New on modern.IE: Free VM Downloads, Windows 8 QuickStart Kits, Enhanced Code-Scanning Tools, and More

April 2nd, 2013

Today, we are updating modern.IE with enhanced tools and resources to help you test your sites for modern browsers like Internet Explorer 9 and 10, while also helping you support older versions of browsers. These enhancements address the most common feedback, suggestions, and requests that we have received from enthusiastic users since introducing the site in January.

With today’s update, we are making available a new offer, new downloads, and tool enhancements on modern.IE. Some highlights include:

  • Order a Windows QuickStart Kit for Mac Developers, including Parallels Desktop 8 and Windows 8 on a USB stick shipped to you for a $25 donation to select charities  (Update 10:45am PDT 4/2/2013: The Windows Quickstart offer sold out quickly. Given how popular these were, we will look into making other offers available in the near future.)
  • Download new virtual machines for IE10 on Windows 7 and IE8 on Windows XP
  • Scan a Web page URL now identifies more interoperability issues, even for sites located behind a firewall.
  • Availability in 18 languages

We continue to offer 3 months of free BrowserStack access so you can easily test across browsers and OS platforms without changing your primary development environment.

We are excited to see the developer reception to modern.IE so far. We appreciate the thoughtful feedback in tweets and suggestions you have offered on ways we can help save time and improve how you test your Web experiences. Today’s modern.IE release incorporates much of that feedback. Please do keep the comments coming, as we will continue to update the site regularly.

For the Mac user: Get the Windows QuickStart Kit including Windows 8 with Parallels Desktop 8

We heard that the most common way you test across browsers is through virtualization of browser and operating system combinations using your favorite virtualization platform, such as Hyper-V, VMWare, VirtualBox, or Parallels. However, costs to purchase software and licensing can be difficult if you’re that startup looking for your first big breakthrough.

Today we’re making it just a little easier with a new combo offer: We’ll ship you a copy of Windows 8 and Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac virtualization on a USB stick for a $25 donation to your favorite charity, courtesy of our friends at Swish(Update 10:45am PDT 4/2/2013: The Windows Quickstart offer sold out quickly. Given how popular these were, we will look into making other offers available in the near future.)

We only have a limited supply available. You can get the details and pre-order here.

Download new virtual machines

You told us that you want to be able to access as many testing environments as possible with minimal extra effort. Today we announce new virtual machines that are available for free:

  • IE10 on Windows 7
  • IE8 on Windows XP

We also received lots of feedback from developers on Mac and Linux concerning how to simplify your testing experience. We have added Parallels for Mac images for all IE versions. Many of you had some challenges downloading the VMs previously, and in response, we have updated the VM installation process to be simpler. Complete download information is available here.

Scan a Web page URL for common coding issues: Enhanced tools now also run behind a firewall

Based on your feedback and experience, we have enhanced the scan a Web page URL tool to provide more flexibility and to offer more detailed and actionable guidance. Over the past two months, you have scanned hundreds of thousands of URLs – from top sites like Facebook, Pandora, and Yahoo! to the local pizza store near you. We have studied the most common coding issues reported on these sites and looked at which issues resulted in fixes or enhancements to the site. We also received hundreds of new ideas directly from the community. The result was a set of new enhancements that make the scanner a more complete testing solution for your site:

  • Scan your Web pages behind a firewall: The most common feedback we heard is that today, so many sites include authentication, are internal or commercial line-of-business Web apps, or are otherwise not available to the public Internet. Now, you can install a local instance of modern.IE to scan your code while keeping your project secure from others (including Microsoft). Install it through node.js and access your site via localhost.
  • Deeper scan for common IE compatibility issues: We heard from you that the first step when testing for IE is knowing whether your site is on the Compatibility View list, but what you really want to know is how to fix the underlying compatibility issues. Now on modern.IE, you can scan your site using our Compat Inspector tool using browser automation, provided by Sauce Labs, without adding a single line of code to your site.  The result is a line-item list of suggested fixes.
  • Breakpoint detection for responsively designed sites – We found that you were most interested in learning how to adapt your Web experiences to support the growing range of devices – from phones and tablets to the big screen IE on XBOX. About 20% of top traffic and influential sites now offer some form of mobile-optimized experience – a significant growth in the past year. The scan a Web page URL tool now has built-in logic to detect when a Web page has been optimized for the common horizontal screen resolutions (or “breakpoints”). While we recommend that you let your site’s content determine which breakpoints to build for, we do suggests the most common ones across a range of devices.
  • Touch-optimization detection: As touch support evolves toward a Web standard, we also learned that sites currently implement touch support in a variety of ways. modern.IE now detects Touch functionality across multiple JavaScript-, HTML-, and CSS- based techniques.
  • Browser plug-ins: Recently we announced that Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 and Windows RT have been updated to enable Flash content to run by default. If you want to check to see if your site is on the Flash CV block list, you can now scan for this on modern.IE.

We have also made dozens of bug fixes in the scanning tool to handle Web pages that used less common practices or frameworks & libraries. If you scanned a Web page and got an error, we encourage you to try it again!

modern.IE for the World-Wide Web

modern.IE will be available in 18 languages throughout the next two days, making it a bit easier for site developers around the world. The supported languages include Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese (Simplified, Traditional, and Hong Kong), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Spain and Latin America), Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

modern.IE – Testing made easier

We will continue to enhance modern.IE with your help. Please continue to share your feedback on this resource. Please continue to let us know what you like, and what we’re missing!

— Sandeep Singhal, Group Program Manager, Internet Explorer