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Main Content => Web Design => Topic started by: Rob on June 11, 2010, 04:23:49 PM

Title: Browsershots
Post by: Rob on June 11, 2010, 04:23:49 PM
Hey guys. The awesome Chadm1n was turned on to this site awhile back and I've been meaning to tell you guys about it for awhile but I kept forgetting.

It's called BrowserShots (http://browsershots.org/).

If you are making changes to your site or heck; building a whole new one, BrowserShots lets you test the site on multiple browsers and operating systems all at once with results you can see to help fine tune your site.

Now it's free to use once per day but there is a premium service that you can pay for that lets you use it as often as you want. And yes I know once per day isn't enough to fix an issue like, right then when you are working on it.

But if you just want to check your compatibility with all the many browser and OS configurations out there and identify problem areas that once a day is a perfect tool for that. And as you tweak over time you may find more and more use for this site. We use it a lot when we are checking compatibility issues with Remedial Comics.

Ok Chadm1n uses it a lot. I would not have much use for it. Since I know diddly about computers.

But I thought some of you web people on here might find it useful (assuming you don't already know about it or have already found a better solution). And some of you people who are one man operations might like to know what your site looks like on all the different browser/OS configs.

Enjoy.  ;)
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: amanda on June 14, 2010, 07:30:34 AM
That is really cool!  Thanks =D  I'll definitely use it.
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: moshepupkin on June 14, 2010, 02:05:09 PM
It looks nice, but in reality it is pretty useless. The free services is too slow - you will have to wait about half an hour for your screenshot. And if you are willing to pay for this kind of services, there are better alternatives, for instance BrowserSeal http://browserseal.com (http://browserseal.com) - it is fast, supports authentication and comes with standalone versions of all browsers.
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: Rob on June 14, 2010, 02:18:49 PM
I literally just used it and it only made me wait 4 minutes for 56 different browser views. I promote it because it's a free option. I'm sure that if someone is willing to pay they can find something similar or better and the browserseal you recommend may be the way to go.

I guess it depends on when you try and use it though. I've never had to wait very long.
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: moshepupkin on June 14, 2010, 02:32:14 PM
4 minutes ! No way :) They must have done some serious hardware upgrade. I'm checking this as we speak :)
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: moshepupkin on June 14, 2010, 02:43:15 PM
Well, well, well - not so fast :)

I've been waiting 10 minutes already and NONE of the Windows or Mac browser screenshots have been uploaded so far:)


So my previous statement still stands - browsershots free mode is absolutely useless.
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: Rob on June 14, 2010, 03:14:56 PM
I suppose useless is in the eye of the beholder. I got all of my views of my site up in less than 30 minutes. All 56 of them. I didn't understand the queue system when I said 4 minutes before because that was when the first batch popped up for me.

For me... if it's a choice of waiting a half hour or so for the images to load while I do other things, or paying for the service, I'll wait because I don't need it that often. And for me that has value.
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: Chadm1n on June 15, 2010, 12:01:16 PM
BrowserShots is by no means perfect or terribly fast, but it does what I need it to do at the right price. As others have indicated, there are other services out there that offer more features - most of which come with a price tag. If they suit your need, by all means use them - your audience will certainly appreciate the effort. I am just frugal when it comes to certain facets of IT and would prefer to invest in areas other than extended testing.

I suppose BrowserShots works well for me because I know HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and PHP pretty much inside and out. I hand-code everything (no WYSIWYG stuff for me), and I don't find it necessary to recheck my code every few minutes. Now, I am not suggesting I know everything about the languages - that would be silly; I just know them all well enough to know that what I am doing will work cross-browser* more or less right out of the box (so to speak). I use Firefox's Firebug and Google Chrome's element inspector tools to correct any issues along the way. When I am done with my code, I toss it into BrowserShots for a quick sanity check and run grab myself a beer.

* I tend to target only the top browsers: Firefox, IE, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. I also try to be backward compatible to at least the previous 2 browser versions - but I must admit that I have given up on IE6.


Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: moshepupkin on June 15, 2010, 12:24:00 PM
By all means - I can totally understand why people that do not have to test often would prefer a free solution, even when it is very slow.

My own style of coding is different - I like the ability to test fast and test often. Sometimes it is easier just to test something as opposed to trying to figure our how it would work on a certain browser. Which is why I use http://www.browserseal.com (http://www.browserseal.com). I also find that for complex AJAX sites screenshots are often not enough - you have to test the dynamic functionality. This is were the fact that BrowserSeal comes with standalone versions of many browsers comes in handy
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: Alectric on June 15, 2010, 09:50:53 PM
Aren't most browsers free anyway?
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: Rob on June 15, 2010, 11:04:13 PM
I think you missed the point if this tool Alectric. While you could hypothetically load every browser onto your computer that would be a lot of browsers. Additionally many browsers do not let you keep older; working versions of themselves on the same computer (for example, having Internet Explorer versions 6. 7 and the most current version, 8, would be a tough thing to make happen).

Also, even if you were able to load all those many different browsers and versions onto one computer you would still have an issue with operating systems. Browsers behave differently, and have different versions for different operating systems. So having a computer with Windows XP Home, XP Pro, Vista, Windows 7, and for all I know there may be differences based upon what service pack the OS is working on. There were three different service packs for XP. All of that is just for Windows PC. Then you would either need a Mac or some hybrid that lets you run Mac operating systems because browsers operate differently on Mac's and there are several versions of the Mac operating system.

And don't even get me started on Linux. Soooo many versions.

Then there are the resolutions. Some resolutions are impossible without the right size monitor and even with the right size monitor the right size resolution might be impossible due to software incompatibilities or hardware limitations.

And even if you could do a lot of the resolutions yourself constantly changing your resolution would be a royal pain in the ass.

Sites like browsershots and browserseal let give you screen shots of many different browsers on different operating systems at many different resolutions all at once. This is an important tool for the web developer who is trying to make whatever site he is working on compatible with lot's of different computers.

So while the browsers may largely be free just having most or even all of the browsers on one computer is only the start of what you would need to full test compatibility.

I hope that explains it.  ;)
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: moshepupkin on June 16, 2010, 01:43:15 PM
BTW, he actually does have a point. Safari, Chrome, Opera and Firefox are not that different when they run on different operating systems. So as long as you are using Windows, you can actually install all browsers that matter on your machine for free. This is true even for multiple versions of Safari and IE, which do require some tweaking, but there are packages which will do this automatically for you.
Title: Re: Browsershots
Post by: klingers on July 22, 2010, 09:17:01 PM
I used browsershots pretty heavily to test the test version of my site when I was first working on it. It's a fantastic tool.

Even for professional web designers you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who had ready access to so many of the obscure browsers on different platforms.

I'm sure any web designer worth their salt would cross-test with, say, Safari, Firefox, Chrome and the latest couple of IE point-zero releases, but it's still good to have access to all those different iterations and operating systems on one screen.