was broken.” — and why do you think that is NOT your own fault? Let’s face it – well coded websites render well in IE9.

this picture of steve ballmer is scary.

The best idea I’ve ever heard was someone who suggested redirecting IE users on sites that broke in IE to a “basic” version, without any but the simplest CSS, and a very basic layout, with an option to switch to the broken layout and/or upgrade to a web browser that supports most features in use. This would not work on sites that need to be fully usable from the start for income reasons but for others it seems fine, and accommodates user agent spoofing as IE, as it leaves the option to view the full site.

The only way to draw market share away from buggy rendering is to give users a reason to switch and I think seeing a good number of websites fail in their browser would do the trick. It sure beats spending hours trying to work out conditional CSS and javascript.

Vivek Parmar Mar 18 2011

Thanks for sharing. Still did not downloaded IE9 waiting few more blogs cover up with great tuts so that i can easily start with it.

Rob Mills Mar 18 2011

I know exactly what you mean. The first page I tested in IE9 had styling issues that were obvious the moment I opened it. I screamed just like you did.

So now we’re gonna have users spread across 4 major releases of IE to support??

On a good note I don’t see the IE6 situation happening again as companies around the world if not stuck to IE6 are supporting other browsers as well so I don’t think they’ll just start focusing on just IE9.

Hans Stad Mar 18 2011

I am a home webdesigner not business like and my opinion is that IE9 is a hugh improvement. What I don’t like in Chrome and Firefox is the use of its own standard for CCS3.
Firefox is breaking the layout of my website, chrome is changing the layout of my website without my permission and Opera has many layout bugs.

Pokepoke Mar 18 2011

Can we get to the point of the article again people? Everybody seems to hang onto the chance that Alexander has his own page not coded properly. The article is bigger then that (performance etc).

theComplex Mar 18 2011

I’ve yet to encounter any issues with IE9 (while I still have many issues with older versions of IE) but I keep my fingers crossed every time I have to use the browser. I’ve even had more issues with newer versions of Firefox than IE as far as broken sites. As for the other improvements to IE9, none of them will make me actually use the browser beyond testing.

Well, this is what I expected from IE 9

Quick note: Get your facts straight. Mozilla didn’t post anything about ie9. That post about how IE9 is not a modern browser was created by a Mozilla employee, not the company, on his own initiative. The statements provided were NOT Mozilla’s, while they may be true, they were posted by an individual who’s site is located in a mozilla domain, and who is a mozilla employee. Nowhere on the page is Mozilla even referenced other than the url.

I mean, if you’re going to bring something up, get your facts right.

Victor Abadio Mar 18 2011

Nice article, man!

My website used to be blocked from IE, ’til I used a hack to make it read HTML5 and unblocked it. Looks like I’m gonna have to block it again :]

People said to me: “You’re gonna lose clients if they use IE and try to access your site but can’t”. My response always is: “If they use IE, I don’t want them as my clients in the first place; too much trouble”.
Unfortunately, not everybody can afford to do this. It’s a shame, really. Cuz the design world would be a happier place.

Dennis Stevenson Mar 18 2011

A site that my customer just signed off on is DESTROYED in IE9.
I used browserlabs to make sure it was good with all browsers and I just chalked up the errors to IE9 being a beta at the time, but the layout is duplicated and I don’t have a fix =( Sadly there isn’t enough IE9 information for developers out there yet to get it going in the right direction. I guess I need to hope that it floats under the radar until either there is a fix of the customer sees it first hand.

Bobby Mar 18 2011


Great article about IE 9. I’m going to dl and check my site right now!

Hi Alexander,

Interesting article.

For me IE9 is a big step forward.
I like a lot the option of having the option to test IE7 and IE8 inside. This saves me the need of several virtual machines to test all versions.
As some other people mentioned, if you know how to build for IE6 without having need of specific hacks you won’t have any problems with IE7, IE8 and IE9.
Support for CSS3 is a whole other subject…

mta.creative Mar 18 2011

I had the same problem when I loaded up IE( and checked out our company’s main website – it was totally borked in regular and compatibility modes.

A quick (and long overdue) recode did the trick.

Frank Mar 18 2011

I`ve allways had problems with IE. Hope they cover up this in near future…

Dave Sparks Mar 18 2011

Just a small point –
“The RSS and Atom feed notification feature has inexplicably disappeared from the address bar” – hasn’t the RSS button also disappeared from FireFox? Fair enough trying to find the option now the button has gone isn’t easy.

I wrote on my own blog a while ago that IE9 will not be forgiven for any of it’s flaws, even the smallest, as everyone is out to dislike it. So if it is standing with some big flaws it is most certainly gonna encounter plenty of bad press. I’m not saying if IE9 is good or not I haven’t used it enough to see.

The big issue for me is not supporting XP, plenty of people never saw the benefit of upgrading to Vista and haven’t gotten around to financing an upgrade to windows 7 so they’re still say on XP and won’t be using anything above IE8.

Andy Feliciotti Mar 18 2011

After IE9 made me reboot my pc to install it I knew it was down hill

jooma Mar 18 2011

“If old code remains supported, then designers will have little incentive to innovate”

Nice in theory, but there are a lot of corporate intranet sites out there that people run businesses with. They just want things to keep working. They will never migrate off IE6 if that means they have to spend money upgrading their business applications, just to support the new browser.

(At my company we have at least one large corporate client that still mandates IE6 on all its machines.)

Arturo Mar 18 2011

I have to say that I agree with a lot things you said. It is a good post, though I do not know how many times I have seen questions like: Is Chrome the new IE6? Is Opera the new IE6?…and stuff like that, it is quite obvious that there is not such thing like a perfect web browser, in that way the possibility of becoming outdated software like IE6 will only depend on the programmers… Google has won this battle, without a doubt… Chrome updates itself smoothly without you even noticing it…

Dave G Mar 18 2011

Your site obviously wasn’t coded so well in the first place if you opened it up in IE9 and it was broken.

I’ve had no issues with any of the sites I’ve coded so far. It’s all the hacks and conditionals that have left your site broken instead of just coding it the way you should and letting users get a subjective experience based on what browser they use.

moritana Mar 18 2011

I tried expressing my displeasure with IE9 for a while now XD
you did it PERFECTLY, loved the cat ^_^

Sovetique Mar 18 2011

Alexander, thank you for the article. It’s a little bit emotional, but true!
Well, nothing new with IE9 — just marketing. It’s just another headache for every developer who tries to make cross-browser site. I hope that the percentage of IE (any version) will decrease.

I have to agree, ie9 will become a nightmare… not only in 2020 but from now on. Not only is it missing essential HTML5 features every current version of other browser vendors supports already now (except Mozilla but that will change next week with Firefox 4), like:

– HTML5 Forms
– History API
– Flexible Box Model
– CSS3 Gradients
– Text-Shadow
– JavaScript Strict Mode

BUT!!! waht’s even worse it pretends to fully support some CSS3 Stuff like Box-Shadow.

I encourage you to do a little testing for yourself, create a simple page with a solid background, put an image in there or a simple container with a certain width and height and give it a “box-shadow”. And if you’re still interested play some time with the horizontal offset, vertical offset and blur-values…

I guess you’ll soon see what i meant. It not only looks completely different like all other browsers’ implementation but even as if like Microsoft just mapped there ancient DX-Filter-Crazyness to CSS3 Selectors…

I wonder what Microsoft claims to have been testing over the last year, transparent pngs with opacity applied?

Arturo Mar 18 2011

I just read the comment from @Somebody, I think he/she is totally right if your website is well coded, then I am pretty sure IE9 will render it fine, of course with a few CSS issues… If you as web developer cannot fix it, then I guess you should read/study more, I tried many websites in IE9 beta, and I never got to a point of becoming crazy or anything, and that was because the few bugs I got were never that serious.

Interesting article, i do think that IE9 is a huge step for Microsoft so let’s see where will it go.

Alexander Dawson Mar 18 2011

Thanks for the comments everyone! It’s getting some good discussion!

Just a quick note: For those who think that the faults in my site were the result of poor coding as opposed to the browser, when I built the site a year ago, I ensured that it worked cleanly in Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera (plus used conditional comments to degrade things for IE6-8). It’s only when IE9 went to RC that problems occured (the two betas behaved well). I’ve always been a web standards nut and I’ve always placed a lot of effort into coding things the right way (rather than the easy way). The only hacks I’ve ever used on the layout are conditional comments and the XUA meta header (to force IE8 rendering) – and most designers would see them as a reasonable resolution to IE’s many quirks. I’m more inclined to say that the issues in my instance are the result of the browser, than to proclaim that every other browser is doing things badly wrong and the semantic code I wrote previously (which worked in harmony for a year) turned “bad” (not to mention I’ve been able to replicate the bugs in several “bare-bones” test cases).

Young Mar 18 2011

This is a total letdown – I expected much from IE9 and haven’t tried it myself yet. Can someone give me some specific examples of what breaks on IE9? Good article Alex, but if your site completely breaks on IE9, you can’t call it “perfect”… but how is it that a new browser is breaking stuff that renders fine on all the other currently major ones? Is it another MS scheme to monopolize? Sounds like one of those “Japanese screws turn left to tighten” scenarios to me.

