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The Joy of Modern Browsers

HTML5 Logo One of the pleasant things about being a small, independent company is that we can make our own decisions without a lot of baggage weighing us down. We're developing our current project in HTML5, and we've decided to target only modern browsers. In our case that means the oldest browser we support is Internet Explorer 9. Why does that matter? First, a bit of background.

Melissa and I both have a decent amount of web development experience, but this is a new and shining luxury for us. Each of us has only done one project that didn't need to support IE8: Melissa's was a personal project and mine had issues with leaders' enthusiasm. There was much consternation in that big company about whether they could afford to abandon people who were still using such a dusty (years old!) browser.

The facts for us are simple: more than 85% of the visitors to the Future Proof Games website used one of the three latest versions of a major browser. Most of the rest were using an older version of Chrome or Firefox, which have had good feature support for a long time. IE8 and 7 put together accounted for less than 2% of our traffic. If you're part of that two percent, we care about you and we hope you're able to switch to a more modern browser.

What does dropping support for older browsers get us? We get to use cool HTML5 tricks like:

  • CSS3 Transforms. These let us put text at an angle, play with the flow of elements on the page, and (for some browsers) do cool 3D stuff.
  • Better semantic tags. For people with certain accessibility needs, our website is more easily readable. Also, the source just looks better!
  • Canvas. The HTML5 canvas lets us do cool graphics and animation that used to only be feasible in Flash. And it works on mobile devices.

It seems like every day I give a little sigh of relief that we're not supporting IE8 and other old browsers. It makes development easier and opens up a broader range of possibilities.

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