Recently, I have received requests from clients to have websites compatible with older versions of Internet Explorer. If you have ever coded a website, you know that making a website look and work correctly in any version of Microsoft Internet Explorer® (IE) older than version 8 can be a real pain in the patootie. Luckily, I came across certain tools to help alleviate some of the hassle of testing and troubleshooting issues that come with designing and coding websites for older versions of IE.
If you have a Mac, you can use NetRender. This site will let you take a look at a single page of your website and show how it would display based on the version of IE you chose. (Note this tool renders and then displays an image of the page, so you will not be able to interact with the site or see any moving elements.)
For Microsoft Windows®, or a Windows partition
The remaining solutions require you to have a PC running Windows, or a Windows partition on your Mac, with either having Windows 7 or Vista installed.
There are two ways to test multiple versions of IE on a single system. The first is IE Tester. This program has multiple versions of IE in a single tool so you can open up different tabs, all with different versions of your site to see how they look and work. This allows you to identify the areas you will need to tweak and those to make exception rules for. The second tool is IE Collection. This program installs versions of IE going as far back as 1, which is not necessary unless you want to have a laugh.
Now that you can view your site on multiple versions of IE, there is still one last tool that can really help. If you design and code websites, you most likely use Firebug or something similar, depending on which browser you use. But what do you do if you do not have any good web developer tools for older versions of IE? That is where Firebugger comes in. Enter a web address from any browser into Firebugger and it provides you with a debugger bar that allows you to manipulate a page like you would with Firebug.
Hopefully these tools will come in handy when you have a client asking why the website does not act right on IE6. You now have the ability to make a website look as good as it did when you showed it to them in an updated version of Firefox, Chrome or Opera.