Microsoft launches free Internet Explorer developer tools

Internet Explorer

Software giant Microsoft has released a set of free web developer tools to make it easier for people to create sites compatible with earlier versions of Internet Explorer (IE).

The toolset has been named Modern.IE by Microsoft, and allows developers to scan web pages for compatibility issues, before suggesting ways to tackle any flagged faults.

Furthermore, the site provides users with tips on how to write code for websites that will work across all browsers and devices.

It also - through Microsoft's burgeoning partnership with web browser testing service BrowserStack lets developers test sites using any Mac or Windows browser free of charge for three months.

In a post on the Exploring IE blog, Ryan Gavin, general manager of Internet Explorer, said the launch of Modern.IE was part of Microsoft's commitment to making web development easier to do.

"We recognise that customers on older versions of IE continue to be a real challenge for developers testing their sites, particularly for those on non-Windows devices," said Gavin.

"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."

Web browser compatibility problems are often cited by industry watchers as a major stumbling block for Windows 7 upgrades, especially for enterprises that need IE6 to run legacy line of business applications.

Gary Schare, president of browser compatibility software vendor Browsium, said the tool would be a great asset for consumers, but will offer little help to enterprise users.

"We applaud Microsoft's efforts to educate web developers on how to build sites that work well in the latest versions of Internet Explorer, [but] enterprise users will still need to go through the painstaking process of remediating legacy IE6 and IE7-dependent web applications to unblock their Windows 7 migrations," he told IT Pro.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.