Free browser testing with IE NetRenderer

If you design and code websites for a living then you grow to loathe Internet Explorer 6 (IE6). I can code a site to have it work perfectly in Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 7, and Camino. Then along comes IE6 and everything breaks.

For the next couple of hours and sometimes days, I’ll use Google to search for a solution. I’ll modify my stylesheets, tweak my XHTML code and hope that I find a successful hack so that my web page renders properly in IE6.

I have IE7 on my Windows machine and can’t test a site in IE 6. It’s difficult to have two versions of Internet Explorer on a single machine. How do you beta test a website in the worst web browser used by 42% of web users?

Smashing Magazine has a great article on Browser Tests, Services and Compatibility Test Suites that led me to IE NetRenderer — a fabulous and free browser compatibility testing service.

Just type in your problematic URL and you can view a screenshot (1016 x 741 pixels) as it would appear in IE5.5, IE6 or IE7. Brilliant! Another interesting option is to view an IE6 page overtop of an IE7 page so you can see how the rendering engines layout a page differently.

There are no limits to how many pages you can test with IE NetRenderer and it is absolutely free. If you like the service you can make a donation to IE NetRenderer.

Posted in Web Development at 10:22 PM