Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Web Development: how to test IE compatibility


Lately, we have seen an increasing interest in HTML5 and CSS3. The (not really recent) introduction of new features has been cautiously followed by web developers, and I don't know what's your feeling, however my impression is that the path to the new web is just full of pitfalls.

I recently had to develop a new web site and, because it was a very basic one, I decided to experiment a bit. I must say it has been quite satisfactory (coding-wise), however I had to spend quite some time to test it. I wanted to have almost a full compatibility and - as we have seen lately - the browser that gave me most troubles has been Internet Explorer.

In order to test a web site for compatibility issues, I usually publish it in a not-known sub-dir and then display it with different browsers. I test it with Safari, Opera, FireFox, Chrome and Internet Explorer. In addition, I use services like Browsershots and IE NetRenderer. However, they usually take a lot of time (especially the first) and because we know that time is money, I recently decided to look for something else.

And I finally found a little software which made my day. The name is IETester and basically it is a browser which emulates Internet Explorer:
"IETester is a free (both for personal and professional usage) WebBrowser that allows you to have the rendering and javascript engines of IE10 preview, IE9, IE8, IE7 IE 6 and IE5.5 on Windows 7, Vista and XP, as well as the installed IE in the same process." (quote from the IETester site)

I used it a bit, and I must say it helped me a lot in finding little glitches and in the end it guaranteed a decent compatibility with Internet Explorer. Obviously, the software is not really complete, because it lacks all other browsers, but it significantly reduce the testing times. On top of it, I shouldn't remind you that IE is the most troubled browser in terms of compatibility.

Please have a look at it quickly, because I don't know how long it will stay free.

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