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Picture of David Scotson
We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
I just noticed this line in the 2.4 release notes.

"We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)"

http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Moodle_2.4_release_notes#Requirements

This kind of took me by surprise, is there some component or other that is forcing this issue, or was it just felt time to draw a line in the sand? When will the final decision by made?
 
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Martin in black and white
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

It's about reducing work for our developers who need to work around all the bugs in the older browsers.  It's also about encouraging institutions to allow their users to upgrade, or at least support a dual browser strategy, thus improving the online experience for everyone.  Using more modern browsers is free and not exactly a risky thing technically, even if an institution for some reason wants to stick to an old OS.

We shadow Google and they dropped support last year:  http://googleappsupdates.blogspot.ca/2012/09/supporting-modern-browsers-internet.html

Note that dropping support doesn't mean Moodle won't work on those old browsers (it surely will!), it just means we won't bother too much if new bugs on those old browsers are discovered.

 
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Picture of David Scotson
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
I would suggest you spell that out more when mentioning this topic as "support" on its own has some ambiguity. Reading that line basically put our plans for upgrading our 2.3 setup to 2.5 rather than 2.4 over the summer on hold. Some other people might not have sought clarification and just decided to stick with what they've got on that basis.

Which is a problem that Google Apps don't really have. If they upgrade and break something on IE8 then your choice is like it or lump it. Everyone running their own Moodle has to take that upgrade decision independently, so you might want to put the emphasis on the carrot (e.g. the drag'n'drop functionality has been really good for getting people onto Chrome/Firefox at our institution) rather than the stick.

You might also want to be explicit, in the dev docs, about exactly which versions of IE you are happy to actively and intentionally break. I had a conversation in a bug report in the last couple of weeks that suggested that "supporting" IE7 was still a requirement for any change, and your comment here similarly focuses on "new bugs" rather than on development decisions that will knowingly exclude IE8 from working for large swathes of Moodle e.g. adopting JQuery 2.0 (I realise that Moodle doesn't use JQuery, but it's the most prominent 3rd party library example I could think of that has dropped IE8 support and provides a benefit, they claim it's faster, as a result) so you might end up in a worst of both worlds situation where you're actually doing the work (or holding back progress) in order to support IE7/8, while also scaring off people from upgrading by announcing you don't support them.

Finally, will there be any kind of popup or notification for users of old browsers built into Moodle? I'd quite like it if there was an admin settings that let you tick off browsers and actively exclude anyone using say IE6 or IE7 and present them with a page of information and links to upgrade, whereas say users on IE8 or Firefox 3.5 just got a nag screen and were allowed to continue. We'll probably end up doing something internal anyway, particularly as we want to be a bit harsher with people coming from within our own institution, rather than someone forced to use old IE in a developing nation or government department but if the idea is to use Moodle to actually shepherd people forward then something built into the platform would be good.
 
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Picture of Danny Wahl
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

David,

your last suggestion can easily be implemented in a theme, plugin, or block.  All the browser detection is already handled by Moodle - so reading those return values should be pretty straight forward, just have an array of browsers you want to show which message or whatever.

 
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Picture of Alistair Spark
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
 

Really like the idea of having the option of a page redirect blocking old versions of browsers & OSes built in to core Moodle.

@Danny how would one go about doing this in the theme/

 

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

In the theme layout files - something along the lines of (extracted from Julian's Essential theme):

 if (!empty($_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'])) {
    $checkuseragent = $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'];
}
// Check if IE7 browser and display message
if (strpos($checkuseragent, 'MSIE 7')) {
    do something for IE7 here
}
if (strpos($checkuseragent, 'MSIE 8') || strpos($checkuseragent, 'MSIE 7')) {
    do something for IE 7&8 here
} else {
    do something for every other browser here
} ?>

of course the $checkuseragent can be used for just about anything if you know what strings to look for - other versions of IE, versions of other browsers, mobile browsers etc.

HTH

Richard

 
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Picture of Andrew Nicols
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Richard,

For the record, we do have a function in lib/moodlelib.php called check_browser_version() which can be called as:

if (check_browser_version('MSIE') && !check_browser_version('MSIE', 9)) {
  // This is IE with a version number lower than 9
}

It checks for a version greater or equal to the one specified - hence, first checking for an IE match, and then checking whether it is not greater than or equal to IE9. This attempts to handle various IEisms like different browser modes for infranet sites.

Andrew

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Thanks for that Andrew smile

 
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Also me
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
 

Hi Alistair.

I question the practice of blocking old versions of anything. Surely the fact that bugs and errors will progressively break a users experience the more out of date their software becomes is bad enough for the end user without being directly disenfranchised by the page they are trying to view?

By all means inform a user their stuff is old and provide a link on how to fix it but I thought blocking users because of their browser, began dying off sometime in the middle of the last decade because it smacks of elitism and punishes the less technically adept. YMMV.

Cheers, Sam.

 
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Martin in black and white
Re: We will probably drop support for IE8 in Moodle 2.5 (June 2013)
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

I totally agree.  The only thing we are saying is that we will not be testing things on old browsers, not that we are purposefully breaking anything.  I imagine the degradation will be quite gradual for anyone stuck on an old browser for whatever reason. 

But discussion continues here:  MDL-41973

 
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