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HomeBusinessInternet Explorer Online Testing: Strategies for Legacy and Modern Browsers

Internet Explorer Online Testing: Strategies for Legacy and Modern Browsers

With the continuous shift in web browsers, accessibility of websites by all users remains one of the priorities taken into consideration. Usage of Internet Explorer Online (IEO) has become limited, yet in several remaining institutions and user groups, Internet Explorer (IE) remains present. What makes management a challenge for developers is how to ensure that a smooth user experience is achieved in both modern browsers and these old versions of Internet Explorer.

This article narrows down to the world of Internet Explorer online testing, focusing on legacy IE testing alongside its modern counterpart, Internet Explorer Online. It proceeds to offer effective strategies for testing and solutions that bridge the gap between these seemingly disparate browser environments. 

Best practices, along with powerful tools, can ensure websites perform flawlessly, regardless of the user’s browser choice.

Modern Browsers and Internet Explorer Online

Although Microsoft has dropped the development of IE to focus more on its Edge browser, IE still exists in the form of a compatibility mode within the new Microsoft Edge. Website users are thus able to browse through old, legacy websites developed on old codes running on earlier versions of IE. 

Consequently, testing for compatibility with IEO becomes pertinent to ensure user-friendly experiences with applications built for the whole Microsoft browser ecosystem. Cloud-based testing platforms can easily manage testing on both modern browsers and IEO in one go without the headache of multiple testing arrangements.

Challenges in Internet Explorer Online Testing

With IE quickly becoming history in the eyes of many, it still holds immense numbers in the enterprise landscape. This presents a special kind of challenge to developers and tester teams who are working their way around web compatibility. Here’s a deeper look at the hurdles that arise when testing for both legacy IE and its modern counterpart,

Legacy Burden

Setting up a physical lab with all the possible combinations of older IE versions can become a nightmare. Machines can be expensive to purchase, and maintaining them to keep them secure is costly. This resource-intensive approach quickly becomes impractical for large-scale testing needs.

Inconsistent Rendering

IE has a sort of reputation for showing websites differently from other browsers. Layout issues, strange behavior, and broken functionalities might specifically affect websites on IE. Often, debugging such inconsistencies over a variety of legacy IE versions adds to the testing challenge.

Security Concerns Unbound

Unmaintained legacy browsers like IE pose a significant security risk. These browsers are open doors for known exploits and are lacking in some security updates that might not have been part of the original release. It is through them that potential cyberattacks can be made on unsuspecting users. 

The argument may be that the organizational choices of browsers are already limited. However, an organization allowing wiggle room on older IE versions will enable users to opt for more secure browsers.

The Internet Explorer Online Enigma

The fact that Microsoft stopped the support of the traditional IE does not erase IEO from the existence sphere. IEO exists as a compatibility mode in the modern Microsoft Edge browser. 

This, in itself, poses another testing layer, which calls for a test that includes both standards-based workflows on modern browsers and the IEO mode, thereby ensuring the greatest compatibility regardless of the Microsoft browser.

Strategies for Effective Testing with Legacy Internet Explorer

The specter of legacy IE versions can loom large over modern web development workflows. Here, we take a closer look at crafting a robust testing strategy that brings compatibility not only for modern browsers but also for these older IE iterations,

Targeted Version Selection

Avoid getting stuck into a rabbit hole of testing every iteration of IE ever released. Instead, focus on what matters. Do user research, or utilize analytics tools, to understand the specific IE versions that are being used by your audience. 

Target these versions, and you’ll be able to optimize your testing resources and eventually bring a satisfactory experience to the specific users who count.

Emulation vs. Virtual Machines (VMs)

VMs provide a sandboxed environment for testing older versions of IE, but they are resource-intensive and not scalable for large-scale testing. Modern browsers have emulation modes that can partially recreate older IE behaviors, but they may not fully replicate all functions and quirks of authentic IE. 

The best practice is to use VMs for preliminary compatibility checks and then use cloud-based testing platforms like LambdaTest for comprehensive testing over a wider suite of legacy IE versions.

Leveraging Browser Developer Tools for IE

Though Microsoft has phased out traditional IE support, some developer tools are still available for older versions, providing insightful reports about rendering behavior and helping you pinpoint compatibility issues specific to IE.  

Granted, they may not have all of the features of modern developer tools, but even so, they are useful tools in any IE testing arsenal.

Adopting Responsive Design as a Principle

Responsive design is a crucial aspect of modern web development, ensuring a user-friendly website that adapts to different screen resolutions. This principle ensures effective interaction with the user interface, even if the design may not appear identical across all browsers, including older Internet Explorer versions. It helps alleviate pain associated with older IE versions.

