Meant to write this last week, but with the opportunity for another quick non-personal post so readily presenting itself, I put it off, though the changed notification made me worry that the redesign may be launched soon and the post will end up coming after the fact, which I wanted to avoid. But, despite leaving this for the last day of the week, that hasn’t happened yet, so it worked out well enough… For this one post, at least, because the issue itself won’t be working out at all.
Now I know it’s very popular to hate Internet Explorer, and it has been pretty much all along. For a while, it was a reasonable attitude, for a number of reasons, but after it stopped making a point of being different, adhering better to the standards, and it also stopped representing rotten practices used against competitors, allowing the browser “market” to become more open, that changed. For years now, the new dominant browser, Chrome, represents those rotten practices, both it and the main alternative, Firefox, do things differently, accepting browser-specific commands, with prefixes, and now they’re even using more system resources, which was another reason for the complaints against Internet Explorer.
Of course, there is the fact that Internet Explorer stopped being developed quite some time ago, and even before that time it developed at a much slower pace. But for me that always was a good thing, pushing against this insane quick release cycle that’s now the norm, and which the other browsers fully embraced. And, as long as security updates will keep coming, to patch vulnerabilities, I’m very fond of the idea of having a browser that doesn’t otherwise change in itself, especially considering the direction of the changes in software for the past decade or so, possibly even more. Also very fond of that being the rule for the operating system and pretty much anything else I regularly use, as long as I’m able to find something that suits me to begin with.
But that’s not what those calling the shots want, is it? Everything must keep changing, and according to their will, being under their control, regardless of the users or anything else. And the Internet perhaps most of all, sites apparently “needing” to use the newest technologies even if, with every change and redesign, they only get worse, becoming less usable, especially on desktop computers, and requiring more system resources. So, instead of getting back to simpler sites, which would work on any system and nearly any browser, or at least having simpler, more static, versions offered as alternatives, there’s this very active push in the opposite direction, and any browser that doesn’t keep up, even some that are still being developed, such as Pale Moon, are being left behind in the dust, and so are their users.
Why am I writing about this again now? Because, while a few other sites went along with this insane push for “new web technologies” earlier and stopped supporting Internet Explorer over the past year or so, the major ones generally continued to function well enough. But that’s about to change, because a Facebook redesign is coming and those of us using Internet Explorer have been seeing a notification at the top of every page for some time, first merely recommending using another browser, supposedly for a better experience, and now stating clearly that it will no longer be supported soon and instructing us to switch to the latest version of our “preferred” browser, with links only to Chrome and Firefox. So, leaving aside the fact that the few images I saw of the new design follow the same pattern of things always getting worse, and screwing desktop users more and more in particular, with a lot of empty space and a good part of the rest being taken up by large “flashy” things, the day when that redesign will hit and Facebook will no longer be accessible with it will likely be the most appropriate choice for the “death” of Internet Explorer… And, as I already mentioned, possibly of other alternatives that also don’t follow this dreadful trend as well.
I wonder how long it will be until that redesign will hit, and if those of us still insisting on using a browser that doesn’t support it will be allowed to stay on the current one for a while longer. If so, I doubt it’ll be for too long, but I also saw that some have been forced onto the new design already, so maybe they’ll at least time it to more or less match the end of support for Windows 7 or something along those lines. And then there is the simple m.facebook.com, and I have used it in the past when they were changing things and there were issues for a few days, but that’s much simpler than it needs to be and wastes an awful lot of space on a monitor, being designed for feature phones.
Interestingly, as you can see in the statistics, over the past year I actually had a significant increase in visitors using Internet Explorer here, admittedly nearly all of them from China and Japan. But I guess something happened there, possibly some instructions coming down, because while I keep getting far more visits from those countries, and from China in particular, than I used to get before, in recent months those visitors are using Chrome as well… Or Chrome or something that presents itself as Chrome, at least, since I believe that for example Vivaldi does that, supposedly because of Google‘s rotten practices, blocking any other browser from certain features on their sites even if it’s one based on Chromium and supports them, something that the developers of these alternatives get around by changing those user agent strings, eliminating themselves from reports and artificially increasing Chrome’s apparent market share in order to be able to show that they actually can indeed fully support those features.
Speaking of Vivaldi, that is my alternative of choice, and in fact the only one I grudgingly started using regularly, after GOG.com stopped supporting Internet Explorer, a year ago, but even it wouldn’t be something I’d actually choose to use. Does check a lot of the right boxes, having a large number of clear options, not something like that unexplained pile of values Firefox has, allowing a lot of customization from there, without requiring extensions, also allowing the basic fact of setting the new tab page to be the same local file as the homepage and quickly seeing a list of recently closed tabs and reopening any of them, and being better aware of privacy and users not wanting programs that keep “calling home” and gathering and sending stuff. But it is still based on Chromium, which is a huge red flag in itself. Past that, for example it doesn’t seem to have something as basic as a working popup blocker! You can enable the function, but that’s apparently a Chromium feature that doesn’t actually work in it, and when I asked they said they can’t help me with that. And it also seems to have issues with the major security software products, as I now know that for some reason ESET frequently makes it stop loading pages and if it’s closed without first closing all those pages and trying to open a blank or local one it’ll be messed up in a way that won’t allow it to start at all anymore, and Bitdefender completely blocks it from starting unless you add it to the advanced threat defense exceptions.
But, to return to the matter at hand, as I already stated, I guess that redesign will pretty much be the end of the road for Internet Explorer, and possibly for those other browsers as well, unless they’ll change to follow Google’s “orders”. I mean, even Edge did, completely, so the future looks grim, with Chrome taking on Internet Explorer’s role as the browser “villain” from the days when it actually was ever more, and in fact being much worse than it ever was from multiple points of view, but nevertheless having far less anger and hate directed at it, and far fewer trying to push back. As with anything, a few big corporations just care for control, power and money and already have enough of each to get away with pretty much anything, some of those in the business, in this case developers and webmasters, are drawn to, and possibly trained in, that mindset and aid them by also enforcing their mentality on what few potential alternatives might appear, and the masses just don’t care, just taking the path of least resistance and readily allowing themselves to be herded, possibly even lashing out against those who might try to push back, for stepping out of line. Meanwhile, those of us who know what we want and won’t just follow the crowd, whether what we want is something entirely new or, as in this case, preserving something that used to work and still should, are being battered from all sides and trampled over.