I’ve been using the crossbrowsertesting.com web service to debug my IE Gadget woes. CBT.com offers browser-based (Java) VNC connections to virtual(?) machines featuring a wide variety of OSes and browsers. You can use try out the service for free (although you are restricted to 5 minute sessions). I’ve only used it a little, but it seems to work well.
As I said, CBT.com lets you use their service for free, with 2 caveats:
- Your sessions are limited to 5 minutes
- If paying customers are ahead of you in the queue, you have to wait
Their paid plans are a little confusing. First of all, you can buy ‘credits’, each of which is good for 5 minutes of VNC connection time. Credit pricing varies from $0.40 to $1.00 per credit, or $4.80 to $12.00 per hour. As a user of Amazon’s EC2, which charges $0.10 per hour ($0.125 per hour for Windows), this seems a little extortionate.
CBT.com also offers monthly subscriptions, which permit the subscriber to open an unlimited(?) number of 30-minute VNC connections. Subscription pricing is $19.95 per month, with a $10.00 startup fee.
Frankly, I think CBT.com might be shooting themselves in the foot with their pricing; I’d be much more comfortable with a pay-as-you-go approach that tracked more closely with the pricing you see in cloud computing. Nevertheless, I’ve been happy with the service they offer, and I suppose that’s the most important thing when building a business.
If you need to test against a bunch of browsers, you might give them a look.
I think I’m close to solving my IE problems: I’ve got the Gadget starting up and rendering properly on all the browsers I’m testing, but the keyboard UI is now acting up. I hope to run that problem down tomorrow. When I do, I’ll tell what I’ve found out about Google Gadgets. As a preview, I can say that Gadgets seem surprisingly (given Google’s reputation and self-image) half-baked.
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Traffic is off by perhaps half vs. the last day of advertising, but up slightly vs. 2 weeks ago, during our less-effective advertising campaign. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.