Twitter on Friday announced it is killing support for IE6 and IE7 across its Twitter for Websites (TFW) service. Although some basic functionality will remain, the company will continue development without making a point to ensure features work on Microsoft’s ancient browsers.

For those who don’t know, TFW lets developers and publishers embed parts of the broader Twitter conversation into apps and websites. That being said, the company says that new browser technology lets it write “simpler, faster, smaller code” while old technologies (read: browsers) simply get in the way.

Twitter explains the TFW widgets-js library will function as such after the May 13 kill date:

  • The Tweet button, Follow button, embedded Tweets and timelines will cease to be initialized in IE6. The script will detect the unsupported browser and silently exit, but the content from the embed codes will remain in place.
  • Factory functions for the creation of widgets will be defined, but will return false to any callback provided in IE6. Widgets will still be rendered in IE7, but the browser will have limited support and future features may not be implemented.
  • Web Intents Events, the framework allowing developers to respond to user interactions with the widgets, will no longer be supported in IE6 and IE7.

Twitter emphasized both browsers required heavy shims to pass messages, meaning removing that code will make the library smaller and the events implementation “more reliable.” The good news is that Twitter says “this will not be an ugly break.”

In other words, TFW embed codes will continue to provide functionality to all users. Tweet links will still share pages, Follow links will point to users’ profiles, and embeddable timeline codes will link old browsers to the equivalent timeline on the Twitter website. This is because Twitter also includes raw HTML for many of its embeds, so the basics should still render just fine.

It’s good to see that Twitter is keeping support for IE8. This is the latest version of Microsoft’s browser that Windows XP users can install. Given that XP is still very popular, the company is wise to kill off just IE6 and IE7 support, at least for now.

Top Image credit: Alberto Paroni