Pubudu Mar 18 2011

I got the same facial impression when i first installed IE 9 RC and went to my own site! The design was completely messed up! Just managed to fix it after re-installing wordpress and tweaking the theme….! Now im having problems upgrading IE 9 RC to the latest version… Im good with Google Chrome :D

Alexander Dawson Mar 18 2011

@Michael Gunner: It seems strange that you would make the comparison between IE and FF. Let’s not forget, IE is not the new kid on the block “trying to tame the tides of web standards”. It’s a browser that has had both the time and opportunity to adopt standards (as other browsers have done). I don’t code for “specific browsers”, never have. I always build a site for every browser (only resorting to conditional comments when all else fails). As I’ve stated, I don’t hate IE, I’m just tired of being constantly disappointed, for over 10 years it’s been a case of “same stuff different day”.

xxdesmus Mar 18 2011

Anyone whining about IE9’s lack of support for Windows XP really needs to move on. Update already for the love of god. It’s your own fault for using an OS that is current – 2 and 10 years old. It’s not Microsoft’s responsibility to always hold your hand if you refuse to update. Your stubborn laziness should not hold back progress for the rest of us. I agree they should have include a fall back mode for Windows XP users, but you can be sure those back on XP would have whined about poor software rendering performance. It was a lose/lose situation for Microsoft.

Black Bear Design Mar 18 2011

We joke about how we are going to code in logic for IE that their computer is broken, please upgrade to Safari or Firefox!

darkane Mar 18 2011

I usually like Six Revisions articles, but this one is mostly nonsense and misinformation.

“The early warning signs were there from the start, and people have criticized Microsoft’s choice to include HTML5 and CSS3 (both unfinished specifications) …”

That statement doesn’t even begin to make sense. Every current browser has a mangled implementation of HTML5 and CSS3.

“Moreover, the number of bug reports in the feedback program — over 5,000 of them …”

There are almost 23,000 issues in the Chromium bug tracker, and there are tens of thousands for Firefox, too.

“For instance, F12 developer tools is about the worst label I’ve seen in a product …”

Are you seriously complaining about a menu item label?

“Making the “Refresh” and “Stop” commands as separate buttons is rather redundant; these browser commands are similar to light switches — you either need to refresh or stop the page from rendering.”

This isn’t true at all. There are many situations that I encounter every single day during casual use that could benefit from separate buttons. Just because a few browsers have adopted the single button, doesn’t mean having both somehow hurts the quality of the software.

JJ Nold Mar 18 2011

I’ve seen very few issues with general layout in IE9. The rendering engine is much better than that of it’s successors. If a user finds themselves creating more and more declarations for IE browsers, then I think one should revisit their current coding practices. Well developed sites that follow standards and proper layout principles only succumb to a few IE bugs that are well known and documented.

AlexandersBigBrother Mar 18 2011

Alexander…drop the stupid cat photos, do some research, learn how to not hack but to actually solve, THEN come back and write an article “reviewing” the official release of a browser–by then it will most likely be IE 15 and, from the looks of it, you might be over the age of 21.

SixRevisions–publishing content is good. Publishing poorly researched (and completely biased) content is just unfortunate.

Alexander Dawson Mar 18 2011

@darkane: While that may be true, the main objection I was making about Microsoft’s decision to implement HTML5 and CSS3 was that because major update cycle releases are so slow (compared to other browsers) and users unfortunately fail to upgrade consistantly (not something we can blame on MS), this causes a toxic mix in which those rendering issues become more profound. Other browser manufacturers are quick to keep improving their implementations, Microsoft are not. This isn’t misinformation, it’s a fact of history. Regarding the number of bugs, I should qualify that those we’re only the publically visible ones (private ones are not included in the mix), I did say that no browser is perfect, however as I’ve just mentioned Internet Explorer is always the slowest to resolve such problems and this will have implications in the long run.

@”BigBrother”: I do hope you’re trolling. I’ve mentioned that I only use CC’s as a last resort (such as for dealing with CSS3 usage in IE6). And in regard to your summise of my age based on the photo used, it shows that the bias is yours for both ageism and generalisation (without actual knowledge of me, my coding practices or what research I undertook to verify my claims). It doesn’t surprise me that you hid behind anonymity.

lalali Mar 18 2011

IE9 does have its flaws, especially the life cycle, but this post has almost as many.

1. Boohoo, my website broke!!11 IE9 sucks!!!11 (lost all your reputation here)
2. Installing does NOT require a reboot, when starting it you get the choice to exit all applications first without any reboot or keep them open and reboot when you are done.
3. Showing the toolbars(why would you want this anyway?) isn’t exactly hard. In firefox it’s done in the exact same way.
4. The post by “mozilla” was an unofficial rant from an employee.
5. Refresh and stop are not opposites. You can still both refresh and stop while a page is loading. Switching and disappearing buttons can cause confusion. Imagine trying to press stop and 1ms before you click it switches to refresh. => Angry user. Hiding the stop would be good though.

Markus Mar 18 2011

Most pages that broke with IE9 used conditional comments that only checked if the browser was IE and not what version. The same hacks that forced IE6/7/8 to behave now kill IE9.

Actually an error that occurs a lot in desktop software engineering as well – but mostly the other way around. Those guys check for specific windows versions which breaks there software everytime a new OS version is released.

Crystal Odenkirk Mar 18 2011

Alexander, if you have time, could you please document the rendering bugs that you could confirm were definitely bugs and not code in bare-bones situations, along with what seems to be triggering them and how you tested to reproduce them, and post it in another article? That would be of immense help — and commenters might already have solutions to some of them. Thanks :)

nigedo Mar 18 2011

“My website’s perfectly formed layout was broken. Not only was it rendering badly, but the rendering defects were so great that no amount of IE conditional comments could resolve them.”

I don’t understand why you haven’t documented specific examples of these defects. You titled your article “Why IE9 is a Web Designer’s Nightmare” and then provided no detailed explanation of why that would be; just a superficial ‘take my word for it, my site was broken’.

Where is the quantitative data to support your claims?

Seneca Mar 18 2011

@pokepoke – I’m probably to buried for you to see this but the author’s using his own site and assuming IE9 is wrong is rather large hubris and detracts from all that follows.
I’d like to see an actual statistics of how many pages are broken because IE9 is wrong. The plural of anecdote is not data.

Young Mar 18 2011

I agree with nigedo. I asked for similar explanations in my previous comment… and wow, that “bigbrother” is the biggest troll I’ve seen on SR.

Alexander Dawson Mar 18 2011

@nigedo: The issues with my site (while irksome for me) we’re only one aspect of why I have negative feelings toward IE9, the article itself goes beyond simple rendering flaws to the long release cycles, performance (etc). It’s not about one site breaking (I found a temporary fix in the XUA header), it’s about more than inconsistent rendering. Feel free to visit my site using IE9, load up developer tools and switch it from the IE8 document mode standards state to IE9 (you’ll gain some idea of the issues at hand). I should also point out that my particular issues still continued when all conditional comments and scripts were disabled (therefore it’s not simply a case of browser targeted code).

Nirmal Mar 18 2011

“At this point, I did what many in my situation would do: I screamed “Nnnoooooooo!!” so loudly that a dog in the street barked in response.”

LOL witty. But on a serious note IE9 did not live to the top of it’s expectations.

Carlos Hermoso Mar 18 2011

@author hopefully u are just trying beeing funny.. wtf..

TheAL Mar 18 2011

I think the verdict is still out, but this article makes a lot of solid points.

Every site I’ve checked in IE9 works fine, though. In fact, I haven’t used an IE conditional since casting out IE6. Most things I’ve made using Chrome as a base have all worked fine in IE7/8 from the get-go. Makes sense IE9 would be even less of a problem, being so it’s even more standards compliant (even if it’s still far from perfect).

The only problem I have now is being back in the boat of having to test in three IEs. It was 6, 7 and 8. Then I told 6 to bug off. Now it’s 7, 8 and 9.

Jarod Billingslea Mar 18 2011

Steve Ballmer looks like he’s trying to seduce people by licking his chin lol.

Jamal Jackson Mar 18 2011

I’m not going to give IE9 the verdict of being the next IE6 so fast, but I will say a few things are wrong with it. Like on my portfolio page, cufon dosen’t seem to be working properly and its not working too well with flash. I know the latter because it didn’t pick up the flash on the site I do my calculos homework.

Personally, I wish IE9 had messed up the rendering of this blog. At least then I wouldn’t have to read this tiresom drivel. But, alas, no luck there.

You do not sound like a prosfessional who should be listened to. Sorry.

Quick question for you:
If your code is so great why the hell do you have a single item in a list for skipping. It would be MUCH better to place it in a paragraph, semantically speaking.

DeathfireD Mar 18 2011

The majority of issues people run into on sites while using IE8 and IE9 are usually the result of the developer using IE specific hacks and conditional statements instead of spending the time to figure out why something is broke and how to fix it without a hack.

Still seems like a recourse hog, it’s a laggy-sloppy browser. I quickly went back to chrome after trying it out for a few minutes.

George Birbilis Mar 18 2011

what is very sad is that they’ve removed the tab-navigation dropdown to select a tab from a list of many tabs you have open and now have to use IE taskbar button which is something most users won’t think of (since that is not a part of the application window, it’s a part of the OS [the taskbar I mean])

Pak-Kei Mar 18 2011

I want to take a look at your perfectly-formed CSS, since these days I already have no problem coding sites with one CSS for all FF3+, Chrome, IE8+ and Opera9+. In fact, I have to use conditionals mostly for Opera, the browser that claims to have full Acid Test 3 score.

