Internet Explorer Testing Strategy?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by splitpea, Nov 6, 2009.

?

How do you test websites in IE?

  1. Keep a separate computer running Windows

    7 vote(s)
    53.8%
  2. Bootcamp, with free IE VPC VMs in Windows (or other Bootcamp strategy)

    4 vote(s)
    30.8%
  3. buy multiple licenses for Windows so you can run a separate VM for each version of IE

    1 vote(s)
    7.7%
  4. run one copy of Windows in a VM with something like IEtester

    2 vote(s)
    15.4%
  5. run one copy of Windows in a VM with IE standalones

    5 vote(s)
    38.5%
  6. use Webshots or the equivalent

    3 vote(s)
    23.1%
  7. run Microsoft's free IE VPC VMs under OS X somehow

    1 vote(s)
    7.7%
  1. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    How do you guys test your sites in Internet Explorer?

    Some thoughts on the options...

    1) keep a separate Windows computer for testing (ugh)
    2) use Bootcamp (super inconvenient)
    3) buy multiple licenses for Windows so you can run a separate VM for each version of IE (expensive)
    4) run one copy of Windows in a VM with something like IEtester (not 100% reliable)
    5) run one copy of Windows in a VM with IE standalones (not really available for IE 7 or 8)
    6) use Webshots or the equivalent (can't test rollovers, javascript, etc)
    7) run Microsoft's free IE VPC VMs (is this even possible in Parallels or Fusion?)

    Is there a way to do this that I'm missing?
     
  2. notnek macrumors 6502

    notnek

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    #2
    I use to have a VM for each version because I found IETester to be unreliable. But now Adobe has opened up registration for BrowserLab. You should check it out.

    https://browserlab.adobe.com/
     
  3. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Does BrowserLab provide for testing behavior (hover states, Javascript, etc)?
     
  4. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

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    #4
    I got Parallels 5 running XP Home OEM with MSIE standalone. For other MSIE testing I use browsershots.org which I find very helpful.

    -jim
     
  5. design-is macrumors 65816

    design-is

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    #5
    No, just still image comparison.

    If you're interested, I did a blog post a while ago on browser testing. Might be useful.

    /Doug
     
  6. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

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    Location:
    USA
    #6
    I test in IE less and less because I just don't seem to care much anymore. That's only for a personal web site though, not recommended for anything commercial. I even started blocking IE6 users on certain pages, and may block my entire site from them with encouragement to upgrade. I'd likely block IE7 as well as that was similar to Vista, a half-hearted attempt to make something better. I'd say at least 80% of IE6 visitors on my site are spambots faking their user-agent trying to do naughty things, at least from what I can see in my logs.

    I have WinXP in a virtual machine on my Mac using an old XP disc I have when I need to view things. I also occasionally check things while at work on my XP machine there too. I never use sites like BrowserShots as I generally care more about seeing if interactions are working, such as if IE is dying on my JavaScript. I rarely run into CSS issues with IE anymore (at least issues I would care about) as I've become accustomed to them so those web sites offer me nothing beneficial. It's too bad BrowserLab only does stills too, it looked like it could have potentially been useful.
     
  7. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Standalone for IE 6? Which version do you have installed as the main IE instance in your VM?

    Thanks, nice article.
     
  8. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

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    #8
    Yeah, I think it's 6 as I didn't apply any updates yet and XP Home comes with 6. I don't use it for anything except that stupid browser. As I run Parallels, it would not be difficult to clone it and run another with MSIE 8 and service packs applied as well, vm sessions are extremely handy for things like this.
     
  9. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Once installed, you can clone it without needing another license key?
     
  10. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Sadly not an option, since IE 6 represents almost as much traffic as Firefox does on most of my clients' sites. Seriously, I can't wait for the day when that browser vanishes from the face of the planet.
     
