Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Adobe Shuts Down Browser Testing Service BrowserLab

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the buy-laptops-and-racks dept.

Cloud 40

An anonymous reader writes "Adobe has shut down its BrowserLab service, used by many for testing content across multiple desktop platforms. The company pointed its customers to two alternatives: BrowserStack and Sauce Labs. BrowserLab offered cross-browser testing by producing screenshots of websites from various browsers across Windows and OS X platforms. It was very useful for developers looking to support as many different users as possible."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oh yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43174277)

"It was very useful for developers who didn't have computers"

Singular vs. plural (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174409)

It's possible for a developer to own a computer, singular, but not computers, plural. In order to test on all browsers, one needs a Mac in addition to what already owns, and one needs copies of Windows with each version of Internet Explorer, because Microsoft isn't good at allowing IE versions to sit side-by-side.

Re:Singular vs. plural (4, Informative)

JBMcB (73720) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174445)

because Microsoft isn't good at allowing IE versions to sit side-by-side.

And by that you mean you can't do it at all. MS sometimes is nice and supplies VMs with new versions of IE preinstalled, but not always.

Re:Singular vs. plural (3, Informative)

Kingkaid (2751527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174625)

It is a real shame that they don't have all of those available in one place... oh wait! http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=11575 [microsoft.com] Then again, if you're making anything IE6 compatible now a days, you should be shot.

12 GB and requires Windows 8 (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174775)

Three drawbacks:
  • A 12 GB download can be a hefty chunk of the monthly download cap in some places.
  • "These images are specifically designed to run on Microsoft Virtual PC, and may or may not work in other hosting environments." I'd assume that Microsoft Virtual PC is available only for Windows. Users will need to buy a copy of Windows.
  • IE 10 is not included. Users will need to buy Windows 8 to get IE 10.

So in order to test on every browser without having to own multiple computers, one would have to replace one's current computer with a Mac (to be able to run Safari for Mac) and a retail copy of Windows 8 to install in Boot Camp on the Mac (to run IE 10 and the IE 7-9 virtual machines).

Re:12 GB and requires Windows 8 (1)

JBMcB (73720) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174841)

You can use the VMware conversion center to convert VirtualPC images to VMWare, but it's dodgy.

No IE10 is a real issue. You can run it in Windows 7, but the Metro version is different than the desktop version, even in Windows 8.

Re:12 GB and requires Windows 8 (4, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175059)

"These images are specifically designed to run on Microsoft Virtual PC, and may or may not work in other hosting environments." I'd assume that Microsoft Virtual PC is available only for Windows. Users will need to buy a copy of Windows.

ievms has automatically handled setting these images up under the cross-platform VirtualBox for years. Nevertheless, you were pointed at outdated tools. You should be looking at modern.ie [modern.ie] , where Microsoft offer virtual images for multiple virtualisation systems running on Windows, Mac and Linux.

So in order to test on every browser without having to own multiple computers, one would have to replace one's current computer with a Mac (to be able to run Safari for Mac)

Doing a decent job of testing for web developers is expensive. Buying a Mac isn't a big deal. second-hand Mac Minis are cheap. It's the mobile devices you need to worry about - and no, something running on your computer is not an adequate substitute.

Re:12 GB and requires Windows 8 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43175395)

You should be looking at modern.ie [modern.ie], where Microsoft offer virtual images for multiple virtualisation systems running on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Thanks, I wasn't aware of that site.

Re:12 GB and requires Windows 8 (3, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year and a half ago | (#43176735)

That's what makes android QA so damned expensive at our shop. If a client says we want iOS compatibility and Android compatibility we have to specify on the Android that it's the Nexus phone and tablet that we only QA against running latest version of android. If they want QA on Samsung devices, well it's $X,XXX per device and $YYY per OS version per device.