I wonder what you had coded to cause IE9 to malfunction? I’ll take a look at see what I can help.

Ursula Mar 18 2011

Wow – some people are just immature… ignore them! Thank you for providing the devil’s advocate point of view! I converted to Firefox a long time ago because I hate the issues that IE has always presented, and it’s not surprising that IE9 is also buggy… as you said, hopefully they’ll get the stuff fixed before officially releasing it!

My favourite line: “If browsers followed the standards, then bugs wouldn’t be there in the first place.” So so true!! :)

Final Cut Studio Mar 19 2011

This is a fantastic article! I haven’t downloaded the IE9 release yet and am not looking forward to it after reading this. I can’t say I’m surprised with the issues and lack of support, but it is a let down to be sure. I completely agree with your assessment of the interface from what I’ve seen. Microsoft seems to continually miss the mark here.

Thanks for the great post!

Daquan Wright Mar 19 2011

Microsoft makes a killing off of web developer’s agony by way of god awful browsers. They always say IE will be a top dog, but IE has been left in the dust for a couple of years now…

I tried using it a while ago, I hate it. Bookmarks feel unintuitive, speed is “OK,” but not on par with Chrome, and the interface just annoys me.

Of course IE 9 is their best browser yet, but if I end up needing conditional comments for that damn browser I’ll never it isn’t as good as it claims to be.

It doesn’t really matter that other browsers have bugs, other browsers are frequently updated and far ahead of IE in terms of being intuitive to use and slick for loading web applications. The only reason I open up IE is so I can hack a site for it, this just saddens me. lol

Paul Cormier Mar 19 2011

Two of my websites so far have problems with IE9. One is rendering the text in input boxes awkwardly (they work fine in FF, Chrome, Opera, Safari ?!?), the other fails to load apparently because IE no longer supports createContextualFragment().

robert Mar 19 2011

your site displays weirdly in chrome with a stumbleupon toolbar. the top gets cut off.

Kerri Mar 19 2011

Before you complain about needing to reboot after installing a browser, well.. my iMac wants me to reboot after installing Safari 5.0.4. This isn’t something only IE and Microsoft foist upon us — lots of OSes and applications have the same requirement. (It’s a stupid requirement, yes. But not one limited only to IE and Microsoft.)

Now, on to the rest of the article — I find most of the points to hold very little water. IE9 /had/ to support CSS3/HTML5 in order to remain in any way competitive with all the other browsers that support the standards. And each browser does it differently, yes. If IE9 hadn’t supported it, can you imagine the outrage? (One can argue whether or not IE9’s support is half-hearted or not, but not that including said support was or wasn’t a good thing.)

As to the RSS/Atom feed issue — I’m not sure this has ever been a big deal. I’m an avid subscriber to these things and yet I’ve rarely clicked on the buttons provided me by the browser. Why? Google Reader (or Reeder, Flipboard, etc.) simply provide a better experience. So it makes sense that UI design would drop these features to hidden menu items that only people who really want the feature will hunt for without it continuously cluttering the interface.

Also — re: the stop/refresh buttons. I have, more than once, been frustrated by clicking stop, only to have the page finish just before I click, and then refreshing the page. Very frustrating to me, anyway, because now I have to wait, again, to load the content.

Re: long periods between updates and getting users to update: I’ll agree with the first, but who is to say that MS won’t be more frequent with IE9. History hasn’t proven them to be frequent updaters, but I think the transparency they’ve shown in the IE9 process may indicate an understanding that today’s browser needs to be updated, revised, and improved at a faster pace. As to getting users to upgrade, well, that’s a never ending battle, and not one that MS faces alone. I’ve seen FireFox 1 out in the wild, all by people who will merrily go on their way avoiding and/or ignoring the upgrade notices while they fall prey to any number of security vulnerabilities and badly rendered websites.

Finally, lest anyone feel I’m somehow devoted to Microsoft and Windows, let me note that I have an iPhone, an iPad, and an iMac. I do have a couple of Windows VMs for those /rare/ products that require Windows, but other than that, all Apple. I have no real “love” for MS, but I also feel they aren’t getting a fair shake here. (And lest anyone think I’m an Apple lover, well, to a point, yes. But I have my issues with them, too… all that for another day!)

bobjohnson Mar 19 2011

This discussion and the development of this product is a fundamentally offensive waste of resources.

Tanya Mar 19 2011

If all web developers will realize what kind of nightmare is all versions of IE and will stop develop for IE, it will be very very healthy and correct. Users will see either badly rendered websites (and will understand in time that there is something wrong, a website should not look so) or will see simple statement: This website was not built for IE, switch to normal browser. In both events users will have to use normal browser.

I use a word “normal” to underline that Chrome or Safari, Opera or Firefox browsers is simply a norma. IE is out, beyond norma.

But, if web developers will keep patching and fixing, a user will keep using IE. She/he will never understand that she/he uses awful browser. If all fixed and patched, how she/he can understan that?

As for me, I insert additional CSS file for IE (all versions) which contains one row of code: display:none. What user sees when enters my websites is just a short statement like mentioned above and invitation to switch to normal browser.

Wrong it is or right, i do not care. My contract with clients includes this term: a website will not be displayed in IE. Yes, I have no enough clients, may be by this reason. But I prefer this way.

And… while Italian people was supporting Mussolini he ruled the country and sent soldiers to death, when Italians stopped support him, he fell down.

Support IE by patching and fixing and it will rule ever. Stop support it and you will have easier life and more time for reading books (which you are wasting now on fixing IE bugs).

Expressions Mar 19 2011

Stupid cats pics and lame meant to be funny lines dont make an article look cool let alone be valid and good.
Please do some research and give us valid points on what you say.
People have been around for too long to believe anyone’s opinion without any valid arguments.

And by the way if the layout breaks try to find your bugs before finding bugs in the tool.

Alexander Dawson Mar 19 2011

Thanks for the fresh comments everyone!

@Young: As mentioned as part of my follow up to nigedo, the issues on my site still exist (they are just masked by the XUA “back to IE8” compatibility switch). If you trigger IE9 rendering within developer tools (by force) you’ll see the issues I’ve encountered in real-time. The most interesting of all is a weird ghosting / evaporation effect that occurs on every navigated page of the site (which is only remedied by clicking or scrolling through the box in question). It’s almost like the peek-a-boo IE6 bug and I remain unable to resolve it post detailed debugging and testing (yet I’ve been able to replicate it and can’t see any offending code – all other browsers render it fine, so I ask “why not IE9”).

Luiz Roberto Meier Mar 19 2011

Well, M$ products are the most pirated products of world and everybody knows that. What I propose: to use alternative browsers, like Firefox and/or Opera. The update feature can’t be turned on if you don’t have a legal copy of win n. M$ don’t learned *all* from the recent past: only developers softwares are “free”. They must put the IE9 free with the source code. The browser war era is over. They lose. Now, any newbie can use any tool to disassembly IE9 and see undocumented features and flaws. They should make the IE9 fully open and learn with the community as any modern browser do or they will continue to be a kick in the 4ss!. Now, it’s up to you, user, designer or developer to make the wish and make the wheel running or stop in nonsense function/methonds bugged.

AreYouSure? Mar 19 2011

Maybe your website/code is a nightmare not IE9?

Thanks for the heads up. As a happy developer coding on Linux, in Chrome and FF, I will soon have to have a virtual machine of Win7 just so I can account for the stupid idea to not support XP. And these people who think that XP users should just get over it are clueless; MS have the resources to go and SP4 XP if they wanted to, just to allow this browser to work. XP is the cheap option in a time of scarce money, why does MS constantly have to drive the treadmill? Oh yeah, Steve needs a bigger house so he can throw chairs further…

Flux Spark Mar 19 2011

My jQuery Lightbox galleries don’t work in IE9. Sort it out M$!

David Mar 19 2011

Interesting to hear your take on ie9, hopefully we’ll be in for some good improvements before the final release.

Tarik Mar 19 2011

I must agree with most of your article IE isn’t what we can call a solid modern browser due to many things and mostly to his life cycle, separating the development cycle of IE will make it better like other browser FF Chrome. But what make it a nightmare is the fact that now we have 4 browser from MS to be compatible with, most people will say having a solid coding will resolute to a conform website but IE don’t follow the rules it and despite your coding you will have to do some hacking and patching.

p.s: i have fled IE long ago to FF shelter XD
my favorite line “If browsers followed the standards, then bugs wouldn’t be there in the first place.”

aeneas Mar 19 2011

That’s most probably because you are one ugly dumb son of a bitch that doesn’t have a clue about coding.

vallabh joshi Mar 19 2011

:( i thought finally microsoft is thinking of web designers. but after reading this…
Nop, its the same old Idiots Explorer(IE)

Noninnovation Mar 19 2011

So I went and took IE 9 for a test drive and here are some VERY real issues I found, and I don’t even want to get into web development issues. Here’s what happened:

1. MSN website crashed after my 3rd launch of IE9, with that infamous green scrolling bar, after hitting cancel, it did refresh the website, but I guess that’s why MS included this feature. Seems their big improvement with web sites crashing is that now, websites (including their own which should be perfect) will STILL CRASH, but at least it’ll be “graceful”.

