Web developers have constantly had to fight the limitations associated with the intimate integration between Internet Explorer and Windows 7 when it comes to testing scenarios. While competitive browsers allow different versions to be installed and run side by side, the same is not valid for Internet Explorer. In fact, Windows makes it impossible to deploy and run various flavors of IE in parallel. This makes testing websites in IE6, IE7 and IE8 on the same machine nothing short of a pain. And while there are alternative solutions, and virtualization has certainly made it easier to run testing on all Internet Explorer versions still available, Microsoft is committed to make it even easier for developers to test their content. The launch of Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview is an illustrative example in this context.
“How many times have you had to debug your web pages on virtual or multiple machines running different versions of Internet Explorer? Or had to wait for a slow web service to return renderings of your pages? You don't have to do that anymore. Now you can debug your pages on multiple versions of IE on the same machine that you use for Web development,” revealed a member of the Expression team. “Expression Web SuperPreview for Windows Internet Explorer is a stand-alone visual debugging tool that makes it faster and easier to migrate your sites from IE6 to IE7 or IE8.”
Essentially, Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview is designed to streamline testing websites in IE8, IE7 and IE6. Since the three versions of the browser cannot co-exist or run concomitantly on the same Windows machine, the Expression Web SuperPreview is a breath of fresh air for developers looking for a solution to ensure that their content behaves in the same manner across all IE versions. Installing the tool requires .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.
“SuperPreview shows your web pages rendered in IE6 and either IE7 or IE8, depending on which version you have installed on your machine. You can view the pages side by side or as an onion-skin overlay and use rulers, guides and zoom/pan tools to precisely identify differences in layout. You can even compare your page comp to how the targeted browsers render the page,” the Expression team representative added. “To help you quickly identify problem elements, DOM highlighting shows absolute positions of the rendered elements and HTML elements display CSS properties.”
Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview is available for download here.
Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is available for download here.