Review Of Cross-Browser Testing Tools

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At some point in the future, the way that all major browsers render Web code will likely be standardized, which will make testing across multiple browsers no longer necessary as long as the website is coded according to Web standards. But because that day is still a way off (if it will really come at all), testing your design the advanced browsers as well as legacy browsers is a necessary part of any project.

The old-school way to test code was to load your website on as many computers as you could find, using as many different combinations of browsers and operating systems as possible. That was fine if you had access to a bunch of different computers (and had some time to kill). But there are much more efficient ways to test across browsers, using either free or commercial Web services and software. In this article we review some of the most useful ones.

Free Cross-Browser Testing

Good news: very powerful free testing tools are available for Web designers today. Some are more user-friendly than others, and some have significantly better user interfaces. Don’t expect much (if any) support with these tools. But if you’d rather not spend extra money on testing, some great options are here as well.

Adobe BrowserLab

Adobe BrowserLab311 is a free cross-browser compatibility tool that lets you test a number of modern and legacy browsers, including various versions of Chrome, Safari, IE and Firefox. It gives you a number of ways to view pages, including a full-page view in a single browser, as well as side-by-side comparisons of browsers and an onion skin view. The service can access dynamic pages across the web, or viewed locally via Firebug or Adobe Dreamweaver CS5. The ability to create pre-defined browser sets is also useful, in case you don’t need to test on older browsers.

2

Browsershots

Browsershots323 is probably the most comprehensive free testing tool available. It includes Linux, Windows and BSD browsers. It also includes a number of browsers you’ve probably never heard of (like Galeon, Iceape, Kazehakase and Epiphany). For the most part, Browsershots tests on the most recent version of each browser, as well as on legacy versions.

While Browsershots does support a huge variety of browsers, the more you test, the more slowly it prepares the results. So, you may want to stick to the major browsers.

4

SuperPreview (Free and Commercial)

SuperPreview335 is Microsoft’s offering in this space (and it’s compatible only with Windows). It lets you define your own “baseline” (or default) browser, and it works with any browser installed on your system (and comes with the IE6 rendering engine built in). The fact that it only works with your built-in browsers does make it faster (because you’re not uploading anything or waiting for a remote server), but it also limits the number of browsers you can compare.

SuperPreview trial comes with 60 days of cloud services before you have to either buy it or go into reduced, (local browsers and IE 6-9 mode). In an online version, you have support for Chrome, Safari (Mac) 4+5, Firefox 3+4. You can also use an interactive mode to log into sites that require a login before displaying the page you want to test. There are also debugging tools for the DOM and onion skinning available in Adobe Browserlabs. Unfortunately, there is no support for Opera whether installed locally or in the cloud and you do have to have the version included with Expression Web to get the cloud services option but the base version with support for IE 6, IE 7, IE 8 (and IE 8 rendering as IE 7) are included with the free version as well as IE 9 if it is installed locally. (Thanks, Cheryl D Wise)

6

Lunascape 6

Lunascape347 is a triple-engine browser for Windows. It runs Trident (IE), Gecko (Firefox) and Webkit (Chrome and Safari), so that you can see how your website looks in all three, side by side. While it’s not a traditional browser compatibility tester, it is nonetheless a useful tool for designers and developers. One major benefit is that you get to view your website instantly in all three major rendering engines. There’s also support for Firefox extensions and plug-ins, so you can use developer tools like Firebug to diagnose compatibility problems.

8

IETester

IETester359 is a free (both for personal and professional usage) browser for Windows that allows you to have the rendering and JavaScript engines of IE10 preview, IE9, IE8, IE7, IE6 and IE5.5 on Windows 7, Vista and XP, as well as the installed IE. Only an alpha version of the tool is available. Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP with IE7 minimum are required for the tool to run.

10

IE NetRenderer

IE NetRenderer3611 lets you check compatibility in Internet Explorer versions 5.5 through 9. You’ll have to check each version individually, but the service is free.

12

Spoon

Spoon3713 is an application emulation service. It provides free versions of Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari for Windows users. A number of versions of each browser are included: Firefox 2–5, Chrome 4–8, Safari 3–5 and Opera 9–10. Bad news: Internet Explorer is supported by Spoon virtualization but is not available by request of Microsoft.

14

Sauce Labs (free and commercial)

Sauce Labs3815 provides a lot of browser and OS options and sets you up with a browser dedicated VM instance that you operate inside the browser of your choice. It also records a video of your entire testing session. The service offers 200 free minutes of testing per month and allows you to quickly build automated tests from your browser with Selenium.

16

Browsera (free and commercial)

Browsera3917 provides automated compatibility testing. It automatically highlights differences in the way browsers render your design, thus simplifying the testing process. It also detects JavaScript errors, and the commercial version can test pages behind subscription or log-in walls. It can also test dynamic pages.

The free plan includes a limited number of browsers and low-resolution screenshots. Premium plans start at $39 for a single project and $49 to $99 for monthly subscriptions, and they support more browsers, provide high-resolution screenshots and let you test private pages.

18

Browserling (free and commercial)

Browserling4019 is a relatively new cross-browser testing app. It supports a limited number of browsers (and not necessarily the newest versions), which makes it of limited use to some developers. It’s still in beta, though, so hopefully more browsers will be supported in the near future.

The free version comes with a five-minute session limit, and the developer version is $20 per month with no time limit.

20

Commercial Cross-Browser Testing

Commercial tools often have features not found in the free ones, including live interactive browser virtualization and mobile device testing.

