Browsium Ion is an innovative new product that removes a key impediment to enterprise upgrades by enabling millions of IE6- or IE7-dependent line-of-business web applications to run unmodified on IE8 or IE9 on Windows 7 or on IE8 on Windows XP. Ion is Browsium second generation product that replaces our first generation product, called UniBrows. Ion is an IE add-on that runs legacy IE rendering engines and web-application platform inside an IE8 or IE9 tab. Ion is not virtualization, does not run a separate instance of IE, and does not change the default browser or normal browsing behavior. It is simply a granular management tool for Internet Explorer that provides the control to enable legacy applications to run properly in modern browser with no security or compatibility tradeoffs. Best of all, with Ion, you can achieve compatibility with old IE6-compatible applications, but without the need for the IE6 engine! With Ion, there is no longer a need for organizations to spend millions of dollars to rewrite web applications or to install expensive and complex virtualization solutions before upgrading OS and browser platforms. Instead, they can spend their valuable IT resources upgrading desktops, deploying new solutions, and running their core business. By installing Ion on client PCs running Windows 7 or Windows XP with IE8, organizations can upgrade their OS and browser platforms organization-wide immediately and then rewrite or replace legacy applications on an independent schedule.
Browsium Ion is an Internet Explorer add-on that enables legacy web applications (like those that require IE6) to run inside an IE8 or IE9 tab, empowering organizations to streamline the migration process and avoid the complexity and costs of a virtualized environment. IT administrators deploy the Ion add-on to all PCs that need some legacy compatibility and create a set of opt-in rules that control which sites (usually intranet sites) need to be rendered using legacy rendering engines for backward compatibility. The rules are deployed via Group Policy or an XML file. Sites that are not explicitly designated in the Ion ruleset use the more secure and feature-rich IE8 or IE9 rendering engine. End users have no control over, or knowledge of, these rules. They simply access Internet and intranet sites as they normally would (links, favorites, searches, typed addresses) and Ion ensures that the page loads with the appropriate rendering engine.
Ion also provides a Profiles feature that enables IT administrators to designate specific versions of ActiveX controls, custom registry values, and file system settings for specific sites. So, for example, a legacy intranet site can always use an old version of Flash for compatibility, while sites opened in adjacent tabs use the most current and secure version. Profiles work with both the IE8 and IE9 rendering engines, improving the security and compatibility of all platforms.
If you’re an IT professional managing a large-scale Windows migration for your organization, you and your team are experts in the things that matter the most to your success. These include PC hardware, Windows image configuration and deployment, user state migration, application packaging, and software distribution systems. Odds are that remediating web applications is not core to your day job. And remediating them with Browsium Ion is yet another challenge as Ion is a very powerful, yet also very complex, tool.
So the short answer is that yes, you can use Ion yourself and some customers have had great success using it. But for most customers, hiring a professional who understands both the science and the art of using Ion to remediate large scale web applications is a far better choice. This will save you both time and money, while accelerating your browser and operating system migration project – which is what you’re paid to deliver in the end anyhow. The Browsium JumpStart Program is a turnkey solution, delivered by Browsium consultants or our Certified Partners, enabling a single IE6- or IE7-dependent application (of your choosing) to run on IE8 or IE9, from initial discovery of application defects through complete remediation and production deployment of Browsium Ion to the end users of that application. Please read about the JumpStart Program, and then let’s talk.
Yes, Ion works on Windows XP, Window Vista, and Windows 7. It enables end users to use IE8 as their default browser but render specific websites (determined by IT administrators) using legacy rendering engines for backward compatibility.
Ion is a 3rd party product created and sold by Browsium and Microsoft is not responsible for supporting any 3rd party products. However Microsoft is responsible for supporting Windows and IE (per Microsoft’s support lifecycle policy) and will continue to do so after any 3rd party product is installed, including Ion. Ion does not modify the core Windows system or configurations and like other 3rd party add-ons for IE, Ion can be easily disabled if directed by Microsoft support in order to investigate issues with the natively installed IE version. Browsium is responsible for supporting the Ion product. If Ion is not working at parity with a standalone installation of IE6 running on Windows XP, Browsium will make commercially reasonable efforts to modify the Ion software or provide guidance for the customer to resolve the issue.
