View Full Version : Browser testing techniques & resources?

02-20-2009, 06:59 PM
Hello Codingforums ! :)

I'm completely new to web design, thus I thought the best way to learn would be to handcode a website from scratch in Notepad. Currently I'm writing my first site using HTML 4.01 & CSS2.1 with a Strict DTD.

I've been reading lots of tutorials, articles and guides online about both HTML & CSS. One issue highlighted regularly is the need to test sites on multiple platforms using a range of browsers.

I've currently got Firefox 3, Google Chrome, Safari 3 and IE 8. My site works as expected in each of these. :)

I have several questions regarding browser & platform testing:

Considering that browsers present updates to their users automatically, how many browser versions back do I really need to test in? (Are people still using IE 5/5.5 & NN4 etc?)

Does a program exist that permits users to test their sites for problems under various screen resolutions, platform and browser conditions? (If not one specific program, a combination of apps will do) (I know that http://browsershots.org/ tests in multiple browsers under various conditions, but my site has not been hosted yet, so I am unable to use this tool.)

Is there a way of testing my site locally?

Do any of you regular forum users recall any threads that discuss further the issues outlined above? (If you have links, that would be really appreciated!) :thumbsup:


Thank you kindly for your time and responses :)


02-20-2009, 07:15 PM
Hi Patrick,

When discussing browser testing, aside from a few isolated differences, the browsers render pages identically except for Internet Explorer (any version). The adage "Code it for Firefox, hack it for IE," certainly applies. It sounds like you're doing well in designing a site that looks correct in standards-compliant browsers and then wanting to ensure it looks fine on "the" non-compliant one.

That said, your questions:

1. Up to you. Most folks here (myself included) don't feel the need to go back any farther than IE6. I test in Safari, FF3, IE7 and IE6 and occasionally Opera.
2. Browsershots is good. Many people have recommended IETester (http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage) also.
3. Here's an article (http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE) that might interest you as well.
4. Some form of "My site doesn't look right in IE" is probably the #1 issue that comes up on this particular forum, so... pick a thread, any thread. :)

Welcome to CF!

02-20-2009, 07:39 PM
Thank you Msuffern for your suggestions and link. I will follow it up this evening after work. :)

02-20-2009, 11:16 PM
I think it's worth opening up a WebKit browser before you go final. It can have random issues at times. I personally have dropped support for IE6 in non-personal work, and if I do have support it's generally in the form of a "low-fi" version of the site with an update message in conditonal comments. IETester is better for me: I prefer testing locally than waiting for browsershots to do it.