Adobe BrowserLab: Cross Browser Testing Still Teething…

Logo Adobe LabsProbably one of the most laborious tasks we need to do as web designers is to perform cross-browser testing. Checking to see how your web site looks in the many different web browsers takes a lot of time. Adobe recently announced that they were opening a limited free trial for users of their new online application, BrowserLab, a tool for designers and developers to perform cross-browser testing.

Screenshots of actual browser renderings are generated in real time, with multiple viewing options to help pinpoint various issues. The options include:

  1. Check how a site looks in one browser at a time.
  2. Compare the same site side by side in different browsers.
  3. Dual View

  4. Use an “onion skin” mode that shows a site in multiple browsers overlaid one on top of the other
  5. Onion skin view

At the moment it is still a bit of a bare-bones structure, which presumably will be fleshed out before the full release. For instance, there is no Chrome browser option and no mobile browsers are represented, which I would consider to be essential these days. The list of browsers included in the trial is limited to Firefox 3.0 for Windows XP and OS X, Safari 3.0 and Internet Explorer 7 for Win XP. Having said that, what is there is easy to use and lets you test quickly. I think this service has the potential to be really helpful for designers.

Another feature that may be of particular interest to developers is the Dreamweaver CS4 integration with BrowserLab, which lets you preview local interactive page/app content (ajax/db-driven data, widgets and UI elements driven by JS, etc) by ‘freezing’ a particular page state and sending it directly to BrowserLab.

Adobe says they will eventually charge for the service as a paid subscription service. Note: At the time of publishing this post, Adobe had stop accepting users on the limited trial, but plan to take on another wave of users very soon. Check out the updates to find out when they are accepting more users.

In the meantime you can check out some other sites which offer a similar cross-browser testing features.

  1. Browsershots
  2. Litmus
  3. Gomez
  4. XBDiff (also in public beta)

What other web sites or apps have you used offering this service? Is a cross-browser testing app something you would be willing to pay for?

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  • jorge

    BrowserLab
    From Adobe Labs
    Adobe BrowserLab – Current Status

    The BrowserLab service is currently available.

  • cf_gal

    One great way to check a site in multiple browsers is http://www.xenocode.com/browsers

    As of today, here’s what’s available (but I think they continue to add more):

    Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 6,
    Mozilla Firefox 3 and 2, and current versions of Chrome, Opera and Safari

    It’s not necessarily complete, but it’s free. If Xenocode continues to add browser versions, I’d be happy with just using that — especially since it’s a “live” browsing experience rather than snapshots. I don’t really care too much about onion skinning or side-by-side comparisons. I just need to know that nothing is broken.

  • bfkouba

    There’s a really great one that no one seems to know about. There’s an actually website called cross browser testing where you can actually use any flavor of remote desktop. They are excellent and very worth checking out:

    http://www.crossbrowsertesting.com/

    B. Kouba

  • http://www.magain.com/ Matthew Magain

    I agree it’s a pain to do. At the moment I use Parallels on my Mac, but it’s still clunky and I would definitely consider paying for the right service.

  • http://oixapey.com/rqaars/5.html John344

    Very nice site!