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Microsoft's New Multiple-Browser Tester

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the innovation-actually dept.

Microsoft 221

Z80xxc! writes "Microsoft recently announced a new product called Expression Web SuperPreview, which lets developers view their web pages in any browser installed on their system, as well as in different versions of IE, all from the same interface. The product has one genuine innovation — a built-in tool for overlaying the rendering from one browser over another to compare (referred to as 'onion skins'). There are also HTML debugging aids and other helpful tools for web developers. A beta version is available for download. However, the current build only has support for IE — it will compare rendering in IE6 with either IE7 or IE8, whichever is installed. An internal build shows Firefox and Safari on Windows as well. The final product will appear as part of MS Expression Web Studio 3 when it is released later this year. (It will not be available in the Expression Mac suite.)"

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poson frostin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373665)

fristin pooson!

Browsershots (5, Informative)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373667)

There is a free service that does the same thing: browsershots.org [browsershots.org]

Re:Browsershots (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373705)

Queue estimate: 3 minutes to 1 hour, 12 minutes

It's only free if your time is worth nothing.

Re:Browsershots (0, Offtopic)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373849)

So what? They say the same thing about GNU/Linux.

I expect this will be modded troll.

Re:Browsershots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373873)



non delivers

Re:Browsershots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373907)

Yes, but it's much faster to boot GNU/Linux and test the browsers yourself than to wait for a website to do it for you.
Or better yet, virtualize some extra browsers.

Re:Browsershots (0, Offtopic)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374635)

I expect this will be modded troll.

Rightfully, because "they" are trolls and you repeat it.

Re:Browsershots (2, Interesting)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373861)

Because obviously you have no other important work to do until it's finished.

Because you just design websites from your mom's basement for some spare cash on the side.

Anyway, browsershots is useful for browsers you don't have installed and want to *eventually* check. This product is for browsers you have installed and want to debug *now*.

Re:Browsershots (4, Insightful)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374057)

I do web developing professionally and can say that a service with a 3 hour queue is only marginally useful. When your site has a rendering bug under some browser it takes quite a bit of trial and error while fiddling with CSS until you come up with a different way of expressing the same layout that is compatible across the board. IE6, particularly, has numerous rendering bugs that sometimes call for this "do the same, but differently" route and some bugs that require hacks to be put in place. While looking for the rendering bug you also need to find out what exactly is going on... for instance, IE6 will double an element's margin in some cases, but you need to find out which element first, which can be done with a bit more of fiddling with the CSS. ... So anything but an interactive solution is worthless in this cases. A service like browsershots is useful to check the state of a site, but once you find it has errors, you probably need something else.

I have a single VMWare VM with side-by-side installations of IE3 through 6, and IE7 in my main OS, along with Opera, Safari and Firefox.

Re:Browsershots (3, Insightful)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374287)

Not only that, but if the issue requires you to scroll or click to show you the bug then you're SOL. Personally I run a VM for IE6, a VM for IE7 (only because I've found MultipleIE to not always accurately represent what the end user uses), and Firefox in one of the VMs. I have outrageous amounts of RAM to play with, though. At work we have a couple fairly decent windows machines running remote desktop that the lot of us remote desktop into to view the pages, for the 15 or so of us it works quite well.

Re:Browsershots (3, Insightful)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374325)

Just minutes ago I had to fix a bug where IE7 will place misterious bullets on "ul" elements which had the bullets removed through CSS... but the bullets only appear in some of the pages, and dissapear when you scroll or force a redraw of the browser (i.e. by minimizing and maximizing).

Browsershots is also useless when checking JS code, animation, DHTML and AJAX... which amounts to a good percentage of what I do.

Re:Browsershots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374313)

Not so, this product is useful for browsers that you have installed -and- that you don't have installed. It does Safari for the Mac remotely.

Re:Browsershots (0)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374101)

Queue estimate: 3 minutes to 1 hour, 12 minutes

It's only free if your time is worth nothing.

Yeah, whenever I bake a pie, I have to sit there in front of the oven for 45 minutes until it's done. I can't do anything else in the meantime.

Re:Browsershots (5, Insightful)

wkurzius (1014229) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374131)

Do you also not mind waiting 45 minutes in between adding each ingredient?

Re:Browsershots (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374169)

I'm sorry, do you have a car analogy?

