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Experience Design

Microsoft Launches to Help You Write Better Code

Thursday, Microsoft launched, a site with tools to help developers write better code. The tool is really a set of three different components. The first part of the tool is a subscription to BrowserStack, allowing you to test your code on a multitude of combinations of Web browsers and operating systems. This subscription is usually $19/month alone but they are giving away 3-month trial memberships right now. The second part is a set of twenty best practices for cross-platform coding, authored by Dave Methvin of jQuery fame and Microsoft evangelist Rey Bango. The third tool, an automated scanner that will run against an existing Web site and seek out compatibility issues, primarily for dealing with IE code-arounds and such, but it will check for more than just IE issues. The scanner makes it easy to identify potential problem areas and rather than just telling you it’s broken, it gives you some hints and links to resources to help you resolve the issues. Looking at one of our sites, I found a potential issue with an easy fix. You also get access to interact with the Internet Explorer team – at least through e-mail.
Another great feature is that you can configure and download virtual machines with a few easy clicks if you want to test these environments locally. That’s a nice resource for anyone who has ever needed to replicate and track down issues with some obscure combination of browser and OS.

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