Yesterday I wrote about my Multiple Internet Explorer-Single PC Dilemma and so far, I have found a solution to my dilemma. Before you can get a grasp of why I am suggesting this as a solution, I would like to get into some further analysis of the problem and why it fits in very well.

IETester - Browser TestingAs a web developer and designer, we are always tempted to add some many features and flashy functionalities to our websites. However, the most important bit of any professional web designer and developer is that in whatever he does, he should always ensure that web standards are followed. However, this comes with a challenge as not all web browsers abide by the web standards. After ensuring that standards are followed, many are particularly interested in ensuring that the website renders properly in Microsoft Internet Explorer which doesn’t abide by the web standards and yet a lot of people use it because it is shipped with Microsoft Windows operating systems. The most versions people are currently worried about are Ms IE7, IE6 and possibly IE5.5. You can’t just ignore this problem as many of your clients or even web surfers are using these versions and so you need to ensure that your website is rendered properly in these browsers even if they don’t abide by the web standards thus making browser testing are significant task being making any website go public.

With that said, there are some many solutions are available with Browsershots being one of the very potential candidates. With this, you can test your website in most of the web browsers across the different operating systems including Linux, Windows, Mac and BSD. You enter the URL of the website you would like to test, wait for a few minutes or even ages and then you get screen-shots of how the website looks like in the different browsers. Though this looks to be great, people with little bandwidth or who don’t have reliable internet access are kinda flown out because it can take ages before you get the screen-shots.

Then there are other alternatives of, for example, using Multiple IE from Tredosoft if you are still using XP or using a Virtual PC for some versions of Vista. This helps as it is an offline solution to doing browser testing, however, with these alternatives, the amount of resources like memory, space etc taken to do browser testing is also significantly costly.

Thats where IETester comes in,

IETester is a free WebBrowser that allows you to have the rendering and javascript engines of IE8 beta 1, IE7 IE 6 and IE5.5 on Vista and XP, as well as the installed IE in the same process.

Though IETester is still in its alpha release, it is a great tool to solve the problem as you can browser test in IE 5.5, IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8 beta 1 in just a single browser and websites can be opened in different tabs providing great flexible. However, it has some problems and limitations including:

  • 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.

Of course, this has been a preliminary research, I still think that there are other tools which can help in browser testing. If any or anything else, please free feel to leave a comment below

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