Testing In Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer

I guess I speak for all designers when I say that Internet Explorer is the worst browser to design for.  Each version has it’s own quirks and hacks.  Even when you write standards-based code, it will always render differently in Internet Explorer (esp. earlier versions).  I’ve completely given up on IE v. 5 and just test my layouts in IE v. 6 and above.  I figure that if you are still using IE v. 5,  you won’t be able to tell the difference between a broken layout if it hit you on the head anyway, so why bother?

As much as possible, I refrain from using any IE hacks on my CSS – except for the PNG fix.  To see how your website renders on Internet Explorer’s earlier versions, here are a couple of tools to help you out:

  • IE NetRenderer – Found at http://ipinfo.info/netrenderer. Just choose which version of IE you want to test for and enter the url of the website you are currently designing and it will return a snapshot of the site rendered according to the selected version.  I find this a quick and very useful tool especially if I just want to see how other websites (those I didn’t create) render.  It’s also useful for Mac users.
  • IETester – this is actually a software package that you install on your PC and is my tool of choice for testing all my websites.  I highly recommend using this tool instead of installing separate standalone versions of IE. Download the tool at http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage.
  • Lastly, there’s the standalone versions of IE.  If you prefer that, you may visit http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE where there is a compiled installation package with IE versions dating back to version 3.

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