2. The Back and Forward button at the top left corner of the screen are messed up. A good piece of the back button is hidden underneath the web address UI. Which I think is ridiculous since this is a release version, after what MS hired “developer” bozos showed off their “mini internet” testing facility. So while the speed is good, the bugs are really bad.

3. Lack of availability of superb addons which Firefox gives. I absolutely cannot live without AdBlock, which is free and does a superb job of blocking all the annoying ads, including flash banners. This is a huge one, I tried Ad Block Pro for IE, which is NOT free, but it’s nothing close to AdBlock for Firefox and Chrome.

4. Lack of Firebug, a superb web development/debugging tool.

So IE9 right from the start, has a HUGE road ahead of them and they STILL can’t get it right, after how many iterations?!

So MS is following the same, idiotic trend they’ve set for themselves. Make things look sleek, woo idiot users, patch patch patch like no tomorrow while essentially providing the same buggy product.

Interesting and very informative, but… bias, big time!
your site work fine in IE9, how many “fixes” did you do?
in all my web work, I only check for IE6 and with very simple css for it.
Go with standards, and then bash not the browser but your own level of work.
Majority of sites work well in IE9, IE8, even IE7. It is when you start “hacking” and “patching” your code for the purpose of few tiny “improvements” going outside normal domain, things start to break.
JQuery, various LightBoxes, js libraries somehow work just fine with IE, and still we hear wining about how great would it be to have Chrome on every machine so our big and mighty G-brother can track anything and everything we do.

trevor Mar 19 2011

I am so upset that IE9 cam out. We now have at least 4 version of this joke of a browser to work with. Really makes me want to change my career

It’s nice to see that you’ve read the comments…

I mean, you only respond to one person, even though there are lots of comments with different thing in them (you’ve still yet to address the whole not mozilla’s article but an employee of mozilla thing, and the thought that you could possibly be writing bad code).

Mhammad Mar 19 2011

I Stopped providing support for IE6 and haven’t started supporting IE 9 yet and the reason for this is that everything is going forward why should i support M$ old’s garbage as far as i know if you don’t want to get your self a decent browser don’t bother visiting my site

IDW Design Mar 19 2011

I must admit, I find myself using Chrome and Firefox more often in recent months, but I’ll be installing and putting IE9 to the test at some point next week – I’m certainly enthusiastic about some of the new features, fingers firmly crossed.. ;-)

You loose your credibility by stating that IE9 installation *required* you to restart your machine.

It gave me a choise. Either to close almost all my apps or restart the machine. Which makes perfect sense. Even my app to overclock the gfx is using IE modules ….

FYI, flash installation, always requires me to close firefox. Even if I dont have it running. Forcing me to reboot without even knowing why :-(

It starts being annoying to find more and more posts complaining about IE9 with titles more adequate for sensational yellow press than a blog.

The title seems to be written just to gain traffic and I say the title, because the post is just full of personal opinions with not a single technical documented reason why IE will be a web designer’s nightmare.

If you really want to convince us about it, I challenge you to share the code of just ONE thing you are using currently in your blog and is not renedering properly in IE9 using the IE9 standards mode.

Come on, isolate the code and share it with us it should be easy because as you say “the rendering defects were so great that no amount of IE conditional comments could resolve them” you must have lot of examples.

By the way I really don’t know what you mean by “browsers (like IE9) that have intermittent upgrade cycles will undoubtedly complicate the average web designer’s testing process.” The update cycle is not intermittent, during the development phase of IE9 the product team followed a 8 weeks release cycle for the platform previews, which by the way was later adopted also by Chrome.

Tristan Bailey Mar 20 2011

I had actually signed up to the so-called IE Feedback Program, and mentioned quite a few bugs that I found with the RC version, before the final version had released. To my dismay, all of the bugs that I submitted comments about were closed as “NOT REPRODUCIBLE”, despite the fact that I was dead sure they existed. In fact, they still exist with the final version of IE that has been released. One of the issues that I commented on was the same one you pointed out, about the “F12 developer tools” label.

My only suggestion that I submitted, about changing the Backspace history shortcut to be more user-friendly (instead of people accidentally wiping out text in text fields by going back in history), still remains open, amoung hundreds of other suggestions and bug fix comments.

I was getting so pissed off about the time that I wasted sending in the comments, that I quit the program, never to return again. It really seems that they just use us suckers as a sounding board, pick out the stuff that THEY like (IE Team), and ignore the rest, regardless of how many people are saying something should be fixed or considered. Pathetic.

guci0 Mar 20 2011

IE is one big “shit.
Pity, right? Best regards!

Gstrock Mar 20 2011

Every thing Microsoft does is about vendor lock in. No matter how good the current standards are, they will always add their own little twist to it just to ensure that lock in.

whenever you cheer about a Microsoft product, you are supporting a multi-billion dollar company that only cares about the bottom line. Mar 20 2011

I have seen and heard it for years, people complain about all the MS stuff. I personally like light, nimble browsers but the point that is missing is the fact that years ago there was no real competition to IE but they have lost so much of the browser marketplace they kinda look like Nokia…

As the revenue stream from browsers is changing so will the companies behind them.

Wonder what will happen when the Chinese browsers become more international.

I say keep them light and nibble!!!

Rocky Mar 21 2011

I think it is great, very fast and functional for me. If people have crappy websites then they won’t miss me (until they fix it!).

djaus Mar 21 2011

I’m reading this article in the full release version of IE9.

Noooo Problemo!
I repeat Noooo Problemo!

raybak Mar 21 2011

why can’t Microsoft deactivate previous IE versions? Just like windows messenger once the new version is out you have to download it as the older version won’t let you sign in.

Bwana Mar 21 2011

I don’t have to worry until the 1st service pack comes out. The IE9 installer would not run on my 64 bit Win 7 development PC!? So no further testing for a while…

Anonymous coward Mar 21 2011

To all ppl out there stating that well designed sites work well in IE9 (or 8): right, if you only use a subset of CSS/2CSS3 they do. Why should you have to limit yourself in what you do, instead of browser vendors creating standards-compliant browsers?

As for the people complaining Opera/Chrome/Firefox breaking the layout of their web sites: you mean sites designed specifically for IE, right? Each browser vendor chooses ton support a different set of deviations from web standards which are present in IE, so each alternative browser will break sites designed specifically for IE in a different way.

David Mar 21 2011

Chase Bank does not support IE 9. I called twice for confirmation. It appears that IE 9 is not the solution for all. The Windows XP support may be the reason. What I thought was a poor choice for Chase may be a very well thought out descision in the long run.

shellshocked Mar 21 2011

@darkane, lalali

Why the heck do you guys want to refresh a still loading page or even stop an already loaded one?

Antony Mar 21 2011

I’ve seen a broken site, one that I had to download chrome recently just to use. Even though on the IE9 download page it quite clearly states that it is compatible with facebook, and other popular sites, I can truthfully say facebook does not work on IE9 at this point.

Chris Mar 21 2011

Great article! Is IE9 a good browser? Compared to previous versions – yes. Compared to other browser – hell no!

Mark A Mar 21 2011

Neil H,

When installing a program you are saving new files and/or replacing old files.
When running a program, it needs to read the application file (.exe) and other files.
When updating a file, the old file must be closed, deleted and then the new file can be saved.

If you don’t do this, then I wounder how good the update is.
This type of update can only be a patch (Adding files) and not a proper update.

I would rather have a proper updated version that needs a system reset, than a patch over a less than perfect older version.

“It felt like a return to the early nineties, early Microsoft or early AOL-type screwing with my system.
(Quad-core / Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit / 8mb ram)”

Internet Explorer and AOL are the same browser, just a different front end.
If you look at a HTML5 page with AOL and have a version of IE before IE9 installed, then the new HTML5 code won’t work.

Update to IE9 and your old AOL browser will now work with HTML5 pages.
So AOL and Internet Explorer are 100% compatible with each other.

I see by your logo that you like Netscape.
The Netscape browser uses the Mozilla engine.
Is Netscape, SeaMonkey, Safari, Flock, Chrome, K-Meleon, Firefox, Opera (8.5+), etc. 100% compatible with each other? No.
But they all use Mozilla, so it’s about time they got their standards standardized.

Having two types of browsers with two sets of standards would make it easer to check a web site than
getting it to work with Internet Explorer and Mozilla browser type 1, Mozilla browser type 2, Mozilla …, Mozilla … etc.

mehgerbil Mar 21 2011


Don Said
“Quick note: Get your facts straight. Mozilla didn’t post anything about ie9. That post about how IE9 is not a modern browser was created by a Mozilla employee, not the company, on his own initiative. The statements provided were NOT Mozilla’s, while they may be true, they were posted by an individual who’s site is located in a mozilla domain, and who is a mozilla employee. Nowhere on the page is Mozilla even referenced other than the url.”

My Response:
It was created by a Mozilla employee and it is hosted on the Mozilla domain and yet you assert it wasn’t a post made by the company?

Why don’t you tell us how a company makes a web site – because when you start to describe the process you’ll find yourself describing an employee of the company using company resources to publish the material. Oh wait, that’s what happened.

