Detecting IE6 with jQuery (sort of)

…and not using $.browser.

Or how to do a dirty deed with IE’s own quirks

Okay, so I admit two things. First, I hate MSIE6 with a passion; IE7 isn’t much better; IE8 is an improvement (unless it’s in quirks mode, but let’s not talk about that). Second, I came upon this after my initial searching turned up nothing. Once I got this trick to work, I was convinced this shouldn’t work and that there had to be a better way of doing it. So, I did a little more digging and then stumbled upon the very last response to a similar predicament on Stack Overflow. The poster obviously didn’t check their reply, because two fragments that look like they should have had example code are blank. It’s worth reading, though, and it gave me comfort in knowing that someone else was doing the same naughty things I was!

Either way, it didn’t matter–I figured out a separate way to trick MSIE without having to litter the page with new CSS classes or make any unusual modifications to the DOM. Better yet, my solution gives you some programmatic control. It does rely on a similar trick, however, and should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Of course, there’s about a dozen different ways you could do this, including many more that others have undoubtedly pointed out over the years (the earliest reference I’ve found in my searches goes back to 2008, but good luck finding them through Google).

Here it is:

<script type="text/javascript">
var ie6 = false;
    // Do your stuff here.
    if (ie6) {
        // Do IE6-specific stuff here.
<!--[if IE 6]>
<script type="text/javascript">
ie6 = true;

Obligatory Disclaimer

Obviously, this isn’t the best solution. If you’re having to do weird things specifically to support a browser that is well on its way out of this world, you’re probably doing it wrong. There probably is a better solution (really!), but I can think of a handful of legitimate use cases where some trick like this is a necessity. For instance: Displaying some fancy code for people still running MSIE6 telling them to upgrade. Maybe even displaying a virtual sympathy card for being a corporate user chained to the dark past… :)

This has nothing to do with…

…jQuery? Nope, it doesn’t. I’m aware of that. However, because there are so many similar questions (“how do I detect browser X…”) related to jQuery and very few answers that actually provide a working solution that doesn’t include the deprecated $.browser methods, I figured that it couldn’t hurt to write something that has the words “detect,” “ie6,” and “jQuery” all in the same post title.

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