Mogotest

Mogotest4121 does complete browser-compatibility testing, including for private pages. There’s an API, so it can be integrated in your current tools and workflow. Mogotest also offers a website health report that tells you about broken links and pages, redirect loops and other issues common to new websites. The service also offer screenshot comparison tools for testing screenshots against each other as well as site-level testing including page consistency testing and individual page tests. HTTP basic and cookie-based login systems are supported as well.

There are two plans for individuals: a personal plan starting at $15 per month that lets you test up to 50 pages on three websites, and a freelancer plan for $45 per month that includes up to 10 websites and 350 pages. The team plans start at $125 per month and go up to $4499+ for unlimited access. The two highest-cost plans include custom reports.

22

Cloud Testing

Cloud Testing4223 offers functional cross-browser testing. You record the user journey with your browser and Selenium IDE, upload it, and then Cloud Testing will run that script in multiple operating systems and browsers. It then provides screenshots and HTML and component diagnostics. No prices are listed on its website.

24

BrowserCam

BrowserCam4325 includes testing tools for both desktop and mobile browser compatibility (the latter is still absent in many other tools). It also offers remote access for live testing on Windows, Linux and OS X configurations, and email capture for checking your HTML, RTF and TXT emails.

Pricing for BrowserCam starts at only $19.95 per day for a single service (and $24.95 for the browser, remote access and email capture package), up to an annual subscription price of $399.95 for a single service (and $499.95 for browser capture, remote access, email capture and multi-user access, or $999.95 for all of those features plus device capture).

26

Multi-Browser Viewer

Multi-Browser Viewer4427 covers both desktop and mobile browsers. It includes 26 virtualized Web browsers, 5 mobile browsers (including the iPhone and iPad) and 61 screenshot browsers (meaning you can see how the website renders but not interact with it). It’s also available in five languages: English, Spanish, German, Russian and French.

Multi-Browser Viewer is $139.95 for a single-user license and includes a year of product usage and updates. Updates after the first year are currently $99.95. A free trial is available through the website.

28

CrossBrowserTesting

CrossBrowserTesting4529 provides live interactive browser testing with remote VNC sessions. It also generates automated screenshots across multiple browsers for more basic testing. There are more than 100 browser and operating system combinations, including many mobile platforms.

Monthly subscriptions range from $29.95 to $199.95, depending on the number of users and the minutes of testing (minutes can roll over to the next month, but they’re not unlimited). A one-week free trial is available for all plans.

30

Testing Services Compared

The chart below shows the basic features offered by these cross-browser testing services and applications, making it quick and easy to compare.

Tool Number of browser versions supported IE? Interactive testing? Side-by-side testing? Pricing
Adobe BrowserLab311 13 IE6+ No Yes Free
Browsershots323 60+ IE6+ No No Free
SuperPreview335 Varies IE6+ Yes Yes Free
Lunascape347 3 IE6+ Yes Yes Free
IETester359 6 versions of IE IE5.5+ Yes Yes Free
IE NetRenderer3611 5 versions of IE IE5.5+ No No Free
Spoon3713 16+ no IE Yes No Free
Sauce Labs3815 40+ IE6+ Yes No Free — $499 per month
Browsera3917 9 IE6+ No Yes Free – $99/month
Browserling4019 9 IE5.5+ No No Free – $20/month
Mogotest4121 7+ IE6+ No Yes $15 – $4,499/month
Cloud Testing4223 4+ IE6+ Yes Yes Not specified
BrowserCam4325 90+ IE5.2+ Yes Yes $19.95 – $89.95/month
Multi-Browser Viewer4427 80+ IE6+ For some browsers Yes $139.95
CrossBrowserTesting4529 100+ IE6+ Yes Yes $29.95 – $199.95/month

Conclusion

Regardless of the tool you choose, testing early and often during the Web development process can save you from a lot of headaches later. Find a tool that fits your workflow (so that you’ll actually want to use it and it won’t be a hassle), and test whenever you make major changes to a design.

What tools do you use for cross-browser testing?

How has your experience been with cross-browser testing tools and services? Which ones do you use? How do you integrate cross-browser testing in your professional workflow? Let us know in the comments!

Related Posts

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(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 https://browserlab.adobe.com/en-us/index.html#
  2. 2 https://browserlab.adobe.com/en-us/index.html#
  3. 3 http://browsershots.org/
  4. 4 http://browsershots.org/
  5. 5 http://expression.microsoft.com/en-us/dd565874.aspx
  6. 6 http://expression.microsoft.com/en-us/dd565874.aspx
  7. 7 http://www.lunascape.tv/
  8. 8 http://www.lunascape.tv/
  9. 9 http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage
  10. 10 http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage
  11. 11 http://www.ipinfo.info/netrenderer/
  12. 12 http://www.ipinfo.info/netrenderer/
  13. 13 http://spoon.net/browsers/
  14. 14 http://spoon.net/browsers/
  15. 15 http://saucelabs.com/
  16. 16 http://saucelabs.com/
  17. 17 http://www.browsera.com/
  18. 18 http://www.browsera.com/
  19. 19 http://browserling.com/
  20. 20 http://browserling.com/
  21. 21 http://mogotest.com/
  22. 22 http://mogotest.com/
  23. 23 http://www.cloudtesting.com/functional-testing/
  24. 24 http://www.cloudtesting.com/functional-testing/
  25. 25 http://www.browsercam.com/
  26. 26 http://www.browsercam.com/
  27. 27 http://www.multibrowserviewer.com/
  28. 28 http://www.multibrowserviewer.com/
  29. 29 http://crossbrowsertesting.com/
  30. 30 http://crossbrowsertesting.com/
  31. 31 https://browserlab.adobe.com/en-us/index.html#
  32. 32 http://browsershots.org/
  33. 33 http://expression.microsoft.com/en-us/dd565874.aspx
  34. 34 http://www.lunascape.tv/
  35. 35 http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage
  36. 36 http://www.ipinfo.info/netrenderer/
  37. 37 http://spoon.net/browsers/
  38. 38 http://saucelabs.com/
  39. 39 http://www.browsera.com/
  40. 40 http://browserling.com/
  41. 41 http://mogotest.com/
  42. 42 http://www.cloudtesting.com/functional-testing/
  43. 43 http://www.browsercam.com/
  44. 44 http://www.multibrowserviewer.com/
  45. 45 http://crossbrowsertesting.com/
  46. 46 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/10/25-text-batch-processing-tools-reviewed/
  47. 47 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/06/17/useful-resources-tools-and-services-for-web-designers/
  48. 48 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/18/time-saving-and-educational-resources-for-web-designers/

