SuperPreview: A Sneak Preview
At this point, you are probably thinking two things: First of all, it seems awfully cumbersome to keep testing all of your pages in all these different browsers. Second, how are you supposed to test your pages against older browsers you don’t have? After all, there is no simple way of installing Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 on your computer now that you have Internet Explorer 9 up and running!
To curb this problem, designers have turned to one of three strategies: virtual machines (where you set up virtual computers with older operating systems within your current operating system and run older browsers in them), multiple computers (where you have several different computers running at the same time, and you test the pages on all of them), or web-based “browser shot” applications (which produce screenshots of what the page looks like in multiple different browsers and configurations). The problem with all these is that they are cumbersome, time consuming, and not very effective.
Fortunately, now there is a fourth option, and it is built right in to Expression Web 4! When you installed Expression Web 4, you also installed an application called SuperPreview that makes cross-browser testing both simple and effective and gives you a series of tools previously unavailable to find, diagnose, and remedy browser inconsistencies and incompatibilities. Additionally (and this is revolutionary), SuperPreview comes with a full working model of Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, and 9 in compatibility mode installed, giving you the ability to test your sites against this old-but-resilient browser without having to install it.
You learn how to use SuperPreview to its full potential in Hour 22, “Test Twice, Publish Once: Professional Cross-Browser Testing with SuperPreview,” but if you want to, take a sneak peek at it right now by clicking the SuperPreview button on the Common toolbar. This opens SuperPreview as a separate application, and from here, you can pick what browsers you want to preview your page in and get a quick look at the differences, if any, in the way the browsers display the page. At this point, your page is too basic for SuperPreview to have any real value, but as you progress through this book, you can use this application instead of or in addition to regular browser testing to get a better idea of what browser compatibility testing is all about.