Cross Browser Testing (Mac)

by on 26th July 2007

Many web professionals use Apple’s OSX for design and despite what you may think, it’s not difficult to test your website in the big three browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. This article talks you through how to easily test your site and gain access to these browsers on a Mac.


Safari Browser Testing

Let’s start with the easiest one. Safari is the browser bundled with Apple’s OSX operating system. It recently became available for Windows as well. Both copies can be downloaded from Apple.

Testing on Safari for Mac is exactly the same as testing Safari for Windows – they are built on the same engine, and your website will look the same on both. The only difference may be the variation in fonts, as some are available on OSX but not Windows and vice versa. The best way to test this is to look at your site in another Windows browser such as Internet Explorer (see below).


Firefox Browser Testing

Again, this is fairly straight forward. Firefox is freely available for both Windows and Mac. Testing on one is more or less the same as testing on the other. Some controls (i.e. form submit buttons, search fields etc) may look slightly different on Mac or Windows versions.

It is also worth testing your website on Camino – a Mac browser based on Firefox.

Internet Explorer (IE)

Internet Explorer Browser Testing

We’ve left the trickiest until last. Microsoft no longer make IE for Mac, so you need to find a way to run Windows on your Mac to test in this browser. You have two options. The first is to use Apple’s Boot Camp to install a copy of Windows on your Intel Mac – you boot into that to test your website in XP/Vista. The problem with this is that it requires you to reboot your machine every time you want to test your site… not ideal!

The second option is to use Parallels Desktop, which allows you to run a virtual copy of Windows inside OSX. This is easier, as you can simply run IE alongside all your Mac development applications and make changes as you test. It’s the only piece of software in this article which isn’t free, but well worth the money for the time it saves.

Have fun ensuring that your website looks good in each browser, and when you’ve finished remember to submit your site to us!

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