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sites designed on mac, don't look the same on windows :(

love my mac--love my mac made sites, but windows doesn't help!

   
7:47 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've been running my own web design business for about 8 months now and my primary computer is a MAC. (my secondary computer is a MAC too! ;) )

I've been a MAC person for years and I just love them, but recently I've been discovering some glitches (for lack of a better term).

When I design, I check my sites in NS, IE, Opera, Safari and Anybrowser.com. I'm now hearing from people that there are layout problems on some of my sites when viewed with IE on windows (mostly IE6).

How do other MAC based web designers work around this?

Is there an online resource where I could test the site for windows beasts before launching that you know of?

Does anybody know if there is something in particular that IE 6 just can't handle (ie. CSS, tables)?

I'd appreciate any feedback, as the frustration is forcing me to seriously consider breaking down and getting a windows machine to test my sites. :(

Thanks for the help!
Sari

7:56 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



consider breaking down and getting a windows machine

Stay strong, there's no need for that! ;)

One thing to do is find someone on WebmasterWorld who has a Windows machine, but needs Mac testing... Then you look at their sites and they look at yours. The other option is to get VirtualPC or some other Windows emulator program, and just install Win/IE on your Mac instead of buying a whole new computer.

Also, just making sure you run your code through a validator will really help minimize unexpected glitches.

8:08 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Mivox, thanks for the idea!

I had completely forgotten about virtual PC--although part of me hates the idea of contaminating my MAC with it! ;)

Does anyone else use this? Any feedback on it?

Thanks again!

8:18 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



getting a windows machine to test my sites

I'd have to strongly encourage this, especially if you are using CSS positioning to layout your sites. I find my Windows test machine indispensable while designing a site. You can pick up a cheap one for less than a few hundred dollars, so it's actual cheaper than Virtual PC. For me, Virtual PC just doesn't cut it for a couple of other reasons:

  • way too slow
  • sometimes sites can render slightly different using an emulator

    With an OS X machine and a PC, you pretty much have the most robust testing platform around. A few settings and software:

    On the Mac

  • Browsers: Safari, Firefox, Camino, IE 5, Lynx, Opera
  • Turn personal web serving on (under sharing in system preferences)

    On the PC

  • Browsers: IE 5, IE 5.5, IE 6, NN 4, NN 6, NN 7, Opera 6, Opera 7

    With personal web serving turned on, your Mac serves as your production server. It's Apache, so you do almost anything with it. To view your test site on your PC, you simply enter your Mac's IP into the address bar.

    As a designer working on Mac, you have to understand that only 5% or less of the population will see your site as you do. While your design might look beautiful in Safari w/ font anti-aliasing on, it could be ghastly when viewed in IE 5.5 on Win 98. Unless of course, you test your site on a Windows machine (or emulator at the least).

    To take the above setup even further, consider loading multiple operating systems on both the Mac and Intel machine. Theoretically with the above two machines you could test your site on every variant of Mac OS, Windows, and Linux.

  • 8:23 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



    I've never used VirtualPC... I work in a WinNT office, so I can test my stuff at work in IE5/Win, Opera 6 and Netscape 4, and I get a friend with WinXP to check my sites in IE6. ;)
    8:32 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    You are lucky then Mivox ;) It's something I wouldn't wish on anyone. Thankfully, you can pick up a used Win box for less than Microsoft charges for Virtual PC.
    8:51 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Thanks for the detailed info Your_Store!

    I think you make an excellent point about covering all of the bases and testing in every variation of Mac Windows and Linux, as I already do this in Mac OS9 and OSX.

    When I started out I still had a "day job" and was testing sites there. At the time I wasn't doing any CSS, but now that I'm moving more in that direction, and looking towards learning PHP I think I'm going to have to get the windows box.

    BTW--I redid the layout for the site that was causing me frustration today and it turns out that it was the CSS positioning that was throwing things off--I now have everything in a table, and it seems to be working fine. :)

    Thanks again everyone!

    11:06 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Something I like a lot is Microsoft's remote desktop [microsoft.com] - it pulls up a PC desktop on a Mac over a network.

    With a cheap PC base unit out of sight somewhere you can test in IE6 from the comfort of your Mac :)

    (you do need to be runnng at least 10.2.8 and 2000/XP)

    1:12 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    One thing to do is find someone on WebmasterWorld who has a Windows machine, but needs Mac testing...

    Ooh...Me! Me! I have had nightmares lately because of Mac compatibility problems. I'd be glad to trade testing.

    Birdman

    5:04 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Something I like a lot is Microsoft's remote desktop - it pulls up a PC desktop on a Mac over a network.

    If I remember correctly, this only works on Windows XP and some versions of NT/Win2K Server. For other Windows operating systems you can use a Virtual Network Client, or VNC.

