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Browser compatibility tools

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Tuesday May 12, 2009 )

Do you know what your site looks like in browsers such as Avant 11.7, Minefield 3.2 or Shiretoko 3.5? Should you even care?

Most likely no; you could go nuts trying to make your site look exactly how you want it in every possible configuration – but what about in IE6? Around 16% of people still use that browser even though Internet Explorer 7 has been around for a long time. And speaking of IE, how does your site look in IE8, or the multiple versions of Firefox kicking around?

One of the problems with running Internet Explorer is you can’t run multiple versions of it easily. So when someone reports a display bug in a version other than what you’re running, you can chase your tail trying to track the problem down.

That’s where Browsershots can help.

Browsershots is a free service that generates screenshots of a web page as they would be viewed in different browsers – up to 80 different flavors.

You simply submit a URL, which is then added to a job queue. Distributed computers will then “view” your site in the browsers selected, grab a screenshot and upload them to the central server where you can view the results.

I remember using Browsershots a few years back and it was rather buggy, but today it was fantastic – saved me hours of waiting for someone running an earlier version of IE to get back to me on whether some fixes I had made solved a problem.


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