PS - you have to wait an hour between typing a reply, and posting it.

Re:Browsershots (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27375461)

3 minutes is pretty quick but over an hour, well after getting a huge spike in demand (presumably we all submitted something) thats still not bad.

but if you looked at details of the 67 default browsers most will complete in 20 minutes or less. the remaining ones are all on bsd completing in about an hour.

I hate to say this but unless your site is huge or bsd related bsd hits are going to be very rare, and unlikely to get much paid attention.

The alternative product from Microsoft is a windows only product supporting browsers from Microsoft.
that's hardly a comparison (although it's where 99% of the issues will be).

If your time is worth money you can get a months priority processing for $29.95 or just post on slashdot while you wait.

Re:Browsershots (3, Informative)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373843)

Browsershots is not a serious alternative. Everything that you send to Browsershots will be placed into a giant queue so you'll have to wait about 30 minutes before you see the results.

Re:Browsershots (3, Informative)

ais523 (1172701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374133)

You can pay to jump the queue. Also, the 30 minute time is for if you want rendering on some really obscure browsers; the more easily available browsers, like Firefox and IE, generally render pretty quickly, and if you turn off all the obscure ones you'll get shorter queue times. Still, Browsershots is best for a final check that your page works in really obscure browsers, as opposed to other alternatives which you'd use during development.

Re:Browsershots (4, Informative)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373855)

Overlay? Interactivity? Real time results?

Last time I checked browser shots didn't provide that for free.

This sounds like the first new MS product that's interested me in a while.

Re:Browsershots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374483)

Overlay? Interactivity? Real time results?
Last time I checked browser shots didn't provide that for free.
This sounds like the first new MS product that's interested me in a while.


Who said anything about free??? The summary says this will be part of Expression Web Studio 3, to be released later this year. I can just about guarantee that MS will be charging for that.

Re:Browsershots (2, Informative)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374717)

Who said anything about free???

The guy I was replying to.

Re:Browsershots (3, Insightful)

Hannes2000 (1113397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374843)

This sounds like the first new MS product that's interested me in a while.

What a coincidence, that one of Microsofts more interesting products' sole purpose is ironing out their own fail :-)

Re:Browsershots (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374005)

I like browsershots and use it quite a bit. I don't consider the wait time to be a huge issue. I can just do something else while I wait. It sure beats driving in to work to get access to a Windows machine for testing, and I don't have access to a mac at all, not even at work. You can test a huge number of browsers in it, way more than it would be practical to do by hand. The one place where browsershots doesn't quite do the job for me is when I have javascript that I need to test interactively. However, it is good enough to tell me whether my javascript loaded properly without causing an error.

Re:Browsershots (1)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374919)

browsershots is a pain in the ass. Half the time it will take pictures of the page before it finishes loading and it takes forever.

Re:Browsershots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374961)

Don't forget xenocode, it's quite good for testing in different browsers if you're running windows.

http://www.xenocode.com/browsers/

Re:Browsershots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27375349)

Browsershots is a joke. Other then waiting..I need to not only test display but functionality in real time.

Web standards (5, Insightful)

nightglider28 (1243916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373671)

Tools like this, while helpful, should never have been necessary. If MS, owner of the dominant browser, wasn't among the poorest in W3C compatibility, stuff like this wouldn't be needed. Web pages should render the same in any browser, on any OS. The only difference should be in resolution.

Re:Web standards (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373693)

As long as there are different rendering engines, things will look differently. The biggest problem is that you cannot have multiple versions of Internet explorer installed on the same computer.

Re:Web standards (2, Insightful)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373875)

Every rendering engine that isn't Trident renders most things the same way, as long as the code is valid.

Re:Web standards (4, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373911)

Oh, very much not true. Webkit (either Chrome or Safari, take your pick) and Gecko render things very differently. Especially in regard to fonts. Not even Chrome and Safari render fonts the same way.

There's also some weirdness related to boxes, but that should come as no surprise to anyone.

Re:Web standards (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374053)

No they don't. Not relative to the differences between Trident and most other engines.

There may be some differences, but they're nothing when compared to IE's awful rendering engine. Just look at the broken box model, or the hasLayout flag for example.

For around the last five years my Web design job has always revolved around making things look right in standards compliant browsers, then hacking for IE. Look at the code of most sites these days and you'll see an IE-specific style sheet.