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Cameron Chapman is a professional Web and graphic designer with over 6 years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing. She’s also the author of The Smashing Idea Book: From Inspiration to Application.

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  1. 1

    I hardly used IETester for a longtime but since 3 month I work with Browserlab and SuperView.

    I know Lunascape since a long time but I’ve never thought use it for Browser testing…

    2
  2. 2

    Hallo,
    SuperPreview ist not free. its a trial version.

    6
    • 3

      Vitaly Friedman

      August 7, 2011 6:41 am

      From the release page (http://expression.microsoft.com/en-us/dd565874.aspx):

      “The final “shipping” version of SuperPreview will continue to be available for free.”

      Also, according to the comment left by Cheryl D Wise,

      “SuperPreview with cloud services has been shipping with Expression Web since version 3 and the current version is 4. In the cloud you have support for Chrome, Safari (Mac) 4 & 5, Firefox 3 & 4. You can also use interactive mode to log into sites that require a login before displaying the page you want to test. There are also debugging tools for the DOM and the same sort of 2 up, onion skinning available in Adobe Browserlabs.

      Unfortunately there is no support for Opera whether installed locally or in the cloud and you do have to have the version included with Expression Web to get the cloud services option but the base version with support for IE 6, IE 7, IE 8 (and IE 8 rendering as IE 7) are included with the free version as well as IE 9 if it is installed locally.”

      -5
  3. 5

    Interesting overview. For testing IEs I like IETester with Debugbar.

    -4
  4. 6

    Yeah I personally love IETester, was surprised to see it not featured here.

    3
    • 7

      Yes, that’s a good one! Very helpful.

      -1
    • 8

      Vitaly Friedman

      August 7, 2011 6:52 am

      Thanks for the heads up! The tool was added to the article.

      2
      • 9

        In my experience with IETester it isn’t always reliable/accurate in it’s portrayal of older browsers, since it is purely emulation (or at least when i last used it, it was). When you 100% need support for IE6+ this will not do as you cannot put faith in the results it shows.

        7
  5. 10

    Nothing like using the real browsers. Although, since I’m on a Mac it’s a little hard to test IE, so I use IE NetRenderer.

    3
    • 11

      VM is your best friend

      8
    • 12

      If you are on a mac try the software called Crossover. It’s a port of the WINE project that allows you to install windows programs on to your mac os without installing a virtual machine such as parallels. This allows me to stall multiple instances of ie without having to install all the different versions of Windows. I use to be a parallels customer but it seems silly to me to have a 7 gig Windows image on my mac just so I could use ie 6.

      0
      • 13

        William Johnson

        August 7, 2011 3:32 pm

        I’m not sure WINE would give you an accurate picture, since it probably uses Mac fonts, font rendering routines, and other Mac system resources in conjunction with Windows application-level emulation. (I’m just guessing.) For example, the same page might look very different in Mac Firefox and Windows Firefox (same version number) just because the lines of type wrap differently, the headlines have different weights, etc. That’s why I use VMware. If I’m wrong about how WINE works (and I may be), I’d be interested to hear.

        1
        • 14

          I’m not sure about the technical details, but I did find that the version of IE that runs in crossover did not respond to conditional comments properly (or so it seemed). I’ve not had this issue with a virtual XP machine running IE6.

          0
  6. 15

    Very helpful article. One thing I’ve always wondered about is if there’s a tool to compare how emails look across different email platforms (Outlook 2003 vs. Outlook 2007 vs. Gmail vs. Hotmail, etc.). I’ve been using this cheat sheet http://www.campaignmonitor.com/css/, but sometimes it’s nice to see actually see your work.

    0
    • 16

      The cheat sheet is great when you’re building your email but for testing Campaign Monitor has a testing tool for about $5 that shows you screenshots of your campaign across about 20-30 email clients ranging from Outlook and Gmail to mobile devices. It’s really useful and worth using every time you send a campaign.

      3
    • 17

      I use a tool called E-mail on Acid (http://www.emailonacid.com). It gives you previews of your e-mail in dozens of e-mail clients, including mobile ones like Android, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, etc. It’s not free, but it’s an excellent tool.

      1
    • 18

      For Email testing i use Litums.com Service. Its unfortunately not free.
      But for buisness, it is a good tool.

      1
      • 19

        I use LitmusApp for email as well.

        It’s basically BrowserShots, but for email. Works well.

