When is enough enough? Today the technology, specifically the web development community is watching as Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 8. With every new browser, and every new browser version comes an increase in development time and hair pulling. So my question is when do we stop supporting old browsers? is there a formula or rubric to determine the longevity of support? I put together a simple timeline of browser releases and the support time time frame between Firefox and Internet Explorer.

browsersupport1

The reason I’ve left out some of the prominent browsers is because they seem to have less trouble either auto-updating or vast support differences between releases. Browsers that ‘come with’ operating systems, with the exception of IE, like Safari on Apple update regularly and thus don’t have as much as an issue of users using legacy browsers. So when you are looking at the chart below, notice that IE and Firefox are broken into their versions, while all safari versions are lumped together.

To give this a little greater depth consider that 4,248 or .86% of our users are using Dialup, and 7,958 or 1.62% of our users have a screen resolution of 800 x 600. When we redesigned the Universities homepage we concluded that we needed to base the design on a width of 1024. So if we aren’t going to support the 1.62% of 800×600 users, should we support the 1.58% of Firefox 2 users?

Browser Visits Percent
IE 7.0 286,067 58.22%
Firefox 3 91,744 18.66%
IE 6.0 36,759 7.48%
Firefox 2 7,769 1.58%
IE 8.0 2,722 0.55%
FF 1.5.0.6 1,198 0.24%
IE 5.5 23 0.00%
Safari 52,983 10.78%
Chrome 2,980 0.61%
Opera 880 0.18%
Camino 249 0.05%
Mozilla 237 0.05%
Netscape 131 0.03%
Other 7,648 1.56%
Total 491,390 100.00%

The University of Montana’s browser statistics for the last month are in the table above. We test our sites in Firefox 2 and 3, and IE 6, 7 and now 8.  at what percentage of users is it exceptable to say enough is enough? is it 5% in which case we should stop testing in Firefox 2, is it 10% which would eliminate IE 6.  With the release of Internet Explorer 8 i would predict that very vew of the IE6 users will switch, and that IE 7 users will gradually migrate to IE8, but with the the bad taste of Vista still lingering the adoption process will not be as fast as the web developers would like.