What’s the default browser on your network?

3 08 2009

A post from Tony Hirst on why last weeks IWMW has led him to set up a survey looking at what’s the default browser on your university staff network?


Whilst at IWMW last week, I noticed that a web application I wanted to demo didn’t work on the IE6 default browser on the local Essex machines. Bearing in mind that many developers on programmes such as the JISC Rapid Innovation strand (#jiscri) are likely to make use of frameworks and libraries that exploit the power of current generation browsers (IE7, FF 2.*) and assume standards compliance, the assumption that support for IE6 will not be required is one that many developers may take, either explicitly or implicitly (e.g. as result of developers not using machines that run IE6).

That is, for rapid innovation and development to work, developers are likely to use contemporary tools. But there’s a problem – if JISC are funding the development of tools and apps for use in HE, they need to run on the installed base of web browsers – hence the poll. If a lot of HEIs are running IE6, and a lot of HE staff use IE6 as their browser, developers creating apps for use by staff are going to have to check that their apps run on IE6. For some, this is going to be non-trivial and time spent tryijng to support IE6 will make the projects non-viable.

Maybe JISC needs to start innovating on behalf on the HE community, and finding ways of putting pressure on HEIs so that they adopt browsers that can run apps developed rapidly for modern browsers? Maybe in some programme strands, JISC needs to tell the HE community that they are holding (rapid) innovation back by not adopting current browsers? IMHO, of course…

Why not have a go at the survey.

Tony Hirst, Open University




2 responses

3 08 2009
Helen Sargan

I too was surprised at ie6 being on offer in Essex. Our public machines went to ie7 in before summer 2008, it’s difficult to remember by now. That said it took until half way through this academic year for our admin offices to update from ie6 to ie7, which of course influences the institutional perception of the web pages and makes us have to bend over backwards to keep them working perfectly. It has been clear from large change in number of ie6 users in the logs at the same time that the bulk of the users were internal.


13 08 2009
Browser Use In Higher Education – A Brake on Innovation? « OUseful.Info, the blog…

[…] on computers in UK universities. I provided a little bit of rationale in a post on the IWMW blog (What’s the default browser on your network?) but the main reason was to get a feel for what sorts of browser any #jiscri apps might have to […]

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