You fail.

Simon Day Mar 21 2011

I do chuckle when I see posts from people saying they don’t/won’t support IE because of its poor standards. I feel very sorry for your clients who must have sales way below what they should be achieving :)

IE9 is a small step forward but as others have posted IE is not the only browser to choose its own path. If you want “high” cross browser support for things like box shadow we already have to use -moz-, -webkit- which shows IE isn’t the only one to go its own way.

I am happy IE9 has at least started to support HTML5 and CSS3. I am unhappy that it will be installed only on Vista and Win7.

I will continue to code to standards. I will make sure a site degrades gracefully and I will continue to use no or little conditional comments to help make it future-proof.

We are web developers and designers. We have had this issue all our life and it is unlikely we will ever stop having to cater for quirks, be it desktop operating systems or mobile/tablet operating systems. It’s why the best cross-browser designers get paid the big bucks :)

HenryV Mar 21 2011

Well written and a very informative article

I am surprised that no one commented on the “IE9 does not support Windows XP”. What exactly does that mean?

Michael Smith Mar 21 2011

Nice article. I needed to get on to re apply for Financial Aid, and their site does not work with IE9 or Chrome for that matter. IE9 is designed for the high end versions of Windows 7. It runs poorly on Vista and 7 Starter(is a piece of crap O.S. by the way).

Rick Graham Mar 21 2011

To reiterate what others have said, the academy should give you an award for a most excellent use of a cat picture in a web blog.


As for IE9, I’ll believe it when I see it.

and passing a zillion test cases that you WROTE so you could say you passed them does not prove anything.

Avangelist Mar 21 2011

The web development industry are not the ones which have the issues. It is the business world. As long as there are business applications which still require IE only or worse still, IE6 only usage there will be Microsoft based browser users.

The underline issue is that you don’t provide the business user the choice in browser. Furthermore those particular users don’t care what browser they use, it is a window to the application they have to use day to day. it could be purple with spots – they simply do not care as long as it works.

This argument is one that I supported for many years but recently have realised the futility within it. We cannot change the shape of the ‘web standards’ in browsers by ‘not trusting microsoft’ the only way is to work on those so called legacy applications to move them into a position where they could, if the end user so wished, worked on an updated platform.

And out of all the talented innovative developers in the world who wants to do that?

Roberto Mar 21 2011

A picture of how your site was malformed would make your point stronger. wonder if the guy sticking his tunge out was looking at your site too.

Brian Mar 21 2011

Hey Alex,

I’m not sure if you realize it or not but, your website still shows the hidden about section beside your main section for a second or two when it loads in IE9. You may want to come up with a fix for that too.

HitmanJim Mar 21 2011

XP is still in widespead use and every single machine i’ve tried to upgrade to IE8 no longer has network access. WTF is with that, i mean a fresh install of windows XP sp3 and only run thru windows updates and it toasts the whole installation. IE6 was the last one for me. Any other browser will do but I personally use Firefox.

I’ll go to win 7 one day

William Clardy Mar 21 2011

Alexander, while your article is generally well-written, I take issue with the assumptions/biases behind your declaration that “If old code remains supported, then designers will have little incentive to innovate (unless they have a need or interest).”

Innovation for innovation’s sake is one of the reasons why development work (and I include website design as development) is so expensive. A blind urge to do something really, really cool inevitably drives up the labor costs while simulataneously increasing the risk of failure (e.g., what happens if you find out that the really cool thing doesn’t really work well after you’ve invested hundreds/thousands of dollars worth of billable time).

As you can probably tell from my (blatant) bias, I take a severely functional view of web sites and browser-based applications. The sites I’m proudest of aren’t fancy, they Just Work — and they’ve kept working for years with almost no maintenance required and no browser dependencies. I have no desire (and am actually slightly resistant) to suggestions that I should be pushing bleeding-edge ideas when I know the client has a working system and no spare resources for experimenting or disrupting that system.

Guy McFeelie Mar 21 2011

It’s because web designers think they understand programming but do stupid IE6 hacks like “If browser=”IE” then HackMethod”. Then IE7 and 8 came along and the hack still worked. Then IE9 came along, finally uses the ‘standards’ the web designers are complaining about, so the hack doesn’t work right anymore and things look crazy. So go fix your pages to do IE version checks instead of just blanket-checking to see if it’s IE before applying a IE6-era hack.

Aaron Mar 21 2011

I didn’t think there was such a thing as a IE fanboy, but by looking at these comments, I was dead wrong. I’m not real sure how any self-respecting web developer can defend a browser that is notorious for rendering issues, security holes, and consistently being 4 years behind it’s competition.

Alexander, don’t be insulted by the hordes of trolls on this thread claiming that you’re the problem and not IE. Any web dev that doesn’t format a page in tables and navigation in imagemaps knows that you can’t pull off anything innovative without hacks in IE. It’s sad that MS continues to hold back the web, especially with it’s pathetic support for HTML5.

I guess we’ll have to wait another 3 years.

Damion Hankejh Mar 21 2011

Um, remove your IE hacks — they’re no longer required. It’s your code, not the browser. Useless review. I hate cats.

“The web has changed, as should standards. Continuing to support old specifications (just like old browsers) will only make compatibility harder to achieve in the long run.”

Many web pages will stay as they are and still need to be rendered correctly.

hey dude; if hate MS and it’s product then wtf do you insist on using them; nobody asks you subjetct yourselt to such stupidity; get a life man; use linux and all of its perfect toys where there are no bugs and everything works to perfection browsers and all; that’s why it’s in use in over 250% of all computers ever created; MS does not work on a computer;

Parrotlover77 Mar 21 2011

I, too, have not had a single rendering issue in IE9 since the RC. Every site comes up perfect and fast. It’s my default browser now. I really like it. MS did good here. This whole article is just a silly childish rant against IE6, NOT IE9. Mozilla’s letter made my eyes roll. Chrome pwned FireFox (and is chipping away at IE better than they ever did), so they are blaming Microsoft. Awesome. Keep up the good work, Mozilla.

Abel Braaksma Mar 21 2011

@Mark A, you write

> Is Netscape, SeaMonkey, Safari, Flock, Chrome, K-Meleon, Firefox,
> Opera (8.5+), etc. 100% compatible with each other? No. But they all use
> Mozilla, so it’s about time they got their standards standardized.

But this is not entirely true:

– Safari uses Webkit (as well as Chrome, Android, Symbian and Microsoft Entourage)
– Flock used Gecko, now uses Webkit (Chromium)
– K-meleon, Firefox, Seamonkey use Gecko indeed
– Webkit is based on KHTML, which is still used by Konqeror
– Opera uses Presto (as well as Nintendo, WII and DreamWeaver till CS3)

There are other engines, but to some it up, the main engines are Trident (MS), Gecko (Mozilla Foundation), Webkit/Chromium/KHTML (LGPL) and Presto (Opera).

You state that it would be nice if two browsers use the same engine, that they render equally. This is actually correct. There are very few differences between Safari and Chrome, almost none between the Gecko-based browsers (provided you compare the correct versions) and none for Trident based browsers (mixed versions generally not allowed).

So, you’ll only need to test your code on a browser of one of each of the four main engines.

If you want to check this yourself, try Wikipedia, or download the browsers and check their about-window.

Richard Threlkeld Mar 21 2011

Most corporate IT departments would not allow a product which is updated without their control. Most don’t even allow the Microsoft Update to operate within their intranet. They install a local updater from Microsoft, get the updates there, check them out with a regression test, then promote them to their users.

I have found a few (very rarely) sites that don’t display correctly in IE9. I press the compatibility button and they all work. Not perfect, but darn easy.

This article is mostly emotion. I would welcome an article that says, “I have found the following problems with IE9” which is followed by either specific code or a summary with pointers to specific code elsewhere. That would be interesting and very useful to us web developers. This article was not.

Mitch Brewer Mar 21 2011

I just installed IE 9 for the first time, and the first site I went to was unusable – HP’s Drivers and Support site to get the latest drivers for my printer. I finally downloaded Chrome, which worked fine. I haven’t given up on IE 9, but the first impression wasn’t that great…

bcarter Mar 22 2011

I read this article when it was published, but didn’t comment at the time because I read it on my iPhone and well… you get the idea. Anyway, excellent post and everyone needs to switch to Firefox or Chrome and make my life easier. Ha!

i just read many comments mostly said that a good IT shouldn’t use microsoft’s IExplorer, i wonder why we shouldn’t
only because a bug there that doesnt mean its not worthy, plus even mozilla Ver 3.6.15 can be unresponding sometimes, its about coding level as some people said in comments every program have its bugs other wise if it weren’t any bugs, then we shouldn’t be worried about cracks or anything, the only advantage in open source programs it’s free that’s all, i think we shouldn’t think that way.
with all respect to all

HOLY SHIT, why is IE9 viewing my picture naked :0

This article is pure FUD!

IE9 has Compatibility View so you can render any page correctly with IE. You can´t do that with Firefox, Chrome or Opera! IE is much better for dsigner than any other browser.

Ther is no serious huge website (CNN for example) that has Firefox or Chrome as minimum requirement. They use IE instead – so IE9 is the best option for designers in our REAL WORLD.

This article is FUD and should not be taken as serious.

