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Last week marked the end of an era: Microsoft officially retired Internet Explorer as a separate browser and folded it into Microsoft Edge. From this point onward, there will be no more new IE updates, no more IE11 desktop app, and a gradual redirect from the IE11 app to Microsoft Edge for all devices.
For the 98.35% of consumers relying on other browsers, this shift is largely a non-event. But as every QA professional knows, general consumer trends matter far less than the behavior of your actual customers. Within the 1.65% of Internet Explorer loyalists are enterprise users that can only use Microsoft products at work, customers relying on web apps that only work on IE 11, and perhaps a few consumers still yearning for the 2000s-era Internet. If your customers are heavily represented in that 1.65%, you need a cross-browser test strategy that assures they have a positive user experience, even as Microsoft transitions users from Internet Explorer to Microsoft Edge.
Exploring the Edge of Quality User Experiences
Of course, outright retiring Internet Explorer isn’t truly possible. At its peak, IE accounted for a whopping 96% of web browser usage, meaning that many web applications were built primarily - or even exclusively - to function best on that browser. Despite IE’s fall from dominance, many organizations still rely on IE-based websites and applications - Microsoft found that enterprises have an average of 1,678 legacy apps based on Internet Explorer. To bridge the gap between IE and Edge, Microsoft has introduced a novel solution: IE Mode.
IE Mode in Edge allows users to shift away from the now-unsupported IE desktop app to the newer Microsoft Edge experience while still respecting legacy applications. The browser works with a Chromium engine by default, but you can now launch any URL in “IE Mode,” which would switch to the Trident MSHTML engine, the very same engine used by IE11.
Updating Your Tests for Microsoft Edge on IE Mode
Automated cross-browser tests in mabl are a fast, easy way to scale your testing strategy across the major browsers and ensure every customer has a delightful experience on your website. So how can enterprises manage quality for customers using Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge in IE Mode?
Ensuring quality is still possible, even for these customers
First, make sure that you’re running at least these versions of Windows and have downloaded Microsoft Edge. Once you have the browser running, you can set up different policies that allow you to run all the sites from your intranet in IE mode. We also encourage you to take a look at the detailed Internet Explorer desktop app retirement FAQ posted by Microsoft. This way you’ll be able to cover a variety of possible user journeys for customers relying on Microsoft Edge in IE with both manual and automated testing.
Mabl plans to continue offering IE11 testing for existing customers as long as Microsoft continues to support the browser on our server runtimes. This means that mabl customers will still be able to include Internet Explorer tests in their cross browser tests through the same low-code interface they already know and love. Our engineering team will continue to monitor any further changes made by Microsoft to ensure that every quality engineering team has the automated testing capabilities they need.
Any customers with questions are encouraged to connect with our customer success and customer support teams.
The End of Era - Not Your Testing Strategy
Internet Explorer has been with us since the early days of the Web. Loved by many, hated by many, and ignored by many, it served us well for years. Whether your customers have long abandoned IE, only used it to download Firefox or Chrome, or rely on it every day at the office, you’ll be able to evolve your tests in conjunction with their behavior. Though Internet Explorer’s retirement is a significant change in web history, your automated testing strategy can remain just as reliable as ever.
If your customers still rely on Internet Explorer, you can start testing their full user journey today by registering for mabl’s 14-day free trial.