By now you should know to test your site in more than one browser, so you can be sure that it works for as wide a range of people as possible. The question is: What’s the easiest way to do that?
First, make a list of the browsers to test in. Depending on your audience, you may have to support earlier browsers than others. You absolutely must test in several of today’s major browsers. That means test in
- Internet Explorer 7
As well as current browsers, you should also test in some older browsers, like the following:
- Internet Explorer 6
- Internet Explorer 5
- Internet Explorer 4 (possibly)
- Netscape 6
You need not test in current Netscape versions (yes, it’s still around) as it’s pretty much the same as Firefox (both use the Gecko rendering engine).
Once you’ve compiled your “List O’ Browsers”, download and install them. You’ll have no problem doing this with current browsers, like Firefox and Safari (which is now available for Windows). However, you cannot just install old versions of Internet Explorer. It won’t work.
To run IE4-6 alongside IE7, you need standalone versions. Standalones are basically modified versions of the browsers that have been tweaked to run without installation. You just open-up the directory they’re in and click the .exe icon. They can be buggy, but they’re suitable for testing purposes. Browsers.Evolt.com has archived versions of many (read: a huge amount) of browsers, including standalone versions. The IE Standalones are available on this page.
Once you have all the browsers downloaded, create a new directory (or “Folder”) called “Browsers” on your Desktop. Place the Standalone Browsers’ folders in the “Browsers”directory, along with shortcuts to the other browsers you installed (e.g. Opera, Safari). Now you have a place where you can go to test-out your web pages.