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. ;)
Thanks to Yansky for the tip!