The problem of running different browsers - gHacks Tech News

The problem of running different browsers

If you are  developing websites then the whole browser thing can be quite irritating. On the Windows OS there are currently 5 major browser available: Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 6, Firefox 2.x, Firefox 1.x and Opera 9. Of course you have to make sure your site works on all these browsers. Or sometimes you need a different browser because certain sites don't work well with your standard one.

The beginning is simple, you just download the latest version of Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer. But once you have these three installed you still have two to go, which isn't as simple as it seems.

For Firefox you can simply get the Firefox Portable version, which can be found here (if that links stops working you can go directly to the project following this link) Once you have unpacked the file you can then navigate to the map, and open the FirefoxPortable file (make sure you don't have 2.x open tho)

Internet Explorer is a different story. Once you have installed Internet Explorer you'll have to search for a Internet Explorer "portable" version. Thanks to the people at there is an Internet Explorer 6 standalone version.

The downside to this is that (unlike with the Firefox portable version) the system still thinks the browser is Internet Explorer 7, so if you are using Conditional comments you'll temporarily have to change the comment to Internet Explorer 7 instead of 6.

I hope this is useful to some of you, seeing how web design can already be a nightmare with all the different browsers (more specific, the mess that is called IE ;))

Update: The browser landscape has changed significantly in recent years. While you still have five major browsers, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari, you also got different versions of those browsers that you may want to test your website with.

You can use a service like Browsershots for that which takes screenshots of a website in various web browsers.

Another alternative is to create virtual environments and install the various browsers you want to test your websites in on these.


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  1. Stenko said on November 30, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    Hey, just wanted to thank you for this article. Never heard about “stand alone” IE6 and just found it at ghacks when i needed it most after the automatic IE7 upgrade :-)
    Keep it up, ghacks is one of my favourite reads evrery day. And as a German I must enviously admit your English is very un-German, thank god ;)

  2. Edward van Beever said on February 7, 2008 at 3:29 am
    Reply is now commerical site but offers “see-how-it-looks” in most every platform, browser combination possible. Remote control testing too.

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