If you’re like me — and you’re a web developer — you’ve been testing your creations in Internet Explorer (IE) version 7 (beta 3). (You should be, anyway.) But this leaves one problem: Trillions of Internet users are still visiting your sites with IE6, thus you still need to test with it. One solution is to have two computers, one running IE6, the other IE7. But this may not be feasible for everyone. Another option is to run concurrent versions on the same (Windows XP) computer. This scares me, though. I’ve never considered myself a computer guru so anything as involved as this sounds makes me as nervous as a cat in a house full of rocking chairs. Being the Luddite I may seem to be, I have found another solution. One that’s doable for even someone like me.
The answer is to download and install AOL Explorer. Version 1.5 is free to download, and as far as I can tell, its rendering capabilities mirror IE6 exactly. I think that’s because it is IE6, but with added AOL bells and whistles. I just did this the other day and it has satisfied my needs to the letter. Now I can check my sites using IE7 (beta 3) and an IE6 clone. All without having to think. Thinking can be painful so this might be just the ticket for some.
As an aside, if you’ve been into testing with IE7 for a while, you’ll most likely have IE7 beta version 1 or 2 installed, and even though the rendering capabilities of the IE7 (beta 2) version are the same as beta 3, you’ll most likely want to upgrade. Be forewarned, this isn’t as easy as it should be. You’ll first have to completely remove the older version. You can go to “Add or Remove Programs” via your Windows Control Panel, but it will very likely not be there making removing it more challenging than it needs to be. Thus you have to edit it out of your registry. I hate editing my registry (seems scary), but there are tutorials and checklists out there for doing this so I’ll leave the how-to up to someone else.