Why IE doesn't play nicely | Boagworld - Web & Digital Advice

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Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Thursday, 13th July, 2006

Why IE doesn't play nicely

As all web designers know, Internet Explorer is the thorn in our collective flesh. Even with the dramatic improvements in IE7, it still finds ways to annoy. However, the nice chaps at Microsoft have gone some way to soothing our fevered brows.

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The estimated time to read this article is 3 minutes

Update: Thanks to all of you who pointed out that VMWare actually made their virtual PC free before Microsoft and Microsoft are just following suit. Kind of takes the edge off of my somewhat limited enthusiasm for the move!

I have to confess I am generally a bit of a Microsoft groupie. Unlike most designers, I don’t hate windows. In fact, I positively love the new version of Office and think Microsoft has improved a lot as a company recently. However, Internet Explorer still manages to extract swear words from me that would make my mother blush.

So if you are a web designer or web site owner looking to test your site on multiple versions of Internet explorer then head on over to the Microsoft Virtual PC website and download yourself a copy for free!

I can live with the CSS bugs thanks to conditional comments. I can even live with the fact that IE doesn’t support any of the cool stuff in CSS. I console myself with the fact that IE7 is so much better. Although even here my patience is tested, as the third Beta seems to reduce my PC to the speed of a ZX spectrum (am I the only one with this problem?).

No, what really gets to me is that you cannot run multiple versions of Internet Explorer together on the same machine. It sucks! I listened to Chris Wilson (lead developer on IE7) try to justify this travesty at the @media conference, but he did little to calm my hysteria. Although the reasons are all very logical, it does nothing to change the fact that I have to battle with this problem every day.

Sure, there are solutions of a sort:

I can download the hacked standalone versions of IE, cobbled together by other frustrated developers. However, although these are valiant endeavours, their consistency with the real version of IE is spotty to say the least.

Alternatively, I could pay shed loads of cash and buy something like VMWare, which allows me to run multiple "virtual" versions of an operating system within windows.

However at last Microsoft has shouldered some of its responsibility and made their version of VMWare (a product called Microsoft Virtual PC) free.

So if you are a web designer or web site owner looking to test your site on multiple versions of Internet explorer then head on over to the Microsoft Virtual PC website and download yourself a copy for free! Obviously, having to install multiple versions of Windows isn’t an ideal solution but at least it works and with Virtual PC it is about as painless as possible to do.

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