By Simon Willison

Testing in Safari without a Mac

By Simon Willison

iCapture by Daniel Vine is a service I would have sold my granny for if it had been available before I switched to using a Mac. It allows anyone to enter the URL of a site and download a screenshot of that site as viewed in Safari, with other Mac specific browsers on the way. And unlike BrowserCam, it’s a free service!

For a less accurate but more flexible alternative PC users might want to check out KDE 3.2. Released last week, this new version of the popular Linux desktop environment includes an updated version of Konqueror which incorporates many of the improvements to the KHTML engine made by the Safari development team. Konqueror certainly won’t provide a perfect environment for Safari compatibility testing but it’s better than nothing. Best of all, as soon as Knoppix is updated to include KDE 3.2 PC users will be able to test with the latest version of Konqueror without having to install Linux first.

  • We have a mac now but that is awesome..

    I hope he’s got a beeeeeefy server because this could get real popular real quick.

  • va

    “I hope he’s got a beeeeeefy server because this could get real popular real quick.”

    Actually it says in the about page the hardware is two ‘retired’ macs. A G3 tower and an old imac.

  • mmj

    Nice – I see it takes his server 30 seconds to generate each screenshot. I can see this taking up a fair bit of server load…

  • But what about the shiny new G5?

  • Hooray! I’ve been scouring the web for a Mac rom image so I can install an emulator to do just that… Thanks for the link!

    I think this *will* get very busy, very fast!

  • Albatross

    Frankly it’s great. It will save me investing in an iMac which I had been against my better judgement considering acquiring. AlexW you don’t have to worry about server load. Most people who work on PCs design for PCs and couldn’t care less how it look it looks in a Mac.

  • Dan Vine

    Sure, I’d love a new shiny G5.

  • No doubt there are a percentage of PC based developers/designers who are happy to pretend Mac doesn’t exist, but I think with many designers the real problem is simply access to a mac. For smallish companies, the investment in a mac for only testing purposes, while seen as worthwhile, is usually quite a rungs down the wishlist ladder. 3 to 4 person businesses often get by emailing urls to friends with macs to test for them. Maybe their friend is too busy. Maybe he’s gone home. That process doesn’t really lend itself to iterative tuning of problems. Dan’s service gives small guys a genuine chance to tackle Mac problems that they couldn’t before. Even better, they’ll start to get a feel for how the Mac renders, and won’t code the problems in the first place after a while.

    Good one Dan :) I assume you’re accepting donations for that new G5 at your site ? ;)

  • In fact, looking at the site there’s a ‘donate here’in the nav.

    For anyone getting benefit from this service, a buck or two (that you might have been saving for test mac) would no doubt go a long to making sure it says online :) Here’s the link.

  • mipapage

    This sites been around for a bit now – he had mentioned at one point the IE5.2 would be available as well… no luck yet- fingers crossed (and off I go to browsercam…)

  • Testing CSS layouts on the Mac browser has always been an issue for me. There are some real quirks that you need to watch out for on Safari and other than getting my Mac owning friends to send me screen shots, there was not much I could do. This site is a must visit! Thanks for the tip.

  • good for testing static layouts that fit into a single page, but obviously you still need the real thing to test dynamic behaviours (be they CSS or DOM javascript)

    (sorry if i’m stating the obvious :-P )

  • paul

    Really good service, immediately found out my site doesnt display. But i need to know how to correct it! Im developing in 1.1. Next step for this service would be to apply web standards evaluation/testing of web sites with the mac. Basically, Online QA or Testing of sites.

  • Tahir

    Well it is something really cool.

  • Sebastiaan

    Now there is Safari for Windows ;-) Google and ye shall find!

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