In early March, WordPress contributors began discussing the possibility of dropping support for IE11 in the near future after usage fell below ~1%. This week, the discussion’s facilitator, Héctor Prieto, confirmed the majority of participants are in agreement to move forward and set a timeline for discontinuing support. Contributors are now considering either the 5.8. or 5.9 release.
“The argument for dropping in 5.8 is to realize the change and improvement quicker, while others are inclined to wait until 5.9 to provide a longer window between the official announcement and the effective date,” Prieto said. The final call is up the the 5.8 release team, which has not yet been identified.
The release scope and schedule hinges on whether or not the April go/no-go conditions are met for including full-site editing in the merge for 5.8 (July 2021) or 5.9 (December 2021). Teams for 5.8 will be finalized in April/May, and they will decide how to proceed for discontinuing IE11.
Jb Audras suggested that if 5.8 release leads elect to drop support for IE11, he could work with other contributors to update the BrowseHappy notice in one of the upcoming minor versions.
“Even if the BrowseHappy notice can be updated independently from Core releases, I think it’s better to update alongside a release, to give better visibility to this change,” Audras said.
Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support IE11 beginning August 17, 2021. Drupal recently went through a similar process of deciding to drop IE11 support with the upcoming Drupal 10 release, anticipated in June 2022. Those who have to use IE11 retain the option to remain on Drupal 9’s LTS release until the end of 2023. Participants in the discussion cited many of the same considerations now facing WordPress contributors.
Matt Mullenweg commented on the preliminary discussion to suggest giving IE11 users a path forward if they land on wp-admin using an unsupported browser:
Supportive of dropping support, and if someone visits on an explicitly dropped browser like IE11 showing them a friendly message saying why wp-admin is not accessible and next steps they can take.
The technical implementation is being discussed in the ticket Riad Benguella created to discourage IE11 usage and WordPress’ projects and teams will begin examining the practical implications of dropping support.