Re:12 GB and requires Windows 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43175333)

I've run the Win7+IE9 image in KVM under Debian stable without any trouble. You can unrar the downloaded exe (which will also unrar the related rar-files), and directly use the vhd image or convert it to qcow2 using qemu-img, which allows you to base copy-on-write images based on it and leave the original intact. The WinXP+IE6 image wouldn't run on my computer, it complained about hardware changes.

Re:12 GB and requires Windows 8 (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year and a half ago | (#43177105)

Yeah.. and sometimes to figure out a WTF moment with IE, you need an actual copy of IE to work with. A screenshot doesn't tell you why X doesn't render right.. no console, no looking into it... If you're relying on a screenshot service to figure out why/how things work, then you're doing it wrong.

Re:Singular vs. plural (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43176787)

Then again, if you're making anything IE6 compatible now a days, you should be shot.

out of a cannon...
into a porcupine ranch!

Re:Singular vs. plural (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year and a half ago | (#43176943)

If you're making anything IE6 compatible now a days, you should be shot.

The question is- why? Do web designers have the responsibility to actively force people off IE6?

I have to admit that- from a selfish point of view- I'm glad Google, MS etc. decided to stop supporting IE6 and start carrot-and-sticking people off it, because (aside from the security issues) IE6 was a nonstandard piece of crap that consumed time getting things to work and required bloated, stupid hacky code that got in the way of a more modern design and wasted time and resources that could have been much better spent. Personally, I've finally felt able to stop giving a t**s about getting sites to work in IE6 as its market share has shrunk massively- and will have shrunk even further in the near future.

But the problem with IE6 was that it was around for so damn long and became so damn established that even when technology was moving on it was out there in signficant numbers long after being superseded, like a damn millstone around designers' necks.

So yeah, I hate it, and I'm glad it's gone- but back to the question. If I was still deciding to support it, should I really be shot?!

Re:Singular vs. plural (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43175615)

I'll just leave this here:

IE Tester [my-debugbar.com]

And:

A Whole Collection of Windows VMs [modern.ie]

Re:Singular vs. plural (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175653)

IETester can and will render things differently to Internet Explorer. If you are using that to test, you aren't testing if your websites are compatible with Internet Explorer, you are testing if they are compatible with IETester. There is no point testing in something other than Internet Explorer if you want to know if something is compatible with Internet Explorer. Use the virtual images.

Re:Singular vs. plural (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year and a half ago | (#43177129)

Having used IE Tester in the past and had bugs that did/didn't present themselves the same as the actual browser, I have to agree. I have VMWare Workstation, and honestly only need to spin up some of my VMs when there's a specific browser bug (Usually IE7/8, and IE7's getting support dropped with new development)

Re:Singular vs. plural (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#43183547)

because Microsoft isn't good at allowing IE versions to sit side-by-side.

And by that you mean you can't do it at all. MS sometimes is nice and supplies VMs with new versions of IE preinstalled, but not always.

Try this [utilu.com] - it's a bit of a hack job, but it does bundle the genuine versions of Trident for each IE.

Re:Singular vs. plural (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174647)

Or... one needs a Mac-compatible VM host with VMs running OS X, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Ubuntu, MiNT, FreeBSD, ChromeOS, Solaris, Android, iOS emulator, and maybe a few other niche OSes. Each VM can be cloned to have exactly one browser on it. Then, you just fire up all the VMs and point the browser at a location. You can even script a VM like VirtualBox to do this automatically, given a master feed, and spit back images of the sites... so you enter a uri into the controller and at the end of the run, get back 30 or so annotated images with logfiles.

Then, if you see something odd, you can manually run the specific VM to get finer-grained insight as to the issue.

Anyone with a moderate knowledge of Javascript and the willingness to set this up can do it -- assuming you've got a Mac and licenses for the various Windows distributions you want to test.

I do this semi-regularly; the only legal way you can do it is with a Mac though, that's true.

Expensive OS licenses (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174837)

assuming you've got a Mac and licenses for the various Windows distributions you want to test.