Levi Morrison Mar 24 2011

To be honest, I am please with the new rendering engine in IE9. Rather than point out all its weaknesses, I focus on the fact that I can use selectors with confidence, my html5 won’t completely break it, and I can use (some) css3.

As for the UI of the thing… ugh, the thing looks childish, and when will they get the hint and move the tabs above the urlbar? Everyone else is doing it, and while that isn’t good reason in and of itself, there are valid reasons for doing it.

On IE9 at the moment, fyi. Browsing around to get the feel of the thing.

nonW00t Mar 25 2011

re: seperate stop and refresh buttons, do realize that even after a page is loaded, you can hit stop to stop any gif animations on the page. Sure you can just press Esc instead, but the seperate refresh and stop buttons are perfectly valid.

Shauna Mar 29 2011

For those complaining about IE9 not being supported by Windows XP, I direct you to last year’s news, in which Microsoft stated that it wouldn’t run on XP, and explained why — IE9 uses DX10 hardware acceleration that is only available on Vista and 7. They confirmed that it wouldn’t support XP last March.

Alexander – Good article, though I was expecting a little more related to web design (as opposed to general user experience issues with the browser itself), and like others, would have liked to see certain things that you found that broke. Even reading through the comments, there have been only a few, somewhat vague references to what, exactly, is breaking.

I agree, though, that their hype about HTML5/CSS3 support is misdirected. Sure, it can support list of features X, but what good does that do when most people don’t use those features and the ones that people do commonly use aren’t implemented, or are extremely poorly implemented? I would be happier if they’d solidly implemented fewer, but more-commonly-used (or potentially commonly used) features, such as the CSS gradients, HTML5 form elements, text-shadow, flexible box model, border-images, etc. Even though for some of these, even the other browsers have spotty support, it’s an opportunity for MS to provide something the others don’t have, to help mitigate the issues from their slow release cycle (which provides a different can of worms I think they should address).

Simon Day – Re: Vendor Prefixes. While there is some contention over the use of vendor prefixes, I think they’re arguably better than, and a huge difference from, using implementations such as MS’s DX-Filtering, particularly when dealing with what someone else referred to as “living standards,” where things are being updated and formed all the time. It’s in part thanks to browser vendors and web developers using vendor prefixes that we’re seeing things like CSS transforms, CSS gradients, HTML5 video, and the other cool toys that come with the new technology that will make development quicker and easier (consider rounded corners – on the one hand, you have at most half a dozen lines of code to make all your corners have a particular, uniform roundness that works on any background, and on the other, you have a mess of markup and hacks and images to achieve the same effect, and Web Gods help you if you want a different color or complex background). The prefixes allow developers to play with bleeding-edge technology on select browsers, with the understanding that things might change (Webkit’s implementation of background gradients is a good example of this), and generally a standards version of the code to “fall forward” (so to speak) to.

You Comment in the Article is Wrong!
IE team’s announcement thanking the jQuery team for updating their popular JavaScript library to be IE9-friendly makes me suspect that this will indeed be our bleak future.

If you looked into this you would have read were there was a bug in the jQuery code that was returning a NULL for an Object! So MS IE was right on the money asking the jQuery team to fix it!

SomeoneElse Mar 29 2011

I love how everyone who “claims” to be a developer is saying the issue is with Alexander’s code…”haters gonna hate” fits pretty well in these comments. Face it, IE9 is a pile of Microsoft fail. Also, those “claiming” that all their sites work perfectly in IE9 only appear foolish and lose any credibility (if they had any to begin with) as a developer and are only posting because they feel the need to be heard :) Keep on, keepin’ on Alex, and kudos on this article!

I think we have too many browsers. All of which more or less support some standards and some do but not very well.
I always wondered now that Microsoft is on IE9 why we still need a compatibility option for IE? I have had so many people who do not even know if they should use it and for which sites. Its the most confusing thing Microsoft did with IE. But I think Microsoft should have adopted WebKit and made it into a better IE. Instead I think they keep working with material that just does not work. As Sarah said
(Lipstick on a Pig) Its still a pig!

Bonnie Apr 07 2011

I just installed IE 9, and of course the first thing I did was go to my website to see how it works there. I’m a photographer, not a web designer, but I do know enough HTML to get me by. I have my web hosting through SmugMug, and they set you up with a site with galleries. All we have to do is put in some HTML, CSS, and Javascript to customize it how we want it, and we’re good to go.

So I went to my site, and the galleries (which SmugMug codes, not me) are all wonky. The main picture that shows up on the right (with the thumbnails on the left) isn’t on the right, it’s way down on the bottom. Google checkout seems to work fine– it’s the “Add to Cart” feature that’s broken. Also, I have bulleted lists where the bullets have gone all the way across the page. That’s probably poor coding on my part, but like I said… I’m a photographer, not a web designer. However, everything was working fine in Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and IE 8.

I’m a full time student with a family, so the only time I have to learn new things and fix stuff is during the week long breaks I get between school terms. This sucks pretty hard core. I guess I’m going to have to contact SmugMug to see if there’s anything they can do about it.

I make web interesting! …I’m the best!

Hi, can anyone please help me ? I am not a web designer (obviously) but used a template to do a freebie site for a club. IE9 is apparently cutting off the pages 1/2 way so that they are not loading fully and links to my .pdf forms are doing the same thing. For example, on the home page the page only loads the first para of the info. After that there is a photo and more text which is not coming up. I only have IE9/XP so am relying on screenshots from people. Can anyone tell me what I need to fix (probably everything !!!) Works OK in IE8 and FF and others a few people tell me that setting compatibility mode in IE9 doesn’t fix it either. A couple of other freebie sites I did with the same template seem to work fine on IE9.

Sorry that should read IE8/XP !

it’s funny how some people say that we should not hate Microsoft and generalize about their new product and that they haven’t seen a site broken by IE9 yet.That’s not the point at all.It s about the philosophy behind this company.You look at Webkit,Mozilla,Opera and the people behind and you can feel a real concern about web usability,design,architecture.You feel passion about it
all.Microsoft is bland, the logos,the browsers,the way they try to patch things up in Css with these filters.and what about the activeX object in Ajax.Businessmen in suits not caring about what designers care about.And to the people that think you are wrong and Microsoft is an innovative company, go back to your html frames and your animated gifs!
I ll keep on supporting the real industry leaders and the people that care,the innovators,the real ones.

Great article, even therapeutic.

My thought: WE are the designers and developers and WE hold the keys. We have the power if we all work together to ban IE forever. Lets face it, IE is the bane of our collective professional existence.

In my case, I’ve banned IE completely from my portfolio site. Go there using IE and you get “the red banned screen of death”. If a client approaches me asking me to develop for IE I charge them more for it. If they don’t want to pay for it, I’m completely fine with passing up that potential income, laced with keyboard imprints on my face from face rolling my keyboard.

I’m not wasting my time on IE any longer.

Microsoft has proven over and over and over again that its not interested in supporting well-proven standards as the other major browsers do. They insist on doing it their way and in their own sweet time. Sure, IE9 and 10 promise more… so what? It’s still brokenWare. So why should we waste our time?

Think about it: We really can ban IE. The browser is merely the container for our code.

WE dream up the designs, WE write the code.


Leathur May 01 2011

I am not a techie.That said,I have had my MYSPACE page since…oh perhaps 2004?2005?I still have the 1.0 profile (and I am not interested in the 3.0 myspace).I have done my coding myself,and I worked on my page for years as a work of love and it’s taught me some html too.

About 2 weeks ago I upgraded from IE8 to IE9,not voluntarily but,as a recommended upgrade.(In other words I clicked YES before I realised exactly what I was doing.)

Now my MYSPACE page is messed up.It looks to ME like my experimentations with the Firefox browser did….instead of having 2 basic columns full of stuff,and my photos stacked one on top of another,the photos (on the page not the albums) are aligned SIDEWAYS.The page now looks about 6 feet WIDE!Theres sideways arrows now that must be used to view the wording and see the graphics on my page!To be blunt,it SUCKS!

However I have not yet noticed others pages looking this bad.

I know I don’t have any buggies or virii on my computer.

Tomorrow I will go see how my page looks using the antiquated library PCs.Because as it is now,editing my page is a real hassle.I HATE how this looks!Plus it was annoying to me how I had to replace my old toolbars (which at first I figured a walkaround for that-meaning I simply picked the sites that WERE toolbars as “home pages” so I’d have those links handy.

I wish I could talk to someone involved with IE9 to tell them how screwy this all is.

I WANT MY OLD PAGE BACK!!!!!!!It’s MY voice on the WWW and NOW it sucks:-(


My facts are straight, Mozilla has a disclaimer that says anything stated on their employees’ sites are not the views of Mozilla, and the author of the article stated that it was HIS and not mozilla’s statements, and that mozilla didn’t approve or disapprove of his statements, but that they were his alone.

You fail.

I have not had a single good experience with IE9. It’s already the next ie6, as right now I’m wasting time trying to get standards-compliant code to render properly in this god-forsaken, piss-rag of a browser. When will it be enough for us to begin a massive boycott of this complacently retarded company?