        B

        1
    • 20

      Try Litmus, it can test your email campaigns in numerous email readers (Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail etc) and also run spam tests and read analytics: http://litmus.com/

      -1
    • 21

      You might want to try Limitus. Works for me :)
      http://litmus.com/

      -1
      • 22

        The trouble with Litmus is they seem to only be focussing on email testing now.

        They used to be fantastic for web page testing, but they’ve stopped adding new browsers – the most recent version of Firefox is 3.6!

        3
        • 23

          I use Litmus for all of our email testing and web testing. While it’s true that they lag behind in giving the web page tests (vs the emails which have many more options), it’s great to have all of those testing in one system/app that we use for all cross-browser testing. All major browser versions and platforms are in place now as of 9/3/2013 so they’re quite up to date at the moment.

          http://www.litmus.com

          0
    • 24

      CM actually has great real design testing. Haven’t you used it yet?

      0
  7. 25

    All these are wonderful solutions…. if your only testing small local over the web sites. But what about if your testing large portal or web application sites in a production / dev environment.

    When it comes down to it, in my opinion, the only 100% true way to cross browser test is to create a different instance of each browser.

    I am a mac user. and on my mac I have 4 different VM’s to test IE 6, 7, 8, 9. (i use VMWare Fusion). Also, on the IE9 VM, I’ve also installed FF, and Chrome so to test those in windows.

    This issue has been a constant since the day I started in web design/dev and it seems this solution is 100% bulletproof. And, much better than totting around 5 laptops or desktops!

    Hope this helps someone as well.

    7
    • 26

      Windows users can’t legally, even in a VM install any Mac OS on their systems. Sure there are “solutions” like Hackintosh but that isn’t one that can be used without breaking the Apple EULA. I develop on Windows but do have a Macbook for testing Mac browsers but for quick on testing and debugging the tools mentioned like Adobe BrowserLabs and SuperPreview are superior to firing up a VM instance (I use Parallels on my Mac and native VM functions on Windows) but for deep function testing using an installed browser is the best way to test. Using a combination of tools suits me better than relying on any single method.

      0
    • 27

      I’m a professional frontend engineer and I agree with Lance’s setup. Nothing beats testing with virtual machines (vm). I develop on a mac using Parallels and four vm images:
      1) Windows XP with IE6,
      2) Windows XP with IE7,
      3) Windows XP with IE8 and
      4) Windows 7 with IE9.

      I also have various versions of Chrome and Firefox installed on all vms. Testing works well, but you need plenty of RAM and preferably a solid state drive if you want to have all vms open at the same time. It’s important to test often and being aware of crossbrowser issues during development. It helps to know about the different doctypes, box-modell issues and javascript versions. Keeping things simple will reduce the testing.

      Testing takes time and it needs to be done.

      4
      • 28

        I run the same setup on my mac, 4 VM’s using VirtualBox. 3 running superlight versions of XP and one running Win 7. I also have another VM with IE6/7/8 which I installed using Multiple IE. It’s great for layout checking but there are a few bugs with regards to form fields and such which is where the separate VM’s come into play.

        0
      • 29

        While I don’t think anything can truly replace manually testing in a browser, I found when you have a lot of pages to test, rarely do they all get tested on each iteration. That was a big part of the rationale behind building Mogotest (I’m one of the founders). If 90% of the time the pages come out looking the same, then you really only need to manually inspect that other 10%. So, we’ve automated that detection. Just punch in some URLs, start the test, and within a few minutes you’ll have a list of any cross-browser render issues, with a CSS selector to help you fix them.

        The other half is regressions. I’ve found a lot of time a dev will test the page that was recently modified without testing all the other pages that link to the shared CSS or JavaScript file. To this end, we’re rolling out a regression testing feature in Mogotest later this week. Again, it’ll automate much of the error detection process for you, but you’ll still need the VMs handy to dig in and fix any problems.

        3
  8. 30

    Your SuperPreview information is considerably out of date. SuperPreview with cloud services has been shipping with Expression Web since version 3 and the current version is 4.

    In the cloud you have support for Chrome, Safari (Mac) 4 & 5, Firefox 3 & 4. You can also use interactive mode to log into sites that require a login before displaying the page you want to test. There are also debugging tools for the DOM and the same sort of 2 up, onion skinning available in Adobe Browserlabs.

    Unfortunately there is no support for Opera whether installed locally or in the cloud and you do have to have the version included with Expression Web to get the cloud services option but the base version with support for IE 6, IE 7, IE 8 (and IE 8 rendering as IE 7) are included with the free version as well as IE 9 if it is installed locally.

    2
  9. 31

    Paul de Wouters

    August 7, 2011 7:28 am

    you didn’t mention Windows XP mode and the different Virtual PC images that can be downloaded from Microsoft. That with a Virtualbox running linux, and it’s even possible to run MAC OS X on a Virtualbox.

    0
  10. 32

    Litmus app is nice as well, plus it’s great for HTML email testing as well.

    1
  11. 33

    Spoon is the best solution for local testing by far. And you can easily find the missing IE images in any torrent Site.

    1
  12. 34

    I use BrowserBox, a virtual machine that runs in VirtualBox, VMWare, or straight off a live boot CD. It has 20 versions of 12 different browsers (including several mobile browsers). The main drawback is the lack of IE8 and IE9, you’ll need a separate virtual machine for those, or run it in your normal installation if you use Windows. P.S. I am the creator of BrowserBox :)

    http://susegallery.com/a/ppX0Yr/browserbox

    2
  13. 35

    Nice article!
    A request – can you write an article on email testing … about the tools available for testing emails in different email clients including Lotus notes?

