Windows Vista.jpg
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As a web designer one of the things that is difficult to do is test a site in multiple versions of Internet Explorer, especially if you’re running Vista which doesn’t really include an option to run prior versions of IE. A significant amount of computer users still use Internet Explorer 6 as their main browser, and it renders sites rather differently than Internet Explorer 7. And then there’s Internet Explorer 8 which is currently in the Beta stage, and yet again that renders differently than any prior version.

To make things a little easier a nifty free application called IETester has been developed. With it you can test your website in Internet Explorer 5.5, Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 8 Beta. The best part is that the application has a tabbed interface (as seen above) so that you can quickly switch between website renderings in different versions of Internet Explorer.

A nice feature that I didn’t catch at first was that you can actually view them side-by-side by dragging one tab into the content area of another tab. It will “split” the window so that both tabs are next to each other, which is really handy.

I played around with the program for about 15 minutes, and it does what it’s advertised to do, but it definitely has some bugs. In that 15 minute period the application crashed three times on me, but I think I was pushing it too hard. I was trying to open multiple websites simultaneously using different versions of Internet Explorer, and it buckled under the pressure. So it’s obviously not designed to be a day-to-day browser, but it’s fine for testing a website here and there.

What I don’t get is why Microsoft doesn’t take matters into its own hands and start a project like this one. Web developers would probably still be bitter because of their non-compliance of standards in the past, but an application like this would help regain a little respect. We just need to keep our fingers crossed that Microsoft doesn’t go the opposite route and shutdown this project for redistributing the IE DLL’s. ;)

Get IETester
Thanks to Yansky for the tip!

There Are 11 Comments

  1. Going to test this now and hope its works as advertised. Sure would be nice to stop loading Vitual PCs just to test websites in IE6/IE7/IE8.

    Better yet, I can’t wait for the day when IE6 is dead.

  2. For my web development testing I used a program called MultipleIEs, which allowed you to install IE3 – IE6.

  3. Thanks alot should help in testing websites but how many people still test for IE 5.5 as i only test for IE 6, IE7, IE8 as for IE Versions. I was happy to see my current website am building now works the same as IE6,7,8

  4. Veign wrote:
    Better yet, I can’t wait for the day when IE6 is dead.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I wish the IE7 adoption rate was a little faster, but at least it has taken over IE6 in usage.

    Anonymous wrote:
    For my web development testing I used a program called MultipleIEs, which allowed you to install IE3 – IE6.

    Doesn’t work on Vista though, and doesn’t have IE7/8 compatibility. So this is definitely better in my opinion.

    Richard wrote:
    Thanks alot should help in testing websites but how many people still test for IE 5.5 as i only test for IE 6, IE7, IE8 as for IE Versions.

    I don’t test for IE 5.5 anymore. Our site is readable, but the sidebar and footer are a little out of whack in IE 5.5. I actually didn’t know that until today because I don’t have a machine with IE 5.5 anymore.

  5. Richard wrote:
    Thanks alot should help in testing websites but how many people still test for IE 5.5

    Not me. IE6 / IE7 / Opera / Safari / Firefox are the browsers I support with a design.

  6. The downside of this app is that you need to have IE7 installed I think. At least that was my problem when I tried it – I have IE6 installed and can’t/won’t upgrade, and then this program is kind of useless. I’m using VMWare with lots of RAM instead, which works great for me. On top of that I will be 100% sure that no quirks cause rendering bugs that are caused by trying to get all the IE’s running at the same time on the same system..

    Proof of this on the site:
    “Known problems and limitations:
    * When resizing, the content may disappear. I am working to correct it on the next version.
    * The Previous/Next buttons are not working properly
    * Focus is not working properly
    * Java applets are not working
    * Flash is not working on IE6 instance.”

    Most of these things need to work for me in order to test websites properly..

    By the way, I don’t test in IE5.5 anymore either.

  7. Change wrote:
    The downside of this app is that you need to have IE7 installed I think. At least that was my problem when I tried it – I have IE6 installed and can’t/won’t upgrade, and then this program is kind of useless. I’m using VMWare with lots of RAM instead, which works great for me. On top of that I will be 100% sure that no quirks cause rendering bugs that are caused by trying to get all the IE’s running at the same time on the same system..

    Yeah, I think you’re right that it needs to have Internet Explorer 7. I didn’t think about that since I was testing it on Vista.

    It’s definitely not perfect, but I prefer it over booting up a virtual machine all of the time. I’ll probably still do that from time-to-time, but for some quick tests it works pretty well.

  8. True, it could definitely be nice for quick tests!

  9. I hope IE6 will be dead soon.

  10. 2 years after this was published and I’m still having problems with stubborn users using IE6. Hopefully HTML5 will eradicate the last of them permanently.

  11. Man, its mid 2011 and some of my clients still using IE 6, in Australia!

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