Testing Your Ohlone College Website - Web Center
There are many differences between browsers and operating systems, even between the same browser version on different operating systems (aka platforms). To ensure that your pages are legible and presentable for as many site visitors as possible, you should use valid (X)HTML markup, validate your pages, and do as much testing as you can.
There are many versions of Internet Explorer 4, 5 and higher and Netscape Navigator 4, 6 and higher browsers (including both beta and released versions). And those aren't the only available web browsers; others include Opera (free), Mozilla (free), AOL (prior to AOL 7 their browser was a modified version of Internet Explorer; AOL 7 and higher uses a modified version of Netscape 7), and Lynx (a text-based browser common on UNIX computers) are just a few of the other web browsers. Our site visitors could be using any browser - i.e., they may not use the same browser you use.
Using standards-based (X)HTML markup, validating your web pages, and validating your style sheets will help you in your effort to ensure your pages work in multiple browsers on multiple operating systems.
In addition, there are multiple versions of PC operating systems (Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4, 2000, XP and …) and Mac operating systems (OS 7, 8, 9, 10 and all those in between and released in the future).
This is a lot of testing. Big-time web shops spend the time and money necessary to make sure their websites work on the most browsers and platforms. We don't have that luxury (and challenge!).
So, try to do as much testing as you can.
- Get friends and family to help test your homepage site and especially your portfolio site
- Test using your home computer, your parents' computer, your kids' computer
- Test using the Windows and Mac computers in the Faculty & Staff Technology Lab
Ohlone College websites should be tested using these browsers on these operating systems, if at all possible:
- Netscape Navigator 4.5x or 4.7x - PC and Mac
- Netscape 6.2 - PC and Mac
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x - PC and Mac
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x - PC and Mac
When updates to the Netscape and Internet Explorer browsers are released, websites should be tested using those browsers too, especially if your pages use non-standard markup.
Additional browsers that could be tested are Opera, Mozilla, and Lynx (a text-only browser commonly used on UNIX computers), although the number of people using these browsers is much lower than those who use Netscape and Internet Explorer.
Multiple versions of Netscape can be installed on PCs and Macs as long as each version is installed in its own directory on the hard drive. Macs can have multiple versions of Internet Explorer installed as long as each version is in its own directory. However, only one version of Internet Explorer can be installed on a PC (unless the hard drive is partitioned and multiple operating systems are installed). Multiple versions of Opera, Mozilla and Lynx can be installed on a computer as long as each is given its own directory on the hard drive.
Do not test beta versions of browsers.
- A List Apart - Tester's Delight: A Web-ster's Guide To Cross-Platform Testing (article) - The testing methodology described by this article is more complex than just making sure your pages work on a few browsers. However, it has good information about why you want to test your websites.