    1
  14. 36

    In my opinion all those tools are only nice for a quick preview. Those services for screenshots don’t work for testing pages with Javascript (mouseovers, AJAX etcetera) and tools like IETester aren’t exactly the same as the standalone versions (have experienced some subtle changes, mostly Javascript related). It’s a nice write-up but the conclusion has to be “use the real browsers” (in a VM or something). I don’t think any professional will rely on these tools.

    3
    • 37

      Agreed. I’m considering moving from using IE Tester to VMs for IE. IETester would be great if it wasn’t pretty user unfriendly, didn’t crash constantly and didn’t do strange stuff from time to time (especially with multiple IE rendering engine tabs open at the same time).

      Microsoft offers free VHD files for IE6 and 7 at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=11575
      These can be imported into at least VMWare Fusion on the Mac. What isn’t so fun is that you need to rearm them from time to time to keep the activation crap at bay and the fact that the IE7 version is running on Vista so it takes a lot of space and is kinda slow.

      I think what we really need is a amlware that prevents machines running old IE from going anywhere else but a website that lets you download a modern browser.

      1
  15. 38

    Anyone still use Multiple IE?

    0
  16. 40

    I use IE Tester – great software! I also use Adobe Browser labs for my other projects, as well as actually downloading browser software.

    1
  17. 41

    My personal favourite is IE collection. IE Collection contains multiple IE versions, which are standalone so they can be used at the same time. http://utilu.com/IECollection/

    0
  18. 42

    How about not testing for IE? Hm. Just a thought :)

    -8
    • 43

      Perhaps print work would be a more suitable field for you then?

      Think about your users first and foremost, not your own personal hangups.

      16
  19. 44

    Matthew Banbury

    August 7, 2011 6:39 pm

    I would like to see Sauce Labs Scout service shown here, 200 free minutes of testing per month. Sauce Labs provides a lot of browser and OS options and sets you up with a browser dedicated VM instance that you operate inside the browser of your choice. It also records a video of your entire testing session. It is marketed at QA/Software Testers but would be a great addition to any designers test tool set.

    http://saucelabs.com/

    3
  20. 47

    Microsoft also has a bunch of free vm’s of a bunch of their operating systems available specifically so that webdevs can test application in browsers running on windows.

    The testing results tend to be more accurate then testing in environments like IETester (which is fantastic, but has some limitations).

    The OS’s are free to download and run, but the license to use them expires after a time period, and you have to download and install them again.

    This can be costly, in terms of bandwidth.

    I wonder if this system might expire as superpreview evolves.

    1
  21. 48

    Is it just me who only gets an “Internal error 10″ at IE NetRenderer…?

    0
  22. 49

    We often develop projects on a new server while the old project is still running. Because of that we can’t use any Webservice, that could only check sites by URL.

    My simple Way is a virtual mashine running a damn old Win XP. on my Macbook (for IE6) – From IE7 to IE9 we do a quick Ckeck via the IETester on a Windows Coputer.

    Normally there aren’t any Issues für Webkit browsers or FF (both are in use during development)

    0
  23. 50

    Simple, but useful. Thanks. I tested my friend’s website Thought Results and it was just so messy in older browsers.

    0
  24. 51

    I am lucky to use spoonbox IE6, before they removed from site, because Microsoft said them to do so.

    I want to try Adobe BrowserLab, but I’m lazy to try it.

    0
  25. 52

    Douglas Bonneville

    August 7, 2011 10:43 pm

    Browserlab is simple, free, and does the trick pretty efficiently. No need try another suite if you already use it.

    0
  26. 53

    We tend to use Litmus app, it’s not free, but it’s a great app for email-testing as well, though it has it’s flaws. Often some of their services are down(browsers that can’t be tested) but the results are great!

    0
  27. 54

    Is there a Cross-Browser testing tool that can do debugging, especially on IE?

    0
  28. 57

    The most important part of cross-browser testing after css layout checks is javascript. There is not one word about the different javascript capatibilities of the testing tools in this review. Apart from that: nice compilation, I use IETester most of the time.

    0
  29. 58

    There’s also IE Collection which enables you to install all versions of internet explorer from v1 to v8. Also comes with the ie developer toolbar. Its free but works only on windows. http://finalbuilds.com/iecollection.htm

    1
  30. 59

    I need a tool that run test in different builds in IE like 8.0.6000,8.0.6001,8.0.7600…. or at least to show what are the differences in these builds.

    0
  31. 60

    Great Great Great! Thanks.

    0
  32. 61

    i love this list thanks Cameron but i like the IE dev tools

    0
  33. 62

    I understand where the people who have multiple VM’s installed are coming from. I used to have multiple computers, with multiple browsers, setup and running to test my work. Yes, it worked, but it was a beast to setup, maintain and update.

    Since those times I have used both IETester and Adobe BrowserLab. Both decent solutions but limited.

    My current company has a Mogotest account and I have to say I haven’t looked back at any other tool since. Not only does Mogotest give you the screen shots so you can compare your site in each browser but it auto-detects issues so you are not tediously pixel comparing each browser. The auto detection of issues alone is a huge time saver, but with the list in hand I am ensured I am not overlooking an issue.

    Now, with the new Rest API Mogotest has made cross browser testing even easier. No longer do I need to individually run each test by hand, I can programmatically run my tests against my site.

