Microsoft Introduces Modern.IE Program
February 3, 2013

Microsoft Looking To Restore Web Browser Image With Modern.IE Program

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Microsoft is reaching out to Web developers with a new campaign that they hope will entice those individuals to create pages and sites that are compatible with the current version of their Internet Explorer browser.

At the heart of the program is a new website, modern.IE, which promises that testing for the oft-derided Internet surfing program “just got a little easier.” According to ZDNet´s Mary Jo Foley, the website features free tools, how-to guides, and other information specifically designed for developers to make sure that the websites they create are attractive when viewed using Internet Explorer.

“As part of the release, Microsoft has partnered with browser-testing service BrowserStack, to provide devs with three months of free service, redeemable any time this year, to help them test their site on any browser on Windows,” Foley explains. “There's also a scanning tool, via which developers can enter a page's URL and see compatibility issues; virtual test tools enabling Chrome, Firefox and even Mac OS users to get tools for testing IE on their respective platforms; and best-practices coding guidance.”

The initiative was formally announced by the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant on Thursday, in a blog entry written by Internet Explorer General Manager Ryan Gavin.

In that post, Gavin said that the company has made several key changes to the most recent versions of the software, IE9 and IE10, including the adoption of automatic updates to the most recent version of the program, the introduction of a new early developer feedback system, and a new commitment to “modern web standards” and “advanced touch capabilities.”

“At the same time, we recognize that customers on older versions of IE continue to be a real challenge for developers testing their sites, particularly for those developers on non-Windows devices,” he added. “We want to help. We want the web to move forward. And we genuinely want web developers to spend more time innovating and less time testing. That is where modern.IE comes in“¦ modern.IE is part of our commitment to offer the tools and resources that make developing for the web —and IE — just a little bit easier.”

According to Seth Rosenblatt of CNET, the scanning tool will look for known bugs in a website, assign them ID numbers, and allow developers to work with Microsoft engineers to help resolve those issues. Gavin told CNET that currently there was approximately a 48-hour period from receipt to response in this program.

Furthermore, it can also be used to point out problems that developers can fix on their own, including “things like outdated jQuery frameworks“¦ common compatibility issues, CSS prefixes, database library issues, conditional comments, and browser detection including legacy versions of IE instead of the now-preferred feature detection,” Rosenblatt said. Those features are in addition to the BrowserStack virtual testing tools.

“It's still too hard to test sites across the different OSes and browsers. On our part, we can encourage best practices. We know we can do better here, so we're providing the tools and support so that developers spend more of their time innovating and less of their time testing,” Gavin told the website during an interview on Wednesday. “We're going to be iterating and improving this over time. We're looking for developer feedback to continue to make this useful.”