Design and build a collaborative user experience for a chance to win cool prizes!
Blog

Vaadin 14 is the last major version to support IE11

By  
Johannes Häyry
Johannes Häyry
·
On Aug 22, 2019 7:00:00 AM
·
In Product

Companies wanting to support Internet Explorer 11 should use Vaadin 8 or Vaadin 14. Vaadin 14 is a Long Term Support release, which means we will maintain it for free until June 14, 2024. Commercial support is available for an additional ten years, until June 14, 2034. Note that we will keep adding new features in the upcoming 14.x versions and our LTS promise covers those new minor versions too.

Internet Explorer is holding everyone back

We want to focus our efforts on providing more features at a faster pace for most of our users, rather than spending time figuring out workarounds for a browser released in 2013. We also want to provide our users with great usability and performance, something which, unfortunately, is not possible in IE11 when using web components. Polyfills make web components work in outdated browsers, but they are not fast. Combined with IE11’s relatively slow JS engine, the result is far from great.

“Does it really take that much time to support IE11?”

Supporting IE11 requires significant effort. To give a few examples:

  • The development mode in IE11 is unable to properly show the DOM structure when you are using web components. You end up debugging with alert() statements instead of breakpoints.

  • We counted around 80 features (caniuse.com) that we can use once we drop IE11.

  • Some significant features available in all other browsers require completely custom support for IE11, such as CSS Grid, a powerful layouting feature but only partly available for IE11.

  • IE11 does not support the JavaScript ES6 standard. Because of this, all production builds of Vaadin applications spend 100% more time than otherwise needed, to provide one JavaScript bundle for modern browsers and another one for IE11.

“But our customers require IE11 support!”

We feel your pain. However, we have two solutions available for you: Vaadin 8 and Vaadin 14. We support both for a long time, and we keep developing and adding new features to Vaadin 14 in 14.x minor releases.

“Some of the applications my organization uses only work in IE11!”

We feel your pain. Microsoft is currently working hard on a solution for this which at the same time will significantly speed up all applications in Edge. An upcoming version of Edge will use Chromium as the rendering engine. It means that Edge will render web pages the same way and as fast as Chrome. At the same time, Microsoft is adding an IE11 mode to Edge, which will allow organizations to move from regularly using IE11 to always using Edge. When using Edge, old applications can be rendered in the IE11 mode they work, and new applications can be developed with the latest features. It all just works.

“You are really selfish! You should wait until my organization no longer uses or requires IE11”

Right now is the perfect time for several reasons:

  1. Vaadin 14 LTS is just out. It is the version we are focusing on in the near future, and it has IE11 support. There are a few years still until the next LTS.

  2. Although Edge with Chrome and IE11 support is not out yet, it will likely be included in a Windows 10 version before a Vaadin LTS without IE11 is released.

  3. For the Vaadin 15+ series, we are doing some client-side refactoring, and it will help us not to do it for IE11. As a user, it means you will get more features instead.

This quote from Microsoft also makes their point of view pretty clear:

Is Internet Explorer (IE) a browser? According to Microsoft, no. Today, it’s a ‘compatibility solution’ for enterprise customers to deal with legacy sites that should be updated for modern browsers.

Vaadin.com stops working on IE11

In addition to dropping IE11 support in Vaadin 15, we will also stop supporting IE11 on our website. In a few weeks you, the tiny minority of our visitors, will get a friendly message to use a different browser when trying to access our page. We are sorry for the inconvenience, but it’s time to let Internet Explorer go.

Johannes Häyry
Johannes Häyry
I'm a developer disguised as a product marketer. I usually write about new Vaadin releases or the upcoming cool features on the roadmap.
Other posts by Johannes Häyry