If you are a web developer, March 14th was an exciting day. It was on that day that Microsoft officially released IE9. What did that mean to a web developer? It meant they were just that much closer to coding sites for browsers which will more or less treat most code the same. It meant the beginning of being able to consistently use CSS3 and HTML5. And it meant that maybe we’ve got that next-to-last nail in the coffin in IE6, the bane of every web developer’s existence.
But what did it mean to a tester? Well, for a tester, it meant another browser to test.
But don’t worry. With good planning, it may not necessarily mean more work. There are just a few things to remember:
- If you upgrade to IE9, you can’t keep IE8. There are some multiples out there, but I haven’t had much luck with them.
- You can emulate both IE8 and IE7 in IE9 by clicking F12 to open web developer tools, and choosing your browser mode. This should help you with your most basic browser testing. But for more involved testing, nothing replaces a stand-alone browser. To do this, you can build virtual machines with independent browsers, or use a tool like Browsercam.
- If you do install IE9, don’t forget you’ve done so. When doing work, I use both Firefox and IE for unit testing. I had completely forgotten that I upgraded a few days earlier, and was amazed at how code that I thought would fail in IE wound up working. Well, it was working great in IE9, but was failing in IE8, which I nearly forgot to test.
- Consider dropping IE6 from your test plans. It’s important to look at your stats to see if that’s feasible. But at this point, testing for 4 versions of a browser is very time consuming, especially when one of them (IE6), may a) display dramatically differently than the rest; and b) should be going away very soon.