Testing in both IE 6 and IE 7
Emil Stenström asks a very important question in his Open letter to the IE Team. With IE 7 now at beta 2 it’s really time for web professionals to start testing their work in it. But installing IE 7 replaces IE 6, which means you can’t test in IE 6 - currently the most widely used browser - anymore. Considering the huge amounts of CSS related bugs in that browser, this is a serious problem.
Emil wants to know which of the following options is recommended by the IE Team (my comments added):
- Get another computer. Buying a new computer just for testing a new version of a browser? Yeah right.
- Install a virtual machine. This is the only viable option the way I see it, and it is how I currently test in IE 7. But you have to pay for it unless you already have Virtual PC or a similar application. And do you need to buy a second copy of Windows if you create two virtual machines even though they never run at the same time?
- Drop support for IE6. Oh, I’d love to. Maybe in five or six years.
- Hack IE7 to work standalone. Seems like it’s impossible to mention Internet Explorer without also talking about hacking. A hacked, unofficial install that doesn’t treat conditional comments properly? I think not.
What the web developer community really needs is an official, free, Microsoft supported way of running IE 6 and IE 7 on the same computer. Not necessarily at the same time, but without installing and reinstalling between launches.
So, dear IE Team, which is it?