Check IE6 design layout on Vista

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IE TesterWhether you're putting together a full-featured Web site or are just maintaining your personal blog – seeing how the l

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ayout looks in different browsers is essential in assuring that all your visitors experience the same thing.

In the battle for consistent design there is no more fearsome foe than Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. Despite the browser quickly coming up on its eighth birthday, it is still in wide use – particularly in markets where software piracy is more wide-spread and users aren't able to upgrade to the “Windows Genuine Advantage”-required IE7 or IE8.

As such, it's important that you be able to test your design, theme/template, or even your blog tweaks to assure that they work alright in the archaic and anarchistic browser.

One problem – due to kernal code differences, it isn't possible to install Internet Explorer 6 or lower on a machine running Windows Vista. So where handy bundles like the MultipleIE package worked well on XP – they're a no go on Vista.

There are some great static checks you can

do using Web apps like Browser Shots and IE NetRenderer, but sometimes you need to interact with the design to see where things are, or aren't, functioning.

IE TesterEnter IETester. Created by the same developer as the IE DebugBar, the free Web browser offers up the rendering and javascript abilities of IE5.5 to IE8.

Not only are you able to test how your layouts will look in various IE versions, with the use of the browser's tabs, you can test multiple versions in the same browser window.

What's more – it works on both XP and Vista (sorry Mac and Linux users). It's not flawless, and preliminary usage showed a couple hiccups in the page loading – but for an alpha release, and with nothing else to turn to, who's complaining.

With users slowly overcoming their adversity of pushing away from the Microsoft monopoly, there's hope that IE6 will die the death it so rightly deserves, but until then apps like IETester are a welcome helping hand.

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