Wednesday, March 16, 2011

IE6 Application Compatibility Mitigation with Unibrows–Part 1

IE6 Application Compatibility Mitigation with Unibrows–Part 1: "

One of the biggest blockers to Windows 7 migration is browser compatibility. Too many internal web applications were written for IE6 and this has prevented organizations from deploying IE7 and/or IE8 to their desktops. There are a number of options to mitigate this, from compatibility mode in IE7 and IE8 to finding and fixing issues with the Application Compatibility Toolkit. Now there is another option, Unibrows.

UniBrows is a lightweight browser add-on that is easy and inexpensive to deploy, requiring no new infrastructure and no servers.

With UniBrows there’s no longer a need to rewrite Web applications or install expensive and complex virtualization solutions. By simply installing UniBrows on PCs running Windows 7 or Windows XP with IE8, enterprises can continue to use all of their already-deployed and paid-for IE6 applications inside IE8 without modifying a single line of code.

Browser compatibility issues have dogged the enterprise in recent years, resulting in 74 percent of the organizations continuing to run the aging Windows XP on their desktop and laptop PCs and delaying browser and operating system upgrades as long as possible. These compatibility issues, driven by line of business applications that run only in IE6, have the added problem of blocking deployment of Windows 7, forcing organizations to forego the business and technology benefits of Microsoft’s latest operating system.

UniBrows solves both problems via an IE8 add-on that enables IE6 web applications to run in an IE8 tab, enabling enterprises to upgrade PCs to Windows 7 while keeping your legacy IE6 applications running unmodified.

There are two parts to getting this deployed in your environment. There is client prep and then there is rules preparation. Part one will take a look at client prep and in part two we will take a look at creating and deploying rules. Creating the client installers is pretty straight forward. Once you have downloaded Unibrows there are two main components, UB-Client-Prep.exe and UBManager-Setup.msi. To create the client packages launch UB-Client-Prep.exe. After skipping the Welcome screen and agreeing to the license you will be prompted to download a set of components from Microsoft. Click on the download button and save the file to your PC.

Once you’ve downloaded them you will need to open them with the Client Setup Preparation Tool. Simply click on Open File and browse to where you saved the file.

Once complete you are ready to build your client prep installers. Simply click on Build and sit back and wait.

Once the build process is complete you will be asked to save the three prep tools. There is one for XP, one for Vista and one for Windows 7.

The files are MSI files and can be deployed in any manner you use to deploy MSIs. There are no installation prompts so a silent install is easy to accomplish with the following command line:

msiexec /i path/to/install.msi /q

Once installed you will see it appear under Manager Add-Ons in IE8

With the client deployed we can now set up rules for the plugin to process.

To download a 60 day evaluation kit visit