    If you are serious about cross browser compatibility give Mogotest a try. I assure you won’t be disappointed.

    3
  34. 63

    If you are on a Mac, then hands down the best way to browser test is remotely logging into a PC.

    I use an old PC running windows 7 and IE9’s development tools, which allow me to test multiple versions of IE. With this setup I can test real time as I develop without slowing down my machine as parallels used to.

    0
  35. 64

    My vote is for http://litmus.com/

    Not only do they specialize in HTML email testing, but web page testing is included in the service.

    0
  36. 65

    Nice article. The comments are just as helpful.

    Thanks for the info!

    1
  37. 66

    Good overview but in practice I found all tools I tested to be of limited value, here’s why:

    – There’s no automation. You’re going to have to manually check each web page in each browser, whether it is a real browser or a virtual browser. Meaning: it costs a lot of time. The only key advantage is being able to test browsers you do not have installed.

    – Testing for browsers you do not have installed is incredibly painful in almost all situations. I’m currently working on a web app which has a about 80 different screens. Each screen can have a few states, making for hundreds of page variations. If I was to test this using any of these tools, it would take forever. It is a slow proces of submitting and checking. Fixing, resubmitting and checking.

    I know tools cant possibly automate a human process of checking for a correct rendering and working, I’m just saying…don’t expect too much from these tools.

    0
    • 67

      Hi Ferdy,

      While you’re correct to a certain extent, some of these tools do automate the comparisons to a certain degree. Full disclosure: I’m one of the founders of Mogotest. But a key thing we’ve built into the product is that you don’t need to manually compare screenshots. You’re certainly welcome to, since we do take them. But the idea is you can test a lot of pages in a lot of browsers and we’ll auto-detect the cross-browser render issues, which will shave a lot of time off your typical testing cycle.

      We then try to give as much information as possible to help you fix the problem. We give you the CSS selector for the element in error as well as its coordinates. And we do a lot of analysis to track down the element causing the problem, so you don’t get flooded with cascading errors.

      Having said that, you’ll probably want to interact directly with a VM to ultimately fix the issue. But it’s a lot faster to start up your XP install with IE 8 to test a single page for a known issue than it is to exhaustively test your site during every iteration.

      0
      • 68

        Kevin – have just signed up for a Mogo test trial – set the site I wanted to test running. Came home from work, had tea, logged on and bingo all the results waiting for me (just as you said).

        Nice grid view showing passes and failures in a good suite of browsers (shame no Safari yet). Can click through on failures and see what’s wrong where saving lots of time. Overlay view looks good. Like the fact I can schedule and regression tests. Like the HTML and CSS validation and broken link checker.

        We’ll still need a test team and virtual machines to fix the issue but saves us all the manual and diagnostic time so am confident we’ll sign up once our trial is over.

        Great work!

        0
  38. 69

    Glad to see IETester was added to list. It can be finicky but still a great program to test your site in all versions of IE.

    I know this article wasn’t focused on email testing, but I highly recommend Email on Acid! http://www.emailonacid.com/

    1
  39. 70

    Sometimes I (ab)use loads.in for this, also using IE Netrenderer, but thats mostly for quick shots, not for in-depth tests, which are either run natively or via VM:

    1. Native: Google Chrome (latest), Firefox (3.6 + 4), Opera 11, Konqueror 4, plus several text browsers
    2. VM (VirtualBox, cause it’s got the best support for Linux):

    a) Win2k SP 4: IE 6
    b) WinXP SP3: IE 7 + IE DebugBar / IE Tester (8, 9), Safari 3.2
    c) WinVista Business: IE 9, Safari 4

    cu, w0lf.

    1
  40. 71

    Jason+Gina Photographers

    August 8, 2011 11:07 am

    Wow… thank you… And love the comments. We’ve only used Adobe Labs… definitely testing others now!

    0
  41. 72

    I have been using Multi-Browser Viewer for about a year and have been very happy with it until recently. The nice thing about it is the breadth, with tons of virtualized browsers for interactive testing (rendering via js, interactive CSS, etc.), mobile browsers, and screenshots for the more obscure/older browsers. It has been a god send for me for that time….until recently. The price is pretty reasonable too at a bit more than $10/month for the first year, a bit less after.

    Unfortunately, I’ve recently been getting a message “unable to connect to the remote server”, and have not been getting any response from tech support as was always the case in the past. In addition, the support offered on site? Zilch. Its email only, so when things such as my current situation occur, you’re left in the lurch.

    Multi-Browser Viewer support….are you out there or are you folding your company? That would be a shame in my opinion. I invested in your company as a long-term solution, and from what I see in these comments, virtualized browsers delivered as a service as you have done is exactly what the market is saying is optimal, and as a user, I agree. Its a shame to see good solutions fail.

    0
    • 73

      Need to update this. It turns out that tech supports replies were being caught by one of many server side spam filters. So I’m pleased to say that this very useful tool is once again available to me and that their record on responding to requests is spotless. I had looked for their mail in spam by company name but didn’t find it.

      Footnote: I tried some of saucy and ienetrenderer as alternatives, and these don’t touch the speed and power of multi-browser viewer!
      Try it! Highly recommended!

      0
  42. 74

    steve sunderland

    August 8, 2011 1:41 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this article. I was hoping this topic would be revisited.

    One suggestion: please add Mac/Windows compatibility to the comparison table.

    Thanks!

