Internet Explorer's Demise: 7 Things IT Pros Should Know - InformationWeek

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3/26/2015
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Internet Explorer's Demise: 7 Things IT Pros Should Know

We still don't have all the answers in regards to exactly what Microsoft is planning for Internet Explorer and Project Spartan. But we know enough to get you started on building a game plan for how you'll continue to support legacy web apps moving forward.
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(Image: Spartan screenshot via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Spartan screenshot via Wikimedia Commons)

The highly touted "death of Internet Explorer" may have caused feelings of jubilation among some users, but not so for enterprise IT professionals. It's more likely that the news sent terrifying shivers your spines.

It's not that enterprise IT administrators especially love IE. Rather, it's the fact that IE is the browser upon which so many legacy business applications still rely.

Microsoft is planning to ship a brand new web browser with the launch of its Windows 10 operating system. The new browser, currently named "Project Spartan," uses a completely redesigned rendering engine. This new engine that will not be backward compatible with the many legacy IE web tools that are commonly leveraged in enterprise applications, such as ActiveX, toolbars, and browser helper objects.

ActiveX is by far the biggest "gotcha" for legacy web applications. A decade ago, or more, ActiveX was a popular software framework that essentially allowed other applications to run embedded inside web pages. It was a great way to deploy complex applications via a web browser. These days, there are more elegant, reliable, and consistent ways to build and embed complex web applications, including using languages such as HTML 5 and Java Script. The problem is, large enterprises struggle when asked to forklift a legacy application onto a more modern platform. Therefore, many IT organizations are stuck with the task of keeping applications on life support using ActiveX. Most rely exclusively on Internet Explorer to accomplish this goal.

So after hearing the news regarding a potential death to Internet Explorer, many IT admins made a mad dash to their favorite search engine to figure out just how much time they have before Internet Explorer, and all of its legacy support, would remain. Unfortunately, much of the information available online turned out to be incorrect or contradictory. On the following pages, we'll attempt to fill in as many blanks for you as possible, and clear up as much of the story as we can.

We still don't have all the answers in regards to exactly what Microsoft is planning for Internet Explorer and Project Spartan. But we know enough to get you started on building a game plan for how you'll continue to support legacy web apps moving forward. If you have any new information on this topic, or questions regarding the impending death of IE, tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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