As web developers we need tools to test our web applications across all browsers. If you asked the majority of developers which browser causes more issues on debugging, they would say Internet Explorer (No offense Microsoft). But most companies, specifically the majority of big corporations, use Internet Explorer because Microsoft is the only one that offers the most robust enterprise deployment management tools of any browser vendor. Microsoft touted research conducted by Forrester that said that 96 percent of businesses standardize on a single browser because it saves them money.
As web developers, we know older versions of Internet Explorer are still lingering out there, so what do we do now? Aside from installing at least three browsers from different vendors on our PC to test cross browser compatibility, we also still need to test on different versions of IE. Finally, in early 2013, Microsoft launched “modern.ie” to help developers spend more time on innovating versus more time on testing.
The Modern.ie website has a collection of free tools and resources for developers that can be downloaded from the website. The most useful tools that I personally like are the Test VMs for different IE versions.
All the Test Virtual Machines for Internet Explorer are available for Windows, Mac and Linux. These VM’s are a real time saver. You can download all the RAR files that are appropriate for your testing needs and all of them can be loaded in one PC.
You will be surprised, that you can even download a test VM for Internet explorer 6, running in XP!
Another useful free tool that I use from modern.ie is the “Site Scan”. As the name suggest, it scans your site for common coding problems. Just type in the URL on the given input field, and click on “Scan”. You can also download the open source version in GitHub.
This tool will help detect compatibility problems on IE that prevent users from getting a better experience in their web apps. After entering the desired URL for site scan, it will produce results indicating a check mark that means pass or “!” for suggested enhancements.
So now it’s been a year since the website modern.ie was launched and I would agree that it probably did saved a million of development hours for web developers out there for testing web sites using the free tools. Less time testing ! more time coding!
We hope you have found this edition of “To The Point” by Eleanor Boado to be helpful and informative. Look out for our next installment as we continue to explore unique topics from business to the latest technology.
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