We’re considering ending support for Internet Explorer 11 in future versions of the Simple Nineteen theme for WordPress and ClassicPress.
Our reasoning as to why
Internet Explorer has been less used over time. - Although we’re not sure about statistics as to the number of users and visitors of ours who visit in IE 11 or earlier, we have noticed there’s less people using IE 11 in favor of other browsers as time goes on. According to StatCounter, Internet Explorer accounted for only 1.4% of the browser market share worldwide in May 2020.
As a comedian once said, modern problems require modern solutions. - The last major release of Internet Explorer was IE11 in 2013. Since then, web standards have changed a lot. Back when IE was popular, the internet relied mostly on Microsoft’s proprietary standards. Now in the age of Firefox- and Chromium-based browsers, the internet now mostly relies on open web standards. Additionally, our own share modals seem to not be supported by IE browsers. Trying to continue to support IE would degrade future experiences for other users of Simple Nineteen sites by requiring us to rely on older standards and potentially, increased levels of bloated code.
Internet Explorer has had plenty of security problems. - Since the last major release of Internet Explorer, there have been plenty of security problems with it discovered. Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a security advisory about Internet Explorer having a flaw that allowed for an attack to obtain full control of a device. Additionally, security researcher John Page warned of a major security flaw with IE that allows hackers to spy on others and steal data from their PCs.
A possible timeline for how we could end IE support
We could end IE support either by version 1.3 or we could end IE support more slowly over time. If we ended it more slowly over time, here’s what that could look like:
- Version 1.3 - We add a notice about share functionality for Mastodon, Pleroma, GNU Social, and Throat being unsupported when the user is viewing a post in any version of IE.
- Version 1.4 - We begin notifying users visiting a site using Simple Nineteen using either IE8 or IE9 about the site ending IE8 and IE9 support soon and encourage users still using that to switch to another browser.
- Version 1.5 - We officially end IE8 and IE9 support.
- Version 1.6 or the last version before Simple Nineteen 2.0 - We notify users about us ending support for IE browsers soon.
- Version 2.0 - IE support is gone.
Our only note about the latter option: If we removed IE support by version 2.0 instead of by 1.3, we would have to delay a feature we wanted to add by version 1.3 to show IE users a customizable splash screen encouraging them to upgrade to a modern browser.
How can you help?
We would greatly appreciate feedback from users and administrators of WordPress and ClassicPress sites that use the Simple Nineteen theme. Let us know if having your site support Internet Explorer 11 is important to your site or not.