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Microsoft unveils RemoteIE to test web pages in IE on most OSes

Web developers wanted to test their creations in the latest preview version of Internet Explorer are now able to do without needing to install a Windows 10 preview, thanks to Azure and a client app for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android.

Microsoft has today taken the wraps off of the preview version of RemoteIE, a service based on top of Azure RemoteApp that allows web developers to test their web pages in the latest version of Internet Explorer found within the Windows 10 technical preview, without needing to install or set up a virtual machine of Redmond's upcoming OS.

To use the service, developers need to register on the RemoteIE site, and download a client application for Windows, OS X, iOS, or Android. By pressing F12 on a keyboard, or instigating it from IE's menu, users will be able to have access to the developer tools found within Internet Explorer.

"Going forward, this will be the recommended way for developers who are not running Windows 10 to test the latest IE preview versions," wrote Microsoft program manager, Anton Molleda in a blog post.

Due to RemoteIE being based on Windows Server 2012 R2, no earlier versions of IE are available for testing, but Microsoft said it was something that was on its radar, and users could use IE's compatibility modes to test the rendering of pages in previous versions.

"Sorry, no IE6," Microsoft said in RemoteIE's FAQ. "One thing to keep in mind is that RemoteApp runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 so the versions available will be IE11 and IE11 in Enterprise Mode."

Microsoft said that since the service is in preview, that testing sessions would be ended after an hour, or 10 minutes of inactivity in a session.

"Over time, these limits could be tweaked to better balance out resources and user demands," Microsoft said. "There aren’t any limits in the number of sessions you can have in a day as long as there are resources available. If too many users are connected, you will receive a message asking you to wait for a few minutes and try again."

Users will not be able to change any of the settings in the Internet Explorer application, with Microsoft issuing the usual caveats that a remote Azure session will not be as fast as a local copy of the browser, nor will RemoteIE be able to access internal URLs or pages behind firewalls.