Its no secret that most web designers and developers loath Internet Explorer.  From IE version 9 back to the still popular IE version 6. I recently had dinner with a bunch of other industry friends of mine and one thing we all could agree on was our feelings of Microsoft’s infamous browser. For those of you who may not understand or know why we feel the way we do about this browser, continue to read on.

  • Lack of support – CSS Rounded Edges
  • Slow page loading times
  • Spacing and Padding issues – Hours can be lost trying to align images
  • Security – ActiveX controllers
  • CSS Standards – Options that work in most other browsers EXCEPT Internet Explorer
  • PNG Support – Limited transparency and ugly shadows that normally wouldn’t show up but in IE

Sure there are a host of more complaints that may never get resolved due to the basis on how with each new version of IE is the same as the last. Just a few user interface (UI) updates to give the wrapping a fresh look. I think in part Microsoft wants to impose their own set of standards for website viewing, and we have very little choice but to code and recode one of the most widely and corporately used browsers in the game.

I’ve found some tools to use to help:



Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of web development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.



DebugBar Development features:

– View HTML DOM Tree
– View original ad interpreted source code
– View tab attributes
– Edit tab attributes
– View HTTP and HTTPS headers
– View page cookies
– Validate html code for main page and frames/iframes
– List all javascript functions
– View javascript function code
– Execute javascript code in the currently loaded page
– Get information about currently loaded page

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar

The Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar provides several features for exploring and understanding Web pages. These features enable you to:

  • Explore and modify the document object model (DOM) of a Web page.
  • Locate and select specific elements on a Web page through a variety of techniques.
  • Selectively disable Internet Explorer settings.
  • View HTML object class names, ID’s, and details such as link paths, tab index values, and access keys.
  • Outline tables, table cells, images, or selected tags.
  • Validate HTML, CSS, WAI, and RSS web feed links.
  • Display image dimensions, file sizes, path information, and alternate (ALT) text.
  • Immediately resize the browser window to a new resolution.
  • Selectively clear the browser cache and saved cookies. Choose from all objects or those associated with a given domain.
  • Display a fully featured design ruler to help accurately align and measure objects on your pages.
  • Find the style rules used to set specific style values on an element.
  • View the formatted and syntax colored source of HTML and CSS.



Expression Web SuperPreview for Internet Explorer is a stand-alone visual debugging tool that makes it faster and easier to migrate your sites from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 7 or 8. With Expression Web SuperPreview for Internet Explorer, you can ensure that your Web sites work correctly in Internet Explorer 8 while also maintaining compatibility with earlier versions of Internet Explorer.

Spoon Browser Sandbox

Spoon Browser

Via a small plug-in, this tool offers multiple browser testing live in Safari, Chrome, IE, Firefox.

This usually is a hot button for most, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on dealing with IE; good or bad.

****UPDATE**** I wanted to add that this is also a reason why the price for web design or web programming is what it is. Due to the many users of IE, our sites are most likely going to be viewed more by them than Chrome, Firefox, and the others.  So we could have a site done but then have another 10+ hours of going back to make each page, each image, each element look “right” in Internet Explorer.  Maybe in a sense this is a good thing for us designers because we pass this cost on to our clients.  For clients we know how important this is to you and you should know that this isn’t something that can be done with the flip of a switch.