One of the problems that many web designers face is the cross browsers compatibility issue between Internet Explorer and other browsers. When the design and alignment look fine in Firefox and Safari, it is quite likely that it will break in Internet Explorer. What makes it worst is that even within the various IE browsers, the code might not work as expected. What works in IE 7 doesn’t mean that it will work in IE 6. With the release of IE 8, it doesn’t seem to make the whole problem any easier (there is a feature in IE 8 that allows you to view sites in IE 7 mode, but it still doesn’t solve the fundamental problem) .
The second problem is that Microsoft doesn’t allow you to install several versions of IE in the same Windows (unless you hack it). If you install IE 7, it automatically replaces IE 6 and if you upgrade to IE 8, your IE 6 and 7 are gone. Even if you want to test your site in the various IE browsers, you won’t be able to do it (easily) within the same Windows.
If you are facing the above problems, then IETester could be the solution for you.
IETester is a Windows based software that allows you to view your website in IE5.5, IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8 simultaneously. It doesn’t require you to install all the IE browsers, except that you need IE 7 for it to function properly.
When you first open IETester, you will find that the interface is very similar to Microsoft Office 2007, especially with the Ribbon menubar.
On the Ribbon bar are buttons that allow you to view your site in IE 5.5, IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8. One good thing is that it allows you to open the browser in tabs so you can switch from one browsers to another easily. You can also place them side by side to view the rendering effect simulanteously.
IETester does not goes well with IE 6. If you are still using IE 6 in your system, you will find that you won’t be able to access the IE8 tab and the software crashes regularly. The solution to this is to upgrade your system browser to IE 7.
Another problem that I have found is that even when you have IE7, if the first tab you open in IETester is IE 6, the software will crash. What I did to overcome this is to first open an IE 7 or 8 tab, then follow by the IE 6 tab. Everything should work fine from then on.
If you have installed the Debug bar from the same developer, you can even open up the debug sidebar to check the flow of your code and hunt down the bug.
There is also an option for you to view the source code right within the software. It even allows you to view how IE interprets your code.
While IETester is still in the alpha version, I have found it to be useful and stable. No doubt there are still some bugs in the software, but the overall experience has been a very positive one. For Web developers and designers, this is definitely a great software you must have.
Does IETester works for you? What other ways do you use to check your website for cross browsers compatibility?