Team Foundation Server and IE8
This is one of those posts that I can’t win by writing but I have to anyway. It can’t make anyone happy and will undoubtedly garner me some amount of flame, but here it goes.
We’ve been working hard over the past couple of years to improve and expand our web experiences for TFS. In TFS 11, this came through all the nice new Agile planning tools. Most recently you’ve seen this in the substantially improved version control experiences. It’s a trend we are continuing.
As we are getting deep into our work on TFS 12, we are looking, as always, at our platform support matrix. One of the questions we have to ask is “what browsers are we going to support?” Each browser/version adds development and test cost. As much as we might like to think otherwise, every browser is a little different and older browsers are really different. This really comes through the richer the experience you are trying to build.
After much soul searching, we’ve decided to drop IE8 support for the next major version of TFS. That means we won’t test it and we won’t work to make the experience pleasant on IE8. The reality is that much of what we do will probably just work (and we’re certainly not going back to intentionally break any of the existing UI) but once we flip that switch, you have to assume that, over a period of time, the IE8 experience will degrade. We’ve done a lot of looking at our various web properties to see what percentage of TFS customers are still using IE8 and what the trend is. As you can imagine, it’s not 0% but it is single digit percentages and declining fairly quickly. The uptake of IE9 and 10 have both been good among our customers and we expect this will be an issue for relatively few people by the time it’s a reality.
The first place you will see this is on Team Foundation Service – because almost everything TFS related happens there first. We will continue to support IE8 with all “shipping” service features through sometime this summer (date to be announced). At that point we’ll stop testing on IE8 and start releasing new features that were never tested on IE8 – and therefore more likely to have issues in the shorter term. I say “shipping” because between now and summer, we will likely be releasing some more preview features on the service that are sneak peeks of capabilities coming in the TFS 12 wave of the product that have not been developed for or tested on IE8.
We will, of course, support IE9, IE10, whatever the latest version of IE is at any given time, the latest version of Chrome, the latest version of Firefox and the latest version of Safari.
I provide this primarily as a heads up of a change beginning in a few months. Hopefully this gives you time, if you are one of the affected people, to plan for it. Every cycle we have to revisit our dev/test matrix and we inevitably prune some older versions of things off. It’s never fun but it’s necessary to enable us to maximize the delivery of value to the broadest set of customers.