This post is part of the Pride & Paradev series.
What do I think of testing in Internet Explorer 7?
Test everything in IE7
IE7 is a bug magnet: seriously, I find more bugs in IE7 than any other browser. Why? It’s the least forgiving of browsers. If it works in IE7 it’ll most likely work in a more modern browser. It’s like a fussy relative: if they like a gift you give them, chances are your less fussy relatives will also like the same gift.
Even though only 2% of customers use IE7, in a high volume business such as Amazon or eBay this still equates to millions of dollars.
It’s very easy to test in IE7. First you’ll need Windows XP: set up a VirtualBox VM with Windows XP installed and immediately disable automatic Windows Updates otherwise your IE7 machine will quickly become your IE8 machine.
I recommend using a real IE7 browser over a IE7 mode in IE9 or IE10. Why? IE7 mode in IE9 or IE10 is a simulator and doesn’t behave exactly the same as a real IE7 browser.
I don’t expect programmers to use Windows XP, so I just add a “works in IE7 mode” acceptance criteria to every story so that each programmer will test locally in IE7 mode on their development machine: this saves me time testing each story.
Don’t test anything in IE7
Many organizations use current production browser statistics to determine which browsers to support and hence test against.
But you shouldn’t base your browser on current usage: it should be based upon expected future usage, determined by studying browser usage trends. Using this method it’s pretty clear that usage of IE7 is continuing to fall: so why bother testing in it at all?
Customers who use IE7 are probably the sort of customers who aren’t going to spend a lot of money on your web application: otherwise they would’ve got a more modern computer by now.
Programmers will get annoyed with you when you raise an IE7 bug that doesn’t repro in IE7 mode in IE9 or 10, as they can’t debug it locally.
Is it all worth it? I say no.