Thursday, September 21, 2006

Using IE in Linux

If you're a web developer, you mostly likely have multiple browsers installed, or readily available to you, to test your web pages with. This is even more essential if you're building AJAX applications as there are many norotious variances between JavaScript and CSS implementations - particularly between Internet Explorer and more W3C compliant browsers like Mozilla, Firefox, and Opera.

To use IE in Linux, you have a few options.
  1. Use WINE (Windows Emulator)
  2. Use a virtual machine like VMWARE
  3. Connect remotely to a Windows machine with something like VNC, NX, or Citrix.
I've used all three of these methods, and they all have their pros and cons, which it not really the point of this article, but I'll provide a few.
  • WINE

    pros

    free, good performance and minimal memory requirements

    cons

    can be hard to setup, may not always work due to emulation problems (ex. APIs not implmented in WINE)

  • VMWARE

    pros

    fully supported, descent performance with sufficient hardware

    cons

    not free, resource intensive, takes longer to startup

  • Remote connection

    pros

    real windows machine

    cons

    requires a second machine, may have network latency


To address the "hard to setup" aspect of getting IE to run in WINE, I've used winetools before which works well, but it's really meant to set up a whole lot more than just IE. I've recently run across IEs4Linux which is a more straightforward method to simply set up IE in Linux under Wine.

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