Microsoft's Web development and compatibility testing initiative for Internet Explorer, dubbed Modern.IE, is branching out to a new development environment, Vagrant.
Vagrant is a tool that enables developers to create portable, easily distributed virtualized software development environments. The platform has caught on with Web developers, according to Jason McConnell, senior product marketing manager of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
"Some developers let us know that they are using Vagrant to automate the setup and configuration of their development environments to ensure consistency and repeatability standing up their project machines," he said in a statement.
Responding to their feedback, Microsoft has "made available the VirtualBox versions of modern.IE's test VM's for Vagrant users in beta form so that they can automatically download and lay out those images for development and testing purposes." VirtualBox is Oracle's virtualization technology, on which Vagrant is based.
Microsoft is also streamlining IE testing for Web developers who use Macs.
"In the new version of Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac, we partnered with Parallels to make the modern.IE VMs accessible from within their new VM wizard directly, so you won't have to separately download the VM archive pieces to put them together yourself," announced McConnell. "This handy access path provides the EULA [end-user license agreement] and choice of IE/Windows versions directly in the product." Modern.IE virtual machines (VMs) are also available for Linux and Windows, naturally.
Finally, Microsoft unveiled a money-saving discount for Kraken.io, the service that powers Modern.IE's site scanning tool "to check how many bytes could be squeezed out of images on a given page through the use of image compression and optimization algorithms," said McConnell.
"As a special offer to modern.IE users, Kraken.io have made a 10 percent discount available via modern.IE on new monthly and yearly plans for the life of that subscription," he added.
The move comes a month after Microsoft's Internet Explorer team detailed some of the steps the company is taking to improve IE's standing among Web developers and users who may have made the jump to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
In one of Reddit's popular AMA ("Ask me anything") question-and-answer sessions, David Catuhe, a Microsoft IE senior program manager, said that the software giant is setting on a new course. "A lot of things are changing. We [announced] the end of support for too-old versions of IE or for out-of-date ActiveX [controls]. This is a first step to reduce fragmentation, which is really a pain for Web developers."
Microsoft's Jacob Rossi, program manager for Internet Explorer, chimed in, stating that beginning "with IE11, we've been shipping more than just security and reliability features via the existing monthly 'Patch/Update Tuesdays.' Last week we shipped new F12 Developer Tools, WebGL Instancing Extension, and the groundwork to support WebDriver. We'll continue to use this approach."