Checking web site on different OS and browsers

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Halcyon, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Halcyon macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2006
    As a web designer and developer one of my main concerns is how a web site displays and works on different platforms, operating systems, monitor sizes and browsers.

    There are many free sites out there that will render your site with just entereing your url, but my concern is how precise are they? Any suggestions on your prefered ones?

    I have installed almost all available browsers you can run on an intel Mac and I have Parallel Windows and some browsers in there also.

    Any info on what you use will be appreciated.

  2. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    For the truly paranoid tester, your local libraries may have one or more browsers running that you can test on too. (And often not updated with the latest plugins and players.)

    They also will have screen readers for the vision-impaired, which are great for testing.
  3. rogersmj macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2006
    Indianapolis, IN
    Sounds like you have most of your bases covered. What I test:

    Mac: Safari, FireFox, Opera, Camino.

    Windows: IE 6, IE 7 (two different beasts -- you need two separate VMs to properly test, one with 6 and one with 7, because although you can do side-by-side hack installs IE6 won't be fully functional), Opera, FireFox, Netscape if you really feel like it (I usually don't bother anymore -- only 0.7% of my traffic is Netscape users)

    Linux: Konqueror (almost never see it on my stats), FireFox, Opera

    If you have Parallels, then you are in a perfect position do all your testing right at your own desk. I have Parallels VMs for Windows XP with IE6, another for XP with IE7, Vista (which is IE7), and Ubuntu. That covers just about every rendering engine out there.

    You sound like you know what you're doing, so you probably do this anyway but I like to mention it: just as important as testing browsers is testing various resolutions. More than 80% of my traffic is from people with screen resolutions significantly smaller than mine (the highest number: 33% using 1024x768). Fortunately, they don't get much lower than that (only 1.8% using 800x600 or lower), so I always design my sites so that they are still perfectly comfortable to use at 1024x768 without any side scrolling.
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    This is more a comment than anything actually useful, but if you want to test for a REALLY obscure browser, how about the in game browser from EVE online?

    I have never even played the game, but I know somebody who's quite into it, and it has a browser within the game that is intended to be used for sort of special game-centric websites. However, the browser will attempt to render other pages, so hypothetically you could actually browse the web from inside the game.

    Of course, since it uses a very crude custom engine, it frankly sucks horribly--although it attempts to render CSS, it has no float support, so looks worse than it would if it just ignored stylesheets entirely. I am not so insane that I would actually try to code for it (though I admit if there were an easy hack for hiding stylesheets from it, I'd do it), but I have done second-hand testing to see that it's at least roughly useable.

    My testing protocol involves making things look perfect or nearly so in Safari 2+, Firefox 1.5+, Camino (because that's what I use), and Opera. I make sure it looks at least good in IE7 and IE6 (I installed a standalone version of the IE7 beta and left six as the default on my Parallels windows install, to avoid the issues), and that it's at least passible in IE5 and 5.5 (also standalone installs).

    I also test in IE4 to make sure the site is at least useable even if it's ugly, and I hide the styles entirely from NS4 with "media: all" so I don't really need to do more than keep my document structure logical (I was so glad to see NS4 drop below 1% so I could start ignoring anything but basic functionality in it). That also covers Lynx or other text-only browsers, as well as IE3 and NS3--no stylesheet support. I haven't put a lot of work into screen readers, although I do try to keep the structure efficient.

    I'll also use one of those online tools to at least run things through Konqueror and earlier versions of Safari, but most other browsers are standards-compliant enough that it's not an issue.

    What I haven't been able to test with yet is WebTV and derivatives (there was a nifty WebTV browser simulator for OS9, but no love on a MBP), the PSP browser (don't have one), or mobile phone browsers until I saw that neat Opera Mobile tool posted here. There was also the Dreamcast browser--I knew somebody who used to use that, but that was a long time ago.

    Incidentally, although the numbers are vanishingly small, I do still see occasional hits in my logs for Opera 7, Firefox "0", Safari 1.0, and even Netscape 3, IE3, and IE *2*, if you can believe that. I suppose it could be somebody goofing around with browser ID strings, but there are some pretty darned crusty computers floating around out there. Amusingly, NS6 actually gets LESS hits than NS3.
  5. tutubibi macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2003
  6. rogersmj macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2006
    Indianapolis, IN
    That's probably because NS6 was a huge steaming pile of crap. :) NS3 is probably all the grandparents whose kids set them up with the Internet when it was first getting going -- and haven't upgraded their computers since. My grandmother was using AOL 3 or 4 until last year because of circumstances like that.

Share This Page