Re:Web standards (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374401)

No they don't. Not relative to the differences between Trident and most other engines.

There may be some differences, but they're nothing when compared to IE's awful rendering engine. Just look at the broken box model, or the hasLayout flag for example.

For around the last five years my Web design job has always revolved around making things look right in standards compliant browsers, then hacking for IE. Look at the code of most sites these days and you'll see an IE-specific style sheet.

Imagine the sum total of the economic cost to Web designers worldwide, if such a figure could be accurately assessed. I wonder just how large this number would be? To me this sort of unnecessary and deliberate incompatibility is very much like spam; it's a business practice that causes others to bear its costs. If the total cost to Web designers everywhere could be known, I really would have no problem with fining Microsoft for that amount, accompanied by the legal use of government police power to seize assets if this is necessary to pay the fine.

If that sounds drastic, I say that the only thing more absurd is the idea that we should have to put up with this kind of shit and shouldn't use any means available to discourage it, within the bounds of the law of course. I really believe that the only reason why Microsoft gets away with half of the things that they do is because of the general public's ignorance and lack of technical understanding. If not for that then I would expect at least some type of backlash against it, much like what Sony experienced due to their rootkit DRM.

Re:Web standards (2, Insightful)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374225)

I have news for you: Ariel and Verdana are not always guaranteed to be available. People may even enlarge them or shrink them on your web page without your permission. Fonts are something you have to plan for when making web pages, though many nowadays don't. I HATE authors forcing font sizes smaller than I am comfortable with.

Re:Web standards (3, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374339)

That's no argument against the fact that presuming that, as per your example (which GP didn't give),
- Arial IS available
- The user IS NOT overriding the document style
- The window size etc. IS the same (or the website is presented in a fixed-width format to begin with)

things still do not render the same even between browsers that supposedly use the same engines.

I lay much of the blame with the W3C. All that fuzziness with "A browser MIGHT display this as:" and "a browser MAY ...". All that has no place in 'strict' documents. Either the browser renders it exactly the way as specced, or it doesn't follow the spec. Sounds simple enough, but apparently as long as you just do things 'close enough', you're standards-compliant.

Doesn't take away that IE is indeed, by far, the worst of the bunch (IE/FF/Opera/Safari/Chrome), but to dismiss the fact that there are differences between even the 'standards-compliant' engines/browsers as "well they're just minor differences" (as per your sibling poster) or "you probably just didn't design your site right" is a bit silly

Re:Web standards (5, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374863)

No no no no no.

That thought is breaking the Web.

HTML is a markup language. It was NEVER designed to give a pixel-picture representation of content. EVER. That would break mobile browsing, not to mention different resolutions, and everything else.

What you're looking for is called PDF, and it works great. That makes the guarantees you want - every pixel is in its proper place.

Too many designers, used to working in pamphlets where they had complete control, moved to web design. They just aren't the same!!

Re:Web standards (3, Insightful)

indiechild (541156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27375369)

Even PDFs with vector-based images and layouts render slightly differently on different platforms and different PDF viewers. I could hardly believe it myself when I saw the results.

The only thing you can trust is a bitmap image.

Re:Web standards (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27375469)

I lay much of the blame with the W3C. All that fuzziness with "A browser MIGHT display this as:" and "a browser MAY ...". All that has no place in 'strict' documents.

Please tell me how to achieve exactly no fuzziness with all the following setups:

* The young twenty-year old reading 10 pt font on a 1200x900 widescreen laptop monitor
* The old lady reading 30 pt font at increased DPI on an 800x600 resolution
* The secretary printing everything out on 8.5x11 or A4-sized paper
* The geek reading a web page in a 24x80 terminal
* The geek reading a web page on a 240x160 PDA screen

Here's how: you can't do it. The range of displays are simply too diverse. Even ignoring more exotic displays, you've always got major issues of resolution (16x9 or 4x3?), DPI (printed paper is not the same DPI as a screen!), and font face and size to worry about.

Re:Web standards (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374759)

Oh, very much not true. Webkit (either Chrome or Safari, take your pick) and Gecko render things very differently. Especially in regard to fonts. Not even Chrome and Safari render fonts the same way.

