Unibrows preserves IE6 investment when upgrading

Here's a hot idea: Keep your Internet Explorer 6 Web apps running when you upgrade IE and Windows. For many enterprises the issue of retaining IE6 compatibility is a big one.

The problem started on Aug. 27, 2001, when Microsoft released Internet Explorer 6 just after turning Windows XP loose. Little did the corporate world know that some five years later as the rest of the Intertubes moved on to IE7, they would find themselves IE 6 hostages and thereby hostages to Windows XP ...

What happened in the early Oughts was that as corporations rushed to build internal Web applications that adhered to IE6's eccentric implementation of Web standards (PC World once rated IE6 as one of their top 10 worst products of all time), they were painting themselves into a corner.

When IE6 was superseded by IE7 many IT shops found that with such massive investments in in-house IE6-specific Web applications, migrating to more modern and less cranky browsers was far more painful and expensive than sticking with IE6. Thus as other businesses moved on to IE7, IE8, and IE9 and Windows Vista then to Windows 7, many of these corporations wound up not only running IE6 but also stuck on Windows XP.

If yours happens to be one of these enterprises trapped in the amber of IE7 and Windows XP you'll be glad (or maybe even ecstatic) to hear that there is a way out: Unibrows, published by Browsium.

To quote Browsium: "UniBrows delivers complete IE6 functionality and behaviors by using the original, native IE6 rendering, JavaScript, ActiveX and security design."

Unibrows is an IE8 and IE9 browser plug-in that provides a rules system so you can specify which web applications should be rendered by the IE6 browser engine and any legacy ActiveX components (the default for all other URIs to use the default browser configuration).

You can see a detailed install and setup article on The Lazy Admin site that covers Unibrows for IE8 and Browsium recently announced support for IE9.

Another aspect of Unibrows that will be enormously valuable for some IT shops will be the ability to control things like which version of Java should be used for a particular application under any particular version of IE.

As the Browsium blog explains about the latest Unibrows version: "UniBrows Profiles enable IT pros to manage the web application platform for their current applications as well as their legacy ones. Need to run an older version of Java in IE9? No problem. Using a web application that requires IE7 and Flash 9? No problem. Need to turn off DEP and NX for just one web application on your network? No problem. With UniBrows 1.0.2, the Profiles feature now enables granular control (or what we call Web Application Continuity) for the IE6, IE7, IE8, and IE9 engines. The power is in the hands of enterprise IT to ensure that fragile web applications never break when new web platform components are added to the mix — including major ones like IE9."

Pricing for Unibrows involves a Base License of $5,000 per year plus a starting price of $20 per seat per year for 10 to 99 seats with tiered pricing dropping to $4 per seat per year.

Support is optional ranging from Platinum Support (available seveh days a week, 24 hours per day) for 34% of the per-seat price through Gold Support (available 5 days a week, 24 hours per day) for 22% of the per-seat price to Silver Support (available five days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pacific Time) for 15% of the per-seat price.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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