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tool that checks my site in different browsers

8:49 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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does anybody know if there's a tool that would check what my website looks like in the most common browser versions? (so that I don't have to install each of them on my computer just to check it)


9:34 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Only real way to check is to install those browsers.

Its not that hard to do and you get the most accurate results of checking. Tools that check for you aren't 100% perfect. By testing in that actual browser - you know exactly what to do


9:38 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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there are a few websites that can do it. do a search for 'browser screen capture'
9:55 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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In a similar vein, the Cynthia Says portal can emulate a wide variety of browsers when it tests for accessibility


<snip/>...a web content accessibility validation solution. It is designed to identify errors in your content related to Section 508 standards and/or the WCAG guidelines. This free tool meant for educational purposes, is an online test which only validates one page at a time. This service will expose you to the underlying technology and <snip/>

Note this demo will test about one (1) page per minute / per site.

3:59 am on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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search for 'browser screen capture'

I've just been contemplating the same question, and it occurred to me that most browser screen capture sites just show how a page is displayed. They don't show how other browser-related activities behave, though... and these can be extremely important.

For me the question is how do you get all those browsers running on your system.

6:34 am on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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OOOHHH and here I come to the rescue...

may I present the answer to your prayers...

drumroll please...


I was looking for the same thing a while ago and this is by far the best answer. Just enter you URL and wait a few minutes for the shots to be posted for your review.. it's all 100% free too :D

8:38 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You needn't be concerned with browsers whereas you should be concerned with rendering engines. SeaMonkey 1.1 and Firefox 2 are both based on Gecko 1.8 and thus will render exactly the same. AOL inserts a single line of code and therefor implements the Window's deep-rooted Internet Explorer so if the system IE is IE 5.5 AOL == IE 5.5.

In general there are only a handful of rendering engines to be concerned about...

Gecko (Firefox, Camino, SeaMonkey)
KHTML / Linux
Opera (rendering engine is constantly renamed)
Trident (IE and anything that incorporates IE)
Webkit (Safari/iCab4.0+/OmniWeb,etc)

Webkit is a fork from KHTML and I've read what I hold to be a rumor that they may be merged back together.

There are other rendering engines though these five represent the largest shares of browsers on the market. The next largest human/browser group would most likely be more miscellaneous versions (such as an Amiga-OS specific browser) and cellphone/PDA portable browsers (Opera Mini would most likely be in the lead though I don't track portable browser stats for a lack of interest for designing for screens smaller then the textarea I'm currently typing in).

That being said your secondary concern should be the versions of those rendering engines.

Installing IE8 decimated my ability to test with IE 4, 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0. My IE3 (I have just for kicks since it does not support CSS in any meaningful way) and IE7 standalones still works though IE8 allows emulation (though I use IE8 and IE7 standalone side by side anyway as per my preference).

Opera users are typically tech savvy and update their browsers often.

Gecko browser users at least on Windows (and possibly OSX) are usually pretty good about it though Mozilla has been severely slacking on *nix support. I still can't install a nightly build of anything on a *nix OS and if I have to mess with a command line to install a GUI application then forget it!

Any way I recommend for business site testing...

IE6+ (IE 5.0 and 5.5 bugs are the exact same for IE6 so serve an internet explorer conditional comments style sheet (IECCSS) to correct the issues for IE6 and older as so...

Fix IE 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0 with a secondary CSS...

<!--[if gt IE 6]><link href="ieccss5-6.css" media="screen" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" /><![endif]-->

Fix IE7 specific bugs if in standards mode...

<!--[if IE 7]><link href="ieccss5-6.css" media="screen" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" /><![endif]-->

If you don't prefer to run multiple Firefox profiles I'd recommend testing with either Mozilla Suite (the last version uses Gecko 1.7), Mozilla SeaMonkey for Gecko 1.8, Firefox 3 nightly build for Gecko 1.9. Very few people use Gecko 1.7x or older though it suffers from some nasty application/xhtml+xml bugs.

Opera has supported running multiple versions for a while now. Opera 8.02 and newer support AJAX so in essence if your business site uses AJAX it's safe to require 8.02 or newer only as Opera users don't slack on updates.

Hope this gives you better insight in to testing browsers.

- John

10:19 pm on Apr 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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thanks John! I hadn't seen you had written such an in-depth explanation, but now I really need it and found it extremely useful!

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