Detect an Internet Explorer Visitor in GatsbyJS

Internet Explorer, amirite? While building a medium-traffic WordPress + Gatsby site, I reviewed analytics to see how much Internet Explorer support I needed to provide. We had about 0.02% of visitors using IE in the past year, so a very small drop in the bucket.

However, visitors are visitors, and I wanted to be sure they received a decent experience*, even if they’re using an indecent browser**. Who knows, perhaps they’re visiting from Windows Vista on Grandma’s computer, or from an outdated public library computer network.

I didn’t want to layer up IE conditionals in the

<head>
, and I didn’t want to have an obtuse amount of JS in the bundle, just to detect IE.

After some digging, I discovered that

document.documentMode
is an IE-only property! Thank heavens! This meant I could add a quick snippet to gatsby-browser.js, and call it a day.

Here’s the snip:

gatsby-browser.js
export const onClientEntry = () => {
  /**
   * Detect IE visitor
   * @link https://www.w3schools.com/jsref/prop_doc_documentmode.asp
   */
  if (window && window.document && window.document.documentMode) {
    /**
     * Redirect IE visitor or show popup, etc.
     */
    window.location.href = '/unsupported/';
  }
};

Happy coding!

*By “decent experience” here, I mean… redirect them to a page asking the visitor to upgrade their browser. Not bending over backwards to polyfill everything for IE for 0.02%.

**By “indecent browser”… sorry not sorry. It’s always been a headache to build websites to support IE. Besides, it’s slated for retirement on June 15, 2022.