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Debugging for different browsers?

I used browsershots to check a personal website I maintain which works correctly in IE, the only browser I can have on this machine.  I see the problem with column overlap that some Firefox users have mentioned. 

My CSS is clean; checked on one of the validator sites.

Do you have any recommendations for tools or sites that would tell a barely-literate HTML/CSS writer how to tweak the code to display correctly on other browsers?

(Firefox 3.0 displays correctly.)

Ideophoric Send private email
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
That's definitely a tricky problem to solve if you can only run a single browser for testing.  Have you looked at standalone installations of other browers, such as Firefox Portable ( and Opera Portable (  Those might give you more options for testing.

Whole books have been written about how to do cross-browser design, so it's hard to summarize a few simple things to try.  Short of being able to test on other browsers, I'd recommend trying to simplify your CSS and HTML as much as possible, so there are fewer things that could be interpreted differently across different browsers.
Jason Abate Send private email
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
There's a (Windows-only) plug-in for Firefox that lets you open a tab and use IE's engine to render it.  That makes at least one kind of cross-browser testing easier.

Get a copy of Jeffrey Zeldman's _Designing With Web Standards_.  It's the best overview of the problem space I've ever seen.  The tragic truth is that even extremely straightforward HTML renders differently on different browsers, and if you want something to look the same irrespective of browser you have to understand their various quirks and design for them.  It's not rocket science, but it definitely falls under the heading of things you wouldn't have to learn in an ideal world.
Robert Rossney Send private email
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
If it's a personal web site, debug it from your personal machine, where you can install other browsers. It will be much easier than any other way.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
I use Virtual PC so I can run different flavors of browsers on the same machine.
Stephen Lowe Send private email
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Ive been doing cross-browser testing and development for about 9 years now. The only way to go is get standalone versions of all your browser (especially IE) on your development platform. You need to really test in IE5-7, and IE8 soon, which will be standards compliant out of the box, last I heard, which means now versions 5-8 are all different! Can you say....thank you Microsoft! If you can address issues between tehse IE versions and the rest of the browser, you are good to go in most cases.

But definately test from your local box, a Linux box, and a Mac for Safari and a few others, if you can. Ive had allot of success doing it this way. Also, keep in mind, IE7 fixed ALLOT of bad stuff, so for the most part, if you are using standardized XHTML code, you are good in most cases, despite more shortcomings in IE7 and the rest of the browser. Its CSS thats the main problem. IE6 with its expanding box model and other issues is what you really want to test and thats where the standalone browser setup is important.

On HTML...yes, there is tons to learn. Do not trust the software tools out there. Ive yet to find one that is any good with helping you build good markup and style sheet code. That can only come with time and hands on experience. But the best advice I can give is go out and learn basic HTML/XHTML 101. Take a course. You would be shocked at how few developers around the world know basic HTML and how to use and type clean markup layouts.

If you can learn to type really clean XML and XHTML in Notepad, take time to understand the "purpose and meaning" of elemnents, you can do anything online, and that in itself will also solve most of your cross-browser issues, from my experience. Problems come when people start using HTML incorrectly and stretching it beyond what it was meant to do. Thats why Web Standards has come on the scene is the way to go using it takes care of most of the browser issue for you, simply because it forces you to use HTML correctly. Go check out for more help on this.

Ive got a new browser CSS hack that allows you to fix issues using CSS in IE6, IE7, FF, and Safari, if that helps. I would only use it for severe problems:
Ranger Send private email
Thursday, July 10, 2008
In my experience if you can get it to look good in IE6 and FF2 then it should be alright in IE7 and Safari.

So if you could add FireFox to your toolkit then you should be in a much better position already.
Oliver Send private email
Thursday, July 10, 2008
You're trying to test software for different browsers but can have only one browser installed in your machine? Is there any rationale behind that?
Daniel_DL Send private email
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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