IE 7 Scare…

Man, IE7 gave me a good scare this morning.  You see, I just put together a new development machine, and, without thinking, replaced IE6 as soon as my Windows updates were done.

So imagine my surprise when I pulled up a client page that I’m working on at the moment!  Broken!

Now, bear in mind, this page was written to be 100% compatible with FireFox while the client uses IE5.5 (my corporate client doesn’t require but I prefer the developer tools in FireFox so I make it compatible for my own sake) yet IE7, which is supposedly more standards compliant now, still rendered it incorrectly.

So after the panic settled off :-D, I started to look around for solutions to perhaps some directive or header or something that I could place in my HTML to force IE7 to render as IE6.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything of the like.  It seems like IE6 rendering has been completely discarded.  This seems like a stupid move on Microsoft’s behalf (if it’s indeed fact that you cannot force IE6 rendering) as many corporate clients will likely never upgrade to IE7 as it would involve lots of man hours undoing the CSS and JavaScript hacks to work around IE5.5/6 rendering.

The inclusion of such a switch would have made everyone’s life a lot easier.

So of course, my next course of action was to see if I could find a standalone version of IE6 that I didn’t have to install.  This lead me to a blog post by Jon Galloway on how to install and launch IE7 as standalone and  a discussion on  On the former: unfortunately for me, as I’d already installed IE7, it was too late for that and plus, I’m not really into all of that registry hacking.  On the latter: after reading the quirksmode thread comments in this thread presented various options, one of which led me to a download for a standalone IE6.

To cut to the point, this download works!  Yup, as a standalone IE6 so you can install IE7 and then have this around as your development browser to test for compatibility.  The only unfortunate thing is that I can’t use it as a seamless browser in EditPlus; I have to use it as an external browser unless I set it as the system default browser :-S

What Microsoft should have done, really, is allow for some sort of in-content or HTTP header switch to ask IE7 to render in IE6 mode (include the logic for IE6 (and IE5.5 for that matter) rendering in the codebase for IE7) so that existing pages can be made compatible with IE7 with little rework.

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