My point is that that is a financially expensive assumption: $650 for a Mac mini and about $500 for Windows 8 OEM, Windows 7 retail, and Windows XP retail. Prior to Windows 8 [microsoft.com] , OEM System Builder versions of Windows were not licensed for installation on a computer other than the one they shipped with.

Re:Expensive OS licenses (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175279)

Yes, what you really need is an MSDN subscription... which is a bit silly (and expensive) purely for web development.

Alternatively, you can go for "good enough" and run the various IEs via WINE, and ignore the OS altogether.

$650 for a computer testbed environment that'll run just about everything (and is a decent development platform to boot) seems pretty inexpensive though, assuming you're doing professional web development. If you're not, why bother?

To build a portfolio (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175311)

assuming you're doing professional web development. If you're not, why bother?

Perhaps one is doing amateur web development to build a portfolio to seek a professional web development position. Someone who has yet to move out of his parents' home for the first time or scraping by on unemployment insurance might not be able to afford $650 as an impulse buy.

Re:To build a portfolio (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175575)

assuming you're doing professional web development. If you're not, why bother?

Perhaps one is doing amateur web development to build a portfolio to seek a professional web development position. Someone who has yet to move out of his parents' home for the first time or scraping by on unemployment insurance might not be able to afford $650 as an impulse buy.

Amateur web development can be done to amateur standards. Taking a few community college courses in design (at which point you get access to all of the equipment too) would be a definite benefit. Either way, the $650 isn't an impulse buy (I hope) but a business investment. If you're looking to be hired by a business, they look at more than your site portfolio, as they're going to want to train you in their own way of doing things. If you're starting your own business, you're going to need to actually start a business with some capital -- and often that stuff can be used as a tax writeoff.

For people who really don't have the ways and means -- start off with a few non-profit sites; they often have access to the tools, and are a great way to build up a portfolio (they show that you've got your heart in the right place too).

Otherwise, this comes down to the same sour grapes people have regarding paying for Adobe CS to break into DTP, paying for your gear to become a hairdresser, mechanic, etc. -- it's how life works, and IT stuff is CHEAP compared to most vocations of comparable pay.

Adobe was providing an excellent service on the cheap; there are alternative services out there that people can use as well, as they pointed out. And, as I pointed out, most people can make do with the equipment they already have, a few free to acquire add-ons, and the same kind of know-how they'd need to produce a modern web site of good quality in the first place.

Site that works in everything but Safari (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175783)

And, as I pointed out, most people can make do with the equipment they already have, a few free to acquire add-ons, and the same kind of know-how they'd need to produce a modern web site of good quality in the first place.

The problem I'm foreseeing is that one might make a "modern web site of good quality" that works fine in Chrome, Firefox, and IE 10, and not discovering until it's too late that the site breaks in Safari and the employer uses Safari.

Re:Singular vs. plural (-1, Flamebait)

sutabipo (2865937) | about a year and a half ago | (#43177399)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] just as Christine replied I'm dazzled that some people can get paid $9859 in a few weeks on the internet. did you see this website

Re:Singular vs. plural (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43178759)

Uhhh...you DO know they have a way to have every version of IE without needing multiple installs, yes? Here help thyself [tothepc.com] but there are a dozen different ways to do so, I simply picked this as it has links to all the IEs. have fun.

First! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43174307)

First!

Third! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43174359)

That's a bronze MF!

There was probably a 0-day ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43174417)

That's why they shut it down immediately.

browsershots.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43174765)

I always used to use http://browsershots.org/ [browsershots.org] for this kind of testing, no idea what it's like thesedays, though.

Not useful (2)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175003)

It was very useful for developers looking to support as many different users as possible

No, it was useful for developers looking to cut corners. Screenshots simply aren't a reliable way of testing something that the user will be interacting with. For instance, one particularly nasty Internet Explorer 6 bug made all the text on a page disappear - but only when the window was resized. There are some Android bugs where the tap target for links is different to where they appear on screen. Some Internet Explorer 8 bugs only manifest themselves while something is being animated.