Progressive Enhancement Testing

Progressive enhancement is a method of developing core functionality for basic browsers, and then layering additional features to enhance the potential of a more capable browser. This ensures a website works well on older versions of Internet Explorer (IE) but offers an enhanced experience in modern browsers. Testing this approach ensures the website provides a minimum viable user experience on legacy IE.

Regression Testing and Compatibility Maintenance

Regression testing is crucial for websites with new features and functionalities, as it ensures compatibility with legacy Internet Explorer. Cloud-based testing platforms allow for automated regression tests. One such platform LambdaTest can help to run regression tests post every code deployment to ensure compatibility. It’s essential to be alert even after testing is complete to maintain website functionality.

The Advantages of Cloud-Based Testing Platforms for Legacy IE Testing

Numerous advantages of Cloud-Based Testing Platforms for Legacy IE Testing make the process hassle-free, here are some of them,

Cost Efficiency

Testing within the cloud eliminates upfront costs associated with purchasing and maintaining physical machines that run older IE versions. Testing organizations pay only for the machines they use while delivering parallel scaling of the testing infrastructure for good test environment variety.

Scalability and Flexibility

Access given by a cloud platform to a vast browser and device pool results in parallel testing across a large number of environments. Testing efforts can be scaled up or down to match the dynamic requirements and user demand for applications.

Efficient Testing and Greater Reliability 

Cloud-based platforms have a plethora of automation tools and features integrated to provide an improved experience. Plus, features like Auto-Healing can auto-correct some test failures to enhance test reliability and save time-consuming manual efforts.

Security and Compliance

Security is key when conducting online testing. That is why cloud platforms like LambdaTest have security features including SOC 2 Type 2 Certification, and GDPR compliance, among others. These internationally recognized certifications are key in proving that a testing organization’s data is safe and that the whole testing process can be trusted within the cloud environment.

Best Practices for Internet Explorer Online Testing

To overcome this set of problems, developers, and testers may follow a few best practices,

F12 Developer Tools

The Developer Tools in Internet Explorer provide insights for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript-related issues that act as a valuable guide for debugging. Use third-party plugins and tools like Firebug Lite for enhanced debugging features and use built-in tools like element inspection, view source code, and debug JavaScript to make it easy to identify and fix compatibility issues.

Community and Resources

Online forums like Stack Overflow contain a great number of threads related to specific Internet Explorer testing issues. Quite a few web development blogs post their case studies and different tips for dealing with such compatibility issues. Official documentation from Microsoft and LambdaTest resources enrich knowledge around best practices for IE testing and how to leverage tools effectively. Be an active community member to learn from other people’s experiences and share your solutions.

Graceful Degradation vs. Progressive Enhancement

Designing with grace degradation involves creating a site that functions on the latest browsers while maintaining functionality on older ones. This approach allows features that support the latest browsers to remain while the user experience gracefully degrades in older versions. Progressive enhancement starts with a basic site on older browsers, gradually adding more features for compatible browsers.

Polyfills and Shims

Polyfills and shims are simply scripts that developers write to provide modern web functionalities to older browsers that do not support them. Include popular polyfill libraries like Modernizr in your project or build your polyfills that close the gap between new features and old browser support.

Automated Testing Integrated Strategies

Automated testing, particularly for Internet Explorer, enables developers to simulate user interactions and ensure site functionality without constant babysitting. LambdaTest, an AI-powered test orchestration and execution solution, offers extended support services for testing on Internet Explorer. Interval-run automated tests capture compatibility issues from the developing stages.

Responsive Design Testing

With this testing, you can check the utility to ensure that the site is responsive to different screen sizes and devices. You can also check compatibility with various devices and screen resolution performance

LambdaTest has optimally featured Responsive Design Testing tools, which test and diagnose the website on different screen sizes and devices.

Leveraging Cloud Testing 

Cloud-based testing platforms offer a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional testing methods. These platforms provide instant access to a wide range of browsers and devices, including full suites of legacy IE versions, eliminating the need for physical machines or complex VM management. 

LambdaTest makes the automation testing process smoother, allowing developers to test their websites on hundreds of browser and device combinations in a single click. This reduces testing time and increases the reliability of the overall test. 

Additionally, features like Auto-Healing allow test failures in one environment to be recovered by re-executing another, increasing the overall test reliability and reducing the need for manual interventions. By leveraging cloud-based testing, developers can overcome the challenges of IE legacy incompatibilities and ensure their websites are compatible with a wide range of additional browsers, accelerating release cycles and delivering a flawless user experience.

Conclusion

Hence, Internet Explorer Online Testing becomes a crucial step for making websites accessible to all users. The developers can, therefore, use this to overcome the Internet Explorer testing issues by enhancing best practices, such as graceful degradation, using polyfills and shims, and automated testing strategies. Leveraging strategies and tools, the developers can ensure quality user experience for users irrespective of their choice of browsers.

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