Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cognos, get with the Program(ming!)

Here's is the current browser support list for IBM Cognos 10 Fix Pack 1 (The latest list is here):

Web Browser Support by Component
Cognos Connection / Report Viewer /

Query Studio / Metric Studio
Operating SystemSupport Status
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8WindowsActive
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7WindowsActive
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 SP1Windows 2000 / 2003Not Supported
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 SP2Windows XPCompatible
Firefox 3.6 Windows, OS X, UNIX, LinuxCompatible
Firefox 3.5Windows, OS X, UNIX, LinuxActive
Note: Microsoft Office integration is only supported on Windows platforms (i.e. export to Excel)
Report Studio / Analysis Studio / Event StudioOperating SystemSupport Status
Firefox 3.6 (12)Windows, OS X, UNIXActive
Firefox 3.5 (12)Windows, OS X, UNIXCompatible
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8WindowsActive
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7WindowsCompatible
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 SP1Windows 2003Not Supported
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 SP2Windows XPCompatible
Business Insight / Business Insight Advanced / Active Report (13)Operating SystemSupport Status
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8WindowsActive
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7WindowsCompatible
Firefox 3.6Linux, Windows, UNIXActive
Firefox 3.5Linux, Windows, UNIXActive

 Notice anything odd? It's 2011! These browsers were out of date when IBM Cognos 10 was released. And it's only going to get worse.

IE 8 was released in 2009
Firefox 3.5 was released in 2009 (they are currently on version 6, but it may have changed while I am typing this)
Chrome has never been supported

That might have been fine in 2009, but the landscape of browser use has changed significantly since then:

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Browser Market Share

So now, when I roll out a new datamart I have to convince users to downgrade their browsers. Aside from usage patterns, I'm already testing my reports in multiple browsers for our user community (my users can install any browser that they want), a greater focus on keeping compatibility with them up to date would likely lead to a more robust non-ie experience. In discussions with my IBM rep they are 'looking into' support for Fire Fox 4 and won't commit to any versions after that. This support model doesn't seem tenable. At the very least I'd like the save icon to work in Fire Fox 4! (it currently does not!) And don't get me started on GoMobile and tablet/mobile browsers.

As many bloggers have noticed already, browser software development is becoming so fluid that it has transcended software versioning altogether. I'm not sure if I totally agree with the voracity of that statement, you'll probably be interested in the version when your 3rd party app stops working, but the point is valid. The current breed of web browsers Chrome, Fire Fox and even IE are continuously updating. Auto updating is now the default behavior. And use of these browsers continues to shift.

If a vendor leverages a web browser's in it's product, forcing a version number is no longer a safe harbor for you to get out of support. IT departments are either going to have to enforce a particular browser version forever, IBM will have to develop it's own application or it's just going to have to bite the bullet and continuously updates for these new versions of browsers. And they should! I want to use the latest Javascript debugging tools in Firefox and get the new security updates.


  1. Firefox just updated again! Now they have a neat looking group tabs feature. This could be good for keeping different cognos environments grouped. Too bad the buttons in Report studio don't work!

  2. As the Cognos Admin, having to tell my authors more often that they CAN'T use that browser than they can is getting to be a pain. Cognos 8 was a big step forward from a native client (and lackluster ReportNet) but I had high hopes that they soon would leave IE, and that worked until Firefox changed to 4. Sad days.

  3. And I just checked (spurred by this) Firefox 4 and 5 made the cut for 10.1.1:

  4. Ha! Yeah I saw that on, can you even get 5 anymore? Still, promising.