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IE and Linux


Doing web development under Linux requires to no longer use Internet Explorer. For web site testing the only available solutions are dual-boot, virtualization or WINE.

I have the feeling that picking to use dual-boot is like not actually switching to Linux. That's because you'd code everything in Windows, test everything in Windows, with all Windows browser: IE, Firefox and Opera. Not a true switch. You can't code everything in Linux then do a quick boot in Windows to see if the cool CSS layout renders properly in IE 6. You still need to have all your web development tools (your IDE, your FTP/SSH client, etc) in Windows.

Virtualization is a nicer solution: you can do all coding and testing in Linux. Once you've booted Windows in VMWare Server (insert your favourite virtualization software) you can simply load the page and refresh it when you need to test something. Quite nice. I use this for "complex web applications" and for final testing of any web site. You only need a clean install of Windows.

For occasional and quick web development testing I mostly like WINE. Yes, installing IE 6 in WINE is (very) annoying.

However, there's IEs4Linux - a script which automatically installs IE 6, IE 5.5 and IE 5. It's very easy to use and quick to install.

Also, very recently there's beta support for IE 7 installation - which is quite awesome.

Why is this better than virtualization *and* dual-boot? You can have a context menu item in Opera which opens your page in IE 6 and IE 7 in just a few seconds after clicking (I do, hehe). Nothing to boot, and it's faster than virtualization.

I even use WINE with Opera 9 + Voice enabled for web development. Installing Opera 9 in WINE is only a matter of running the installer in WINE - easy.

Bottom line is: are you a web developer who would like to switch to Linux but believes he can no longer test his web sites with IE? The complete answer is: you can test your sites in IE, quick and easy. There's no long answer. You do not have to drop compatibility with IE. You can make the switch™. :)