In an ideal world, having every physical device that connects to the internet at your disposal would be perfect. Need to verify whether a font is rendering on a Windows phone? No problem. Are your media queries configured correctly? Just check the device and you can troubleshoot where necessary. Unfortunately, this is the real world; owning each and every device is not a viable option. This is where a virtual environment steps in.
Traditionally, setting up a virtual machine to test your site on various platforms was always the best way to ensure cross browser compatibility. While this method is highly efficient, it does require the need for various licences for multiple operating systems and could in effect, be quite costly. With Browserstack, there is no need for independent installations – everything is done within the browser.
Older Browsers, Mobile and 32 or 64-bit Support
Undoubtedly, older versions of Internet Explorer have continually proved problems for developers and while each release of Internet Explorer improves on the last, there are still large numbers of users still using dated versions. If these users are part of your targeted audience, then you will need to ensure there is adequate support.
With Browserstack, there is support for Internet Explorer 6 through to the most current release. How does this differ to having a virtual machine? No installations are required: everything is taken care of in the Browserstack API.
Browserstack is run within your existing browser. From your default browser you can test for any cross browser compatibility, extensively test mobile devices and screen resolutions, there’s support for both 32 and 64-bit operating systems and, best of all, once you set up your paid plan, there are no restrictions on how many websites you can test, or the amount of browsers to apply.
No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
Sometimes you can test the water before purchasing: Browserstack is free to try without the need to enter all your payment details up front – a practice all too common with trial software. Simply sign up for a free account and start trialling almost immediately. There is a cut off period where you will need to upgrade to a paid account, but there is ample time to try it out at the very least.
Hop on over to the Browserstack site and see what you think. There are more than enough endorsements from the many well known faces such as Paul Irish, Chris Coyier and many more. Let us know what you think – did you sign up for an account? Will it override your existing testing grounds? Do comment on your experiences with Browserstack – we’re keen to hear your verdict!