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Web Development & CMS

Useful Tools – Adobe BrowserLab

browserlabAs a developer working with Mac OS X, I run into the occasional wall when it comes to cross-browser compatibility. It isn’t easy running Internet Explorer in OS X. I’ve tried using Parallels to run Windows and OS X side by side, but the slowdown was unacceptable. Until recently, I had been using the Browsershots website (http://www.browsershots.org) to look at screenshots of our pages in each browser. Browsershots is good – and slow. On average I waited 5 minutes to see a set of screenshots. A CSS discrepancy could take an hour to fix. I needed a faster way of viewing my pages in IE. It was my wife (and fellow designer) who showed me Adobe’s fairly new web-based application – BrowserLab. BrowserLab doesn’t have the supported browser list that Browsershots has, but they’ve covered most of the bases with support for IE 6 & 7 for Windows, Firefox 2 & 3 for Windows, Firefox 2 & 3 for OS X, and Safari 3 for OS X – and best of all, screenshots load in 20-30 seconds.

Features include several very helpful views (which allow you to compare two browsers on the same screen) and customizable browser sets (which allows you to streamline your screenshot requests for a faster load time). This application is ideal for anyone who runs OS X and regularly needs to check IE compatibility. I also recommend it for all you Windows users. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Firefox for OS X renders everything in the same way that Firefox for Windows does.

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