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October 1, 2009

Testing web interfaces in multiple versions of IE

Any developer that has worked on web interfaces knows the pains involved in dealing with different browsers and browser versions.  Microsoft  has notoriously made this difficult by not permitting more than one version of IE to run on a machine.  The solution – install a VM for each version of IE you want to run.  Does that sound crazy to you?  It does to me.

I recommend using one of the following tools to accomplish the same thing:

  1. http://spoon.net/browsers/ – My first recommendation.
  2. http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage – Seems to work pretty well.

I have to test things on different browser versions regularly due to my work on DWR and both of these tools have been a tremendous help.

August 5, 2008

JAWR – A tool all Java web apps should be using

JAWR is an open source tool written in Java that compresses and organizes an applications JavaScript/CSS source.  I found out about JAWR through the DWR mailing list.  It took me awhile to check it out, but I finally got around to it.  I have been working on a DWR application with an ExtJS front-end and I thought this would be a perfect place to try JAWR. 

First Impressions:

Setting up JAWR is simple!  The project is well documented and by following the quick start I was able to get up and running in no time.  JAWR does a lot more than JavaScript/CSS compression — here are some of the features:

  • Allows you to componentize and organize your JavaScript sources.  Not only does this improve your code it also makes maintenance a lot easier.
  • Debug mode allows you to debug your JS source with the modification of one property — Great for development.
  • DWR 3.x plugin that compresses interface files generated by DWR as well as static DWR scripts.
  • Gzips the response.

JAWR does a lot more.  All developers working on Java web apps should check it out — sooner rather than later!

February 14, 2008

FireBug Lite – FireBug for IE

Have you ever worked on a web application that just didn’t work in Firefox? Many companies still use IE exclusively internally and any web application they develop will never be tested on another browser. This makes debugging client side script very challenging (unless you enjoy the pain of dealing with the Microsoft Script Debugger). Personally, I don’t enjoy the dreaded “Object Error” that seems to be just about the only error IE is capable of displaying. Enter FireBug Lite: A FireBug version that works in IE. Sure, it is a bit more work (to use it you have to include a JavaScript file) but it is way better than anything Microsoft currently has. Check it out: http://www.getfirebug.com/lite.html.