Melissa C May 25 2011

I found this site because I was looking for a way to work around the site rendering problems I have in IE9. I’m not a web developer, at least not professionally. I was looking for why certain sites I visit don’t display correctly and if I could do something to IE to fix it. For those who say they haven’t seen an site “broken” by IE9, about half of the sites I’ve visited have been and these were ones for large businesses, not someone’s little page. It’s very frustrating.

Aaron F May 29 2011

The problem is, web developers don’t follow standards. If they did, the browser developers would have more incentive to follow them.

John Foster Jun 06 2011

Skip the “compliments.” IE9 is crap, plain and simple, and you know it. Microsoft is like Google, in that they are large companies, and large organizations, like large people, are not all that agile. They can’t turn on a dime and quickly correct problems. They’re simply too damn large.
Have you ever played tag with your 9-year-old son? Pretty tough, huh? He’ll make abrupt turns, avoiding your contact, because he’s smaller than you are. Elephants are very clumsy animals.

I agree with your article, I just realized my website that I recently created, looks like shit in IE9. Aligned itself to the left, when it should be centered, and cut off text here and there. just a total mess. I have it looking perfect in Firefox, Safari, and IE 7 and 8. So bummed. This is why I hate being a web designer. IE should just go out of business lol. I have converted 100 people this past year to firefox. If everyone gets people on the same page, then we wouldn’t even have to worry about IE anymore!

I’ll leave my website as-is. and it’s up to the IE9 developers to make a browser that works correctly, not up to website developers to make their websites fit each quirky implementation of their browser. Standards are made for a reason. Follow them.

I’ve had a few sites broken by IE9 and in every case so far it was due to the rendering of font-weight:900 – it is much bolder and thicker in IE9 and causes spacing problems. Main problem has been horizontal menu items forced to a second line and headlines no longer displaying on a single line. While I’ve been told the font rendering is the same in IE9 and Firefox 4, it’s not the case. The fix for me has been to change the font weight from 900 to 600. Not the most elegant solution and just another case of IE missing the boat yet again.

David Giorgi Jun 17 2011

IE is slowly dying (sniff)
current usage share: 43.5%
Windows 8 will become the OS2/Warp of the 21st centrury

embrace – extend – extinguish it’s apple turn now ;)

Reece Coleman Jun 20 2011

One of my sites has been made completely unusable in IE9, yet displays perfectly in Firefox, Chrome & Safari. Compatability mode destroys the layout completely! I wouldn’t give a damn about IE myself as I never use it; however, many of my potential customers still do & I now have to spend hours trying to fix something to suit IE9, rather than it display my site as designed & happily displayed by every other browser!
I’d love IE to die a quick death, but as Microsoft insist on pushing it out to users via Windows Update, business owners have little choice but to find a fix for an unneccesary problem!

Thanks Alex,for your article and help, my problem got solved with IE 9 and 8 rendering

All I know is that I created a website and every time I make a change to the site, IE 9 never shows the change???

If I refresh IE9 sometimes the changes show and sometimes they don’t. I am not an expert web designer and have always used Mac’s in the past. For the past two years I have been using PCs and have had trouble adjusting to them, but the thing I really do not understand is why the interface of IE in general seems to be less intuitive than any other browser. I have never had any problems figuring out Firefox, Opera, Netscape, or Safari. If I never googled how to refresh the IE9 browser I would not have been able to see my websites changes in IE9. It would be ideal if IE 9 would auto refresh pages, in order for web designers to preview changes on sites they create.

Silly article, there is nothing wrong with IE9. All browsers have quirks. Just get over it with code. Simples.

Squegg Aug 05 2011

This may have already been mentioned, but here I go… The all time worst, and for some, best feature of IE9 is the difference in the text. Yes it looks smoother when the text is larger, but it seems to make the layout of the rest of the text (and site) obviously different to previous versions of IE. So yes I agree, this browser is seemingly set to be a problem for developers, as the first site I started working on since downloading IE9, needed yet another conditional style sheet in order to show it in the same way as other browsers. Also, the positive of it allowing new cool CSS/HTML5 features is negated by the fact it probably isn’t going to be taken up as rapidly as would be needed for it to be a benefit due to no XP support, and a massive Vista update being required.

NetQwik Aug 14 2011

I have had many frustrating moments with IE6 and now seems like IE9 is the next nightmare. My site looks perfect in every browser from IE6 to IE8, all versions of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc. but the navigation is totally broken in IE9!

Dominick Aug 15 2011

Man, I really don’t know how to take this article and these comments. I kinda think they are part of a campaign to bash MS.

I’m a long time developer and used IE9 since beta. Never had a single issue whatsoever. And I don’t build simple websites – I build web apps. I have ZERO problem with IE9.

I should say zero… I do wish it’s developer tools worked a bit better. The visual selector/indicator doesn’t seem to work on ajax vivified elements. Firebug is still tops in that respect.

Anyways, just go see this Alex’s website and see his portfolio. Enough said… I think we know what the problem is.

NetQwik, referring to Just checked everything in ie9 and FF5 – looks and works precisely the same.

So what is it man, are you just lying to try to spread negative rumors about MS?

Damn… who are you people…

I already have many, many problems with IE9. I just can’t believe it.

Mats Svensson Aug 22 2011

I agree IE9 is garbage.

Im working on a site that has a lot of people in schools using it.
It works flawlessly in IE7, IE8, the latest bunch of versions of Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, AND even in IE6 (we have lots of customers stuck with it).

All pages, CSS, JavaScript etc validates perfectly.

Now guess fucking what?
More and more error reports are coming in about missing navigation in…. guess witch fucking Browser?
Yep fucking IE9!

So fuck you Microsoft, fuck in your fat fucking ass!

Tomorrow i will start shoveling that candy dipped turd Vista7 up the ass of one my innocent little computers, just so i can run IE9, just so i can start making yet another bunch of pointless work-arounds for yet another delicate little flower of a joke of a browser from those incompetent retards masquerading as a software company.

(Sorry for not being nicer about the whole thing)

No problems with IE9 what so ever and about the cpu usage thats not the case on my pc its running at 7% compared to 16% with chrome. And IE9 is a modern browser it does everything else that the other browsers do. Stop bashing Microsoft. IE8 is crap and so are all the others but IE9 works for most people and web designers.

2tripps Aug 23 2011

I too have had problems with IE9, wondering if anyone else is running into the issue of losing text in drop down spry menus? Looks fine in all other browsers and when you click the compatibility button it works fine in IE9? Any work around suggestions. Much appreciated and great article.

KirklandDev Aug 23 2011

Despite high hopes, my experience with IE9 has also been terrible. In my case, it does seem to properly render my own websites – haven’t needed to tweak any code – and other sites I visit.

My big complaint/s? The browser will not run for more than 3 minutes (that’s a record, average is rouhly 50 seconds) without hanging and crashing! Im on a Win7 Professional install running on a new Dell Optipex 960, so no strange hardware involved here.

Prior to the crash, the cursor and hover events are unbelievably slow: type in a simple text input and the cursor lags 2-3 seconds behind my keystrokes. Hover over a div with an onMouseOver event, and wait 2-3 seconds for the event to fire. Worse than terrible, this borders on useless. After all that frustration, the browser simply crashes.

I have un-installed IE9 and re-installed. I have formatted my HD and installed a fresh copy of Win7. Nothing helps. Chrome and Firefox work great. IE8 (before the IE9 install) works great.

In short: IE9 is not yet ready for release, it simply does not work.

Liuguksed Aug 26 2011

IE9 is a web developer nightmare, i must say. Now try to make your website compitable with IE9 and IE6. Good luck indeed.

Mark Johansen Sep 08 2011

“While keeping older specifications in the rendering engine could be deemed a useful compatibility feature that some developers can rely on, I can’t see how maintaining such old standards for the sake of those who couldn’t be bothered upgrading is the mark of a modern browser. …
If old code remains supported, then designers will have little incentive to innovate …”

I strongly disagree. The point of upward compatibility isn’t that it allows developers who can’t be bothered to learn something new to continue in their old, evil ways. It is that it allows OLD PROGRAMS to continue to function. If platforms are not upward compatible, then any time a user upgrades his platform, he may find that any number of existing software packages no longer work.

Not a browser issue, but the same idea: Just yesterday I tried to re-install my accounting software on my new Windows 7 box, only to discover that it’s incompatible. So now what are my choices? I can either lay out hundreds of dollars to buy the new version, or I can keep an XP box just to run this program (and any others that turn out to have compatibility problems). Okay, a couple of hundred bucks won’t kill me, but why should I have to? What if I had a dozen such products, or one that cost $20,000? What if the manufacturer has gone out of business and there is no new version?

Sure, sometimes it just gets wildly impractical to maintain support for an old technology. Eventually you have to say, “You really should transfer the data from that deck of punch cards to a flash drive.” But such transitions can be very painful. It’s easy for those who don’t have huge amounts of data and dollars tied up in an old technology to smugly snicker at those primitive folks who can’t keep up with the times. It’s not so funny when you have 10 million punch cards in the warehouse and can’t afford to even pay somebody what it would cost to carry them to a card reader and feed them in.

Peter Drinnan Sep 12 2011

I still see IE6 in my webstats on a fairly regular basis, but I refuse to support it. I won’t even support IE7 anymore. IE usage overall is still at 38%. While that may seem like a lot, 5 years ago it was over 90% so we’ve made a lot of progress. Look at the bright site – in 3 years at the current rate us user decline, IE will have a 10% usage rate and will officially be a minority browser.

