When developing or testing your web application, you often have to support different browsers and versions. On Window machines testing for different versions of Firefox, Opera and Chrome is not a real problem as these browsers all allow you to install different versions on one machine. Only Internet Explorer (IE) is always a bit more difficult, because it’s integrated in the OS (Windows) of the machine. This mostly ends up installing multiple IE versions on multiple (virtual) machines, which is not a nice way of working when developing. Can we do this different and easier? Yes, we can!
Update (4-4-2012): IETester now supports IE 5.5 up to IE 10!
The solution is quite easy and even easier then having multiple version of Firefox, Opera or Chrome on your machine.
How? Just try IETester. This is a free web browser that emulates IE5.5, IE 6, 7 and 8 RC1 in one browser. You can even open multiple IE 6, IE 7 and/or IE 8 tabs at the same time!
See below an example of this Amis blog site in tabs of IE5.5, IE6, IE7 and IE 8. As you can see when opening this site in IE 5.5 a popup appears.
Unlike IE, IETester doesn’t integrate with your OS. It even doesn’t use the Windows IE dll’s, as it has all the necessary dll’ onboard in its own installed directory. So when you have IETester installed, you can also copy the entire folder to another machine and it works (just open the executable).
This has helped me a lot on my current project at a client. This organisation wants to migrate from IE 6 to 7, so we have to test if our developed web applications are IE 7 compliant. Only I’m not allowed and don’t have the rights to install software, let alone a Windows update with IE 7. But I can copy a folder including an executable and open the executable. So by copying the installed folder of IETester, I’m able to test if our web applications runs in IE 7 without having IE 7 installed.
Tip: you can customize by adding small buttons in the top bar and minimizing the huge ribbon – as shown below- to maximize the screen size of your website.
To my opinion this is a nice example of lean and mean. It simply does what you want, it’s easy to use and without all kinds of unnecessary bells and whistles.
IETester homepage (download available): http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage