Those in the web development business know that one of the more time consuming and often frustrating tasks when developing a new site is ensuring compatibility across different browsers – especially with older versions of Internet Explorer. Looking to streamline this process, Adobe has introduced a new service called BrowserLab
that lets developers test their designs for browser compatibility directly from Dreamweaver CS4.
Previously code-named Meer Meer, the new service provides its users with real-time screenshots
of browser renderings and includes multiple viewing and diagnostic tools to help pinpoint compatibility issues within a project. The initial set of supported browsers includes Firefox 2.x and 3.x on Windows XP and Mac OS X; Internet Explorer 6.x and 7.x on Windows XP; and Safari 3.x on Mac OS X.
Developers using any other code editor rather than a WYSIWYG tool like Dreamweaver can also access the service, which is launching as a free preview to a limited number of users; though Adobe plans to charge for it at some point. A somewhat similar tool is available from Microsoft
as a standalone application and will be available as part of the next release of Microsoft Expression Web as well. Free online tools like BrowserShots
have also been available for a while to serve the same purpose; supporting a wider range of browsers but with rather limited features and lacking real-time screenshot support.