9 Tools For Multi-Browser Web Development
With the positive reception of Opera 10, the importance of cross-browser testing for web developers is more important than ever. Taking the time to test your new pages in each version of Opera, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer (and possibly others) can be an insanely time-consuming process.
Regardless of if you’re a young, fledgling web developer or the most seasoned veteran on Elance, these tools will save you valuable time when testing your website for cross-browser compatibility. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave any of your potential market shares out now, would you?
Now, on to the tools!
Cross Browser Testing: Cross Browser Testing is one of the most popular tools for testing pages in a huge number of environments. Although it is a pay-as-you-go service (you are free to use it up to five minutes at a time, however), the sheer number of configuration options available make it worthwhile to check out.
BrowserShots: If “free” is something more your speed, the very popular BrowserShots can provide you with screenshots of many different operating system/browser configurations. One thing to remember: BrowserShots only provides exactly that – non-interactive snapshots in different browsers.
Adobe BrowserLab: From the software giant known as Adobe comes the new kid on the block called BrowserLab, a highly-anticipated website testing tool that offers a wide variety of useful tools, such as Dreamweaver CS4 integration and an “Onion Skin View” feature that overlays one browser over another to quickly detect any differences. It’s currently free right now for testing, so head on over and give it a shot.
Microsoft SuperPreview: Expression Web SuperPreview is an application that you download to test multiple Internet Explorer versions on your desktop with robust tools, like multiple resolution support, DOM highlighting, zoom, and more, to ideally save you some time and headache when making your webpage’s transition from Internet Explorer 6 compatibility to 7 (or version 8, you early adopters.)
IE Net Renderer: If your only concern is Internet Explorer, IE NetRenderer is a quick, fast, free online tester that allows you to test any page in Internet Explorer 5.5, version 6, version 7, or version 8. Seeing how Internet Explorer almost has three-quarters of the Internet browser share, having a fast tester like this can prove to be handy.
IECapture: Similar to IE Net Renderer, but even more streamlined. All you do is simply input your web address, and bam, screenshots come back in the form of Internet Explorer 8 (or whatever the most current version of Internet Explorer is available.)
Browsrcamp: As a web developer, you definitely do not want to forget about the Apple crowd when designing websites. Browsrcamp allows you to take quick snapshots in Safari 3.12, or you can subscribe to a full, paid service that allows you to take control of a Mac OS X system pre-configured with every Mac browser available.
Xenocode Browser Sandbox: Xenocode is really interesting, to say the least. The virtualization website allows you to run several applications directly from the web without having to worry about operating systems or compatibility issues. As you can see, this comes in the ability to run a variety of different web browsers virtually to test your website. Interesting stuff.
Litmus: Litmus is one of the most robust testing sites on this list. It offers testing on all major browsers and has tools to review bug reports and compatibility charts to be reviewed. Litmus also provides testing for HTML-based emails, so if your company does a lot of email marketing, this tool is worth checking out. All of this comes at a cost: $24 for a day pass, $49 a month for an individual, or $199 a month for a development team. They give you a limited version for free, so don’t be afraid to try before buying.