Cross Browser Testing

I have talked about how important it is for webmasters to test their work in other web browsers before, and I am a big fan of BrowserCam. I even have an account there. I recently found a new web service that offers free remote connections called CrossBrowserTesting.com.

The service is not very different from BrowserCam except their pricing structure is not a subscription model, but rather a pay for what you use model. That is nice becuase I find I will use BrowserCam a lot one month and then not need it at all for a little while I could probably save some money if I switched to CrossBrowserTesting.com.

CrossBrowserTesting.com offers a slightly smaller set of systems to test on. They offer a good range of Windows systems from Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows Vista. Not sure why Windows 2000 is not there. They only offer Ubuntu Linux as a Linux offering and Mac OSX is still to come. It would be nice to have a few more systems to choose from, but considering the biggest problems usually raise their ugly head on Windows systems those would be the ones you might need to use most.

The best thing about CrossBrowserTesting.com is they offer you five minute sessions for free. I have used the free testing service several times and it works well. It is amazing what you can accomplish in five minutes when you know that is all you have. For the average person that just needs to test their website five minutes should be plenty of time to check something and then come back later and check again.

One thing to note is that you will need Java installed and running properly in your web browser to use the service. CrossBrowserTesting.com uses the built in VNC Java viewer to display the remote computer in your web browser.

I recorded a short video of me testing the blog out on a Windows 98 machine and the browsers that are loaded. There are a few errors on the site with Internet Explorer 6, but you know what, I really don’t care. Sorry to the 30% of you that are still using Internet Explorer 6, I recommend you go and install Firefox. You’ll be happier.

Now there is no excuse for any of us not to test our websites in other browsers, when there is a web service offering it. Go and give Crossbrowsertesting.com a try.


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9 Responses to Cross Browser Testing

  1. Hi,
    I am one of the founders and developers of CrossBrowserTesting.com and wanted to thank you for your article. I especially liked your demo showing how much you can do in the free five minute sessions. I am glad you found it useful and appreciate your taking the time to write about it.

    As far as available configurations, we started with what we felt were the easiest (for us) and most needed (by users) to begin with. Right now, it seems IE6 CSS compatibility is the biggest problem for developers. WinXP is by far the most run configuration, with Vista a distant second. The Win98 and Ubuntu configurations are run a lot less often. We’ve only had a couple of people ask about Win2k. If we see more interest, we’ll place it higher on the priority list of our to-dos.

    What we do get asked a lot about of course is the Mac platform. I can assure you we are trying like heck to get Macs out the door. Our current target is mid-May.

    We also do not plan to leave our *nix users in a lurch. We will get more distros out there soon as well. We are just getting started, there is much more to come.

    Thanks again,
    Mike

  2. Thanks for dropping by Mike. I like your service I can see me using it quite a bit once my one year subscription at BrowserCam ends. Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to the Mac platform. That is the hardest one for me to test on.

  3. Just wanted to provide an update – we have now added a Mac OS configuration (10.5.4) to the list of available systems. It comes loaded with Safari, Firefox, Opera, plus a few more.

  4. Hi there!

    Thanks for the plug for BrowserCam. I’m the acting Product Manager for BrowserCam here at Gomez, Inc. I’m pleased to announce that we have a new and excting tool called the Gomez WebInsight Firefox Extension that easily integrates BrowserCam’s Capture Service with your Firefox Browser. This extension will allow you to submit any captures to BrowserCam with a single click of a button and it can even capture sites that are behind logged in forms.

    The best thing about this is, if you sign up for a trial account using this tool, you’ll get free captures with no time limits and to top it of, if you refer your friends to BrowserCam using this tool and they activate an account with us, you’ll get more free captures!

    If you guys would like more info on this extension, you can find it here

    If you guys would like to see a demo presentation of this tool, you can find it <a href=’http://www.brainshark.com/gomezinc/webinsight’

  5. BrowserSeal is a new tool which can be very handy, if you happen to use Windows. It exploits the fact that you can actually install locally all browsers that anyone cares to use, including multiple versions of IE. BrowserSeal can use all these browsers to automatically capture the screenshot of your site. It is much faster than any web based service and it can work with web sites on your company’s intranet or local hard drive.

    Moreover, after you discover some rendering inconsistency, you can actually launch the problematic browser and debug the problem.

    BrowserSeal is a new tool which can be very handy, if you happen to use Windows. It exploits the fact that you can actually install locally all browsers that anyone cares to use, including multiple versions of IE. BrowserSeal can use all these browsers to automatically capture the screenshot of your site. It is much faster than any web based service and it can work with web sites on your company’s intranet or local hard drive.

    Moreover, after you discover some rendering inconsistency, you can actually launch the problematic browser and debug the problem.

    http://www.browserseal.com

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