Browser Testing

Ok to save time (and the fact I type enough to drive me nuts) I’ll cut the bull and just give you a set of great tools for browser testing.

  • ietester IE Tester – this neat FREE bit of software lets you test in all the IE browsers since 5.5 within one browser. Great stuff; the only place it falls over is with CSS expressions and IE6 rendering. You might get errors in this occurrence.
  • Virtual PC Virtual PC 2007 – Some of our sites still make money from IE6 users so our sites have to be functional across the board; therefore the issues shown above with IE tester mean that, post layout and design we test the sites on a real IE6 install to ensure compatibility.
    Its from Microsoft and its Free, they even supply you with xp images for 6/7/8 and vista 7/8 to test with; the catch you ask? well the images expire every 4 to 6 months which means I have to download n 460meg installs every few months.
    Bit of a git but better then nothing.
    VPC Download:  Microsoft Download Virtual PC 2007 VPC Images: Virtual PC Images (scroll to the bottom)

Running Multiple Versions of Firefox

  • FirefoxFirefox 1.5/2/3 – I generally don’t give a t-ss about Firefox 1.5 anymore but 2 is still prolific thanks to the nice people at ACER ONE with their unwillingness to update their system to Firefox 3… anyway on a more interesting note you can play with HTML 5 + CSS3. Firefox Current: Firefox Current Edition Firefox Beta: Firefox Beta Firefox <3: Download Older Firefoxes’  
    To use multiple installs simply go to start run: 

    "C:Program FilesMozilla FirefoxFirefox" -profilemanager -no-remote

    Rename your default profile to firefoxcurrent
    Create a new profile for your beta install maybe calling it firefoxbeta (up to you, i dont care)
    Then edit your shortcuts As follows

    "C:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe" -P firefoxbeta -no-remote

    Obviously –P profilename

  • What should I be testing for?

    If (like this site) your providing nothing more then information  your target if possible should be every browser… But if you’re targeting a specific audience (i.e web-designers) you can usually make some assumptions;

    I assume that web developers will be using nothing less then IE7 and firefox, if they’re a bit damaged they might be on a mac :p If its a commerce site I’d usually advise building for Firefox, fixing for IE7 and making the site ‘functional’ in IE 6. By functional I mean all the functionality bits should work, but you don’t worry quite as much about styling (though you don’t want it to look arse). There’s a lot of effort being made by developers to get rid of IE6, but as I live in the real world I prefer to target as much as possible.

  • No stats to work from? Work off the Global stats.
Web Browsers Data Table 16-Feb-2010 from W3Counter
Web Browsers
1 Internet Explorer 8 23.69%
2 Firefox 3.5 23.30%
3 Internet Explorer 7 15.59%
4 Internet Explorer 6 10.41%
5 Firefox 3 6.29%
6 Safari 4 4.98%
7 Chrome 3 4.62%
8 Firefox 3.6 1.83%
9 Chrome 4 1.56%
10 Opera 10 1.36%

Net Renderer is quite nice for Firefox (Static IE rendering) but if you have money to burn you can test with browsercam if you want something quick, easy and best of all free; its the classic and its handy for testing those browsers you can’t test with.

For a local way of testing (image output) you can also have a play with Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview the full version that will be in expression web (*cough* FrontPage *cough*) will allow multiple browser testing, so worth a peak at.

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