Should we continue to support Internet Explorer 7 in Vaadin 7?

For a while it has been clear that the support for IE6 will be dropped from Vaadin 7. Now when the schedule for Vaadin 7 is known, we must decide if we’ll continue to support IE7. In practice the question is - would systems using Vaadin 7 require a IE7 support? Because Vaadin 7 beta 1 is scheduled to be available by the next summer - those system projects are either started after the first beta of Vaadin 7 or are today using Vaadin 6 and want to upgrade to be able to include newest features available only for Vaadin 7. Systems in maintenance phase will probably not want to upgrade - Vaadin 6 will be supported until year 2014.

What is your opinion - is IE7 support needed in Vaadin 7? Why?

Your title is amusingly, involuntarily (I suppose) provoking…
Of course, you must continue to support IE!

Dropping IE6 was a sensible move, as Microsoft even made a campaign to drop it.
Dropping IE7 can be an error… To my knowledge, it is much less broken than IE6, so continuing to support it is probably less pain than supporting IE6…
And the main issue is that it is the only modern IE browser that is available on WinXP.
Despite good selling of Win7 (mostly on new computers, I suppose), you will still find lot of WinXP systems browsing the Net (among other things…). Lot of companies just stick to this system, partly because of its proven robustness, partly because upgrading to Win7 (or better!) would need upgrading the computer itself, and that’s a bit costly when you manage thousands of computers…

Hey, right now, at work, I still type these words on an XP computer!

We had a meeting yesterday and put a task in our calendars to give feedback to Vaadin 7.0 roadmap and API proposals shortly. The first thing that came up during the meeting was “Why are they bothering with IE 7 if Vaadin 7.0 isn’t going to be out until end of 2012?”

So our vote is to drop IE 7 support. We fear that having to support IE 7 could not only lead to more work for your dev. team, but also result in less powerful features for the users because of IE 7’s limitations.

We don’t think IE 7 will be in use in 2013. Why cripple a potentially good Vaadin 7.0 product by requiring IE 7 support?

Seriously Joonas, you shouldn’t even raise a conversation about this. Its got less users than IE6 atm and keeping it along won’t let us redesign our infamously complex layouts and sizing system, the root of all slugginesh reported n times on forum by our users (not to mention the burden it causes for theme builders). If we don’t drop IE7 support we could just as well support IE6, so close they are each other.


I would say, it all depends the cost for you guys to still support it. If that prevents other major feature to be out with Vaadin 7 this is something to consider. I guess at this point IE7 → WinXP. Even though WinXP is going to be replaced, there are still a lot of companies that are using it. And they use IE7.

As far as I know, IE8 is available for WinXP, so that argument is invalid.

My vote goes for dropping support: will make layout handling loads easier since we could use border-box sizing!

Well, that’s exactly what I was referring too. If Vaadin 7 has to drop support of IE7 to bring cool and interesting new features (and a code that’s more clean) I would go ahead.

I agree with Matti and others. Some stats show that IE7 usage is smaller than IE6 usage, and those IE6 users won’t upgrade to IE7. They will either upgrade to IE8 which is the last IE that XP supports, or then they will upgrade the OS and get something even newer. In the last year IE7 usage has halved and it should be below 5% now, and I would imagine the trend to continue.

Another browser that will probably share the same faith in the coming year is Firefox 3.6. After the release of Firefox 4, 3.6 share dropped down from 25% to 9% in June when the eager updaters had migrated and September stats was 7%. That’s about a constant 0.5-1% drop on month to month basis after the stabilization. In that sense I would also see that Fx3.6 will be more or less extinct when Vaadin 7 is released and that we should move to only supporting the latest version on Firefox. What I have understood, 3.6 also requires a set of hacks in Vaadin. Correct me if I’m wrong.

tl;dr. Support Firefox latest, Safari latest, Opera latest, Chrome latest and IE8 and upwards. Drop IE6, IE7 and Fx3 (+Fx4-6).

Well, stupid me. You’re right, I mixed up actually. In that case, I vote for the drop as well.

Ah? Indeed, I see it at Microsoft site. Either I mixed up things, or my information is outdated.
I believe they didn’t support XP in the initial releases of IE8, but perhaps they changed their mind.
I still have IE7 on this computer, and the automatic updates of Windows never asked (or I dismissed it…) to upgrade. I fire IE only to test some Web design, anyway…

The problem to support old versions of other browsers is less acute, as most of them do automatic upgrades anyway, and I suppose users rarely decline them (Chrome doesn’t even ask!).
Except perhaps in big companies with strict software policies. That’s these companies which still use IE7, or perhaps even IE6!

Well, for intranet applications, perhaps you can require upgrading the browser (or installing another one!)

I agree with the others. Drop it.

