Deprecating IE6 and IE7 support in Twitter for Websites (TFW)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

When the Tweet button was introduced in 2010, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 was our baseline. Now, most users have upgraded and we see IE6 usage dwindled. On May 13th 2013, we’re going to prune our support for that browser and its successor, IE7.

Every day, the conversations of the whole world are communicated through Twitter. Twitter for Websites (TFW) exists to make it easy for developers and publishers to take that discourse to people far beyond Twitter itself, through your articles and applications. Enabling Tweets to reach every person is a value that drives our team’s work.

At the same time, the web does not stand still. New browser technology allows us to write simpler, faster, smaller code. Old technologies fade into obsolescence.

Here’s how the TFW widgets-js library will function, as of May 13th:

  • The Tweet button, Follow button, embedded Tweets and timelines will cease to be initialized in IE6. The script will detect the unsupported browser and silently exit. The content from the embed codes will remain in place.
  • Factory functions for the creation of widgets will be defined, but will return false to any callback provided in IE6.
  • Web Intents Events, the framework allowing developers to respond to user interactions with the widgets, will no longer be supported in IE6 and IE7. Both of these browsers required heavy shims to pass messages. We’re going to remove that to make the library smaller and the events implementation more reliable.

Widgets will still be rendered in IE7 for the time being, but that browser now has limited support; future features may not be implemented. We will provide a basic user experience where it simplifies our code, or makes widgets-js a smaller, faster download for most users.

Because of the progressively enhanced way our widgets are implemented, this will not be an ugly break. The embed codes in your pages will continue to provide functionality to all users. “Tweet” links will share your page, “Follow” links point to users’ profiles, embeddable timeline codes link old browsers to the equivalent timeline on the Twitter website. Embeddable Tweet codes already include the text and attribution for Tweets in raw HTML, so quotes are always present in your article, in any environment.

Please let us know in the forums if you are concerned by these changes, or if there are ways we can further ease these periodic transitions.