|Developer(s)||PCMan (Hong Jen Yee), yuoo2k|
2.0.20120203 / March 16, 2012
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Origins and lineage|
IE Tab is an extension for the Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and SeaMonkey web browsers which allows users to view pages using the Internet Explorer (IE) layout engine. This can be used for viewing pages that only render properly, or work at all, in IE (e.g., Windows Update), and to check the appearance of newly developed pages in both Firefox and IE from within Firefox. Pages viewed through the IE Tab extension are recorded in Internet Explorer's history, web cache, and so on, as if they had been opened in IE. The extension has become popular among web developers, since they can display and compare the appearance and performance of their websites in two tabs in the same browser.
Laura Blackwell of PC World wrote that the extension is useful for die-hard Firefox fans who still keep an Internet Explorer window open "just for those holdout sites that require IE to function." The extension "makes it a little easier to reduce your IE dependency: It lets you open a Firefox browser tab that runs sites intended for IE."
IE Tab was originally conceived by a Taiwanese medical student, Hong Jen Yee, a free software enthusiast known as PCMan on the Internet. He first developed the plugin and provided a simple demo page; he then released it to the forums of the Taiwan Mozilla community. It caught the attention of three other Taiwanese Firefox extension developers, known online as yuoo2k, dexter, and softcup. They created an extension to facilitate the use of the plugin. The developers then started to work together. With some instructions for XPCOM usage from European Mozilla developer Christian Biesinger, they finally integrated the plugin and the extension successfully, and formed the prototype of IE Tab. After its release on mozdev.org and the MozillaZine forum, the tool became quite popular. IE Tab was later developed for Google Chrome by Blackfish Software.
The original developer, Hong Jen Yee, quit the project in early 2006 because he had become a full-time Linux user. The project was abandoned and the extension no longer worked with Firefox version 3.6 and later.
Other groups of developers forked IE Tab, making it compatible with Firefox versions 3.6 and later. These include the IE Tab 2 project (ietab.net) and the IE Tab Plus project (coralietab.mozdev.org). IE Tab Plus includes an "optional price comparison feature" that has been considered by users to be malware, but the author provides an alternative version without it.
Hong Jen Yee returned to IE Tab and updated it in April 2013 to work with the then-current versions of Firefox. But he has not updated it since then and as of April, 2015 it is no longer supported on current versions of Firefox.
In February 2016, IE Tab 2 was updated to version 126.96.36.199 to work with current versions of Firefox, but newer builds of Firefox (52+) disable this add-on and offer the user to remove it completely. As of May 2017, the IE Tab 2 for Firefox project looks totally abandoned by the development team.