Thursday, October 16, 2008

Different Browser Compatibility Test

In web development, one of the biggest problem is layout problems caused by different browsers and versions. To test out them, you can install multiple browsers, but sometimes it is not easy to install multiple versions of the same browsers. So to avoid this pain, you can use internet based browser screenshot services.

IE NetRenderer allows you to check how a website is rendered by Internet Explorer 7, 6 or 5.5, as seen from a high speed datacenter located in Germany. Just type in a URL in the field above and try it out - it's free!

New: They have added an Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Rendering Engine.

Unlike other screenshot services (listed below), they are able to process a large number of capturing jobs in parallel and in realtime, making it the fastest service.

Website screenshot services
  • browserama
    German language screenshot service. Supports 40+ browser / OS combinations, including Linux and Macintosh. It allows several rendering options, including which exact Flash version to use. Browser support is not quite up-to date and response times of 2-5 minutes cannot be considered realtime. Prices start at € 9.95 / 24h, they also offer micropayment per screenshot capture.
  • browsercam
    As their website title says: “Screen capture and Remote Access service for cross platform compatibility testing and HTML design quality assurance”. This is probably the most feature complete service around. It is offering screenshot services with project management and image format options, as well as VNC remote control for numerous operating systems. Special platforms, such as Windows Mobile (Pocket Explorer), RIM Blackberry and up to date Beta platform (Windows Vista).are also supported. Pricing starts at US$ 19.94 for 24h hours access (one user)..
  • browserpool
    Well designed VNC Remote access service with full access to different operating systems and browsers, including Mac OS X, Linux, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Browserpool claims to restore each OS session after use, but there is no official privacy policy. Prices start at €29.99 / month.
  • browsershots
    Open Source screenshot service, allowing to test your webdesign in different browsers. Access is relatively quick and it allows to immediately view past versions of your page - not only to you, but also anybody else, since “there is no privacy”. This service is free.
  • browsrcamp
    Free Webpage Rendering Service for Safari Browser (MacOSX). For more elaborate testing there is a paid VNC access plan with 10 additional browsers.
  • iCapture
    Free Webpage Rendering Service for Safari Browser (MacOSX) from Dan Vine. Service seems to be down at the moment, so it could not be tested.
  • ieCapture
    Free Internet Explorer Rendering Service from Dan Vine. At a waiting time of 20 hours this service seems to be heavily overloaded. It is not clear which Internet Explorer version is used.
  • IE NetRenderer
    This is a new, free screenshot service for Internet Explorer 7, 6 and 5.5. Not meant to replace Browsercam, it is designed just for that single job, and it renders faster than any other service. Since we are providing this service, you can safely assume us to be somewhat precudiced here, So why not simply try it out yourself? ;-)
  • IEs 4 Linux
    Not a validation service, but a cute installation script for Linux boxes to help install multiple IE versions within Wine. It might violate Microsoft EULA and IE7 is not yet fully supported. Considering the number of clever tricks needed to get this working, there is no 100% guarantee that the emulated IE versions will behave exactly like their standalone counterparts, but for casual webdesigners this might be O.K.
  • Litmus
    Commercial screenshot service with instant rendering of 17+ browsers in full page mode as well as many popular email clients. Snappy user interface.
  • lixlpixel
    Free Mac G5 Safari screenshot service, it is currently down.
    Fast and free screenshot service using the Safari (Mac) rendering engine. Allows full page length rendering and a nice preview view before downloading the full size image.
  • Thumbalizr
    Fast and easy to use screenshot service that uses the IE7 Explorer engine to deliver thumbnail images of arbitrary width.
  • Tredosoft Multiple IE
    This is not a validation service but an installer that allows you to run multiple IE versions side by side on the same MS Windows machine. Besides the fact that you still need a Windows box and that it might violate the Microsoft EULA, it is not really a professional grade solution. Since IE is designed to be tightly integrated into the OS, there is no guarantee that the different IE versions will behave exactly like their standalone versions. Even if the mechanism does work for you, it will ruin several other HTML rendering functions found in Outlook, HTML Help, Dot NET webbrowser controls etc. In addition, any upcoming MS patch could instantly break this multiple IE mechanism. This is not Tredosoft´s fault (they did a great job building a usable installer), the concept itself is somewhat questionable.
  • WebshotsPro
    Rather slow service built for developers to integrate thumbnail webpage views into their apps.

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