Different rendering of fonts (due to the anti-aliasing) method used, does not mean in the least that PAGES render differently. It's the layout that counts, not sub-pixel differences in antialiasing. This kind of font rendering differences is entirely outside the W3C specs.

There's also some weirdness related to boxes, but that should come as no surprise to anyone.

No, there aren't in 99.99% of cases...

Re:Web standards (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27375307)

There's also some weirdness related to boxes, but that should come as no surprise to anyone.

The only browser still in use with box model related problems is ie6.

I didn't experience *any* layout problem related to box model that made a page render differently between ff2/ff3/ie7/ie8/chrome

fonts handling differences on the other hand can be quite a pain in the ass

Re:Web standards (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373961)

And to be on the safe side, just CSS reset everything initially. (this should always be a priority if you want a website looking "pixel perfect" across all browsers)

I've done this for most things, and generally, everything was perfect across all browsers.
The more advanced things only screw up with IE.

I always do a more up-to-date browser first, never even looking at IE until i pretty much have it all completed.

Re:Web standards (3, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374027)

The problem is that "most" isn't the target for high profile websites, they need to be as close to identical as possible. The assertion that cross browser testing only came about because of MS was just plain wrong. In fact, it could be argued that for a few years, cross browser testing wasn't necessary because of Microsoft since IE was the only browser with any significant market share.

Re:Web standards (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373985)

Errrr, not so, Grasshopper. I have IE4, IE5, IE6, IE7 and IE8 all on the same physical machine, and I can view a page side by side in all of them. What's more I can run Firefox 2, Firefox3, and Firefox 3.1 at the same time that I run Safari, Chrome, and Konqueror. Granted, you can't run them all in the same installation of Windows, but that doesn't stop me comparing browsers. ;)

Re:Web standards (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374003)

I have IE4, IE5, IE6, IE7 and IE8 all on the same physical machine

Which requires the purchase of how much hardware and how many Windows licenses?

Re:Web standards (2, Insightful)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374245)

its called a virtual machine ;)

Let me rephrase (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374309)

its called a virtual machine ;)

I knew that. Please let me rephrase my question:

You have one PC running Internet Explorer versions 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 in virtual machines. What kind of PC hardware would one need to run these virtual machines at an acceptable speed, and how many licenses for Microsoft Windows operating systems loaded into these virtual machines would one need to purchase?

Re:Let me rephrase (2, Insightful)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374477)

http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE [tredosoft.com] You would only need 1 windows xp vm, so you would probably only need 1 gig of ram for the virtual machine at most, which doesn't cost that much and 1 copy of windows xp which is only $150 at most I believe

Re:Let me rephrase (1)

gazita123 (589586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27375199)

If you are running on windows already, you can use the free VM that MS provides for this exact purpose: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=21EABB90-958F-4B64-B5F1-73D0A413C8EF&displaylang=en [microsoft.com]

For testing a single site, I've found that I can use as little as 200MB of RAM for the image to run with. Which is pretty good, since that is still 1/5 of what I have available.

Re:Let me rephrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27375215)

My workstation is a Core2 quad 9450 w/4 GB of ram running Ubuntu Intrepid 8.10. I often run 3-5 VMs at once with different OSs and have no problems with "acceptable speed". Not to mention the apps I have running on the host machine. With RAM being so cheap these days (I saw 4 GB on TigerDirect for $25 CAD just the other day), I don't see how this is a barrier.

Re:Let me rephrase (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27375305)

With RAM being so cheap these days (I saw 4 GB on TigerDirect for $25 CAD just the other day)

That is, if you have a motherboard that takes 4 GB sticks.

Re:Web standards (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374283)

Actually, it's quite sad that I should have multiple browsers installed at all.

A rendering engine is a useful library for an operating system to have. So is a DOM parser. I should be able to pick any rendering or DOM parser library I want and have every bit of software in the OS that needs HTML services use that particular selection. In fact, I should be able to pick and choose at any time for any reason.

There shouldn't be multiple browsers. There should be a single browser that uses any renderer library I want, any DOM parser I want, any scripting languages I want. If I want Trident or Gecko or KHTML/Webkit or Presto, I get to pick. If I want client-side Javascript or VBScript or Perl or some form of fake-C (C--?), I should be able to load it if the page needs it.

