Worldwide, Internet Explorer 8’s marketshare is decreasing rapidly. Don’t take my word for it though, I’ve done some research and found that most statcounters average on ~8.3%.
- W3Counter (7.19%)
- The Internet Explorer 8 Countdown (10%)
- Statcounter (10.29%)
- Clicky web analyctics (8.78%)
- W3schools (5.5%)
A noticeable trend is that IE8 usage is declining – fast. Of course this is a highly subjective matter and the true webstatistics you should go on are those of the project you’ll be working on next. That said, one should consider if it’s worthwhile to develop for a browser that will be considered dead in a matter of months. I realize that this might sounds like a lazy man’s argument, but hear me out. There are great benefits to dropping IE8 early.
1. Future proof
When building with outdated browser’s in mind, webdevelopers often find themselves stuck using all kinds of prehistoric half-baked techniques even though much nicer cleaner solutions are already widely available. What some clients don’t realize is that when they require “backward compatibility” they thereby neglect “forward compatibility”. If you look at the figures, outdated browsers are used far less then up-to-date browsers. To me it makes more sense to focus on the best user-experience for modern browsers and future browsers, even if that would mean dropping support for outdated ones.
2. Development cost
Dealing with these bugs take development time that might be better spent elsewhere. Clients should be made aware that a project cost and time-frame will be greatly influenced by the backward compatibility requirements that they set out from the start.
3. Technical liberation
And finally, the freedom factor. Things you can use today without hacks or polyfills if you decide to develop for IE9 upwards:
- Better font-face webfont support
- Transforms (rotating, scaling, etc)
- CSS3 selectors like :nth-child(), :last-child, :first-of-type
- Rem units (root ems)
- Rgba, hsl, hsla
- Background-clip, background-origin and background-size
- Multiple backgrounds
- HTML5 markup
- Audio element
- Video element
- SVG images
- ECMAScript 5
- Geolocation API
- Navigation Timing API
My point? If at all possible, ditch IE8 in favour of clean code, maintainability and forwards compatibility.