  11. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

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    #11
    RE: Cloning XP Home and licensing

    I've not tried it yet, but being it's a complete disk image clone after activation, I recall from reading help on this subject in the past that the System Idenifier (SID) associated with that machine and the activation key are still the same so the activation routine won't be able to tell the environment has changed. Even if I am prompted to activate and it fails, others have mentioned I can simply call the Microsoft 800 activation number and go through the same menu driven process in their phone system as if re-installing it on the same PC after a crash, i.e. they give me another SID associated with the same activation key stored on their side and both SIDs would work as they don't "delete" the old one. Anyway, I have no reason to run both vm sessions at the same time (i.e. two XP's at once) --- I could be wrong on this, might try it this weekend if I can find the time. It's Windows, it's not high on my list of concerns!

    -jim
     
  12. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Ah, that makes sense. If you do try cloning it... would you test whether you can run two copies side by side?
     
  13. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

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    #13
    Sure thing. :)
     
  14. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Thank you!
     
  15. Dal123 macrumors 6502a

    Dal123

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    #15
    So how can you have different versions of Internet Explorer on a Virtual PC on your mac (Windows that runs on your mac)?
    I have two other computers (PC's) and I checked my site on them and they both have different CSS problems. So would be nice to have different versions as they all have their own horible problems :(.
     
  16. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

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    #16
    Using programs like MultipleIEs that's installs IE3-6.

    Microsoft also offers Expression Web SuperPreview that can compare IE6/7/8. Paid version lets you compare other browsers as well like Firefox and Safari. Haven't used it, but looks promising.

    There's also Internet Explorer Collections that can install IE 1-8, though you can select what versions to install. Anything < 6 is a waste of time.
     
  17. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    Pa
    #17
    IE6 is dead and gone, in my opinion. It came out in 2001, and the only people left still using it CHOOSE to use it. Maybe not personally, but it's not my issue if some IT department somewhere doesn't want to let their users use a modern web browser.

    Otherwise, FF, Safari, Chrome, and IE7+ (with that meta tag) all support standards well enough that a screen shot from browsershots.org (or whatever that site is called) are good enough for my testing purposes.

    but my main PC is a Windows machine, so I can just look over there too ;)
     
  18. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

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    #18
    Using Parallels 5 I cloned an already activated XP Home and no activation issues when I ran the clone, as expected. When I ran both side by side, naturally the second one complained a little with those system alert popups in the lower right about sharing the CD resource and a duplicate network name, but the browser in each worked fine. Like I said, normally I'd not run both at the same time, but if you did, either ignore the message windows or tweak the settings a bit between the original and the clone. I never bothered to go that far, I can live with it the way it is.

    -jim
     
  19. Dal123 macrumors 6502a

    Dal123

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    #19
    Thanks angelwatt :).
     
  20. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    To the person who voted for running the free IE VPC VMs under OS X -- how are you accomplishing that?

    If you're losing sales (or ad revenue, or whatever) because your site is broken for 20% of your users, then it is your issue. If you don't have to worry about that, I envy you immensely!

    Awesome! Thank you for checking that out! This is increasingly looking like the least painful option.

    But sadly you can't check both 7 and 8 using it.

    I've heard really bad things about the reliability of this one. Has anyone had good results with it?
     
  21. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

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    #21
    IE8 has a IE7 compatibility mode, which makes that a non-issue if you have IE8 installed. I don't think IE7 will ever have much usage since anyone who can run IE7 can run IE8, so only IE6/8 need to be worried about from my perspective. Though that's a work in progress transition.
     
  22. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Everything I've read indicates that the IE7 mode in IE8 is a compatibility mode, not an identical rendering and javascript behavior mode. I agree that IE7's reign will likely be short, but it's currently a browser that I need to support. And as lovely as W3Schools' browser data is, it's self-selected for people interested in web development, and not representative of the browser share on most sites -- only your own site stats can really tell you what your visitors are using.
     
  23. trailofdan macrumors newbie

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #23
    I'm currently got parallels installed on my laptop that's running IE7, safari and firefox (although I'm having problems with browser contents not loading). I've only got this installed because of IE, which I can't stand. Haven't seen any of my sites on IE6 and to be honest I don't want to, why should I spend loads of extra time getting a site correct for such an old and crap browser :confused:
     

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