Introducing modern.IE – Testing sites for Internet Explorer made easier

Today we are introducing modern.IE, a free set of tools and resources designed to make it easier for developers to ensure their sites work beautifully across Internet Explorer as well as other modern browsers.

As part of the modern.IE release, we’re excited to announce a special partnership with BrowserStack, a leading browser testing service that lets developers test their site on any browser on any Windows OS. For any web developer that visits BrowserStack via modern.IE, we’re offering three months of this service for free over the next year.

IE9 and the recently released IE10 represent an entirely new chapter in IE’s long history. We have made a lot of changes over the last several years: adopting automatic updates to move customers to the latest version of IE; the introduction of Platform Previews for early developer feedback; and the full embrace of modern web standards, coupled with cutting edge performance and advanced touch capabilities, just to name a few.

At the same time, we recognize that customers on older versions of IE continue to be a real challenge for developers testing their sites, particularly for those developers on non-Windows devices. We want to help. We want the web to move forward. And we genuinely want web developers to spend more time innovating and less time testing. That is where modern.IE comes in.

 

 

A new code detection wizard to detect common coding issues

modern.IE is part of our commitment to offer the tools and resources that make developing for the web –and IE – just a little bit easier. As part of this, modern.IE features a wizard that scans for common coding practices that might prevent users from having their best experience on a site. Developers start by entering a webpage URL that they want to test:

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In a few seconds, modern.IE reports the webpage results in the below three categories, and includes recommendations on how to update the site:

1. Address common problems that result from supporting older versions of IE.
This wizard detects the most common compatibility issues – like an outdated jQuery web framework – and helps developers find a solution quickly. We also indicate when there are known compatibility issues that might prevent a site from rendering in the latest version or pre-release of IE. Together with Platform Previews, this can make it easier for developers to plan for and address differences from version to version. For security and privacy reasons, we don’t disclose these technical details on the site. Instead, developers can easily contact us, receive this info, and get IE engineering team support at no cost.

2. Help the site work well across browsers, across devices.
The wizard also includes a set of emerging best practices on the web that apply to the growing range of form-factors – mobile, desktop, tablets, even large-screen TVs. Implementing feature detection, coding with CSS prefix best practices, building plug-in free, and using responsive web design can each save testing time across new browsers and devices, and provide a more consistent user experience in each of them.

3. Consider building with some new features in Windows 8.
This includes suggestions for touch-enabled browsing and Start Screen site tile(s) for your site.

The wizard doesn’t offer a complete checklist for coding the modern web, but it is intended to focus on the things that can make a real difference in the overall user experience. We plan to continually improve, and add to, modern.IE and we want the developer community to help us in this effort. We encourage developers to share their feedback on how we might improve it.

Free Virtual Testing Service with BrowserStack

Another big pain point for developers is access to the many browsers and platforms required to thoroughly test for the web today. modern.IE includes special access to BrowserStack, a leading virtual browser testing site that lets developers test their site on any browser available on Windows – regardless of what OS their test machine is running. For developers who visit the site via modern.IE, we’re offering three months of free service over the next year.

Services like BrowserStack mean that developers won’t need to worry about maintaining their own test machines as that the browsers on the service are maintained in the cloud.

We have also created add-ins for developers using Chrome or Firefox, which will give developers single click access to the BrowserStack virtual testing service right from their browser of choice.

Additionally, we are making available free virtual images for developers to download and run local versions of Internet Explorer with Windows for testing – even on Mac, Linux, or PC. Developers can download these on modern.IE.

Best practices and sample code for cross-browser coding

After spending time with, and listening to, hundreds of developers and partners from across the globe, we have compiled the top 20 tech tips that address most of the compatibility issues developers have coding for the web – and IE – today.

It can be a challenge to code for modern browsers while supporting older versions in a simple or cost-minimal way. With so many dev tools, code frameworks, and searchable raw code, it’s not always clear what the best resources are to build with. While this list of tech tips doesn’t include every insight shared by developers, it represents some of the most common patterns and practices to make coding for the web easier. The list has also been moderated by two coding experts we trust to help developers: Dave Methvin, President of the jQuery foundation, and Rey Bango, our own Technical Evangelist and former member of the jQuery Project. We want to make this list better over time, so give us feedback.

Helping build a more modern web

modern.IE is just another part of our continued commitment to help developers spend less time testing and more time building amazing sites. The next time you’re testing your site, try out the tools on modern.IE and start your next project with BrowserStack.

Ryan Gavin

General Manager Internet Explorer