    0
  43. 75

    …or just use spoon without this hassle.

    http://spoon.net/Browsers/

    0
  44. 76

    William Johnson

    August 8, 2011 2:31 pm

    IETester can be useful (and it’s free) but it has some serious limitations. Of course I’m running it in VMware Fusion on a Mac; perhaps it works better in a native Windows environment? Anyway problems I’ve seen include:

    1. It crashes a lot. (I think that checking “Run in Multi Process mode” in the options has reduced the crashes, although I don’t even know what that refers to.)

    2. It can only test up to the version of IE that I actually have installed. So, in a VM that has (only) IE8 installed, the IE9 tab crashes immediately if invoked, and the IE10 tab is grayed out.

    3. It cannot open a new, smaller auxiliary window, even though that always works in real IE installations. In IETester, it always ignores the JavaScript new-window code and opens the window in a full-window tab instead.

    Of course, YMMV.

    0
  45. 77

    Will we ever be able to exit the world of multi-browser testing? The promise of web standards is that everything will work the same across platforms. Even Microsoft haters have to admit that IE is becoming [more] standards-compliant.

    But the question is… will browsers always compete to introduce new (sometimes not-officially-specified) features? And will the masses always be slow to upgrade to the latest version?

    When will the madness end!?!?!

    1
    • 78

      If noone introduced any new features there would be no improvement at all.

      And you always have the choice to use a set of basic properties or enchance the experience in a certain browser that supports a wider set of advanced features. Most of the new css3 features got introduced as -prefixed properties in a certain browser – some were used by IE (that so many complain about) before certain browsers even existed and only got in the specifications in the last years.

      So don’t say to not introduce anything new – it’s part of the development. Someone has to invent it.

      0
  46. 79

    I agree with Jinson Joseph (August 8th, 2011)
    IE collection (http://utilu.com/IECollection/) is great.
    it works on windows 98 to 7, 32 and 64 bit. It includes the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar and Firebug for IE. The versions of IE installed go from 1 to 8.
    They also provide the Firefox collection (http://utilu.com/UtiluMFC/)

    I use them all the time and am very satisfied with the results. Being able to open different versions of these browsers at the same time really allows me to work faster.

    1
  47. 80

    +1 for Parallels virtual machines

    0
  48. 81

    I use Parallels on my Mac which lets me run Windows 7. I have all the modern browsers installed (Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera) on both Mac and Windows. I use IE9 to test ie7, ie8 and of course ie9.

    Parallels – http://www.parallels.com/

    Don’t need much more then that!

    0
  49. 82

    What ever happened to Litmus? Didn’t it test browsers at one point in time? Well, I’ve tried browsershots and super preview…with super preview availing. Good list – I’ll be sure to reference it for my next project.

    0
  50. 83

    As a mac user I find Browserlab really useful, but I’m going to give BrowserCam a shot based on this article. Thanks!

    0
  51. 84

    It’s hilarious that just as the industry starts coming together with standardized browsers, the industry revolutionizes itself with an array of different devices from desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones and now televisions. We’ve just basically substituted browser wars with device wars and the pain goes on.

    0
  52. 85

    It could be helpful if you guys ever mentioned the anyone perfect tool to test cross browser compatibility.
    I have read entire comments and details about above article but I am not getting any perfect solution.
    I am really sad about these above words and discussions.

    Does anyone help me out to find perfect cross browser testing tool?

    Thanks in advance for solution
    Mufeed Ahmad

    1
  53. 86

    WHAT?! How can you have a whole article about cross browser testing and only barely mention selenium!! It underpins several of those tools.
    You want cross browser testing go here:
    http://seleniumhq.org/projects/remote-control/
    http://seleniumhq.org/

    Then lookup “cucumber, capybara and selenium” and have a nice day!

    2
  54. 87

    There should be a tool similar to IETester, for testing in all the versions of Firefox , as mozilla has released new versions of firefox in such a hurry and i don’t think that everyone has upgraded to the latest browsers, there are people who are still using older versions of Firefox.

    Sometimes it becomes very painful when your page looks different in different versions of Firefox only, we can never force the end user/ client to use a particular version of browser, so we need to make the design compatible with all the versions of the same browser.

    Designing a page and coding it never takes time but making the same code cross browser compatible consumes lot of time and patience, i just cant understand how many hacks we need to apply to a single page just to render it perfectly on every browser ??

    0
  55. 88

    Wow, awesomely exhaustive and nicely researched post. One thing I’d like to know Cameron, if you had to pick one of the free versions to use, which would it be and why?

    0
  56. 89

    Spoon all the way!
    And for the IE testing just use a version of IE and test the other versions using the F12 button haha

    0
  57. 90

    iMagdy Production

    August 12, 2011 11:45 am

    Very interesting read, for me, I run Windows 7, and have installed Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and IE9, in IE9 there is something called Browser Mode and Document Mode in the developer tools when you press F12, this allows you to test IE7 and IE8 natively from within IE9, without using VMs or any special software for that, any body tried that?

    0
  58. 91

    Ive got parrallels installed on a mac with IE tester.

    Seems the best solution for me, but does slow down my mac a bit.

    0
  59. 92

    Thanks for great effort on listing dozen of cross browser testing tool.

    0
  60. 93

    Multi-Browser Viewer for me. The IE versions are as close as you are going to get and it is pretty convenient. Also I like the option of doing screen captures or standalone browsers. Automation would be a nice feature though.

    0
  61. 94

    Multiple versions rendering side by side is great but it would be more useful to me if I could navigate from page to page & interact with the page (websites and online applications) vs. just seeing a screen shot of each page. Any free/inexpensive tools out there that meet those requirements? Thanks.

