8 Ways to Test Your Website Across Old Versions of Internet Explorer
These tools can help you make sure your site works on Internet Explorer versions IE 8 and earlier.
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Testing your website on Internet Explorer is a nightmare for developers as well as testers, especially those who are well versed with modern web technologies. Most frameworks, like Bootstrap or the latest versions of ECMA scripts, do not work when the code is rendered on old versions of Internet Explorer, IE 8 and backward. However, client or business requirements often need a website to run properly in all versions of IE. They face a problem since they don’t have old IE versions installed where they can run the tests. In this article, we shall discuss several procedures for testing your application in old IE versions.
1. Inbuilt Developer Tools
The first thing a developer needs to try is using the inbuilt developer tools on recent versions of IE. The best part is, developer console provides users with the option of going back to old versions of IE where the tests can be carried out. However, it should be kept in mind that this works only in IE 11, IE 10 and IE 9. Since Microsoft has stopped providing support for IE, Microsoft Edge does not have this feature. Also, those tools may not function properly as the rendering engines that are used in original browsers. So, while these tools are useful for developers who are trying to replicate a bug, they are not that helpful when it comes to unit testing an application for finding new bugs.
2. Virtual Machines
If your budget is enough, it would be ideal to set up one or more virtual machines and get old IE versions installed in them. Thus, all the functionalities can be tested properly since the rendering engine will not cause any complication. The best feature of virtual machines is that, if the hardware configuration is good enough, multiple VMs can run parallelly across Windows, Mac as well as Linux.
This cloud-based cross-browser testing platform allows you to test your website flawlessly on all the versions of IE, from IE 6 to IE 11 along with other major browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari etc. You can run the tests using the local browser of your machine. You can also test your website on different resolutions as well as different operating systems.
IETester is a software that is free to download. It allows you to run your web pages across multiple versions of Internet Explorer, even as low as IE5.5 It also allows the user to check how the website performs on different browser versions in Windows 10, 7, Vista and XP. The fact that makes it a user favorite is that it does not create multiple shortcuts. You only must launch a single program and the different browser versions can be opened across multiple tabs. However, there is one problem. You cannot inspect and view source elements. To view source codes, you will need to install DebugBar, a plug-in released by the same developers.
If you are using Windows XP, this program is ideal. It installs multiple standalone versions of Internet Explorer on your system where you can run the test cases. Unfortunately, since the maintenance of the program is stopped, it cannot be used on higher Windows versions. If no other tools are available, it is better to install Windows XP on a virtual machine and install MultipleIE on it.
6. Utilu IE Collection
This is probably the best software available. The reason behind its popularity is that it offers a complete package of all the available versions of IE till date. It includes even older versions like IE 1 or 2. If any versions are not compatible with the operating system you are using, the installer will detect it and install compatible versions only. There is only one problem, it does not offer a single program. Individual IE versions can be launched separately if you want to execute the test cases.
7. Test IE
This is a plug-in available at the Google Chrome Web Store. Shared by BrowserStack, it allows the user to test websites across all the versions of Internet Explorer, from IE 6 to IE 11. All you need to do is open the URL to test, select the plugin from the toolbar and after choosing the version of IE that you want to test, it will reload the page, providing a view of how it will look like on Internet Explorer.
8. IE NetRenderer
This is a platform that allows users to test their websites across different versions of IE, ranging from IE 5.5 to IE 10. It does not display the entire page, but only a screenshot of the content displayed in the viewport. It takes only a few seconds to render the screenshot after you have selected the version of IE where you need to run the tests.
Apart from the tools and software listed above, there are other platforms like BrowserStack, BrowserShot etc, that will allow you to test your website across all the old versions of Internet Explorer. Start testing your website, and do let me know if you have information on any other tools or platforms.
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