Multi-Browser Preview


Multi-Browser Preview is a tool that provides cross-browser, cross-platform rendering of web pages prior to publishing to the production server or publish target.

When viewing a page in the Preview view, the Multi-Browser Preview button is found in the top right of the screen, next to the output preview and publish target drop-down menus.

Multi-Browser Preview Button in Page Actions Toolbar

A page can be previewed as it would render with specific browsers and on specific operating systems, including mobile platforms. This allows for testing a page to ensure compatibility with five desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari, as well as versions of iOS and Android for eight types of mobile hardware.

Several versions of Windows, Mac, and mobile operating systems are supported as well as the most current and previous releases of each browser version, providing a wide variety of testing scenarios that can render a side-by-side comparison in order to debug issues with JavaScript, CSS, HTML5, and other web technologies and scripting languages included in the code.

After making a selection of browsers, the previews are provided as thumbnail images, which can then be shown in a new tab and viewed as a slide show. Additionally, the screenshots can be downloaded in PNG format as a ZIP file and shared. Up to 25 combinations can be chosen at one time. An OU Campus user can bookmark the page and then navigate to other areas of the CMS to perform tasks, such as editing a page, and then return to the view when the notification  indicating the rendering has complete is shown.

An administrator can narrow the available selections in the account settings, if it is not necessary to provide all of the preview options to users.

The Multi-Browser selection screen includes the following features and functionality:

  • Choosing a publish target
  • Choosing an alternate output (e.g, XHTML in lieu of HTML)
  • Selecting up to 25 combinations of browser versions and platforms
  • Automating the choice to include just the latest three releases of a browser version
  • Resetting the selection
  • Choosing to view mobile as portrait or landscape
  • Initiating the preview

The Multi-Browser Preview screen includes the following features and functionality:

  • Lists the number of rendered previews
  • Filtering of the rendered thumbnails specific to OS, browser, and device
  • Exporting the previews as PNG images in a ZIP package
  • Grouping by browser or by operating system
  • Previewing as slideshow
  • Previewing in a larger window

Choosing the Previews

  1. After saving a page or from Preview mode, click the Multi-Browser Preview icon in the upper-right corner of the preview screen. This displays the combinations of browsers and platforms that can be selected for Multi-Browser Preview.
    If necessary, an alternative publish target may be selected.Multi-Browser Preview
    Also, an alternative output may be selected.
    Multi-Browser Preview
  2. Select the browser and platform combinations to preview by clicking on the corresponding number or name.Multi-Browser PreviewUp to 25 may be selected. The counter next to the Reset button shows how many previews have already been chosen. Each individual selection can be cleared by clicking the name or number again, or the entire field may be cleared by clicking Reset.Multi-Browser PreviewAlternatively, select the Include Latest 3 checkbox to automatically include the latest three releases of a browser.Multi-Browser Preview
  3. If necessary, choose a Mobile Orientation:Portrait or Landscape.Multi-Browser Preview
  4. Click Preview. It is possible to bookmark the page in order to return to the view later. Bookmarking a page is browser dependent, but for some browsers this may be accomplished by dragging the page icon in the URL bar to the bookmark bar. The last-used selection is made the default.

It is also possible after clicking Preview to return to the browser selection view by clicking the Multi-Browser Preview icon.

Multi-Browser Preview

During the time it takes to render the previews, the number of completed previews is shown as a subset of the total number, and previews not yet completed are shown as queued. If it is not possible to render one or more previews, then the number of previews that could not be rendered in the elapsed time frame is indicated within each preview thumbnail.

Multi-Browser Preview

A new window or tab shows the status of the request and will auto refresh every 10 seconds until the process is completed. This process can take a few minutes as it completes the request and creates screenshots of the page in the different browsers selected.

Viewing Image Previews

When completed, thumbnail images of the page show what the page will look like in the selected browsers.

Multi-Browser Preview

Click on a thumbnail image (or the linked text identifying the browser/platform combination) to view the screenshot. From this view it is also possible to navigate slide-show style through the available images. It is possible to click the image to enlarge it to a full size image.

The grouping of the thumbnails can be changed with the Group By buttons by selecting either Browser or OS.

Multi-Browser Preview

This changes the organization of the thumbnails, which can aid in troubleshooting issues by isolating the issue as a browser-specific or platform-dependent.

Exporting Image Previews

Click the Export ZIP button to create the ZIP package that can be exported to one's local computer. The ZIP package includes each individual thumbnail image as a PNG file.