This is the sort of thing that ActiveX tried to do, but it failed miserably because it trusted people on the Internet. (Ha!) It's also like the way Linux is supposed to work (and in many cases, does). You pick your components and they do what they're supposed to as long as they implement the proper API for everything else to tie-in to.

Mmm... sky pie... ghlghlhglahglhaglhagh

Re:Web standards (3, Insightful)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373885)

Layout should be identical amongst media types. Rendering differences (think: fonts available, widgets, text-only workstations etc.) are possible with two different systems adhering perfectly to standards.

Try telling that to a non-technical designer though :(

Re:Web standards (3, Informative)

Literaphile (927079) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373927)

Try telling that to a client who demands that her website "just works on my screen". Yes, every web developer wishes that IE would just go away, but it's a moot point. As long as 'normal' users continue to use IE because it's all they know - most clients I've dealt with just call it 'the internet', they don't even know what a browser is - we just have to pander. That's life.

Re:Web standards (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373937)

Oh it's necessary... With normal browsers you can install multiple versions on the same machine. With IE, you have to use hacks which Microsoft breaks... Now Microsoft might charge you to make things compatible with their browser in single vm. http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE [tredosoft.com]

Re:Web standards (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373943)

You mean the W3C is not compatible with the dominant browser?

Re:Web standards (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373955)

No browser conforms 100% to specifications. There's plenty of valid code with will look different, perhaps to the extent of being broken, in Safari, Opera and Mozilla.

For example I've had major annoyances in the past with Firefox not supporting Negative Z-indexes and it needs its own Mozilla specific command to change the box model (I hate the W3C's choice of default box model) whereas all the other browsers use the proper syntax.

Re:Web standards (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373957)

It absolutely would. Speaking as someone who's spent many hours debugging problems that only appear in webkit-based browsers, not Firefox or IE, I can safely say that multiple browser testing would be necessary anyway.

Age of the browser? (2, Insightful)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373969)

Perhaps this is more an issue about Windows' dominance on managed corporate desktops.

IE6 is the version that gets most of the ire about compatibility. But the current version is IE8, which is quite standards compliant, and IE7 was much better in that regard than IE6.

Looking at the browser history timeline:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_web_browsers [wikipedia.org]

IE6 came out October 2001, the same month as Netscape 6.2, and the better part of a year before Mozilla 1.0 was released. Would Netscape 6.2 offer that much a better browsing experience for today's internet? Does anyone still regularly test sites against either?

How much of this is because non-IE browsers aren't commonly used in the enterprise, and thus older versions of them don't wind up deployed nearly as long?

Re:Age of the browser? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374253)

Nobody uses Netscape 6 these days. They never did, as it was a pretty useless browser. But lots of people still use ie6.

Re:Age of the browser? (5, Informative)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374579)

Exactly. The problem isn't that IE6 was a bad browser for its era. The problem is that lots of people haven't upgraded to a more recent version, which is typical of the corporate managed desktop market.

IE7's been on the market for, what 2.5 years now? How many people are still running 2.5 year old versions of Firefox or Safari on thier personal desktops? Not many. And that's not something about IE in particular, but of some markets where IE is dominant. I don't imagine many avid gamers on Windows are running IE6, as a counterexample.

Had Windows bundled Netscape instead of IE, it'd be Netscape we'd be griping about today. But the real issue is how slow corporate desktops are to get updated for ANYTHING not required for security or line-of-business.

Windows Media Player 9, which was released back in 2003, has only become standard in corporate America in the last year or so, and there are some holdouts even there.

Re:Web standards (1)

amori (1424659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373977)

"However, the current build only has support for IE". Question being does Microsoft intend to support other browsers ?

Re:Web standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374205)

Are you fucking retarded?

Re:Web standards (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373997)

Web pages should render the same in any browser, on any OS. The only difference should be in resolution.

Not really. HTML/CSS is not designed for pixel-perfect rendering, so you cannot reasonably expect that - for example, things such as word and line breaks, and word wrapping in general, are up to the user agent. Then, of course, you cannot guarantee that the user will have a specific font family installed, and CSS generic families are called "generic" for a reason. And so on.

Re:Web standards (3, Informative)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374063)

Web pages should render the same in any browser, on any OS.

Your heart is firmly in the right place, but you're conclusions are faulty.

No version of HTML as ever been intended to be a page description language. If you want things to look a certain way use PostScript, PDF, or another language that is intended to give a specific layout.

