13 Ways to Browser Test and Validate Your Work

How many of you are in the habit of validating your web pages as you work on them and before publishing? Do you also check your work in more than just your default browser? Perhaps you assume if it looks good on your monitor, it will render the same way on everyone who visits your sites monitor. Not necessarily so! Jarel Remick lists his favorites in his article 13 Ways to Browser Test and Validate Your Work.

HTML and CSS Validation Tools

  • W3C Validation – HTML – The most commonly known tool  is the online W3C Validation Service. You can validate by URI, file upload or directly inputting the markup.
  • W3C Validation – CSS – W3C also has a CSS validation service that  allows validation via URI, file upload and direct markup input.
  • [Firefox] Web Developer Toolbar –  The Web Developer toolbar extension for Firefox has tools to check HTML and CSS validation. I use this one on a daily basis.
  • [Browser Independent] W3C Validator Favelets – A quick and easy way to give just about any major browser a way to validate HTML and CSS is by using favelets. Favelets are bookmarked snippets of JavaScript to add extra functionality.
  • Your Development Editor – Most development editors offer some sort of validation tool. Expression Web is my editor of choice and it provides validation tools.
  • Validator S.A.C. –  Validator S.A.C. (Stand Alone Complex) is a stand-alone, easy to install, version of the W3C’s HTML / XHTML Markup Validator for Mac OS X. Validator S.A.C. is a normal Mac OS X application. No installation is required, just put Validator S.A.C. where you need it (hard drive, flash drive, CD-R, etc).

Validation is a tool to help you make sure your code is standards compliant.

Browser Compatibility Testing

If everyone was using the same browser and the most up-to-date version of that browser, then browser testing would be much easier. BUT, this is the real world. My default browser is Firefox, but I know from viewing my site statistics, that Internet Explorer is used by a large number of my site visitors. And there are many still using IE6 as well as IE7 and IE8. I want all of them to have a good experience when viewing. So I do testing in three browsers – Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. My web editor, Expression Web, also allows me to check in multiple browsers from within the editing window by using SuperPreview. I have the current versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera installed on my system. Some of you may also have Safari installed.

  • Older Versions of Firefox – If you need to check in older versions of Firfox, there are ways to do this. For Windows Users: Standalone Firefox (older versions) via Portableapps.com and for Mac Users: MultiFirefox 2.0
  • Older Versions of Safari – for  Windows based web developers there is no easy solution to test multiple versions of Safari. For Mac users there is a nice collection of standalone versions of Safari provided by Michel Fortin.
  • Older Versions of Internet Explorer – There’s no easy way to interactively test older versions of IE.

Snapshot Services

You can use several browser snapshot services which will just show an image of how the site will look for a wide array of browsers. This will not allow you to interact with your site in the various browsers but will give you an idea of how it renders.

  • Adobe BrowserLab –  Adobe recently came out with a new service called BrowserLab which lets you view a snap shot of a website via URL in different browsers. It’s fast, free and gives you a couple different viewing options to compare different browser versions.
  • Browsershots.orgBrowsershots.org is the same idea has Adobe BrowserLab but with several differences. You can test way more browsers on more platforms with more options like screensize, color depth, javascript, flash, etc. The downside is that the service is a little slower (sometimes too slow).
  • Browsercam – Browsercam is basically the same thing as Browsershots but is a paid service but offers some more in depth features. I have not yet used this service.

Read  13 Ways to Browser Test and Validate Your Work in its entirety.


  1. Thought this might interest you. http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage. Test websites in multiple versions of IE going back to 5.5. I found it very useful.

    Like your blog, I was looking for the portable versions of FireFox for testing purposes.

    And like you said, Safari is difficult to to test on older versions. I’ve had to revert to having multiple Windows virtual machines with different operating systems and browsers.

    Although it is time-consuming, it works for me.

  2. >for Windows based web developers there is no easy solution to test multiple versions of Safari

    This is no longer true, take a look at BrowserSeal.BrowserPack http://www.browserseal.com/?option=com_content&view=article&id=35

  3. Thank you for these validate tools.

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