Cross-browser, Cross-OS testing tools

September 24, 2005 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Working with FreeTextBox and other JavaScript controls requires a lot of os/brower testing. Below are some of the tools I use to get the job done on one machine.



  • PC

    • Internet Explorer

      • I have IE 6.0 installed on my development machine, but I test IE 4.0, 5.0, IE 5.5, and IE 7.0 (beta 1) using the technique described in this tutorial (download).
      • The IE team has released a new developer toolbar that has some of the feature of the Mozilla toolbar (and a few tasty new ones).

    • Netscape 4.x

      • Still available for download at Netscape’s FTP site (version 4.8)
      • I don’t write for NS4 (I gave up on “layer” madness a long time ago), but since we have a lot of foriegn visitors, we need to ensure our sites are still functional – another great reason to code with standards.

    • Opera

    • Mozilla

      • Still the easiest to test, generally the same across Windows, Linux, and Mac.

  • Mac


    • PearPC – PearPC is a free Mac emulator for the PC. It’s possible, though very difficult to get OSX running inside PearPC. Great tutorial on setting it up.
    • Synergy – if you do have a Mac you can use for testing, you can control the Mac from your PC (or viceversa) as if it were a second monitor. Synergy is the coolest Open Source app I’ve seen. I can’t believe someone is not making millions off of the idea! If you need to have multiple testers, then I’d recommend using VNC.
    • Safari 1.x and 2.0 support HTML editing and I’m working to include this in the next version of FreeTextBox. We also need to test XHTML/CSS on Safari, IE5, and Mozilla. JavaScript testing is also crucial, but it requries a little work to get it up. Apple has a good Developer FAQ.


  • Linux

    • The two things I’m looking for in Linux is ensuring that code works the same in all Mozilla version (which it does 99% of the time) and that other browsers (Konquerer, etc.) don’t do anything weird.
    • When looking to download a Linux disto its sometimes hard to find a link to a free download. The best place to find downloads is LinuxISO.
    • Knoppix – knoppix is a linux distro designed to fit on a single bootable CD. All you need to do is download it, burn it, and reboot. It has most of the utilities you need (including several browser versions) and even lets you install plugins like Flash.
    • VMWare – if you don’t want to reboot your machine, VMWare is the answer for Linux (and older versions of Windows if you need it). It does require you to pick a distro and figure out how to install it, but most distros come with all the apps/browsers you need. We use either Novell’s SuSE (since that’s our server flavor) or Red Hat since it’s easy to use.
    • Virtual PC – I haven’t used Microsoft’s Virtual PC, but I hear it’s pretty good.
    • Synergy – again, if you have another PC lying around, Synery is a great way to test it without using terminals and such.

Link Summary



Note: This post doesn’t cover mono/ASP.NET on Linux. It’s only for browser testing.

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Hi, I'm John Dyer. In my day job, I build websites and create online seminary software for a seminary in Dallas. I also like to release open source tools including a pretty popular HTML5 video player and build tools that help people find best bible commentaries and do bible study. And just for fun, I also wrote a book on the theology of technology and media.

Fork me on GitHub

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