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Microsoft has finally acknowledged the need for a way for developers and Web designers alike to test webpages in various versions of their market dominating Internet Explorer browser. That acknowledgment is known as Microsoft Super Preview. Super Preview allows you to view your website on Internet Explorer 6,7, and 8 – so you can make sure your website looks as intended (ie. the same) in each browser.
Why Use Super Preview?
Developers have long complained about the need to get webpages to work in so many different browsers, especially with new releases coming out every other year or so as they compete for market share. There’s also a bit of a stigma surrounding Microsoft’s near monopoly of the browser market. Historically, Microsoft would bundle Internet Explorer with its ever-present Windows operating system, practically forcing users to adopt the browser as their default choice for surfing the Internet.
Enter the World of Open Source
Legislative action has given way to a slightly more competitive environment, and the Firefox movement – Spread Firefox – has taken hold in the open-source community which has been growing at a rapid clip, offering free software alternatives to popular proprietary software such as MS Office, the quality of which is gaining in reputation. As a result, Firefox users now own about a third of the browser market, with Internet Explorer covering virtually the rest, and Apple’s Safari coming in a distant third.
A Different Browser, a Different Look
Until now, developers had to find ways to access older browsers to see how their webpages would look in all these different browsers. The problem was, the Windows operating system typically did not allow multiple versions of Internet Explorer to coexist. As a result, webpages often went untested and would break down in older versions of Internet Explorer.
A Different O/S, a Different Look
Browsers also varied by operating system – which meant IE7 Windows wouldn’t necessarily render the same as IE7 running a Mac. Microsoft is attempting to address this issue in its efforts to establish a more user-friendly image, and especially to come back the ever-growing collaborative community known as open source. In comes Microsoft Super Preview.
The Advantages of Using Microsoft Super Preview
The advantages of using Microsoft’s IE preview software are many, not the least of which is the convenience of not having to install multiple browsers and get them to work together – a task that is both daunting and nearly impossible.
Microsoft Super Preview lets you view your pages in multiple browsers at the same time, and compare renderings to your website layout images. You can set a baseline browser, which is where you initially test your website. You then attempt to make your webpages compatible in the remaining browsers. Super Preview contains the IE6 rendering engine. You can use it side-by-side with other IE versions.
Who Will Benefit from Microsoft’s Super Preview?
Since most non-IE browsers are able to coexist side-by-side (for example, you can run several different versions of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, etc. at the same time without facing compatibility problems), the primary benefit of using Super Preview is to compare IE6, IE7, and IE8 side-by-side. Visit Microsoft’s Super Preview page to download this handy and free utility today.