Browsers Have Multiple Personalities, Your Designs Should Too

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One thing that has plagued me as a designer for many years is the ability to test my designs in multiple web browsers. Back in the day, computers came with Internet Explorer 5.5 and that’s it. Installing a later version would always overwrite the previous one, so it became difficult to test my designs properly.

The Easy Guys - Netscape and Opera

Testing in Netscape is rather easy. You can download and install multiple versions of Netscape and they have no interaction with each other as long as you install them to different folders. That’s it.

Opera follows the same process.

A Bit Trickier - Firefox

Firefox is slightly more difficult, but still a piece of cake. Head over to Portable Apps and grab the latest version of Firefox Portable. While you’re there, look up the legacy versions that fit your fancy and expand each to a different folder.

These are self contained consolidations of the browsers. Rather than sticking their settings in Documents and Settings/Application Data/, they dump all their settings in their respective folders.

The Most Difficult, You Guessed It - Internet Explorer

Hmmph, who would have thought that Internet Explorer would be the most noncomplying of all browsers to play well together. To get different versions on Internet Explorer on your machine usually required a lot of tricks, hacks, and registry magic.

No longer - Enter Multiple IE link at the bottom. This works great if you already have Internet Explorer 7.0 installed on your computer. You can have IE 3, 4, 5, 5.5, and 6.0 running along side version 7.0 in stand alone mode. The older versions are a bit buggy and prone to crashing, but in general, it suits its purpose superbly.

If you don’t have IE 7.0 installed and don’t want it overwriting your IE 6.0 installation, check out IE 7.0 in stand alone mode.


One thing I forgot to mention is that these solutions only work for Windows XP. Sorry to those MAC guys. But since there is now a Safari for Windows, I’m assuming that it also has it’s own self contained installation. As to multiple versions, you’ll have to test and see what happens.