Category Archives: Virtual Machines

Fun with Regex

Yup, said fun with regex. My standard line is the old favorite “I have a problem that I solved with regex and now I have two problems”…

But Josh Bush tweeted about a regular expression game that Erling Ellingsen built.

There’s 15 levels that exercise different expressions in regex.

  1. Plain strings
  2. Anchors –
  3. Ranges
  4. Backrefs
  5. Abba
  6. A man, a plan
  7. Prime
  8. Four
  9. Order
  10. Triples
  11. Glob
  12. Balance
  13. Powers
  14. Long Count
  15. Long Count v2

I love these types of challenges specifically because gives a fun way  to learn new things and experiment without fear. I started playing it yesterday and it’s a fantastic time suck for a geek like me. Without looking up the regex cheatsheet, I got to about 1500 but then I had to dive deeper into backreferences and grouping than I had before. I wish JavaScript supported nested references but oh well.

I’m currently at 3293 but I’m positive I can break 3500 at some point in the near future as I don’t really feel like I’ve cracked Glob, Prime, or Triples.

Go play the Regular Expression game and make sure that you comment with your scores! 🙂

A little more about the Virtual Machines on modern.IE

Virtual Machines Logo Yesterday we updated somewhere around 90 VMs for modern.IE. This has been incredibly well received by most people but there was a little bit of "snark" that 90ish VMs was too many. But let’s break that down actually.

The reality is that we’ve got 9 client OS/browser combinations.

  1. Windows XP and IE6 (which A: goes out of support shortly and B: is less than 1% pretty much everywhere except China – – but for the 5 people that care, we’ve got a VM for you)
  2. Windows XP and IE8 (remember XP goes out of support in a few months)
  3. Windows Vista and IE7 (IE7 is still big in enterprises)
  4. Windows 7 and IE8
  5. Windows 7 and IE9
  6. Windows 7 and IE10
  7. Windows 7 and IE11
  8. Windows 8 and IE10
  9. Windows 8.1 and IE11

That’s a little more manageable and remember that two of those will drop off (theoretically) in just a few months.

How we get to 90ish is that then we cover virtual machines that run on 3 different OSes across all of the major virtualization platforms.

  1. Mac and Virtual Box
  2. Mac and VMWare
  3. Mac an Parallels
  4. Windows and HyperV on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  5. Windows and HyperV on Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Pro
  6. Windows 7 and Virtual PC
  7. Windows 7 and Virtual PC
  8. Windows and Virtual PC
  9. Windows and VirtualBox
  10. Windows and VMWare
  11. Linux and VirtualBox

There’s a bunch of host OS/Virtualization platform combinations. If you multiple the guest OS/browser combinations and the host OS/virtualization platform combinations, you end up with a LOT of VMs but the reality is that you will only ever need to download a small handful of these at any given point in time.

The really good news, however, is that all of these options are free on the modern.IE Virtual Machines page when you need them.

Virtual Machine Downloads

More ways to test drive your sitemodern.IE has free virtual machine downloads for testing Internet Explorer.

As I mentioned in my last post about modern.IE, my team’s core mission is to write interoperable web sites across all of the major browsers and to help that, we’ve put together a set of tools to help you test cross browser and cross platform. The latest step that we’ve taken is that we’ve updated all of the VMs that we support which is a giant list. The updates include getting them up to date with security patches, latest versions of the right browsers, such as IE11 on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, and more.

We have virtual machines for folks running Windows, OSX and Linux across the following virtualization platforms (dependent on base platform):

Hyper-V (Windows)
Virtual PC (Windows)
Virtual Box (Windows, OSX and Linux
VMWare (Windows, OSX)
Parallels (OSX)

The virtual machines include a lot of different Windows OS and browser configurations.

Windows XP with IE6
Windows XP with IE8
Windows Vista with IE7
Windows 7 with IE8
Windows 7 with IE9
Windows 7 with IE10
Windows 7 with IE11
Windows 8 with IE10
Windows 8.1 and IE11

To set expectations correctly, these are 90 day VMs. In other words, every 90 days they will expire and you can come back and download a new one that’s all up to date with the latest security patches but these are not just free Windows machines forever.

If you are testing web sites across multiple versions of Internet Explorer, I highly recommend that you go to the virtual machines page on modern.IE and download the latest VMs.