Having to ensure that your code works across multiple browsers is often a painful task, especially when you're trying to deal with older versions of Internet Explorer that have survived everyone's best attempts to force users to upgrade. But take heart: even Microsoft eventually gives up on supporting older versions of IE with its own products, as a recent update to its software lifecycle management product Team Foundation Server makes clear.
In a blog post last week, Microsoft technical fellow Brian Harry noted that Team Foundation Server will, over the course of 2008, drop official support for IE8. That means it will only work with IE9 and IE10 (along with the most recent versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari). That doesn't seem unreasonable, but Harry acknowledges the decision will cause some angst:
As we are getting deep into our work on TFS 12, we are looking, as always, at our platform support matrix. One of the questions we have to ask is “what browsers are we going to support?” Each browser/version adds development and test cost. As much as we might like to think otherwise, every browser is a little different and older browsers are really different. This really comes through the richer the experience you are trying to build.
After much soul searching, we’ve decided to drop IE8 support for the next major version of TFS. That means we won’t test it and we won’t work to make the experience pleasant on IE8. The reality is that much of what we do will probably just work (and we’re certainly not going back to intentionally break any of the existing UI) but once we flip that switch, you have to assume that, over a period of time, the IE8 experience will degrade.
That decision wasn't universally popular, with some commenters on Harry's post saying they would have preferred a longer notice period. But that's perhaps inevitable when changing browser support options.
Team Foundation Server and IE8 [Brian Harry's Blog]