Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why webdevelopers should use Linux

Recently, I revamped my old Organization Chart javascript widget to a new version. Since I released this code some time ago I received quite a good deal of email requests from people that are actually using it for their company's intranet site.

On the one hand, it makes me very happy to see people are actually using it for professional purposes. On the other hand, at the time I slapped it together in a few hours total, building on some old experience. As it turned out, users were/are having quite some issues to properly customize their organization charts. I even received some code contributions to improve the functionality.

Now, a few days ago, I finally found some time to address the major issues. But something grave changed in the mean while. When I first created and released the widget, I was a windows user, and used to create stuff that would work on Microsoft Internet Explorer, and then modify it to work on Mozilla/Firefox. Now, it has been about a year since I replaced Microsoft Windows for (K)Ubuntu Linux. Meaning, I am without Internet Explorer....or am I ;)

Enter IEs4Linux:

The IE4sLinux project offers the real, genuine Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer as a Wine emulation:

One of the compelling things about the IE4Linux project is that it allows you to run several versions of MS Internet Explorer on the same machine - something I never got to work on my native windows machine.

Obviously, web developers that need to test their pages on several browsers and browser versions are better off on Linux + Wine than native Windows, as Linux + Wine + IEs4Linux allows them to test their pages on several versions of Internet Explorer.

Thanks to the people from IEs4Linux and Wine!


Anonymous said...

Although I am a Linux supporter I thought that you should know that you can use different versions of IE on Windows, see http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE.

Some guys hacked the dlls to allow them all to be installed at once, right back to 4.somehting.

Anyway, nice blog.

rpbouman said...

Hi Josh!

What can I say...the title of the blog is a bit tongue in cheek as far as I am concerned ;)

I am no hardcore webdeveloper but I was quite heavily involved in intranet application development, and at the time I struggled a lot with testing different IE versions. One of decisive momemnts was when I installed a IE7 beta only to find out that a lot of stuff would not work anymore.

Anyway, thanks for this tip!

Andrew Gilfrin said...

Hi Roland

Personally I don't trust a browser unless it has been tested on the actual OS it is intended before.

The little qwirks are often so obscure they can sometimes be a problem only on a minor version of a browser.

I tend to let the users pick up the cross platform stuff, I only ever open IE if they report a specific problem I'm not getting in FF.


rpbouman said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for you comments ;)

Yeah, I see your point. That said, it is amazing to see how well wine runs other apps. So I tend to trust it at least while developing. But I agree, the final test should always be as close as possible to the actual environment.

Unknown said...

Hi Roland !

About the organization chart : this widget is really amazing ! Thanks a lot for this tool.

May I suggest this feature : a function that collapses or expands every nodes ?

rpbouman said...


I'm glad you like it!

Yeah, a collapse/expand all feature would be a good addition. I'll put it on my todo.

That said, if you come up with an implementation, I can take a look at it and maybe incorporate it into the code. And you'll be credited of course ;)



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