Farewell Internet Explorer: You Weren’t All Bad

The main reason I still dislike Internet Explorer was because its popularity often meant you had to create one version of a website that was compatible with emerging and established industrywide standards, and another version that worked in Internet Explorer. So I still cringe when I see that dizzy “e” icon — except in this image, where it’s on a gravestone.

Having said that, I appreciated reading about the significant innovations that IE pioneered.

Web 2.0 might have never happened without what was possibly the most reviled piece of software in history. Today, Microsoft Internet Explorer—which at one point accounted for more than 90% of web browsers in use and was the first web browser included with Apple Macs—bids farewell to the world. And the world has not been kind. People have not appreciated IE and even made a sport of denigrating it.

True, much of the criticism was merited, especially in its last few years once Google’s Chrome browser took over to become the dominant player. Chrome left IE in the dust in terms of speed, and it sticks to open web standards whereas IE used proprietary technologies.

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Some of the events the IE developers pioneered include stuff we do every day in the browser: right-clicking to get context menus, spinning the mouse wheel, and cursor hovering.

IE was also the first major browser to support CSS, a standard developed at CERN in part by Håkon Wium Lie, who later went on to work on the Opera browser and was responsible for innovating many browser features we take for granted today. IE also introduced later CSS features that are now indispensable, like box width and height, text overflow ellipses, word wrap, gradients, and opacity.

Finally, basics like drag-and-drop, clipboard access, and rich text editing in the browser are all thanks to—you guessed it—Microsoft Internet Explorer.

PC Magazine