    0
  62. 95

    For IE Testing.
    The visual results from Multiple IE tester are not that reliable
    IE9 has an advantage. As it also render your web page IE7 & 8.
    Need to evaluate IE10 also. (hoping for IE9,8 & 7 window also)

    0
  63. 96

    really useful stuff, i am new in development, but this really help me a lot of testing

    1
  64. 97

    Great article and round-up of the many options. We’ve come so far as a testing community!

    Some of my favorites not on the list:

    http://www.pushtotest.com/designer – TestMaker Object Designer, an open source alternative to HP QTP. Records tests in IE, Firefox, Webkit browsers (Safari, etc.,) Opera, Chrome

    http://www.soasta.com – Web app testing from the cloud

    http://www.sahi.co.in – Incredible tool for testing Ajax apps across browsers

    http://htmlunit.sourceforge.net/ – HtmlUnit – Ajax enabled headless Web browser framework.

    -Frank

    1
  65. 98

    Or you can test Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9 in Internet Explorer…

    http://otadesigns.posterous.com/how-do-i-check-internet-explorer-7-or-8-in-9

    Great tools but I’d rather have independent browsers. Firefox lets you download individual versions and Chrome/Safari users are usually smarter to keep up to date with current versions. I don’t support IE 6 or below. People need to get with the times.

    0
  66. 99

    Hello all,
    First of all, let me disclose my motivations – I work for ChangeBASE, an IT software company who specialize in automated application compatibility testing, remediation and conversion. We have a tool called AOK Browse-It which tests your entire estate of websites and web-based applications for compatibility with Internet Explorer 8. This tool can tell you which of your applications will work, which will require some form of remediation, and which contain fundamental incompatibilities, as well as detailing the issues raised.
    AOKLite is our free, downloadable evaluation tool which allows you to test a sample of your own applications. Why not give it a go if your worried about the compatibility of your websites?
    If you’re interested, AOKLite is available here: http://www.changebase.com/aoklite/aoklite.aspx

    0
  67. 100

    I have developed a free tool called CrossBro that enables you to instantly see changes to html coding and markup in real-time, enabling a true agile approach to website design.

    CrossBro simply monitors your source files (html, css, js etc) and refreshes all open browsers as you work.

    The tool currently works with IE, Firefox and Chrome (more to come, if interest increases)

    Watch the video tutorial
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2T61FSAlQc
    or visit the site and download here: http://www.crossbro.com

    Regards,
    Colin
    CrossBro – Designed to make cross browser development your first thought…not the last!
    http://www.colinord.com

    0
  68. 101

    Pulkit Kaushik | TheDolt

    September 27, 2011 8:29 am

    Good list. I really liked the compilation at the end.

    0
  69. 102

    Good comparison, wish BrowserStack was also included. I am currently evaluating browser compatibility testing tools and BrowserStack and Multi Browser Viewer are in the lead so far.

    2
  70. 104

    Sweet – very informative article. As a PHP developer – I sometimes need to see and be reminded of cross browser testing and latest trends. Also check out back40design.com/news/m.blog/22/cross-browser-testing-why-it-s-important for more related content.

    0
  71. 105

    We’ve created http://testingbot.com which offers an online Selenium grid.

    You can run your Selenium cross browser tests on our grid and perform cross browser testing. We can even run tests for you at a specific time and interval, and alert you when a test fails.

    This way you make sure your website is bug-free and working perfectly across all browsers.

    3
  72. 106

    We create a new cross-browser testing tool named BrowseEmAll . It comes with 15 desktop and 7 mobile browsers and you can test sites hosted on your local machine.

    Moreover you can compare DOM and CSS among many browser. If you want, give it a try!

    2
  73. 107

    OK! so does anyone know of a company I can just Pay to check these issues out. Cross browser testing services… pick your browsers and that it, they will test for you? I mean this is a huge market and I personally cant be bothered.

    I rather just pay.

    1
  74. 108

    Great evaluation. Thank you for this.

    May I ask if there are cross browser tool(free or commercial) that fits my below needs:
    1. Can take screenshots of secure application page(e.g. page that required logins yahoomail.com for example) at once.
    2. Live testing: By entering the URL once it will run for multiple browsers.
    3. Live testing: By entering the URL once and loggin in at 1 user only it will run for multiple browsers.

    Thank you in advance!

    -Perfecto

    0
  75. 109

    What about BrowserStack?

    0
  76. 110

    Very interesting! Thanks for this article and to everyone for your feedback! Anyone using automated test case software like Selenium or SmartBear’s TestComplete with any of the solutions mentioned above?

    0
  77. 111

    Adobe Browserlab is no longer available

    0
  78. 112

    we are trying to test our development site on mobile devices (and regular browsers too).
    the development site is IP restricted.
    so we can’t use web based emulators that do their processing on servers that are blocked due to IP restriction.

    any ideas anyone? don’t need a bunch of features, just an idea what it looks&behaves like on android etc without buying every phone there is.

    0
  79. 113

    Md. Mazharul Haq Totul

    June 11, 2013 2:14 pm

    From here I know a lot of things about Cross browser.
    Thanks!

    0
  80. 114

    http://www.ontest.me/ Its new service for cross browser testing.

    0
  81. 115

    Surprised there is no mention of browser stack!!

    0
  82. 116

    Adobe Browserlab is not available anymore, you should really update this article guys!

    0
  83. 117

    And there is a new http://www.testize.com service for cross-mobile site testing and issue discovery impacting site rendering across devices

    0

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