Cross-browser and platform compatibility

How do you test your pages to ensure they don’t look awful on another platform?

How do you make sure your carefully crafted pages don’t fall to pieces when viewed with Safari on Mac OS or collapse in a heap under MSIE 5.0 for Windows?

You can maintain multiple operating systems and perhaps run emulations or virtual machines but it all can be very time consuming and troublesome.

So stumbling across Browsershots seemed to offer a solution to all these issues, you submit your URL and it comes back with screenshots of your webpage for a wide variety of browser and platform combinations.

In their own words what it offers is to:

Browsershots makes screenshots of your web design in different browsers. It is a free open-source online service created by Johann C. Rocholl. When you submit your web address, it will be added to the job queue. A number of distributed computers will open your website in their browser. Then they will make screenshots and upload them to the central server here.

Having used it for a while, and found various horrors lurking in what looked like perfectly viable designs, I can thoroughly recommend this service, and best of all it is free, although if you find it useful you can pay for priority processing. You may have to wait a few minutes for the screenshots to be captured and listed on the page, but that is worth it if like me you don’t can’t afford the various paid services or the cost of having a complete test suite.

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