Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, June 29, 2001

Testing your web page across different web browsers

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June, 2001

In this article:

1. Browser Photo
2. Browserola
3. Screen Size Testing Tools

Browser Photo
= breakthrough tool

I bet most of you have web sites that when viewed outside your office PC do not really "display" as you would like them to.

Most of us have designed web sites to please ourselves and fitting our own requirements, forgetting that many users out there on the internet, have different computers, operating systems and browsers versions from the ones we use to est our web site.

To make things more difficult, it is next to impossible to keep more than one version of Internet Explorer on any PC, and it is rare to find people who go to the length of keeping installed versions of Netscape 3.x, 4.x and 6.x.

Even if you did, every time you wanted to see how your web pages would perform on other people monitors you would have to switch the Control Panel->Display->Settings to a different resolution, reload your browser and page and repeat this process for every different resolution people still use.

These are at least five:
640 by 480
800 by 600
1024 by 768
1152 by 864
1280 by 1024

If you thought that: a

a) Internet Explorer is by now the browser of choice and most everybody has it on his computer

b) The Mac is slowly disappearing, and users are so few, it may not be worth bothering with adjusting the layout and compatibility also for them

c) Most people work at 800 by 600 screen resolution or better. People with small 14" screens or old VGA resolution (640 by 480) are so few it is not worth considering them (sse Mac) Did you know that:

think again:

1) As of February 2001, Netscape Navigator is used by 15 million users.

2) How many people use the Mac?
Roughly 12% of all desktop computers are Macintoshes.

3) How many people use WebTV?
WebTV is an "Internet appliance" that allows users to surf the Web with their television set.
(WebTV is used extensively by older Internet users who may not have experience with desktop computers, and by visually impaired users who like its large fonts.)

Currently WebTV has over 1,000,000 users worldwide.

4) As of February 2001, about half of all computers surfing the Internet use an 800x600 pixel screen resolution. About 10% of computers use a small 640x480 pixel screen resolution. The remaining 40% of computers use a screen resolution ranging from 1024x768 pixels to 1280x1024 pixels. As the present internet population (May 2001) is about 380 million people, you should expect at least 35 million people worldwide, still using 640 by 480 screen resolutions!

But now you can finally see and test your web pages through an online service that provides you with instant actual photos of your pages on 14 internet browser and computer combinations, including Opera, Netscape, Internet Explorer and AOL.

The Annual Subscription of Browser Photo provides unlimited testing of any page on your Web site. The One Time Use version allows you to check any single page on your Web site once.

Catch Errors Made By Your HTML Editor. Quite often FrontPage creates HTML that works fine with Internet Explorer, but not with Netscape Navigator. Browser Photo can spot these problems.

Web Designers, Show Your Stuff. Our print-friendly reports are great for showing your clients or boss that you've done your job!

Save Time And Money. Since Browser Photo is an automated tool, you don't have to hire someone to take the time to do the work. No Downloads. Easy to Use. No software to download or install.

Online Access Anywhere, Anytime. Through an internet connection, you can test your Web pages 24 hours a day from anywhere around the world. Tools like GoLive have options to mimic browser behavior, with only limited success.

Here is the exact list of "digital photographs" that the service will take for you:

WebTV Viewer, Version 2.0

1024x768 Internet Explorer, Version 4.5
1024x768 Internet Explorer, Version 5.0
1024x768 Netscape Navigator, Version 4.7
1024x768 Netscape Navigator, Version 6.0

1024x768 AOL, Version 6.0
1024x768 Opera, Version 5.0
800x600 Netscape Navigator, Version 4.7
640x480 Netscape Navigator, Version 4.7
800x600 Netscape Navigator, Version 6.0
800x600 Internet Explorer, Version 4.0
800x600 Internet Explorer, Version 5.5
800x600 Internet Explorer, Version 5.5
1024x768 Internet Explorer, Version 5.5
1024x768 Internet Explorer, Version 5.5


There is no alternative service to this, unless you physically have the hardware and sofware platforms covered by Browser Photo and a lot of time to invest.

Cost effectiveness is high. For $ 120 you can test all the web pages you want for as many times you want for one year.

