ArcGIS

So Long Internet Explorer 11, and Thanks for All the Views

Internet Explorer 11 was released in 2013 and it is the last of the Internet Explorer line that harkens back to the original browser wars of the 1990s (remember Netscape!). It has not received feature updates since 2014 and has been superseded by Microsoft Edge released with Windows 10 and now also available for Windows 7, 8.1, and even macOS.

You have likely already seen many public websites and applications stating their end of support for Internet Explorer 11 over the past several years.  Now the time has also come for Esri to begin phasing out support for Internet Explorer 11 in ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Enterprise, and ArcGIS API for JavaScript. This was originally announced for ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise with the January 2020 update to the ArcGIS deprecation plans. (Support is also ending for Microsoft Edge Legacy which has been superseded by the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge that was released by Microsoft in January. Farewell, Edge Legacy, we hardly knew ye!)

We have served billions of requests to Internet Explorer 11 over the years, but it has gotten increasingly difficult to continue to support a 7-year-old browser that is locked in time in an otherwise constantly evolving environment where other browsers update almost on a monthly basis while continuing to innovate.

Updated on August 26, 2020: Simultaneously with the original posting of this blog, Microsoft announced the end of support for Internet Explorer 11 with their Microsoft 365 web apps. Microsoft also announced that Microsoft Edge Legacy support will be ending entirely on March 9, 2021 after which time that browser will no longer receive security updates. For more information, see the full blog post: Microsoft 365 apps say farewell to Internet Explorer 11 and Windows 10 sunsets Microsoft Edge Legacy.

In this blog post, we want to help answer some of the common questions we have received and give guidance on what to do next if this impacts you or your organization.

Why is Esri ending support for Internet Explorer 11?

New releases and capabilities of ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Enterprise, and ArcGIS API for JavaScript will continue to leverage new and evolving web browser technology. Microsoft no longer enhances Internet Explorer 11 with support for newer web standards and Esri can no longer ensure our new functionality works as intended or performs as expected.

There are significant limitations to how well applications render in Internet Explorer 11 as well as how they perform. Modern GIS workflows include working with larger datasets than ever before in web applications, rendering complex 3D scenes using WebGL, performing calculations within the browser using Arcade, and much more. We want to continue to enhance our capabilities in this area and won’t be able to do so with legacy browsers such as Internet Explorer 11.

In fact, many web applications from Esri already do not support Internet Explorer 11 for these reasons. Newer applications, including ArcGIS Insights and ArcGIS StoryMaps, have never supported Internet Explorer 11. The new Map Viewer Beta also does not support Internet Explorer 11. This announcement is that other parts of ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise that currently support Internet Explorer 11 will no longer do so in the future.

Similarly, while some aspects of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript work with Internet Explorer 11, there have always been numerous limitations (such as a lack of client-side projection) due to the lack of underlying capabilities in the legacy browser. Dropping support for Internet Explorer 11 will allow Esri to focus our development efforts on new innovation with a leaner API.

While Internet Explorer 11 is still technically supported by Microsoft, that support is limited purely to security updates. Microsoft has made it clear for several years that all new development efforts that add new features and improve performance will go into the new Microsoft Edge browser which in the current generation uses the Chromium browser engine that is shared with Google Chrome.

How are users of ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise affected by this change?

Users of ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise will be affected by this change only if they are using Internet Explorer 11. If you are already using the new Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple’s Safari, then you are good to go, and no action is needed.

How are developers that build apps with ArcGIS API for JavaScript (and their end users) affected by this change?

Developers that build apps with ArcGIS API for JavaScript will be affected by this change only if they have end users that use Internet Explorer 11. If you are already using the new Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple’s Safari, then you are good to go, and no action is needed.

What is the impact to customers using ArcGIS Online?

Customers will no longer be able to receive support with issues related to Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge Legacy starting with the December 2020 update to ArcGIS Online. After December 2020, support cannot be provided for Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge Legacy specific issues and we will stop testing new releases with these browsers.

Many things in ArcGIS Online will continue to work in Internet Explorer in December and beyond, but some functionality may stop working partially or entirely over subsequent updates to ArcGIS Online as new features are introduced and other updates are made.

What is the impact to customers using ArcGIS Enterprise?

Customers will no longer be able to receive support for issues related to Internet Explorer 11 or Edge Legacy with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9 and beyond.

Customers on ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1 or prior supported releases will continue to be able to get support for Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge Legacy according to the regular ArcGIS Enterprise product lifecycle.

This means that there is no immediate impact to customers using ArcGIS Enterprise. It is not until your organization upgrades to ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9 (planned for release in 2021) or beyond that support for Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge Legacy will go away.

What is the impact to customers using ArcGIS API for JavaScript?

Customers will no longer be able to receive support with issues related to Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge Legacy starting with version 4.18 and 3.35 of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript (December 2020). For versions 4.18/3.35 and beyond, support cannot be provided for Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge Legacy specific issues and we will stop testing new releases with these browsers.

Updated on August 26, 2020: Apps built with 4.x vs. 3.x API versions will be impacted differently. In order to introduce new innovation as well as deliver a leaner API, we will completely remove Internet Explorer support in the 4.x code base starting at version 4.18. That means that apps built with 4.18 and beyond will not function in IE11. In the case of 3.x, many things will continue to work in Internet Explorer with versions 3.35 and beyond, but some functionality may stop working partially or entirely as updates are made.

Customers on versions 4.17/3.34 or prior supported releases will continue to be able to get support for Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge Legacy according to the regular ArcGIS API for JavaScript product lifecycle.

This means that there is no immediate impact to customers using ArcGIS API for JavaScript. It is not until you upgrade your app to versions 4.18/3.35 or beyond that support for Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge Legacy will go away.

What does Esri recommend?

We highly recommend that you move to a modern browser such as Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, for all web browsing needs.  If you use ArcGIS Online, you should make this move to a modern browser prior to December 2020. If you use ArcGIS Enterprise, you should make this move before upgrading ArcGIS Enterprise to a release from 2021 or beyond. If you are using ArcGIS API for JavaScript, you should make this move before upgrading your app to either version 4.18 or 3.35, or before building a new app with one of those versions. We highly encourage moving to a modern browser sooner rather than later though! There are many benefits to using a modern browser even today.

We hope to make this transition as smooth as possible and very much look forward to continuing to provide you with the best web-based mapping and GIS capabilities in the world!

About the authors

Philip is senior product manager for ArcGIS Enterprise. He enjoys living in Southern California and (under normal circumstances) traveling around the world for both business and pleasure.

Kelly is a Product Manager on the ArcGIS Online team. She has been with Esri since 2012 and enjoys blogging, Web Apping and outdoor adventures!

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Julie Powell is a Technical Product Manager, with her primary focus on the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. She interfaces with a wide user community to maintain awareness and insight into GIS community needs, meanwhile contributing feedback to development teams in order to help ensure users can be successful in building state of the art, purposeful solutions using ArcGIS software. Julie presents GIS technology trends and innovative solutions at the Esri Developer Summit, Esri International User Conference, Esri Latin American User Conference, and other regional conferences. Julie brings seventeen years of experience working with global leaders such as Hewlett-Packard and Esri, delivering a variety of software solutions for both the enterprise and consumer markets. Julie has worked on a wide range of projects and consulting endeavors, including serving as technical lead for web mapping solutions for strategic customers.

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