IE Tab: Jumping Between Firefox and Internet Explorer


Recently, over on the OStatic blog, I covered Sleipnir, which is a popular browser in Japan, but few people outside of that country use it. It has one primary claim to fame–an unusual one–which is that it allows you to switch between the Gecko rendering engine using by the Mozilla Firefox browser and Internet Explorer’s rendering engine. This means that if you run into a rendering problem in Firefox, for example, you can take another look using IE’s rendering engine (this is for Windows users).

The folks on Download Squad originally alerted me to Sleipnir here, and they also make the interesting point that you can use both rendering engines with a useful Firefox extension: I ETab. I’ve been using I ETab, and web workers–especially designers–may find it very useful.

IE Tab adds a Switch Rendering Engine option to your context menus, as seen above, and you can pull up the menu option by right-clicking on the relevant tab, or use other methods for switching, as seen here. For web designers and developers in particular, this presents an on-the-fly way to look at how web pages will be presented by Firefox’s and Internet Explorer’s rendering engines.

For a long time, I’ve been in the habit of using Firefox and Internet Explorer concurrently. I do most of my work in Firefox, but I’ll jump into IE if I have a problem with a page, and there are still some sites that require Internet Explorer. Both the Sleipnir browser and IE Tab present fast ways to jump back-and-forth. IE Tab is compatible with Firefox version 3, as well.



I used this for a while, but started noticing differences between the tabs and the actual full versions of IE. Not sure I trust this anymore.


IETab also has an options page where you can specify that certain web sites always open in an IETab. We have several SharePoint based sites here at work that rely on NTLM credentials pass-through for authentication, and there is no way to do that in Firefox. Now I have them all configured to open automatically in an IE tab.


I’ve used IETab, but it’s limitation is that it will only render for your currently installed version of IE. I’ve begun using IETester, because many clients will want to keep IE6 compatibility (sad to say). Of course I don’t have IE6 installed. IE Tester utilizes a tabbed interface to display pages in IE 5.5, 6.0, 7.0, 8b. If you just need IE7 compatibility, use IETab; if it extends beyond that, IETester may be the tool for you.
(This is an independent opinion, I am in no way associated with the development of IETester).


there have been “switch rendering engine” plugins for firefox available since at least 2005. how is this possibly newsworthy in 2008?


In my case, IE Tab was causing Firefox to freeze or get slower most of the times.

When I searched, I saw that the problem was well-known between other users.

I switched to IE View Lite, which is again a context menu item but opens the page in a new IE window rather than a tab.

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