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Browser testing, the bane of any web designers life!

Are there any tools and/or ways in which I can efficiently test different browsers on both Mac and PC?

I not only want to test different browsers but also different versions of each browser.

My current setup is on a Mac running VirtualBox with Windows Vista installed. This allows me to test both Mac and PC but the complications arise when trying to test different versions of browsers.

Any one have any ideas?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can use a website like browsershots, Browsera, Cross Browser Testing, Multi-Browser Viewer, BrowserSeal, and Multi Browser vmWare Appliance

You shouldn't need to be checking that many browsers, however. With the exception of Internet Explorer which seems to make radical changes with every release, most of the modern browser only make incremental changes that rarely break their consistency in rendering pages. This means if you test in the latest Firefox, Chrome, or Safari it almost certainly will work in an older version. Additionally, most of the users of these browsers update their browser to a newer version quite rapidly compared to IE users who tend to hang on to older versions for far too long.

To keep your testing simple I would do the following:

In Windows test Chrome, Firefox, IE7-9. You can test the older versions of IE using either a tool like IETester or use the Developer Tools in IE to simulate older browsers.

In a Mac test Safari, Firefox, and Chrome.

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Browsershot is a great idea on paper but it's just not efficient and not very easy to test things. It's now more important than ever to check the browser versions that don't support css3 and html5, only the latest batches support this. Unfortunately the industry I make websites for aren't very computer literate therefore they have all kinds of horrible browsers installed. While I can't support them all I need to support the main browsers and several of their versions. If only we all kept our browsers up to date!! –  Rob Jun 20 '11 at 14:03
    
Internet Explorer is the only browser you should have issues with different versions giving wildly different results. The others shouldn't be an issue. If you're going to use CSS3/HTML5 then you should build your site with those enhancements first and make sure every browser is happy. Then add them to your site. That way you are sure it works just fine in older browsers. It's a basic tenant of Progressive Enhancement. –  John Conde Jun 20 '11 at 14:10
    
I've got issues with Chrome on different versions, thing's are looking fine on the latest Chrome but a little off on an older version. Usually there isn't any issues between versions on Safari, FF & Chrome but I have to be 100% sure there isn't. –  Rob Jun 20 '11 at 14:15

Another newish online services is BrowserLab from Adobe. To run different versions of IE locally you can run different virtual machines from Microsoft as described on superuser: http://superuser.com/questions/74918/how-do-i-install-multiple-versions-of-internet-explorer-on-windows-7

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I have found this software quite useful in the past. Install it as an app on windows and it allows your to view sites in IE from 5.5 to the latest :)

EDIT: http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage

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What software? I think you forgot to post your link. –  John Conde Jun 20 '11 at 17:29
    
D'oh, added the link now. Can't believe I forgot that! –  Mac Jun 21 '11 at 11:20

Another possible client side solution could be: BrowseEmAll

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