GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source Programming & Web Development

How to test your website on Internet Explorer with GNU/Linux and Virtualbox

Virtual machines
As a web developer, you are always required to test your website code on Internet Explorer. And everyone knows how much of a pain that alone can be. But for GNU/Linux-only users the fun starts even before taking a look at your code on IE. The trouble starts with how are you going to run IE when you have no Windows computers at hand. Fortunately there’s a simple way to do so using virtual machines. That way, you can even have IE7, IE8 and IE9 running at the same time without conflicts.

Microsoft provides virtual machines for free so you can do your IE website testing. Visit the Microsoft VM download site to grab any of the different Windows and Internet Explorer versions that you would like to use for your testing.

These are images for Microsoft’s VirtualPC so to run them on VirtualBox you’ll need to change the file extension from .exe to .rar and unpack it to get the VHD file to use as hard disk on your virtual machine. Once you boot your machine, it will ask you for a password to log in. The password is “Password1”.

For more detailed instructions or if you have trouble with the network drivers check out Jon Thornton post about installing the MS virtual machines on VirtualBox.

There is also a simple script that does all the downloading and installing for you at

On a personal note, I sometimes tend to charge extra for Internet Explorer development, specially for IE8 or earlier. Never accept to make a site compatible with IE6 anymore. Not even the industry’s big players support IE6 anymore. I hope, as I guess many other web developers do, that someday IE will be a good player and will support web standards like everyone else.

GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source Programming & Web Development

CSS3 columns in Internet Explorer and other unsupported browsers

CSS3 Columns

Recently I’ve been working on a project for a client that makes use of CSS3 columns in its layout design. The problem with CSS3 columns is that it’s not supported by any stable version of Internet Explorer so far (surprised? no? good!). At the time of this writing IE9 is the latest version.

Luckily there’s hope. The CSS3 Multi-column script helps render columns in browsers that do not have this capability. All you need to do is download the file and add it to your HTML after all your stylesheet declarations. It will read all your CSS3 column declarations and render the content accordingly.

The script uses some crossdomain ajax calls to work its magic, but IE8 does things differently. I’ve patched the library with the fixes needed for it to work correctly in IE8.

Download the patched CSS3 Multi-column script.

Thanks to Tobin Titus, Internet Explorer Performance Manager, who helped me track the bug down.