Cross browser testing on your Intel-based Mac

With Intel-based Macs, web developers now can test their pages in multiple operating systems and browsers with a single machine.

Virtualization software

Parallels is complete and stable, but a piece of software you will have to pay for. The price of 80 USD per license isn’t unacceptably high for an average web developer, but if you’re cutting your expenses, this might turn you down. In any case, you can download trial and evaluate if it’s worth the price. Anyway… from the version 3.0, the application supports 3D graphics and various USB devices, but it also has a set of supplementary tools, such as Transporter, which helps you migrate your existing Windows PC to a Parallels Virtual Machine. Parallels support bunch of OSes.

At the time of this writing, VMware Fusion is in its’ beta 4 version and is free to download. So far, it works pretty stable on my MacBook Pro, even in situations when both Vista + IE7 and XP + IE6 virtual machines are up. If you opt to use Fusion, there’s over 450 preconfigured virtual machines that can be found at Virtual Appliance Marketplace.

Virtual PC can’t be run on Intel-based Mac, but if you’re on PowerPC, it will cost you 129 USD for standalone or 219 USD for VPC7 + Windows XP Home. VirtualPC for Windows is free. The advantage of VirtualPC are preconfigured time-bombed ISO images available from Microsoft. There are WindowsXP + IE6 and Windows XP + IE7 installations currently available and those will run till August 17, 2007.

Boot Camp is really not a virtualization application. What it does is lets you boot to either Mac OS or Windows installation and it is obvious that it’s impossible to test web pages in such an environment. Boot Camp will be shipped with Mac OS X Leopard, but until then, if you want to, you can download Boot Camp from

Operating Systems

We’re currently testing pages in the following virtual setups (note that besides virtualization app of your choice, you’ll probably have to purchase a license for each of your separate OS installations):

  • Windows XP SP2 + IE6, Firefox 1.5.x and Opera 8.5
  • Windows Vista + IE7, Firefox 2.x and Opera 9.x
  • Suse 10 + Konqueror and Firefox


Older browsers can be found at, the latest at Opera keeps browser archive and so does Netscape. If needed, download Firefox 1.5.

What more to say? Have a happy cross-browser testing!

Marko Dugonjić is a designer specialized in user experience design, web typography and web standards. He runs a nanoscale user interface studio Creative Nights and organizes FFWD.PRO, a micro-conference and workshops for web professionals.

Interested in more content like this?