No, Ion complies fully with this Microsoft policy. Ion does not install or run a separate instance or version of Internet Explorer, and doesn’t repackage executable components of Internet Explorer. Instead it provides granular management of the rendering engines and settings built into IE8 and IE9, thus enabling configurations that allow legacy applications to run unmodified in modern versions of Internet Explorer. Running Ion inside of IE8 or IE9 is very similar to Internet Explorer’s own Compatibility View which invokes a legacy rendering engine inside of the Internet Explorer application. Ion does this with even more granular control so that each browser tab can use the built-in rendering engine and settings required for a specific web application. Tabs not managed by Ion use the modern and secure default engines and settings provided by Internet Explorer.
Ion achieves high degrees of compatibility with legacy web applications via a combination of granular control over the engines and modes built into IE8 and IE9, along with the ability to modify browser and security settings application by application. Browsium’s patented technology makes this all possible.
Absolutely. That’s why Ion is such a smart solution to the problem. Ion allows IT administrators to upgrade all of their desktops to modern versions of Internet Explorer (IE8 on Windows XP and IE8 or IE9 on Windows 7) and define which intranet websites will render using one of Internet Explorer’s built in legacy rendering engine and custom settings required to properly run the application. All other sites use default IE8 or IE9 engine and the default settings. With Ion, enterprises can say goodbye to IE6 immediately, while still continuing to use their business-critical applications that were built for, and only work with, IE6.
Browsium Ion has been carefully built using only supported and documented APIs and features provided by Microsoft. Patented technology in Ion enables the software to deliver granular control over Internet Explorer rendering engines and settings while remaining in compliance with Microsoft development guidelines and without modifying any Windows system components. Therefore Ion will not be affected by routine Internet Explorer security patches. When Microsoft releases patches for Internet Explorer, you can update your client PCs with the security updates on your normal schedule.
Typically Microsoft will only modify supported and documented APIs in major new releases of the browser, as changes of this magnitude can affect many Internet Explorer add-ons (toolbars, browser helper objects, ActiveX Controls). Browsium always evaluates every new Internet Explorer release to determine if Ion must be modified to be compatible. If we determine that an update is needed, we strive to release the new version of Ion soon after the new browser release.
Yes, Ion can be installed on PCs running IE9 and enable granular control over all of the built in browser engines, including IE9, IE8, IE7, and IE Quirks. Ion also runs great in IE8 and will soon support IE10.
At this time Ion is only available for Windows systems running IE8 or IE9. Ion can help today if your web applications render properly using the IE8 Compatibility View feature but require specific browser settings, ActiveX controls or filesystem configurations. Ion includes two IE7 Profiles (called “Emulate IE7″ and “IE7 Standards”). Using those Profiles you can get the required rendering behavior combined with the ActiveX controls and browser settings you want – without compromising your default IE configuration.
Browsium Ion has been designed to be lightweight. In general, if your system can run Windows, it can run Ion. The specific requirements are:
|Operating System||Windows XP SP2 or later (32-bit only)
Windows Vista (32- and 64-bit systems are supported)
Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit systems are supported)
Windows Server 2003 (32- and 64-bit)
Windows Server 2008 (32- and 64-bit systems are supported)
|Browsers||Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 9
|.NET Framework||Version 2.0 Service Pack 2 or later|
|Processor||1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor|
|Memory||1 gigabyte (GB) RAM for desktop PCs
2 gigabytes (GB) RAM for servers running Terminal Services
|Disk Space||50 megabytes (MB) of available hard-drive space on client systems|
Ion does not support Windows 8 or IE10 today. We are evaluating market demand for Windows 8 in the enterprise and expect to deliver an update to Ion to support Windows 8 with desktop IE10 (along with IE10 on Windows 7) in the coming months.
Google’s Chrome Frame plug-in is an add-on for Internet Explorer that can be used to run web sites with the Chrome browser engine. It was designed so that customers running older versions of Internet Explorer (like IE6) can get the latest features from Google services like Gmail and Search. It does not improve or change IE’s compatibility with older web applications, nor does it offer any enterprise-level management features. In addition, in order to enable the Chrome engine to render a web site, the web site itself must be updated to instruct the Chrome Frame plug-in to run. Browsium’s Ion solution allows users of newer versions of Internet Explorer (IE8 or IE9) to get IE6 & IE7 compatibility when required in an easy-to-manage way and without requiring any change to the underlying web site.
More questions? Search the Ion Knowledge Base.