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Browser Testing with IE7 Beta Standalones

For years testing with Internet Explorer on the PC was a total pain. You had to have multiple boot systems, VMWare Machines or even just multiple computers, because you couldn’t install multiple copies of IE on the same PC operating system, because, according to Microsoft, IE was “part of the OS”. Yeah, ok.

Ultimately, Joe Maddalone came up with a way to exploit a rather obscure Windows feature using a “iexplorer.exe.local” and a set of files, and all was well with the world of IE testing. Position Is Everything has a great article outlining the technique and has tips for fine tuning it’s support for conditional comments as well.

As the beta cycles have proceeded on IE7 I’ve been watching, waiting, while I figured someone would cook up an IE7 standalone. Well, they did and then it was broken by security updates, and then today a co-worker found a link where someone’s done it again.

I saw it working on his laptop, and the registry changes are scary as is the fact that the tabs don’t quite work right, but otherwise it seems to be working OK.

Not sure I’m going to try it yet though, as it's not quite as clean as some of the other techniques for IE standalones. But it’s nice to have options and someone might like it.

So your for browser testing options are

  1. wait for another technique
  2. use one of the above techniques
  3. continue to use IE7 in a VMWare package
  4. rely on a Browsercam account
  5. use a Position Is Everything type solution, with a regular IE7 install and IE6 standalone

I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that of course, none of the standalone browser installs are endorsed by or supported by Microsoft. Go figure.

Your mileage my vary.

Update: this post in the IE development blog might explain the lack of tabs in the standalone IE7 setup.

Another update: New version of the IE7 standalone has been hacked together for IE7 beta 3.

May 1, 03:01 PM in Web Development (filed under Browsers)

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