Using Internet Explorer 8 for IE6 and IE7 testing

Posted on October 02, 2009

I personally don’t care what my websites look like in IE6 or 7 (or 8) but for those who do there is neat little trick to test your site for these browsers.

The hard way

If you’re on Windows XP or older you can use a standalone version of IE6. If you’re on Windows 7 (not the beta though), you can use Microsoft’s free “IE Application Compatibility VPC Image” to run XP with IE6 or 7 in a virtual machine. If you’re on any other operating system (Windows Vista, Mac OS, Linux) and have a Windows XP license you can run it using a VM like VirtualBox.

The easy way

If you’re already running IE8 there is an easier way. Compatibility View will render pages as IE7, and a missing doctype will cause pages to be rendered as IE6 in quirks mode.

You can simply remove the doctype from your pages when you’re testing for IE6 or ― if you’re using PHP ― add a simple switch:

<?php if ( !isset($_GET['ie6']) ): ?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "
<?php endif ?>

Now you can simply add “?ie6” to the URL in IE8 to see what your page looks like in IE6. You can even keep several tabs open to make sure it works with all versions.

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IE6ify Bookmarklet

Posted on June 26, 2009

Today I created yet another utterly useless (but hopefully mildly entertaining) application; IE6ify.

It’s a bookmarklet that brings the joy of browsing the web with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 to modern browsers. For almost a decade IE6 has managed to intrigue me by breaking standards-compliant websites in the most unpredictable ways. Whatever you did to fix a problem only made things worst, like an ugly dragon that grows two heads every time you cut one off.

Since it’s not possible to run IE6 natively on Windows Vista or 7 and IE6 in Linux Wine is a nightmare, I figured a lot of you would miss the old days. With IE6ify you can break any website in true IE6 fashion.


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