Testing websites in IE on a Mac

This past week I bought my first Mac (an iMac). (Yes, I am now on the Dark Side. I usually disable cookies, though. :wink: ) I also do web design and, on my PC, I made a point of having FF (my default browser), Safari, Chrome, Opera, and even Netscape installed on there so I could check how it looks on them easily enough.

On my iMac, I have Safari (of course) and Chrome, and plan to d/l Firefox and Opera soon (still in the process of moving everything over that I can, so not everything has been done at once). However, I found that there is no such thing as Internet Explorer for the Mac, at least not any more. While this is, of course, a Good Thing considering IE’s rep, the fact remains that something like 70% of the Internet community still use it, and I always made a point of testing my web designs in IE - especially because I’d often have to implement a coding hack for that browser. So, how would I test my web designs on IE? Is there a quick and easy site out there that would show me what it looks like in IE (tried browsershots.org, but you have to wait a really long time, and it’s really just a screenshot, I can’t tinker around in it, click links, etc., to get the full experience an IE user might have).

Any advice?

Install VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop, which will allow you to run a copy of Windows in a “virtual machine” in parallel with Mac OS X. Performance is excellent as long as you don’t try to play any 3D games in Windows.

As an added bonus, you can have multiple virtual machines configured and even running at the same time, each with a different version of IE installed.

I like VMWare Fusion myself, but many people seem to like Parallels.

Let me find the link for you, there once was a site that had a server cluster full of machines that would show you screen shots of your website in almost every browser/version/os combo you can think of. I will try and fine the link, i know it is somewhere in stumbleupon.

EDIT: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=603411

EDIT2: http://browsershots.org/

There’s also this:

https://browserlab.adobe.com/en-us/index.html

Alternately (in case you didn’t know), you can install and boot Windows directly using Boot Camp[sup]*[/sup]. It should be on the OS X DVD. The upside is better performance and no added cost, (realistically the first probably isn’t a concern for this purpose). The downside is that you can’t do the multiple configurations as easily as with virtual machines, and you have to reboot each time just to load Windows.

*Boot Camp is basically just the Apple-approved set of drivers tailored to your machine, plus some utilities for startup control and repartitioning the drive. (Note that you don’t need to reformat to repartition as long as there’s enough space on the drive).

Internet Explorer, albeit an older version (5), is available for Mac. Whether or not using this would meet your requirements I don’t know. IE6 is still widely used today, but IE5 is exceedingly rare.

If you need to try more recent versions of IE, I second the recommendation to install Microsoft Windows in a virtual machine. But I would advise against using VMWare, as it’s not Free Software. I’d recommend instead that you use VirtualBox, which is Free, works just as well, and is arguably even easier to use.

others have said what needs to be said. Count me as one who personally likes Parallels. The issue with Bootcamp is that you have to reboot into windows. That is a pain just to run a quick check on a website. Note that in all cases, you need your own copy of Windows to make this work. All the virtualization programs do is enable you to run multiple OS’s, they don’t provide the OS.

others have said what needs to be said. Count me as one who personally likes Parallels. The issue with Bootcamp is that you have to reboot into windows. That is a pain just to run a quick check on a website. Note that in all cases, you need your own copy of Windows to make this work. All the virtualization programs do is enable you to run multiple OS’s, they don’t provide the OS.

Parallels is buggy and slow and a resource hog, or at least it still was when we last used it about a year ago. VirtualBox is definitely the way to go. It’s free and there’s plenty of support. Of course, you’ll also need a version of windows to install on it though.

Thanks for all this. Leaning towards the Boot Camp aspect myself (since testing sites would be the only thing I’d need it for, having to reboot to access doesn’t bother me that much) as, most importantly, it’s free! (I’ve managed to replace all the programs from my PC to my Mac that I need free, with the exception of MS Office. (Although someone reminded me after the fact about Libre Office. :smack:)

I also remembered another solution which I may go with as well. I’m not completely ditching my old PC, I promised it to my daughter (she’s 8, the PC will be greatly monitored, too) so it will still be operational. Since she likes playing games on the Internet, I will have IE on it (it’d be difficult to have it without IE, knowing M$, even considering the computer will be wiped clean before she gets it) - it will also be heavily monitored as well - and I can just go to “her” computer and check sites as well.

Thanks for all the advice, it was useful!

You could also get CrossOver, which emulates Windows applications in OS X without needing an actual installation of Windows. My wife used it to run IE 6 on my MacBook when she worked for a company whose website required it. But it sounds like borrowing your daughter’s computer from time to time might be the simplest solution.

One tip for this: if you can use Remote Desktop Connection (Terminal Services) on the PC, you can install the client for that on the Mac and then connect remotely that way. RDC is a free client, and it will mean being able to use the existing PC without having to get up and physical move over there.

Depending on your version of Windows and your willingness to hack the registry, it’s even possible to permit multiple users on the PC, which would let you remotely connect without disturbing your daughter if she’s using it.