What’s really unfortunate is that Internet Explorer 8 is going to become the new Internet Explorer 6 in its own way. There’s enough of a leap between versions 8 and 9 that web designers and developers are going to have to use special techniques and “hacks” to get things to work on Internet Explorer 8. According to StatCounter, in February 2013 Internet Explorer 8 still enjoyed a 10.76% market share. That means for every ten users who visit your site, one of them will be using Internet Explorer 8. That number is too large to ignore.

It sucks knowing that virtually every other browser is enjoying decent to great standards compliance of HTML5 and CSS3.

At my work all too often we’ll want to include a cool feature or effect but we either have to say no, or figure out how to accomplish the same thing in JavaScript because Internet Explorer 8 doesn’t support it. The most common annoyance is the CSS3 pseudo-class :last-child. The other common offender is :nth-child, most commonly used for styling alternate rows in tables.

To be fair these two annoyances can be remedied rather quickly using jQuery or making some alterations to server-side code to print out a class for each alternate row, but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that there’s more coding and additional overhead to accommodate Internet Explorer 8.

There was another instance recently where a client wanted the first letter in each paragraph to be large, bold, and a different font, than the rest of the paragraph. This content also had to be easily editable for the client, so we couldn’t just slap a span tag around the first letter. Doing so would require additional training to teach the client how to do this, something that’s costly and prone to error since most clients don’t understand HTML – even after you show them. I suggested using the :first-letter pseudo-element. I had to preface it with its inability to render correctly in anything lower than Internet Explorer 9. We ended up using it but also explained to the client its limitations.

The worst of all is that thanks to consumers’ reluctance to give up Windows XP (seriously, folks, it’s nearly 12 years old. Upgrade already.), Internet Explorer 8 is here to stay until at least April 8, 2014, which is when Microsoft pulls the plug on its support for XP. Currently now the company pushes security patches through Windows Update for XP, but that will all end on the aforementioned date. I cannot wait.