We always seem to leave browser testing till the end, open up Internet Explorer and within about 10 seconds of page load there’s a variety of swear words and we go off to hack our CSS or put in IE only style sheets. God help you if you go crazy and open up IE6, you’re sure to find some form of mess awaiting you.
Recently though my work habits have changed and I’ve decided to stop leaving it until the end, this has been prompted by a few things such as approaching the end of a project having not checked in IE7 and sending a colleague off to show the site to a client who, you guessed it uses IE7. (Sorry Andrew!)
Coupled with that I’ve started to develop sites in Google Chrome. I was impressed with Google Chrome when it first came out and apart from a few too many crashes with flash content it was pretty slick. However the lack of developer tools left me developing in Firefox and using two different browsers seemed a bit impractical.
Recently though I made the decision to switch to Chrome as my primary browser as Firefox has become, well a bit slow and I’ve also started to use more CSS3 which gets more support in webkit based browsers so I’ve been developing and building in Google Chrome.
Now I have of course lost access to all those lovely tools provided by the Firefox web developer toolbar as there doesn’t appear to be an alternative in Chrome yet, although I imagine it won’t be long until one is released.
So as my makeshift solution I’ve worked on the site in Chrome and had it open in Firefox and just pop in when I need to use some of the developer tools. OK having two browsers open all the time isn’t brilliant but it means as I’m working I’m constantly seeing the site in two different browsers and as soon as a problem arises I can sort it out. It also means I’m aware of the browsers all the time and prompt myself to have a quick check in IE every so often.
Generally I’m just keeping on top of cross browser issues, not having to rush in at the end and drag together browser specific style sheets or making changes that may have an effect on other areas of the site.
Whilst some won’t agree and keeping two browsers open isn’t ideal, it is certainly worth keeping tabs on how your development is going in more than one browser rather than one big headache of sorting it all out at the end.