Version 1.0 of Browser Photo will take a picture of the first screen of your Web page. That is to say, they will photograph that portion of your Web page that's visible without scrolling.
A feature that will allow to add a full-page photograph option is promised in Version 1.1 of the software, which will be available soon.

The agreement lets you test webpages only of one web site. If you thought of testing several web sites with this, they offer an option for designers and webmasters that manage more than one web site. Go check it at: browser-photo/designshop.htm

There is no trial version of Browser Photo so I have tested it out for you and was impressed by the wealth of new discoveries I made. I would have surely missed how MasterMind home page would look on AOL browser, or on an IMac with Netscape 6.01.

I have posted the key page I have got from BrowserPhoto where you can access all of the individual "shots" taken by the service.

You can get by looking at it a good idea of the quality of the service. Full views of each image are not provided, so do not try to click each individual preview as I have no provided no links for those. browserphoto/ViewResults.htm

I highly recommend this service. browser-index.htm

Click here to go to the top of this page !

= must have

This is the first browser compatibility tool I have ever used. A small and easy to use sofware application, this little program allows you to "emulate" different interpretation of your web page according to different HTML "standards" and browsers interpretations of it.

What Browserola does is read the HTML code of any web page you have saved locally on your hard disk, and process it by using ONLY the "valid" tags that a certain HTML standard version (e.g.: HTML 3.2) or a specific browser version, that you specify, actually validates.

While not a perfect tool, it is certainly a very useful one at zero cost.

These are the "emulations" are covered:
HTML 2.0
HTML 3.2
Netscape 1
Netscape 2
Netscape 3
Netscape 4
Internet Explorer 1
Internet Explorer 2
Internet Explorer 3
Internet Explorer 4

Though you cannot see what your page would lool like on a Macintosh you can tell a lot about how it will look on most of your less affluent visitors. By this I mean, that Browserola is still extremely useful for testing older browser versions that are slowly disappearing. If you are keen in not alienating your developing countries viewers, or anyone who for some reason has yet not updated to the latest internet browser version, Browserola can deeply help.

The interface is simple and straightforward. Select a web page that you have saved locally on your PC. Select the browser versions you want to "emulate". Choose the browser in which you want to see the "emulation".

Once you click OK, your selected browser will open up, showing your web page accompanied by a bottom framed menu, listing all the other browser versions you have selected to test. Just click any of those other links and instantly you see how your web page gets to be seen by people not up with the latest software.

Download your free copy at:


Three great solutions for Screen Size Testing

If you have ever wondered about a simpler way to test your web page at different screen sizes and resolutions, than going through the "Settings" facility in the Control Panels->Display control of Windows 9x, here are three great solutions for you:

Click here to go to the top of this page !

Screen Size Testing Tools

1)Screen Size Test ScreenSizeTest.html

Test on this page any URL at any possible screen size, including WebTV and Macintosh standard screen sizes.
Simple and effective to use. Recommended! Free.


2) VGA Screen test 640x480Test/index.html

This is so simple and straightforward it can be used by anybody. It does only one thing. It shows your selected web page/URL in a 640x480 window. This corresponds to the lowest resolution and screen size you may ever encounter.

At present, worldwide, there can possibly be up to 30 million people still working at this resolution (about 10% or less of the overall Internet population). Consider also that users with lower screen resolutions and screen sizes are certainly the ones accessing your web site from poor, developing countries and from so-called emerging markets. If you are interested in tapping those markets well, this free service is worth using.


3)JimTools WindowOpener

Among its arsenal of very useful ammunitions Jim Wilson has included a simple but effective tool to thest your web page at any possible screen size.

The uniqueness of this tool is in its ability to control also a number of "window" settings, that will control and determine how your emulated page will be displayed.

Do you want to see your page with the browser Toolbar displayed? How about the Location bar, the Status bar, the Menu or the side scroll bar.

Do you want to page NOT to be resizable and want to see how it would feel to the user at different resolutions? You can selectively decide which of the above features to turn on or off and then immediately see how your page would look with such parameters set.

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posted by Robin Good on Friday, June 29 2001, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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