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On August 17, 2020, Microsoft published a timeline indicating that Microsoft Teams will stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 on November 30, 2020 whereas Microsoft 365 products will end Internet Explorer 11 support on August 17, 2021.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_11

I've searched Webmasters SE and the wider web but I can't find any current information.

I'm guessing (but haven't yet been able to confirm) that ieconfig.xml will now be deprecated on the same timeline as Internet Explorer. Will it?

Will browserconfig.xml also be deprecated? Or is the intention to use it for the foreseeable future?

If the latter, which browsers intend to keep using browserconfig.xml?

Just MS Edge? Or other browsers as well?

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  • 1
    I thought it was Windows that used these files to show an icon on the desktop when somebody created a shortcut to your URL there. I didn't think that IE used these files directly. Aug 24 '20 at 12:30
  • Even if it is only IE that uses these files, you may still need them until people stop using the browser. It may take years for IE usage to dwindle out even after support stops. Aug 24 '20 at 12:31
  • Ah, is it a Windows file rather than an MSIE file? Thanks, @StephenOstermiller - I wasn't aware because I've never deployed browserconfig.xml (or ieconfig.xml). I'm working on a project now where I might need to (and if I need to, then I'm keen to, in order to learn about the format). Then, when I read the news about IE, I wondered if this whole approach to configuration was going to be deprecated. Do Chrome and Firefox etc. report the presence of browserconfig.xml to Windows then?
    – Rounin
    Aug 24 '20 at 17:59
  • 1
    I don't think so. It was my impression that Windows makes the requests itself. Given the integration of the browser into the OS, the requests probably end up looking a lot like requests from IE. I don't run Windows myself, so this is just based on reading I've done and not on any first hand experience. Aug 24 '20 at 18:04
  • Regarding your second point - I agree that's an absolutely valid approach, but I made a conscious decision to stop catering to IE users in 2010. Not because I'm against browser compatibility - on the contrary, I'm a strong advocate - but after writing standards compliant, universally cross-browser compatible sites from the early 2000s to 2010, I concluded that IE was so woefully lost that the time required to cater for its users wasn't justified. [1/2]
    – Rounin
    Aug 24 '20 at 18:06
5

It's been a month since I asked this, so I thought I'd rummage around the internet some more and see what I could come up with.


browserconfig.xml

According to this Microsoft Page:

This is an example of a browserconfig.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<browserconfig>
   <msapplication>
     <tile>
        <square70x70logo src="small.png"/>
        <square150x150logo src="medium.png"/>
        <wide310x150logo src="wide.png"/>
        <square310x310logo src="large.png"/>
        <TileColor>#009900</TileColor>
     </tile>
     <badge>
        <polling-uri src="badge.xml"/>
        <frequency>30</frequency>
     </badge>
     <notification>
        <polling-uri  src="1.xml"/>
        <polling-uri2 src="2.xml"/>
        <polling-uri3 src="3.xml"/>
        <polling-uri4 src="4.xml"/>
        <polling-uri5 src="5.xml"/>
        <frequency>30</frequency>
        <cycle>1</cycle>
     </notification>
   </msapplication>
</browserconfig>

ieconfig.xml

According to this blog post:

This is an example of an ieconfig.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <browserconfig>
    <msapplication>
      <tile>
        <square70x70logo src="ms-tile-128x128.png"/>
        <square150x150logo src="ms-tile-270x270.png"/>
        <wide310x150logo src="ms-tile-558x270.png"/>
        <square310x310logo src="ms-tile-558x558.png"/>
        <TileColor>#6a9a22</TileColor>
      </tile>
    </msapplication>
  </browserconfig>

That would seem to suggest that browserconfig.xml and ieconfig.xml are different names for the same thing... and there is some suggestion, though I can't confirm it, that the latter name, ieconfig.xml, is the current, correct name.

All that said, I still can't confirm if Edge Browser looks for, recognises or knows about ieconfig.xml so I can't answer the question and confirm if the latter is effectively deprecated or not.

4

2021 here,

Concerning deprecation

As long as there are people using agents that support this (i.e. mainly IE11), Browser configuration will remain semi-relevant, or at least usable. Microsoft announced IE11 will go EOL on August 17th this year, but we all know it will stick around here and there.

Concerning the filename/URL

The documentation that you referred to in your own answer, has the following code sample:

<meta name="msapplication-config" content="IEconfig.xml" />

I am assuming this is where the author of the blog article you also refer to got the name IEconfig.xml from. However, the documentation then mentions:

Note: If a webpage does not specify a browser configuration file, IE11 automatically looks for "browserconfig.xml" in the root directory of the server. To prevent this, use an "msapplication-config" header with the content attribute to "none" (shown earlier).

So, it appears the only reason they used IEconfig.xml in the example is that it’s not browserconfig.xml (in which case you wouldn’t need that metadata to begin with). This reminds me of their infamous favicon.ico, which you can also link to with markup, or just call the thing favicon.ico and be done with it.

Concluding

I don’t see any negatives in supporting it (other than having to make the thing), and it might actually be useful to some users with agents that support it.

I would, however, strongly suggest always setting up a route for /browserconfig.xml if you decide to do so. That way, agents that support it will supposedly discover it automatically (which I generally think is bad UA practice, but there you have it), and you won’t have to pollute your markup with proprietary metadata that doesn’t mean anything to any other system.

(There might also be a minuscule performance benefit to having one, depending on how many IE11 visitors you have, and the way your server handles 404s and logging, but that’s probably more theoretical than anything.)

2
  • So what has replaced this if this has been deprecated? Simple large favicon images?
    – William
    Jan 22 at 10:49
  • @William, it’s not browserconfig.xml that is deprecated, but IE11, the only known (as far as I can tell) UA to support it. So, for other agents, nothing changes. They have their own methods of displaying icons, but that’s another question.
    – ACJ
    Jan 25 at 8:28

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