Microsoft launches Modern.IE, offers up free tools to help make you a better dev

Microsoft, in recent years, has made a concentrated effort to help web developers code more efficiently and adhere to web standards. To that degree, Microsoft is again making a large push to help web developers with the launch of Modern.IE.

This new site will focus on helping developers code more efficiently and will offer up two tools to do so. The first tool is a scanner that will provide critical information to web developers about how their code works with all version of IE. In short, when this tool scans a website, it will create a report that lists out any outdated technologies that the site is currently using and also any compatibility issues as well. While the tool is currently limited to providing information, Microsoft is content on evolving the tool based on feedback they receive from the developer community.

Now, before you get concerned about having all of this information publicly available, Microsoft has implemented safeguards to prevent unauthorized individuals from scanning your site and exposing any flaws. The idea here is to provide, confidentially, any outdated services that your site is currently running to help developers build and maintain more robust products.

In addition to offering up the scanning tool, Microsoft has teamed up with Browser Stack to help you test your sites on multiple platforms efficiently and more importantly, for free, for a limited time. Microsoft is offering anyone who signs up on Modern.IE with their Facebook credentials three free months of access to Browser Stack. We should point out that the free three months is for any time during this year, so if you project doesn't need testing for a few more weeks, no need to sign up now. 

With these two tools, Microsoft is hoping to help developers create more vibrant and secure products for modern browsers. In addition, the scanner tool is free and with three months free of Browser Stack, Microsoft is giving tools to devs to help make them more efficient and that's something we can get behind. 

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Just tested this scanner for a couple of URLs and this is EXCELLENT. It even gives suggestions to improve. This will hopefully get web devs to finally code in web standards instead of browser specific code for older IEs and webkit browsers.

Browserstack is not a Microsoft product or service. The website above makes it perfectly clear that this is a partnership, hence the discount.

Microsoft, in recent years, has made a concentrated effort to help web developers code more efficiently and adhere to web standards

I stopped reading here actually as it ticked me off.

I like how this 'unprofessional' journalism goes, but spreading FUD is another thing.

IE6 for all of you, was crippled thanks to Mozilla, Opera and (back then) Sun. It was following the standards, and even implemented countless of 'non-approved-yet' standards. (which where changed after releasing IE6 thanks to the above 3 companies going to W3 and cry rivers as big as the Nile to get non-set standards to change, so IE6 breaks (and this happened) and in revenge MS kept IE6 around as long as they could.

Microsoft has been pushing internet standards since the 90s. Allot what came from Microsoft was dropped just because 'its Microsoft' and allot was 'accepted' but only after Mozilla/Opera/Sun suggested it (in a slightly different form).

Today the same stupid battle is going on, although Sun is now replaced by Google (Oracle seems completely uninterested in the W3 standards)

It also keeps surprising me, in the 'glory' days of IE6, it was holding what, 90% of the web browsing users throughout the world.
How is something with a 90% backing... not a standard?

Its like saying, hey you got 90% of the votes from the election.. BUT YOU LOSE!

Hmm.... "Modern.IE" seems to be geared more towards developing/improving sites for Windows 8 devices, rather than for Internet Explorer!

The only "errors"/suggestions it found for one of my sites were:
"We've found that this webpage hasn't built a Windows 8 Start Screen tile"
"You have not set the default behavior for touch-based browsing in Internet Explorer 10 on devices running Windows 8."

because developers are still FORCED to develop for their past mess (ie7, 8 and in some cases still ie6).. so they can sugar coat their new browsers all they want, it's not going to be sweet until we can forget about the 'past'.

All of the new Microsoft websites are actually looking very clean and beautiful! I must say congrats to the web dev team over there!

LUTZIFER said,
They should be concentrating on getting the IE 10 final out. It's taking forever.

Yes, because the team working on IE10 is the same team doing this. Right.

FloatingFatMan said,

Yes, because the team working on IE10 is the same team doing this. Right.