Bruce Easton Sep 12 2011

I agree with Mark Johansen with regard to upward compatibility. I have found two instances just today where new scripting techniques would have to be employed to make some dynamic pages work again (that had been approved under IE6 and Firefox and are now broken under IE9). I was a little surprised that these new techniques were so readily available in forums already. I have decided to remove some of the dynamic features of the cgi-generated application just so that I stand a chance of not have similar problems in the future.

People should be up in arms about any kind of backward-compatibility issue with a popular, non-open product such as IE. Who among us can afford to spend time re-scripting applications every time MS rolls a new version out?

Courtney Stearns Sep 15 2011

I am not a professional web designer by any stretch of the imagination. I put together my website using MS Publisher 2010 which made it quite simple and fast to produce. I’m thinking that all is great and the website renders properly on every browser that I tried it on (Firefox, Chrome, Safari), but not on IE9. I had to turn compatibility mode on for it to render properly in IE9. This is a zero multiplier since many of the people who might visit the site don’t know about “compatibility” mode. They would probably think that it is a really pooly done website and be on their way. So, I’m going to have to recreate the website in something else. How ironic that the current version of Microsoft Publisher can’t create a web page that renders properly in the native mode of IE9. Worse, there is nothing that I’ve been able to find other than turning on compatibility mode to address the problem rather than the symptom.

kapil Sep 21 2011

Hi ,
I have applied padding zero through javascript as given below in IE 9 but padding is not set, its take extra white space below the text. its user control make in javascript
and i am using the user control in a website.please help me.; // Not works in IE 9

Thanks And Regards
Kapil Gupta

IE9 broke my site’s menu system that I haven’t changed in about a year after fully testing on IE6-8, Opera, Chrome, Firefox, etc. including testing with several on-line CSS/HTML validation tools.

I tried the XU-AUTH hack to IE8 but that didn’t work either.

At this point I’m hoping to find a list of things that are broken on IE9 because I don’t have time (or use a windows version that can run IE9) to plod through and fix it. What a mess.

I’ve updated my JQuery code, but perhaps I missed the release that patched for IE9…? Thanks for the clue.

kapil Sep 27 2011

Hi Eric ,

I give the answer of my question :)

I am developing the application in . my application was in old version so designer.cs file was not there, only .resx file was there. now i created file in new version which has a designer.cs file(contain definition of controls) and by do so padding is automatically remove in IE 9.

Thanks And Regards
kapil gupta

Sandor Nagy Sep 27 2011

I am not a web designer, but I have prepared quite a number of pages for my students and visitors. I use free javascripts for showing various types of information with tooltips etc. I have XP, but a few weeks ago I checked my pages on the latest Winws using IE 9. All my pages looked like a mess. I spent days for rebuilding everything to satisfy IE 9 so that Chrome and Firefox remain satisfied too. I succeeded. A week later I checked it again with IE. They must have done something in the meantime, because I had to work on the files again. And today I have found again that one of the files which went through successful IE conforming twice does not work properly. I also noticed an annoying thing wit all of the files which was absent for a while: the popups do not suppress the alt texts which float now over my popups. If I could be sure that only a minority of people use IE 9 I would rather add a small IE icon crossed with red and stop bothering about every whim of IE developers. If someone could send me some reliable statistics by e-mail about this I would appreciate it, because this is so time consuming. Sandor

Those complaining that things broke on your site after the beta and with the release need to realize that happens! The code is not locked down and you should expect this everytime!

Love it! And I agree. Try this one on for size – IE9 loads my gradient background image dead last giving a new meaning to FOUC – yes, now I’ve got to deal with that again. To be fair, Firefox and Chrome do the same thing but it loads so fast that the FOUC is barely noticeable. I just can’t wait for this browser to curl up and die!

What about the font size being bigger in IE9 and just right in Firefox, Chrome and Safari? Using JQuery UI Buttons also messes up with the button sizes. Should we start putting a message at the top of our websites: “We don’t like IE. Please download Firefox, Chrome or Safari from here, here, or here. Thank you”.?

Wayne Oct 23 2011

Like many web designers I often use software tools like flash generators, html generators, etc to speed up design time and avoid reinventing the wheel. One tool I like I a little program that generates Flash navigation menus. It is quick and easy to use and for large websites with dozens or more pages it is a great little tool to use. Well, at least until Microsoft decided to release IE9. Suddenly all of my tool bars on multiple websites have an ugly, black background behind all drop down sub menus. I can’t believe it. Now anyone viewing any site I’ve done suddenly sees this ugly black background behind the sub menus. They worked fine in every version of IE prior to release 9. They work fine in every other web browser out there. But ohhh noo….not IE 9. Now hundreds of websites have these black bars behind the sub menus simply because Microsoft felt like releasing a new version of their browser. What’s mind numbing is it worked in IE8, so obviously they should be able to make a release without losing things that worked fine before. But they can’t apparently. Or are too apathetic to bother.

It is intolerable that Microsoft gets away with this nonsense. Microsoft releases browsers constantly, and what are web designers and developers who build literally HUNDRED S of websites supposed to do? Go back and change each site to accommodate Microsoft’s nonsense? Personally I think a good class action law suit is in order, to compel Microsoft to not release new versions of IE without making sure that it can at least normally display the pages that it USED to display normally.

Its inexcusable.

On my website the images on the home page and other category pages don’t show up with ie9 but have no problem with chrome, firefox or opera. Anybody know how to fix this?

Jordan Moore Oct 31 2011

IE9 is a problem for web developers in the same way that Firefox 2.0 is a problem for web developers.

I stopped reading after the baity image showing over 5000 bugs reported. Ever checked out the competition? At the time of writing, Chromium has 30712 open issues –

Also, how does a UI with some rough edges like the stop, refresh and broken page icon (and the agreeably badly named “F12 Developer Tools”) harm us web developers? They are UX issues that are the problem of the person choosing to use IE as their primary browser, not the developer who tests in IE.

Man laughed so hard :))
and I can’t try this too because I have XP :(

Gemma Nov 01 2011

For all Microsoft’s and IE’s faults, IE9 has the most complete implementation of the CSS2 spec out of all the modern browsers today.

That’s likely why the author’s website broke so badly in IE9 because his website was likely riddled with hacks, workarounds, etc to accommodate older versions of IE, plus all the other main browsers, which are still pretty buggy.

That’s not Microsoft’s fault.

The development tools in IE9 are actually pretty good once you take the time to learn and adjust to them. I don’t even use Firebug at all anyway as I use the excellent built in dev tools in Chrome and IE9, then I move to BrowserStack.

@Wayne – Microsoft releases browsers constantly? So does Mozilla, and they’re even worse. /rolleyes

Microsoft cannot make sure that older pages display normally in new versions of IE. That’s down to the web dev. The reason why MS can’t do that is because they’re eliminating or improving the old bugs that we had to contend with. Once the old bugs are gone, many web pages will be broken thanks to the old hacks etc that will still be present in the markup and CSS. Web devs are the ones who need to stay on top of this issue.

Linda Nov 04 2011

IE9 is a real loser. It has caused all my internet to crash. I cannot get microsoft to fix without getting charged. I HATE HATE HATE microsoft.

IE9 is shit, they are too preoccupied with what they can get from our computers and forgot to make the browser funtional for the user. it is just shit, the worst explorer ever. I have had enough dicking around with it, but has anyone noticed Mozilla is doing the same things? Now I am sure we need to find terrorists, but the bloating after install is ridiculous. Is this the price we have to pay because of Al Quaeda?

I totally agree.. I just saw my website on the new browser after a friend using IE9 commented on why it’s broken. My jaw was on the floor and now I have to figure out how the fix the bloody thing.

Glad I’m not the only one who HATES the IE9… urgh!!

Paul Drewett Nov 10 2011

I just wanted to say that although I feel similar to many people about the anguish of hacking fixes for IE7 and IE8 (for what is often not my own original code) I have so far been relatively pleased to see sites rendering well in ie9. For my own code, so far, fingers crossed, no issues at all! I did not expect that :-)

Paul Drewett Nov 10 2011

I forgot to say that this was a fantastic article, and the comments have (in most places) been a really great read – thankyou.

samit Nov 10 2011

the first image is so funny. Oh god.. It makes me laugh out loud. You got great sense of humour.

Brett Nov 13 2011

I know I’ll get flamed but the reason I believe I’ve not had the rendering problems you describe is because I choose to develop FIRST in IE, and then when I get the look, feel and functionality where I want it, then I begin testing and correcting things in other browsers. I like the developer tools MS provides better than others; my standard MO is to debug JS in VS2010, with the F12 tools up to look at DOM issues. I’ve had no issues getting other browsers to play nice with my code and designs when I start out in IE. I’ll use the Chrome’s and Safari’s built in tools to make corrections on those platforms, and Firebug in FF.

I’ve tried it the other way and my development time and consistency testing is minimized when I start out and build with MS tools.

Bruce Nov 28 2011

My page works great in every browser except IE9. The background of the title, main, menus, footer, etc should be gray and they come out white. Am beginner designer and someone else wrote the code. I need to know how to fix it. Not loving IE9 yet!

Justin Dec 29 2011

I got problem with IE9 so I arrived to this article… O.o

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