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Ember Community Votes Overwhelmingly to Drop IE8

| by James Chesters Follow 1 Followers on Apr 28, 2015. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

Ember.js users have voted overwhelmingly in favour of dropping support for Internet Explorer 8.

The question of whether to continue support was raised in a Request For Comment earlier this month by Tom Dale and fellow Ember co-creator Yehuda Katz.

Dale and Katz explain that when the topic of dropping IE8 came up among the team, they found that no one was still supporting it -- and that the costs of support exceeded the benefits.

In Dale's blog post reporting the decision he says that comments they received had indicated "the vast majority of Ember users" were "comfortable" with giving up IE8 support in Ember 2.0.

More details are given about the benefits of dropping IE8. These include giving the Ember team "the opportunity to remove jQuery as a strict dependency," but Dale reassures that there is "no intent to remove the Ember APIs that delegate to jQuery."

Along with removing the jQuery dependency, the RFC outlined a number of other potential benefits to dropping IE8 support, including eliminating get(), more ES6 features, supporting more event types, and CSS improvements.

With specific reference to ES6 features, Ember's RFC starkly lays out the facts:

Continued support for IE8 limits our ability to adopt new ES6 features in the internals of Ember...

We don't think we can make the full transition to JavaScript classes a first-class part of the Ember experience if we still support IE8. As we did with modules, we would like to move more of our core to JavaScript features in the future, which would be significantly stymied by the lack of defineProperty in IE8.

1.13 will be the last release in Ember's 1.x series. Dale notes that for users "it should be relatively simple to upgrade from Ember 1.13 to the most recent version of Ember 2.x" when running Ember 1.13 without any deprecation warnings.

Ember's core team will be releasing bug fixes and patches for browser compatibility issues periodically following 1.13 -- but users are encouraged to migrate to the 2.x series as soon as they can, unless they absolutely have to support IE8.

On github, the feedback for dropping IE8 was clear. Evan Rowe, UI developer for HealthSparq, said:

While we have to continue supporting IE8 at HealthSparq for the time being, based on usage statistics, the front end engineering team has been pushing to drop support for 8 (and potentially 9, which has very low usage for us) for some time. Reading through the RFC makes it clear that the costs of supporting IE8 in Ember 2.0 are higher than the benefits said support would provide.

I'm in favor of dropping it, for the good of the framework (and hopefully the ecosystem), and as it might provide us with the ammunition we need to move our internal browser support matrix forward.

Most damning of all the feedback was from Ade Bateman, a program manager on Microsoft's Internet Explorer team. Bateman said:

Working on the IE team, we're doing everything we can to move people off IE8 (and 9 and 10). As has already been noted, support ends in January 2016 but of course that doesn't mean usage stops (as we've seen with WIndows XP)...

I recommend moving on from IE8 and supporting IE11 and "Project Spartan".

The approval for dropping IE8 was echoed on the Ember Discussion Forum.

While the feedback indicated "enormous support for dropping IE9 support" Dale says that after talking to many Ember users in large companies, and reviewing data submitted privately by email, it was decided that the benefits of dropping IE9 were not "as strong".

Ember.js is released via an MIT licence. InfoQ readers can contribute to Ember.js via its GitHub project.

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