And before anyone suggests moving one team's members to another, I'd just like to insert a lesson the software development world learned before the personal computer even existed: adding more women doesn't get a baby born any faster, and throwing more developers at a project works about as well.

Joshie said,

And before anyone suggests moving one team's members to another, I'd just like to insert a lesson the software development world learned before the personal computer even existed: adding more women doesn't get a baby born any faster, and throwing more developers at a project works about as well.

Actually as long as they're hot women, it helps lots of babies be born faster. But you're right about software engineering.

I don't think we'd need these tools if IE 6,7 weren't so terrible.
It is quite sad that late last year, i finally dropped supporting IE6 but had a couple of people say they were having trouble because they are viewing the site in IE6!

Lingwo said,
I don't think we'd need these tools if IE 6,7 weren't so terrible.
It is quite sad that late last year, i finally dropped supporting IE6 but had a couple of people say they were having trouble because they are viewing the site in IE6!

So...should they cancel the website and spend the money on a time machine instead to retroactively fix IE6?

I have usually found that sites with issues rendering in IE 6 and 7 are related to web authors failing to support W3C standards.

I was on a site the other day that displayed a huge warning about how terrible IE was. I ran the main page through the W3C validator and discovered that they had nearly 200 compliancy errors. Worse, they had about 85 unrecognized CSS tags. They were using a ton of custom Mozilla tags. And they blame IE for this?

Another common issue is authors that fail to define all of the necessary element properties. For example, CSS for a block-level element with a specific margin, but no padding or border. Unless these properties are inherited, it means the browser has to add it's own default value. It should be no surprise that each browser might use a different default.

I'll definitely grant you that IE 6, in particular, is missing a lot of CSS support. The most annoying for me was probably the lack of max/min width and height. But you can still get the site to display properly.

This is a nice thing but the IE team needs to keep moving faster and also think about introducing a new and easier plug-in system like ff and chrome have, at least on the desktop.

GP007 said,
This is a nice thing but the IE team needs to keep moving faster and also think about introducing a new and easier plug-in system like ff and chrome have, at least on the desktop.

i'd like to see them get rid of the plugin system all together.

Nah, plugin system are great, but I wouldn't suggest either chorome or ff have implimented an easy to use system. The problem comes (as with all "app store" type platforms) that the library becomes bloated with crap so its more difficult to find the tools that you would actually find useful.

Don't you mean add-ons/extensions? IE10 has one of the best sand boxed plugin systems, and it comes with Flash baked in.

IE does really need a better add-on system. IE9/10 both support them but they're limited in what they can do, and it seems to be harder to make them for IE as well. There still isn't even a good Ad Block for IE. You can use Tracking Protection lists but they don't work as well or remove the empty blank spaces from where the ads were.

1Pixel said,
Don't you mean add-ons/extensions? IE10 has one of the best sand boxed plugin systems, and it comes with Flash baked in.

IE does really need a better add-on system. IE9/10 both support them but they're limited in what they can do, and it seems to be harder to make them for IE as well. There still isn't even a good Ad Block for IE. You can use Tracking Protection lists but they don't work as well or remove the empty blank spaces from where the ads were.

Plug-ins/add-one I think of them as more or less the same. But yes just as you said, that's what I was talking about.

1Pixel said,
Don't you mean add-ons/extensions? IE10 has one of the best sand boxed plugin systems, and it comes with Flash baked in.

IE does really need a better add-on system. IE9/10 both support them but they're limited in what they can do, and it seems to be harder to make them for IE as well. There still isn't even a good Ad Block for IE. You can use Tracking Protection lists but they don't work as well or remove the empty blank spaces from where the ads were.

I don't know if this is the same with their free product, but Agnitum Outpost Firewall Pro gives you ad protection for your entire computer by scanning anything downloaded on the main HTTP port (80) and replaces all ads with empty placeholders. It works pretty well and will act as an umbrella against ads for all browsers without a plugin.

That being said, I have it turned off since I prefer Adblock Plus on FF...