IETester: test IE5.5 to IE8 on the same computer
My favourite new webdev tool of the moment is IETester. You can use it to test pages in IE5.5, IE6, IE7 and IE8 all on the same machine without messing around with your main installed version of IE.
I was pretty amazed when I saw it because I’d always believed that it was a bit dodgy to run multiple versions of IE on the same machine. It always involved twiddling settings and I’d read that you risked not knowing what version of IE you’re really running.
This is pretty brilliant. It comes with a nice simple installer so it’s easy to get started. You can have multiple IE windows running the same instance so you can easily open a new window with whatever version you need and switch between them. It even supports splitting the window so you can look at multiple pages at the same time.
Don’t go deleting your virtual machines yet. Our very clever HTML guys have said that the rendering in IE6 isn’t always the same as what you’d get in an isolated virtual machine and that they’ve come across some problems in IE tester that they can’t replicate in real IE. This said, it still works 90% of the time and it’s a real handy tool to have to quickly try things in different versions.
The other thing is that it’s not as useful for debugging a problem as a virtual machine because you can’t install your favourite debugging tools. I need my webdev toolbar to poke around a webpage. It feels like going back to the nineties to debug anything without.
It’s also still alpha software so it’s not 100% stable yet. I haven’t personally had too many problems.