The Department of Health has – finally – gotten around tom pulling their head out of their ass and dumping IE6.
The Department of Health has told trusts using Windows 2000 or XP to move to version 7 of Microsoft’s browser.
In a technology bulletin published by the department’s informatics directorate on 29 January 2010, it advised NHS trusts using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on either Windows 2000 or Windows XP to move to version 7 of the browser.
“We’ve advised NHS trusts to upgrade to IE7 as early as possible,” said a spokesperson. The guidance said that IE7 works with the department’s Spine applications, and provides additional security.
As moves go, this is approximately three years late. IE6 has been a pain for web developers and the like for many, many, many years, and needed to be put down long before Microsoft even got around to replacing it. And even MS got round to killing it a while back.
The downside? PCT IT departments are notoriously anti- any kind of change that they don’t come up with first. And they’ve been fairly rigidly enforcing the IE6 standard in the face of common sense for a long time now. How long it takes them to get round to rolling out a decent replacement1?
So I’m not sure that I’ll be getting anything on my desktop soon to improve on the IE6 experience. But here hoping that it isn’t another three years…
1 – Note, the DoH is busy recommending IE7. Which isn’t the current offering from MS at all, let alone the best out there for people to use. Probably because they spent a fortune putting together poor efforts at websites back in the early 90s that they don’t have the money to fix…
It’s not that easy though – a lot of the NHS suppliers are still tied in to IE6.
Hell, some of them are still tied in to Windows 98.
And most of the machines in the NHS are (at best) on XP, and mostly still on NT4 or 2K. So it’s not just an “upgrade your browser”, it’s also an “Upgrade your OS / Hardware and Change your suppliers”. I wonder who’ll be funding that…
I know that a lot of the systems are still tied into IE6 – a prime example being the Spine and Choose&Book, but the change will have to be made eventually, and better this late than even later.
I don’t know the specifics, but shouldn’t IE7 work on NT and 2k? It works on XP and is less of a resource hog (IMO) than 6, at any rate.