Modern javascript on campus

JavaScript has changed a lot over the years. Old browsers are not equipped to handle new syntax. ES6 (in 2015) was a major change. That was a long time ago. But unfortunately, on our campus, we still have browsers deployed in labs that predate ES6.

Why is this? My guess is that old system images still get installed, without much consideration of the browser versions. And for some reason, the browsers are not permitted to auto-update. Why this is the case is mystifying to me, but I assume there are reasons.

This makes it hard on people building websites for our campus community. You can’t use modern JavaScript and expect it to work everywhere on campus. You can write old-timey JavaScript if you like, but this can be annoying to manage and maintain. There are very good reasons why we moved on from those old JavaScript ways.

Maybe you could write conditional code that accommodates old and new JS. This is possible, but becomes complicated quickly. Or you can lobby for newer browsers — this is probably the best solution — but you may face intractable campus politics, which can be very quickly dispiriting. At this juncture, on our campus, it seems like a hard problem to solve.

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