IE9 on the server? Yes please!

Let's start this anecdote with a confession, as all good war stories must.As much as I like IE9, I've not really got the hang of pinned sites.

Let's start this anecdote with a confession, as all good war stories must.

As much as I like IE9, I've not really got the hang of pinned sites. That's probably because they don't quite fit in with the way I've worked with browsers for the last 15 years or so, using hierarchically organised bookmarks that I keep tightly under control. That, and thanks to the way the task bar replaces the Quick Launch bar in Windows 7, my desktop's task bar is already pretty full.

However, the other day I was updating a bunch of the VMs I use to run our office infrastructure, and I was offered a server version of IE9. I decided to put it on the BES Express VM, as I don't need to go into that one very often - it just sits there talking to the Exchange VM and pushing out mail to our small fleet of BlackBerrys. One the things BES 5 did was switch from a crowded Java UI to something a little more designed - but which needed to work with a web browser. Sadly it's not HTML5, as it relies on an Active X control to manage locally connected devices, so you need to use it with Internet Explorer.

So does the BES UI work with IE9? The answer's yes - the initial BES 5 browser bugs were fixed in the 5.01 release, so you no longer have to use any version higher than IE7 in compatibility mode. Open BES's management tools in IE9, and everything works just the way it should with any well designed web application. I've tried IE9 with a range of different web-based server admin tools from a wide selection of software companies, and it works well with all of them - enough businesses have made the move to IE7 and IE8 (and there's a high enough penetration of Firefox and Chrome to make using modern HTML techniques imperative).

It's always been more than a little awkward scrolling through the start menu to get to the shortcut for the BlackBerry administration tools. But while I was tweaking some of the social media policies on my server I realised I could now pin a link to the BES tools to my server taskbar (I'm running Windows Server 2008 R2), and that would allow me to have a permanent app-like link to BES. With IE9's site framing features I'd have what I used to have in BES 3 and in BES 4, a management application - not just another bookmarked web site.

And, lo, it worked, with one little caveat.

Dear RIM, could you please give BES's admin tools a taskbar-sized additional favicon?

Simon Bisson

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