Jason Wendel    
© Copyright 2006, Jason Wendel. All Rights Reserved.
Jason Wendel   Jason Wendel  
Jason Wendel


    BrowserPack is a collection of web browsers for Windows XP (32-bit). This package includes standalone versions of Internet Explorer (5.5, and 6.0), Firefox (1.0, 2.0, and 3.0), Google Chrome, Opera 9.0, Safari 3.1, and Lynx 2.8, as well as a tool for launching several of these browsers at once. The goal of this installation is to give web designers and developers the ability to test page layout and functionality across a variety of commonly used web browsers without the hassle of installing and configuring each of them separately. In instances where multiple versions are available, as is the case with Firefox and Internet Explorer, version numbers are included in the title bar, allowing for easy identification. Please note that Internet Explorer 7.0 is not included in this release. It is recommended that users upgrade their system installed version of IE to version 7.0.

    These browsers are meant to be used for testing purposes only. Some of these browsers are older and not 100% functional under Windows XP. As a result, they may crash unexpectedly, or behave erratically when using certain browser features. Additionally, most, if not all of the web browsers included in this release have had updates issued to address security flaws. Therefore, I do not recommend using any of these browsers as your main choice for day-to-day web browsing. They are meant for web development and testing purposes only.

    In addition to installing the various web browsers (and BrowserPack launcher utility) mentioned above, the BrowserPack setup file will add these browsers to the "Preview in browser" menu in Dreamweaver. The browsers included in this installation are based on recent market share statistics, which can be found at:
    Additionally, the console browser Lynx 2.8 was included. This allows developers to view their websites in much the same way that search engine robots or screen readers (software designed to aid the visually impaired) would read them. When developing a web site, the use of ALT tags for images as well as alternative content to be shown in place of multimedia and java script sections are still very important. Not including such alternative content may affect the ability of search engine robots to spider your site, as well as cause accessibility issues for certain users with disabilities.

    Once installed, you can load any of the included web browsers individually by navigating to the BrowserPack folder in the Start menu (START > ALL PROGRAMS > BROWSERPACK). However, most users will prefer to use the BrowserPack executable (located on the Desktop and the Start menu). Once loaded, you will need to enter a URL or browse for a local HTML file by clicking on the folder icon. Additionally, you will need to specify which browsers you would like to preview your site in by selecting or unselecting the appropriate checkboxes. If you are working with Flash, you can also test how your site will function in Internet Explorer in the absence of flash by using the "Toggle Flash (IE)" script (available from the Start menu).

    If you have Dreamweaver installed, you will be able to preview your designs in the browser of your choosing by selecting the browser name from the preview list (under FILE > PREVIEW IN BROWSER). From here, you may also select the main BrowserPack program to quickly launch several browsers at once. Please note that this software was really only tested in Windows XP (32-bit) under a user account with administrator privileges. This package will probably not work under the x64 (64-bit) version of Windows XP, and will definitely not work in Windows Vista. However, the standard disclaimer still applies: your mileage may vary.
      Jason Wendel