XP user? For how much longer?

January 27th, 2013 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

Windows XP is still hugely popular -estmates are that  1 in 4 PCs are still running it

However.  if you ar eone of those suers then be aware thatWindows XP will not allow IE 9 or 10 to run. The root cause is  a very close knit integration between OS and browser meaning that the architecture behind newer browsers built for the Windows 7 and 8 era don;t work with the older architecture of Windows XP.

The current version of Chrome runs just fine in XP as does the latest version of Firefox and Safari or Opera are O.K.! But – none of these are considered “standard”. Organisations that have invested  heavily around Microsoft’s products, so IE is obviously the natural choice.( Decisions for many orga

Apps get built are designed to meet the ‘standard’ – mnay institutions are very strongly tied to IE  as their portal to the web and if they’re tied to XP then they’re tied to IE 8. This means a few pain poitns for developers:

 few of the pain points introduced by the IE 8 dependency:

  1. CSS media queries used in responsive design will need an “old IE” set of styles which locks it into a single resolution (ors ome clever JavaScript).
  2. SVGs are very popular in modern browsers due to their ability to scale and render smoothly in high pixel density screens such as on Retina devices  but not in IE 8   or you’re manually add degradation for non-supporting browsers.
  3. Flash is out for iOS video and HTML 5 is out for IE 8 video so you need both and also to  degrade (or enhance, depending on your perspective), between devices.
  4. Many aesthetic effects are out; no border radius, no box shadows and certainly no CSS transitions etc
  5. CSS 3 canvas is out which  means dropping back to Flash or deprecating the feature from IE 8 altogether.
  6. Web sockets are out so real-time style notifications to hacks like long-polling.

IE 8 support will soon drop off the edge of the cliff  very suddenly, certainly far faster than what we saw it happen with IE 6:

  1. The rate of browser version revisions has increased significantly. It took more than 5 years to get from IE 6 to IE 7. It took just 19 months to go from IE 9 to IE 10. In the same 19 month period, Chrome made 11 major releases of their browser. The rate of change is increasing and by extension,and that also affects  the rate at which that browsers are  superceded.
  2. There are significant features, that IE 8 does not support, that are rapidly becoming ubiquitous, in  HTML 5 and CSS 3. IE 6 was painful, but the compatibility problems it presented compared to IE 7 pale in comparison to the IE 8 to IE 9 gaps.
  3. the IE market share is significantly less than what it was three years ago when the big shift away from IE 6 was happening. It was easier for sites to  drop IE 6 support when the majority of their users were on it than  it will be when it’s a minority browser that’s still declining.

Another significant reason why support for IE 8 is going to fade very quickly this year is  jQuery.which is estimated to be used in s around half of all sites on the web. This is significant and  of itself is  no threat to IE 8, -, jQuery has been a great enabler of cross browser compatibility for a number of years but there is the imminent arrival of jQuery 2. This version will support the same APIs as jQuery 1.9 does, but removes support for IE 6/7/8 oddities such as borked event model, IE7 “attroperties”, HTML5 shims, etc.

It’s not just the IE 8 dependency that’s killing XP and burdening its users, it’s the simple fact that an increasingly large number of apps simply won’t run on it. Let’s look at Microsoft’s own development platform as an example:

To begin with, there’s no Visual Studio 2012 support andthere’s no more XP support for the modern day Office suite, the specs are pretty clear about that: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012

Next year, after April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. This is significant: there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.Anyone still running XP will become extremely vulnerable.

2013 will see the culmination of these issues; support for IE 8 will drop off rapidly, users of XP will find an increasingly broken web, the cost of building software in XP organisations will increase. If your comapny is still using XP thdn consider:

What will it cost us if we have to keep building IE 8 compatible websites?”

“What opportunities are we missing if we can’t use the language features in .NET 4.5?” (assuming a Microsoft-centric environment)

“What’s the impact on our workforce if they can no longer access an increasingly large number of websites that don’t support IE 8?”

“What will it mean to not be able to run an increasingly large number of new software products that are incompatible with XP?”

And most importantly: “What is the risk cost of running an operating system that is no longer supported?”

(please see http://www.troyhunt.com/2013/01/the-impending-crisis-that-is-windows-xp.html for mcuh more detail and analysis - I have precised the main points).


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