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Developer Advisory: plan to remove IE 11 support in WooCommerce

tl;dr

In parallel to WordPress, WooCommerce core and all WooCommerce projects maintained by Automattic will be removing IE11 support in their subsequent versions.

In the case of WooCommerce core, the most immediate version, WooCommerce 5.4, which is currently in beta and scheduled for June 8th, is expected to support IE11 but no new issues or fixes will be accepted for that browser. IE11 support will be selectively removed in the versions after WooCommerce 5.4, and users can expect support for IE11 to be fully dropped by WooCommerce 5.6, which is scheduled for release on August 10th.

The details

In some cases, support will not be actively dropped. In these cases, new features will stop being tested with IE11, and our build tools will stop generating builds specific to IE11. The effect of this will vary from project to project. In some instances, there will be no changes. In other instances, there may be some minor visual glitches or features may stop working completely.

This decision impacts the merchant’s admin area as well as the customer facing side of a store, so projects like WooCommerce Blocks and Storefront will stop offering support for IE11 as well.

When a product drops IE11 support, the release notes will contain an entry noting this in the changelog.

All users of IE11 are encouraged to update to a more modern and secure browser. WordPress will begin dropping support for IE11 in version 5.8, which is currently planned for July 2021. As a preparation step, WordPress has shown a warning to IE11 users in the admin dashboard suggesting browser alternatives.

The rationale

The reasons to drop support for IE11 have been widely discussed in the WordPress project. Benefits include reducing the size of scripts and CSS files, lowering the maintenance burden and decreasing build times. We expect the removal of IE11 support to have a positive impact on the performance of WooCommerce stores and the development speed of WooCommerce projects.

How can I tell if this affects me?

This affects you if:

  • You maintain a WooCommerce extension or theme which supports IE11.
  • You use IE11 or own a store with a high percentage of IE11 users.

What action should I take?

For extension/themes developers

Given that WooCommerce core and all WC extensions maintained by Automattic will drop support for IE11, we expect 3rd-party developers to do the same with their extensions.

Themes might want to keep IE11 support for longer. But their developers need to take into consideration that any customer-facing feature of WooCommerce might stop working in IE11 in the future.

For store owners

If you are using IE11, we suggest updating your browser.

If you have a high percentage of IE11 users, you might want to take some initiatives to encourage them to update their browser.

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