HTML is intended to allow you to describe your content so that an agent can display it in accordance with the viewer's preferences.

The fundamental problem, even bigger than IE's lousy compliance, is that graphic designers seem to be the largest producers of HTML. They fall in love with their "brochure" designs and then foist them on the rest of us. Consumers of web sites would almost universally be better served if content providers would just stick to straightforward HTML, and allow agents to present the content in a way that suits the users' preferences, devices, visual acuity, etc.

-Peter

Re:Web standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374071)

Tools like this, while helpful, should never have been necessary. If MS, owner of the dominant browser, wasn't among the poorest in W3C compatibility, stuff like this wouldn't be needed. Web pages should render the same in any browser, on any OS. The only difference should be in resolution.

Speaking as someone who used to get paid a decent amount of money to make websites work equally well in IE5.5 and Net Navi 4.79, in THREE resolutions...

Making your pipe dream a reality would require three things:
1. Everyone coding the same way.
2. Everyone wanting the same things.
3. Everyone giving a shit about the W3C.

Why the hell would we need more than one browser if it was even feasible? (Hint: See #2 above.)

Most of what makes the web interesting is the diversity and the ways people push the envelope.
(Remember when CSS Zen Garden was nifty? Remember ForgetFoo being a monthly showcase for the cutting edge? Remember when Projectseven was relevant?)

Standards exist to help underachievers, and to give innovators a starting point.

If you want it all to look the same, unplug your internet and stick to paper output.

Nice!! (1)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373689)

Firefox already has (part) of this on them. With plugins it can view pages as IE

Re:Nice!! (1)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373695)

Not that I'll buy expression web....

Re:Nice!! (1)

Quantum Loopy (1505641) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374033)

Yes but you need to have IE installed for it to work because it uses IE to render the page.

Re:Nice!! (1)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374195)

Yes. Either way you need windows, one just costs more.

Again with the names (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373775)

Is anyone surprised that it has a terrible name like that? I'm actually glad they didn't call it "Livesearch Expression Web SuperPreview Pro. For windows"

Re:Again with the names (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373883)

Yeah, it's so much worse than GIMP or Firefox for hinting at what it's function is!

Re:Again with the names (2, Informative)

nightglider28 (1243916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374093)

Actually, GNU Image Manipulation Program is quite an apt name.

Re:Again with the names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27375085)

Apt, but still stupid. Like calling your penis a "Female Impregnation and Urination Appendage".

Re:Again with the names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374105)

At least GIMP is an acronym.

Re:Again with the names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373917)

Actually, the full name is Microsoft Windows Live Expression Web SuperPreview Pro for Microsoft Office 2009.

Re:Again with the names (1)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374727)

TheseCamelCaseBuzzWordsAreSo90's!

Missing info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373789)

The summary neglected to mention that, as a "gift" to MS's customers, that Microsoft will change the time it took IE to complete the benchmark to 0.5f, where f is the fastest browser to complete the benchmark.

Fails one test (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373811)

The goatse test [goatse.fr] . Nasty problem.

Captcha "unaware"...

IETester (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27373839)

IETester ( http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage ) will let you test rendering in IE5.5, IE6, IE7 and IE8 on the same machine - you're not limited to whichever of IE7 and 8 is installed.

Re:IETester (1)

adam.jimenez (904480) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374221)

IETester is great, been using it for ages.

Re:IETester (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374985)

Who still uses IE 5.5? I think even Windows 95 could be upgraded to IE6.

Chrome (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373903)

Safari but no Chrome or Opera?

Ge golly, layering images? (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27373933)

>The product has one genuine innovation a built-in tool for overlaying the rendering from one browser over another to compare.

Man, when animators get a hold of this "lay one image over another"-innovation, their productivity will go through the roof!

Tomorrow's Microsoft Innovation: Layering images to gauge object motion!

Correction: There is no Mac Expression Studio (2, Informative)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374045)

The OP mentions that this is not available for the Mac version of the Expression suite.

This is because that doesn't exist. The Expression Media product is cross-platform, as it is a new version of iView, a cross-platform product Microsoft purchased.

http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/overview.aspx?key=media [microsoft.com]

The other products in Expression Studio began life as Windows-only products, and remain so.

