Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Testing Old Versions of IE in Linux

As much as I wish people would move off their old versions of IE and Firefox as fast as possible, it's rather hard to induce this. Microsoft has tried hard to move people to IE7 by making it a Windows Update. However, the simple truth is that when developing web sites, you must support many different browsers, including those old, terrible versions that you wished had never been released.

There is a small problem with this: finding these older versions of IE is rather difficult. Oh they are out there somewhere, but it's not easy and obvious. I usually resort to downloading some version of IE 5.5 off of a sketchy website, and then proceed to do multiple AV scans of the file I've downloaded.

And what should come to the rescue...Linux, naturally! I recently found a project called IEs4Linux that installs IE 5, 5.5, and 6 off of Wine. It's meant to be used for web designers to test site compatibility in older IE versions. Personally, it will be useful for my own web testing -- and now I don't have to use Windows to test IE anymore.


Anonymous said...

Very wonderful information on testing web applications on multiple platforms. I read this blog regularly. Please keep it going.

WG: said...

I love this website. I read it constantly and cant seem to make any sense of it. Keep on keepin on.

searchforquality said...

Thanks for the support!

mike macgirvin said...

That's a fabulous find - multi-browser testing is already painful. But I question whether a MS browser running under Linux via an emulator is really a reliable test of the platform. One has to be able to separate out the browser from its environment in order to qualify the test plan. So yeah, you can see if the screen looks pretty much the same and that's after all 99% of the requirement. But once you get into preferences and local filesystem artifacts and even a good deal of JavaScript code the emulated environment could be called into question just as easily as the browser could. I could argue that the emulated display is suspect as well. I think you have to wrap the entire test in a 'sanity check only' qualifier. If everything works, it's probably just fine - but if something doesn't work right, the only thing you can say is that it doesn't work right. You really can't say for certain where the fault is.

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