Browser Testing, The Rubik's Cube Of Web Development


You’ve got to be a bit of a masochist to enjoy cross browser testing. Just because your site looks great in Google Chrome doesn’t mean it’s going to be all fun and games in Internet Explorer. It’s a Rubik’s Cube. Get the red side done and the yellow one breaks.

Services like BrowserStack have stepped in to ease the pain, they allow you to browser test live on almost any device, with any browser that you can think of. BrowserStack has pretty much established itself as the go to tool for testing and debugging, but at $39/month – for the amount of testing I do, I’m not sure if that’s good value. Sure if I were testing sites daily, even weekly then I wouldn’t give it a second thought. But I don’t build that many sites, most of my time is spent on pure design work with the occasional build here and there.

An alternative to BrowserStack…

So I started searching for an alternative. I wasn’t aware of any off the top of my head. Years ago I used a service called BrowserShots which is still around and gives you screenshots from various browsers – but screenshots is a slow process and it feels a bit 1999.

Browserling

Then I found something else, I can’t remember how, but I landed on a quirky looking website called Browserling. It had a place to enter a URL, a large selection of browsers to choose from, and a big bright green ‘run’ button.

The guinea pig

This site proved to be a pretty good guinea pig to test Browserling on – I had an immediate requirement and for the most part, it did a good job. I was able to test as I needed and they had pretty much everything I needed. There were a couple of things I spotted that could do with some work but nothing that caused me to stop using it. Firstly I noticed that the speed does seem to vary when you’re using it – I couldn’t pick out a particular time that was better than others but it wasn’t a deal breaker for me. Secondly, while I was testing I saw a couple of instances where IE9 used IE Tester but I am informed this is currently being fixed, but again – not a deal breaker for me.

I would fully expect Browserling to keep on improving, it’s certainly not yet as polished as Browserstack but definitely one to watch!

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