Internet technology seems to advance at warp speed but if you're a web designer, the process of testing a website for cross-browser compatibility hasn't improved much since the days when knowledge of Microsoft FrontPage made someone a 'web designer'.
But a new service from Adobe looks set to change that.
Yesterday, the company announced that it was offering a preview of a new service called BrowserLab, which gives designers the ability to preview what their sites will look like on various browsers. IE, Firefox and Safari are the browsers currently supported. BrowserLab also uses virtualization to show how sites look on two different operating systems - Windows XP and Mac OS X.
According to Lea Hickman of Adobe, "Now with Adobe BrowserLab, designers have a simple solution that enables comprehensive browser compatibility testing in just a matter of minutes, leaving Web designers with more time to be creative and deliver the high-impact sites customers are demanding".
The most convenient thing about BrowserLab: it's Flash-based so PC and Mac-based designers don't need to download and install any special software to get the functionality, as is the case with a similar product Microsoft has developed called SuperPreview. And because it is a hosted service, we can expect that Adobe will eventually expand the number of included browsers and OSes.
Perhaps the coolest thing about BrowserLab: it provides the ability to compare a single site on two different browsers/operating systems using an onion skin viewing mode. This will come in very handy for designers whose clients demand nothing less than pixel-perfect implementation of designs.
Right now, the preview is free but Adobe isn't foolish and it knows it has something of value here. Accordingly, it has plans to charge for the BrowserLab service in some fashion down the road.