Spent your time on creating some amazing Vaadin 7.0 features, like server push, JPA 2.0 container, etc… That will help pushing Vaadins popularity much more than support for IE 7.

Just because it is possible for an individual to upgrade, doesn’t mean that it’s possible (politically and/or financially) for a company to upgrade.
This means big companies, government bodies and so on. That covers a LOT of people.

The person deciding what technology to use for a system will first look at the environment they have to deploy into.
In some cases that will be IE7 or, indeed, IE6 (still!)

So long as the upgrade path to v7 is clear, and older versions remain supported, it shouldn’t really be a problem to drop support.
Just bear in mind that some people are constrained by their environments and so will not be able to use 7.

Ie 7 is one of the most incompatible browsers I’ve ever met. Now ie 9 if even available for wxp. But I’ve to admit some of my customers have ie7 as the corporate browser. My heart says drop it, my pocket says keep it.

I think Aniceto’s comment pretty much summarizes it all. We all like HTML5 and flashy flash with bells and kitchensinks, but the fact stays that Vaadin is a very Enterprisey framework. A very enterprisey framework. Its strength is in supporting platforms that banks and insurance companies and many traditional IBM/Oracle houses use. And these are the 1% of the people who still surf the rest of the web with their IE6 and IE7s as well. IE6 support is easy to drop as MSFT and GOOG do the same, but dropping IE7 might come and bite us in the ass later. Jens’ theory on companies jumping directly to IE8 or IE9 is a tempting one (and I hope it’s right), but I’m not too sure it is the case, I know at least of one case from last year where the company moved to IE7 (and plan to stay there for the forseeable future)… all in all, it’s a thin line between R&D productivity (+flashy kitchensinks) and catering to the sector that currently (and after 3 years still) uses IE7.

I see the title have been fixed… :slight_smile: (not in the RE topic above! :blink:)

I discussed with one of our Product Line Management guy (in charge of our JSP-based Web interface to GWT (hopefully Vaadin) change) and while he believe that some of our clients probably still use IE7 (or worse!), we can specify using IE8 (or even Firefox or Chrome, for example!) as requirement for using our product. After all, if we sell some desktop software, we require its installation, no? (JWS is just a way to workaround this…)

Well, the most incompatible is still probably IE6, AFAIK. Ask any webmaster the ugly hacks it needed in the CSS!

definitely. By the time Vaadin 7 is fully baked and released I would imagine even IE 8 will probably be droppable. The vaadin 7 will be around for a while and doing things for IE 8,7 could be beneficial in the short run, but over the course of the vaadin 7 life span people will probably move away from the older browsers. This should definitely be taken into account because if you commit to IE7 you will have to support it for years to come and could put us in the situation we are in today with IE6. We might even see an IE 10, since ie 10 beta is available even now. I think vaadin should focus on css3 and HTML5 compliant browsers for 7. This could be painful for some users who don’t want to migrate from IE7 but its better for the future direction of framework and pushes best practices towards utilizing more secure and maintained browsers.

Many companies nowadays are moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 with IE8 oder IE9 so i would drop support for IE7

Many people will be stuck with IE6/IE7 for quite a while still.
In practice, this means that for enterprise apps, many of us will be stuck with Vaadin 6.

Vaadin 6 will be your XP. Around as long as XP is. Not so bad, because it is quite good.
Vaadin 7 will be your Windows 7. The path ahead.

It would be very nice if there was a way to run both Vaadin6 and Vaadin7 contexts in the same webapp. Perhaps not doable, but if the containers remained backward compatible, then you could have LegacyApplication and ModernApplication instances, the former going to Vaadin6 UI classes, the latter going to Vaadin7 UI classes.
The business and validation logic could still be shared, and that’s where the pain is. I don’t mind a massive renaming of legacy UI classes.

This may sound counter-intuitive, but the bulk of the effort is always with testing. And if I support multiple platforms, I have to test on each. I already have to test on IE6 and IE8 and IE9 separately. So if I can share my tricky business logic, and limit the duplication to the UI layer, having a nice Vaadin 7 interface and a simpler Vaadin 6 interface, then I’m still ahead.

IE8 is standard on XP SP3, not IE7.

The issue is not well-mainained XP (am typing this on XP :-). It’s braindead laggards, such as the standard laptop image I got last year at work which still had IE6 on it. There many instances where old hardware just works well enough – many people just run webapps all day. That is exactly where you are likely to find IE6, because the old webapps are IE6-breakage-dependent, and that is exactly where Vaadin 6 fits in – it allows more modern stuff to be rolled out side-by-side without IT going nuts.

Hence my comment. Vaadin 6 is Vaadin XP.

Windows 7 just overtook XP as the most popular OS:

If the trend continues XP will have less than 25% market share at the projected Vaadin 7 launch. The enterprise IT is more conservative than the consumer market, but WinXP and IE6 and IE7 with it are on their way out.