If you create a web site, a difficult task is to test if it looks properly in most of the browsers and the operating systems that your users are likely to use. Unfortunately, this requires that you install multiple operating systems, buy more than one computer or use virtual machines.
An easier way to test your site is to use online services like BrowserShots, which generates screenshots for a web page in more than 80 versions of the most common browsers used in Windows, Linux, BSD and Mac. The process takes time and you may have to wait up to an hour to see the screenshots.
Adobe BrowserLab is a recently-launched service that has the advantage of generating screenshots almost instantaneously, but the number of browsers that are tested is smaller: Firefox 2.0 (XP, OS X), Firefox 3.0 (XP, OS X), IE6 (XP), IE7 (XP), Safari 3.0 (OS X). The service has an interesting “Onion Skin View”, which superimposes one screenshot over another to see the differences between the different renderings. BrowserLab is integrated with Dreamweaver CS4, but you don’t need to buy the software to use the online service.
“Cross-browser testing has been one of the biggest challenges for Web designers because it is such an arduous and time-intensive task. Now with Adobe BrowserLab, designers have a simple solution that enables comprehensive browser compatibility testing in just a matter of minutes,” says Adobe’s Lea Hickman. The bad news is that the service is free for a limited time.