That said, The Expression Professional Subscription does include a license for Parallels, so I suppose it's supported on Mac in that sense :).

http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/ProfessionalSubscription.aspx [microsoft.com]

Re:Correction: There is no Mac Expression Studio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374207)

Huh, that's odd, I could have sworn there was a version of Expression for the Mac. I knew a guy that worked at Microsoft in Expression for Mac this past summer. He was definitely working at Microsoft on Mac products; they gave him a MacBook Air as a work laptop and he always complained about how much he hated developing in Objective-C. He was also definitely working in Expression... Maybe he was on Expression Media, which does have a Mac version?

Either way, it's strange to me; I really thought there was a Mac version too.

Ain't technology great? (5, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374117)

Isn't it great how modern technology can do things like this? Back in the old days, we had to make do with defining a standard and ensuring that everything displayed things according to it. But now, we don't need the stifling constraints of consistency; browsers can be creative in their interpretation, and every developer can use a tool like this to see the amount of expression browsers put into rendering. I foresee a future where this innovation will be carried to things like simple desk calculators, where 2+2 is no longer shackled to equal 4, where one will have a "multi-calculator" that gives a range of results. I can't wait!

Re:Ain't technology great? (3, Insightful)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374243)

Every browser has quirks. Things render differently even between Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. As long as the rendering engine's source code is different and people are running the browser on different platforms, you're going to have differences in the way that pages are rendered, and that's just a fact of life. This tool makes it easier to spot differences in the way your code renders on different browsers. I'm not sure what your sarcasm is adding (dystopian future of calculators?) but given that differences will always exist between browsers this tool seems well-designed and helpful.

Re:Ain't technology great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374279)

Microsoft has already invented a multi-calculator. Probably one of their few true innovations. That's how people continue to "calculate" that Linux only has a 0.83% market share no matter how many national governments, police forces, or school systems switch over to desktop Linux.

Re:Ain't technology great? (1)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374785)

Excel is also a very good "multi-calculator" when doing math. I'm glad I don't have to use it for anything serious, like obtaining a predictable arithmetic result.

here's the problem geniuses! (-1, Troll)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374289)

the browser tester is microsoft software. It's developed by microsoft. you can't trust their software to test other software without some sort of bias.

Should be tagged "itsatrap" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374295)

Since this is from M$, it be a t5rap for developers. M$ will use this to further their illegal monopoly.

--
Friends don't help friends install M$ junk
Friends do assist M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

Welcome back, Twitter. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374391)

Since this is from M$, it be a t5rap for developers. M$ will use this to further their illegal monopoly. Friends don't help friends install M$ junk.

This rounds things off nicely:

Friends do assist M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

Re:Should be tagged "itsatrap" (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374715)

MS: "But Firefox 0.7" /is/ a recent version"

Video Demo of SuperPreview (1)

MSwanson (99458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374361)

There's a video demo of SuperPreview in the keynote [visitmix.com] from last week's MIX09 conference in Las Vegas. Jump to 28:50.

Re:Video Demo of SuperPreview (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374755)

Don't click the link! It's just a thinly veiled attempt to get you to install silverlight!

Its also a rick-roll.

nice bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27374439)

If this had been made by anyone other than Microsoft, all you zealots would be hailing it. It's a nice tool, stop ripping on Microsoft and grow up.

Browser rendering for IE6 only (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374569)

However, the current build only has support for IE â" it will compare rendering in IE6 with either IE7 or IE8, whichever is installed.

Well, that's not too bad, at least. Webkit and firefox seem to render the pages I design just as I expect. It's almost always IE6 that has the issues, so if I could pick one...

Dreamweaver (4, Interesting)

PktLoss (647983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27374861)

Adobe did a demo of their next Dreamweaver release last fall at their Adobe Max conference. Similar feature there, except a bit better. Using a render farm your page is rendered in pretty much every browser, on each OS (rather than just what you have installed), including the "Onion Skin" feature shown in Expression Web. They even used the same name for the feature.

(plus 0ne informative) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27375243)

needs OS. Now BSDI

Great way to MITM competition render engines. (0, Troll)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#27375413)

As I see it, this is a great way to let Microsoft introduce errors in (for example) firefox rendered html, showing the fake/non-original rendered output to users. People in their complete ignorance would just assume it is a Firefox problem.

Trying to take "embrace" the competition, heh?

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