Testing IE with OS X

We were getting reports that some features of Endorse.me weren’t working on corporate environments, to which I groaned because I knew exactly what that meant: IE is misbehaving[1] and causing some Javascript to break.

We test the site in IE8, but didn’t expect that anyone[2] would be visiting using IE7. Unfortunately, the rumors about corporate America’s IT departments are true, and a good portion of our users were having a terrible experience.

After googling around for a bit for a way to test in an older version of IE without booting up a 5 year old box, I came across ievms, an excellent tool from xdissent which allows you to install a virtual machine for IE6, 7, and 8, in a (nearly) painfree process. A single curl command is not bad.

I was concerned about being able to boot a VM on my 13-inch MacBook Air with all my other applications, but so far, I haven’t had any problems.

So now I can finally test in IE7! Except that also means I just found a bunch of IE7 related bugs that I now have to spend the rest of the night perusing Stack Overflow to find answers for. Ahh, the joy of web development.

[1] Some people will take exception to the use of this term. For those people, I suggest you read “behaving differently”.

[2] By this of course I mean, “a significant enough portion of the population to justify the development time.”