User agent simulators?
January 27, 2006 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of any "browser simulators" for testing web sites on different user agents?

I came across this Opera Mini simulator.
Has anyone seen anything like this for other user agents, for example older IE and Netscape versions, as well as other handheld browsers?
posted by bradn to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
There are plenty of proxies ans extension taht will chnage the user-agent sent by your browser.

If you actually want to see how pages render, a Firefox (under windows) extension can use IE's rendering engine within Firefox.
posted by orthogonality at 3:00 PM on January 27, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks but I am more thinking about simulators of alternative or older browsers (the dreaded IE5), or simulators of different platforms (Mac.)
posted by bradn at 3:05 PM on January 27, 2006

There's the BrowserCam service. Not free, though.
posted by staggernation at 3:05 PM on January 27, 2006

There's a Lynx emulator if you'd like to see what your site would look like in a text browser.
posted by charmston at 3:07 PM on January 27, 2006

There is this add on for firefox to allow you to choose what your browser identifies itself as.
posted by scodger at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2006

Well, since browsers are software you could just install the older versions on your box.

Here are instructions/a-hack to install IE stand-alone.

It's also worth looking into Virtual PC or VMWare to avoid mucking your real system up with old, unstable, crashy browsers.
posted by alan at 3:18 PM on January 27, 2006

You can also install multiple versions of Internet Explorer on Windows.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:20 PM on January 27, 2006

opera allows you to "cloak" as ie and mozilla
posted by suni at 3:36 PM on January 27, 2006

The WebTV viewer is a WebTV/MSN TV emulator for Windows or Mac systems.
posted by litlnemo at 3:41 PM on January 27, 2006

and this firefox extension allows you to use custom user agents in firefox (if i remember right you could write them yourself, there's a listing of user agents in wikipedia)
posted by suni at 3:46 PM on January 27, 2006

This guy's site allows you to check different resolutions.
posted by Brittanie at 4:07 PM on January 27, 2006

Browser Shots is an opensource equivalent to Browsercam.* It's free, but there is always a fairly large queue to wait in before your request is processed -- so it's not as useful for touching up bugs as browser cam is. Browsercam definitely rocks, and you used to be able to get as many trial accounts as you had email addresses (which is to say, infinite). I don't know if this is still the case (I don't use it on a regular basis).

If you DO plan on using it on a regular basis, however, I would encourage you to subscribe because 1) it's more convenient and 2) they provide a good service and it's the right thing to do. I def. recommend browsercam over installing a billion browsers on your box, but that's up to you.

* well, maybe, I haven't tested it so I don't know if it's as complete. The queue is always too long.
posted by fishfucker at 4:14 PM on January 27, 2006

You can also test platforms using emulators like Mac on a Stick or Damn Small Linux, both of which will boot off of a USB drive in Windows. Install a browser into the build, and you have the ability to test on different platforms without leaving your computer.

Using the user agent switcher in Firefox won't really show you how IE would interpret the site, it just shows you what code the site serves to IE. Same goes for Opera.

Evolt's Browser Archive (linked above) is your friend here. Get older browsers and test them. Except for IE it's pretty easy to run the old ones; I've tested using Netscape 1.1 on WinXP...
posted by caution live frogs at 11:04 AM on January 28, 2006

Seconding Browsercam - it's a fantastic service and well worth the piddly $15.
posted by blag at 4:46 PM on January 29, 2006

iCapture - see through the eyes of a Mac browser.
posted by vitaly friedman at 5:18 AM on February 3, 2006

Another useful tool is iCapture - see through the eyes of a Mac browser.
posted by vitaly friedman at 5:19 AM on February 3, 2006

I started a fundable group for Browsercam via a promotion Browsercam is running. 20 users basically pool up to get a year long subscription to browsercam for only $25.

Read more info here:
posted by letterneversent at 2:09 PM on March 7, 2006

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