Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Designer proposes, browser disposes

The browser wars continue. They never let us be at peace on the web. And now they have invaded the small screens too. So the nightmare continues. Every time you design something for the wild wild web, you have to check how it renders on the different browsers.

Some good news on this front. Test your web pages on different browsers and OS easily using Adobe BrowserLab . It generates screenshots of how the page would look on different browsers almost instantaneously. Currently, you can test for Firefox 2.0 (XP, OS X), Firefox 3.0 (XP, OS X), IE6 (XP), IE7 (XP), Safari 3.0 (OS X) only. Do check out the interesting "Onion Skin View", which superimposes one screenshot over another to see the differences between the different renderings. The bad news is that the service is free only for a limited time. It comes bundled with Dreamweaver CS4 though.

Another such tool for testing websites is to use an online service like BrowserShots, which generates screenshots for a web page in more than 80 versions of the most common browsers used in Windows, Linux, BSD and Mac. However, the process takes time, sometimes up to an hour, to see the screenshots.

Browsershots supports check with scores of browsers on multiple OS

More from ‘About Browsershots’ “....it is a free open-source online service created by Johann C. Rocholl. When you submit your web address, it will be added to the job queue. A number of distributed computers will open your website in their browser. Then they will make screenshots and upload them to the central server here.”

If you have to test only for IE 6, 7, 8 only check out Netrenderer.

Well that’s half the battle won. What if you haven’t hosted them yet? What about checking files locally?

Here are some quick solutions:

  • Different versions of opera can be installed into the same machine if you install them into separate directories.
  • Netscape (6 and 7) and Firefox (0.x and 1.x) used the same rendering engines respectively. Install any two and you are done. You can run multiple versions from the same machines by using profiles. Works for 2.x and 3 too. More info on profiles here.
  • To run multiple versions of IE, go through the painstaking dual-booting or the slightly more convenient VM way.
  • OS X requires emulators again. Never tried it though.
  • Linux is a lot easier to run. Just run a version bootable from a CD/DVD. My favourite.

If nothing works get multiple machines. Or pay these guys for a paid service

About the small screen browsers. Coming soon.


Sannidhya Misra said...

My colleague Ahamed adds...

When I tried login with my Adobe Credentials for experiencing the same for my current project, I received the following message:

Sorry, but the limited free preview for Browser Lab is currently full, and we are temporarily not accepting new users - the response has been overwhelming! We will update this page when Browser Lab is available again. Please visit this page frequently for updates on availability. Thanks for your interest in Browser Lab, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Anoop Gupta said...

There is a open dource free software for testing different versions of Internet Explore. That is IETESTER.
Insyall it in your machine and experience the functionality of IE5+ versios on single machine.

mM said...

Interesting and informative read.

Firefox has a addon - IE Tab to render pages in a IE engine within firefox. There is a easy single click to activate IE rendering.


Vinay said...

Would html5 based content and structure layer help in any way?