Aside from the inherent limitations with a screenshot service, I've personally witnessed cases where this tool renders things differently to how a genuine browser renders it. It looks suspiciously like they were using a technique similar to IETester, because they got identical things wrong. A genuine copy of Internet Explorer 6 was rendering something one way, and this tool was showing Internet Explorer rendering something a completely different way.

The only reliable way of testing websites is with virtual machines. It's a little resource intensive, but it guarantees that you are testing with the actual browser and not with some Frankenstein reproduction, and it lets you replicate how a user actually uses the website - which is not by passively looking at it without any interaction.

Re:Not useful (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year and a half ago | (#43176171)

The only reliable way of testing websites is with virtual machines. It's a little resource intensive, but it guarantees that you are testing with the actual browser and not with some Frankenstein reproduction, and it lets you replicate how a user actually uses the website

Even that isn't enough. I had a nightmare of a time identifying an IE7 bug due to a race condition. Our QA team (at a different office) was able to reliably reproduce it on physical hardware, but I couldn't in VMs because they ran slow enough that the issue didn't present. I finally was able to get my hands on a coworker's machine and replicate on physical hardware (didn't replicate even on VMs on his machine).

Re:Not useful (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year and a half ago | (#43177173)

Some IE6 bugs specifically only presented themselves on windows versions prior to XP. It was a horrible time... usually it could be done nesting table/div/table with N level of complexity, and the render could be broken pretty easily (white page of death).

Re:Not useful (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43177325)

Agreed.

I did find it useful, for a short period of time, when I was greener to the web development industry. But in practice it just didn't provide proper feedback.

Lot Less Useful, These Days (3, Informative)

ios and web coder (2552484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175257)

The Web standards are being followed a lot more closely by browsers. Of course, Microsoft doesn't believe in rounded corners (Anyway, I think that may be patented [theregister.co.uk] ).

IE7 sucks just about as bad as IE6, but I keep a VM with IE7 (Vista) around for extreme testing.

Most of the issues I encounter these days come from JavaScript/DOM differences, and this service was worthless for that. I need to have VMs on my Mac with multiple versions of browsers. For this kind of testing, Macs are extremely useful, as I can run a full LAMP server on my Air, and run multiple VMs that connect to it as external sites. I can tweak in realtime.

VirtualHostX [clickontyler.com] is also pretty useful, as I can develop sites on my laptop, then directly transition them to the server with no fiddling with mod_rewrite or DB settings.

Re:Lot Less Useful, These Days (1)

m1ss1ontomars2k4 (1302833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43179453)

IE9 supports rounded corners just fine...

Re:Lot Less Useful, These Days (1)

ios and web coder (2552484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43180793)

IE9 supports rounded corners just fine...

Cool.

I do most of my testing with IE7 and IE8 (and tend to want to support IE8), but I just set up an IE9 and an IE10 VM. I haven't really started testing with them much. That phase begins this weekend.

Re:Lot Less Useful, These Days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43181395)

You'll love them. IE 9 is refreshing to work with after years of IE 7.

crossbrowsertesting.com was always a better option (1)

MillerHighLife21 (876240) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175267)

With that service you can VNC/Remote Desktop into machines running just about any combination of technology that you want to test again. You can also do screen shots, but being able to click on a screenshot to remote in was always the real perk.

how long... (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43177823)

So how long until they just admin that everyone should disable their PDF link handler plugins completely and review every PDF document first as an FTP download? Oh and if they're also still including in the recently killed version Dreamweaver tasks, I'm running CS3, and last time I used their browser lab, it was crap. It didn't tell me anything useful at all and every entry was a waste of my time.

Creating Losses for their Stockholders?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43180241)

Why didn't they offer to sell this part of the company,
ideally as a going concern, on the business market?

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?