Internet Explorer's Demise: 7 Things IT Pros Should Know - InformationWeek

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3/26/2015
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Internet Explorer's Demise: 7 Things IT Pros Should Know

We still don't have all the answers in regards to exactly what Microsoft is planning for Internet Explorer and Project Spartan. But we know enough to get you started on building a game plan for how you'll continue to support legacy web apps moving forward.
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(Image: Spartan screenshot via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Spartan screenshot via Wikimedia Commons)

The highly touted "death of Internet Explorer" may have caused feelings of jubilation among some users, but not so for enterprise IT professionals. It's more likely that the news sent terrifying shivers your spines.

It's not that enterprise IT administrators especially love IE. Rather, it's the fact that IE is the browser upon which so many legacy business applications still rely.

Microsoft is planning to ship a brand new web browser with the launch of its Windows 10 operating system. The new browser, currently named "Project Spartan," uses a completely redesigned rendering engine. This new engine that will not be backward compatible with the many legacy IE web tools that are commonly leveraged in enterprise applications, such as ActiveX, toolbars, and browser helper objects.

ActiveX is by far the biggest "gotcha" for legacy web applications. A decade ago, or more, ActiveX was a popular software framework that essentially allowed other applications to run embedded inside web pages. It was a great way to deploy complex applications via a web browser. These days, there are more elegant, reliable, and consistent ways to build and embed complex web applications, including using languages such as HTML 5 and Java Script. The problem is, large enterprises struggle when asked to forklift a legacy application onto a more modern platform. Therefore, many IT organizations are stuck with the task of keeping applications on life support using ActiveX. Most rely exclusively on Internet Explorer to accomplish this goal.

So after hearing the news regarding a potential death to Internet Explorer, many IT admins made a mad dash to their favorite search engine to figure out just how much time they have before Internet Explorer, and all of its legacy support, would remain. Unfortunately, much of the information available online turned out to be incorrect or contradictory. On the following pages, we'll attempt to fill in as many blanks for you as possible, and clear up as much of the story as we can.

We still don't have all the answers in regards to exactly what Microsoft is planning for Internet Explorer and Project Spartan. But we know enough to get you started on building a game plan for how you'll continue to support legacy web apps moving forward. If you have any new information on this topic, or questions regarding the impending death of IE, tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 12:25:35 PM
Re: Shakedown as usual
ASksqn,

Wasnt the Big problem/issue with MSFT that it was Backwards Compatible?

That this unneccesarily made the code-base too large and clumsy to manage?
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 11:21:13 AM
Re: Shakedown as usual
"IT Stupidly relies on MS? I have been in the field for 15 years and we have relied on MS all of those years and not one time has it had an impact on the buisness sid of things"

@Paul: I think it depends on what applications we're talking about. When it comes to basic products like Ms Office, SharePoint or Windows Mobile based apps, MS is reliable and quite widespread. However, when it comes to other more technical hardware products like VMs or software products like SQL Server, the opinion on reliability may vary depending on what the infrastructure is like.
tzubair
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50%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 11:15:31 AM
Re: Shakedown as usual not true as posted
"When Word .doc formats became .docx you could still use .doc or get a free converter.  It was not a major problem as you stated"

@bttlk: From what I remember, when the docx format came out, it did create a huge trouble as not everyone upgraded to Office 2007 at the same time and the older formats would not open up docx files. The converters were there but it was difficult to find them and was still a hassle. It did take a while before everyone moved to 2007 and the issue was no longer there.
bttlk
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bttlk,
User Rank: Strategist
3/29/2015 | 12:30:29 AM
Re: Shakedown as usual not true as posted
When Word .doc formats became .docx you could still use .doc or get a free converter.  It was not a major problem as you stated.  I used both versions of Word/Excel, etc. at home on 2 different PC's for a long time, until ready to retire the old laptop.  Share files with work with no problem also. 
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2015 | 2:19:18 PM
Re: Shakedown as usual
@asksqn: You are right, IT departments should be prepared to bank on the right software with the right upgrades at hand. Now I'm not saying its MS's fault but really as a developer you would want customers to get the best out of the current technology, not invest in something that is old. Saying that however, backwards compatibility would be possible if they did not change the ENTIRE OS from ground up, just like OS X. I've got mixed feelings about every new MSFT product.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2015 | 2:15:54 PM
Re: Shakedown as usual
@Ashu001: People weren't happy with the way things turned out with Windows 8 and 8.1 so it gave Microsoft an excuse to work with something new and use some really new design principles, they probably should have asked themselves what to do when Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox takes up all of the web browser market shares? I hope this SPARTAN really works better than IE11, which probably was the fastest and prettiest IE.
Ashu001
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50%
Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2015 | 1:01:09 PM
Re: Shakedown as usual
Paul,

In all fairness to MSFT as long as you(Enterprise IT) follow their Instructions to the T you are usually fine.

However,That does'nt excuse MSFT for constantly forcing Consumers(even Budget Strapped Ones) to upgrade their systems every 3-4 years.

Still (a lot of Consumers might just say) its a small price for ensuring something just works!

 
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2015 | 10:44:39 AM
Re: Shakedown as usual
IT Stupidly relies on MS? I have been in the field for 15 years and we have relied on MS all of those years and not one time has it had an impact on the buisness sid of things. Not Once.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2015 | 9:47:03 AM
Shakedown as usual
This is what happens when IT stupidly relies on Microsoft.  The company has a verified history of rolling out new versions of old software that are not backwards compatible - the better to screw the customer.  Office Suite is a case in point.  When the rubes upgraded and .doc became .docx, I can tell you from firsthand experience what a nightmare it was for those companies that gullibly relied on Word and suddenly could no longer open a Word document with their older software.  Quite frankly, I have to wonder how anyone currently employed in IT would gullibly put all the metaphorical enterprise eggs into a single basket and then bank on it. 
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