    I use one on Mac OSX called 'Chicken of the VNC' (terrible name for a program but it works like a charm :)).

    11:47 am on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Thanks Ytswy and aus_dave--I'll have to test both of these out once I find a cheap box!

    Thanks again everyone, this has been a great help!

    12:31 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    >Is there an online resource where I could test the site for windows
    Hello Sari. Netmechanic has a service called browser snapshot. It is fairly inexpensive. I've had good luck with it.
    5:23 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Great topic.

    Last year I was one of those who caved. After dealing with VPC for several years I purchased a Dell 2Ghz w/ XP Pro for $450.00 from Dell. Great buy I should say… and has served me well in making sure my work is platform friendly. A confession that it did feel odd when the UPS guy delivered my Dell… UG!

    Fact is, rather than dinking around with VPC, owning a real PC has increased my productivity working with those windoz based clients. It has also opened up access to some great software that is out there for PC only computers.

    What I won’t do! Network my Mac with my Windows Box (he he) Keeping the Mac as M$ free as possible.

    3 Macs –to- 1 PC I don't feel bad ;)
    ~S

    11:32 am on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    I've ended up caving as well. I've bought a used HP omnibook as I really like the portablity (especially since space is at a premium in my office). It's running XP and I find it really slow--especially on start up.

    But, it really opened my eyes to how different my sites can look in IE 6!

    As you said Slone, I now have access to tools that I wouldn't have been able to use before.

    I still prefer my Macs!

    6:56 pm on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    But, it really opened my eyes to how different my sites can look in IE 6!

    Sari, are you validating your HTML?

    [validator.w3.org...]

    You did the right thing to buy the PC, but deploying valid webpages will keep your browser compatibiility headaches to a minimum.

    7:17 pm on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Timster, I'm admittedly a bit lax at validating my html. :( (I'm working on it!)I've bookmarked the URL you've provided, hopefully that will be enough of a kick in the pants for me to validate every page.

    With that said, I'm finding the that real differences were with rendering of the CSS, especially when it comes to positioning. Is this also a validation issue; or, does IE 6 render CSS differently than the other browsers on everybody's pages?

    11:47 pm on Jun 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    IE 6 is the most CSS compliant version at the moment but it still has some quirks and problems when compared with say Mozilla.

    The more 'advanced' style attributes like floats can be a problem e.g. peekaboo bug. There are some good online resources that compare how different browsers render CSS differently. [css-discuss.org...] is a good general CSS discussion list that covers cross-browser compatibility a lot.

    4:05 am on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member




    90% or more of the population is running IE.

    I use a PowerBook to develop but having another screen connected to my PC gives me INSTANT results when I change anything. I highly recommend having a PC handy.

    Also, the gamma is different for Apple and PC...meaning colors are darker on the PC. ...this was a rude awakening the first time.

    11:56 am on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    Also, the gamma is different for Apple and PC...meaning colors are darker on the PC. ...this was a rude awakening the first time.

    I always figured that the owners of all "gothic themed" sites did all their design on Mac ..

    Seriously ..this is probably the single most important factor which is forgotten by designers on each platform ..how it renders on the other in terms of gamma ..as suggested if you can get someone with the "othersystem" to check your work ..do so ..
    As to buying a Mac ( for those on PC ) what you got to think of is that far far more people use PC and will therefore see your efforts on PC ..and ..

    Once you've gone Mac ..you wont never go back!

    6:06 am on Jun 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    One issue I experience is clients who have an un-corrected monitor.

    A point one client made was... “If my monitor is not adjusted the way it should be (his was factory preset) then what about all those using my site? Should we design for un-corrected monitors?”

    Proceeding that... I spend some time talking and educating my client. A point I brought up was consistent color matching with brands. His point of concern is valid. He ended up agreeing we should design with the proper calibration.

    My Mac is as closely matched to my PC as possible, and with that I have had far less issues… but still there are those un-corrected monitors.

    2:25 pm on Jun 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    Sari,

    I know what you mean. Too often I hack at a stylesheet until in looks good in Safari, only to find it's a disaster in every other browser. (D'oh!)

    Here's another validator link for you then.
    [jigsaw.w3.org...]

    Validating CSS is a healthy habit, but many browsers will flake out on perfectly good CSS. In my experience, Windows Internet Explorer 6 and Safari work similarly with correct CSS, but I do see a lot of times when the position is one pixel off from one to another.

    3:08 pm on Jun 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Wow! Thanks everyone for the great comments and links!

    Timster, I'll now be using both of the links you provided on a regular basis. ;)

    Slone, how can I tell if the monitor on my pc is "un-corrected"? How do I correct it?

    Thanks again everyone!

     

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