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Microsoft Launches Web Site Optimization Tool Modern.IE

The tool aims to reduce testing time, leaving more time for development.

Microsoft last week introduced modern.IE, a Web site optimization tool for developers. The tool is targeted for testing Internet Explorer, but can also be used to improve the UX on browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. Modern.IE consists of three components, with more to come as the product evolves:

  • A code-scanning wizard that provides suggestions on how to modernize a site's UX

  • Three months of free access to BrowserStack, a virtual Web site testing service

  • A list of 20 best practices for coding modern Web sites

The modern.IE code-scanning wizard tests Web pages for common coding problems. Developers enter the URL for the Web page they want to test, and the tool scans the page and delivers suggestions in three categories:

  • Updating outdated code that supported old versions of Internet Explorer

  • Best practices for the Web, including support for tablets and mobile devices

  • Optimizing Web sites for Windows 8 and touch-enabled experiences

Microsoft has partnered with BrowserStack to expand the usefulness of modern.IE beyond Internet Explorer. When developers visit BrowserStack via modern.IE, they receive three months of free access to the service over the next year. The BrowserStack testing service allows devs to test their sites on any OS available on Windows, regardless of the OS on their own test machine. BrowserStack maintains its test browsers in the cloud, so no virtual machine is required for test environments -- devs install a single plug-in and can begin testing immediately. As part of the BrowserStack/modern.IE partnership, devs can download free virtual images of Internet Explorer on Windows for testing on Mac, Linux or PC systems.

The third piece of modern.IE is a best practices guide titled "20 Tips for Building Modern Sites While Supporting Old Versions of Internet Explorer." The Web-compatibility guide was compiled from feedback that Microsoft received from its global network of developers and partners, and was curated by coding experts Dave Methvin (president of the jQuery Foundation) and Rey Bango (Microsoft Technical Evangelist and former jQuery Project member).

With modern.IE, Microsoft hopes to reduce the amount of time and money Web developers spend on testing, allowing them to devote more time to creating new content. The company is encouraging developer feedback on modern.IE in order to improve the tool's capabilities in the future.

About the Author

Katrina Carrasco is the associate group managing editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group. She can be reached at kcarrasco@1105media.com.

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