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Announcing Browserling: Interactive cross-browser testing in your browser (catonmat.net)
221 points by pkrumins on Nov 24, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments

I got to use it. It's basic for now but shows a lot of promise. A number of factors that you'd need to add for me to even consider using it:

- Bigger browser window

- More responsive UI. It shows a message saying a plugin was not run (flash) but it took forever to be able to click the X on the message to hide it and it locked up the browser (not my browser but the browser in the browser.)

- There was a lot of waiting in the queue and it suggested paid plan... but no paid plan available.

- I was able to access other parts of the machine, including the printing and devices section (usually visible when you right click the computer icon and click properties. You might want to lock down the machine a bit more.

I'm guessing you're aware of most of these.

The only other thing I'll say is that how are you dealing with the Windows licensing? You probably don't want to ignore dealing with that if you haven't yet as it could be painful in the future.

Overall, very interesting technology. Kudos!

I got to use it too. For IE6, the website failed to download any images. For the other browsers the images came in fine.

To the creators of browserling, please don't take these negatives as criticism. It's a great idea and very ambitious, I am excited to use this site!

I was using http://spoon.net for a while. As far as I can tell they are basically a further developed version of this.

Unforutantely it looks as though Microsoft was none-too-pleased with their inclusion of Internet Explorer as one of the virtualized browsers and has forced them to shut it down. Hopefully you can elude the same fate...

Also, while I'm typically ok with the cartoonish trend of most startups these days, I'd have to say browserling might have gone a bit overboard with the whole thing. I know your only in beta and I'd have to assume things will change as you continue to develop.

Best of luck to you guys!

This is a very innovative project and I hope you pursue it regardless of yc funding or not. There's lots of Windows apps that would be useful to run in a browser :)

I love the queuing graphics! Nice work on that.

This marks the first time I have ever enjoyed being in a queue.

This marks the first time I have ever been represented as a purple robot. The person in front of me was a dinosaur, so I think it's only fair that they got to go first.

I was a purple robot too. I wonder if you're always a purple robot.

Glad you like it! Easter egg: http://browserling.com/queue

Haven't been able to test it yet, but this looks quite interesting!

The toolbar is prefixed "http:// -- is there support for https? If not, is that on the roadmap?

There will be. There could be right now, we just haven't added it.

I just tried this, but didn't even get to use it.

I entered the URL for a site I'm building, wanting to see if IE9 was going to screw me up (I'm still on WinXP), and I was sent to a queue.

My only real complaint about the queue is that you give absolutely no indication of how long the expected wait time will be. This would be reasonable, except for the countdown clock, which simply read 00:00 the whole time I was waiting.

When I got out of the queue, the countdown clock set itself to 01:30 (quick question: why the leading zero on the minute portion if it's only going to be a single digit value? Is it aesthetics? I actually liked it but I was just wondering...). Unfortunately, for the first 10-15 seconds or so, I was just faced with a blank screen, save for the border around what I assume should be my browserling. After waiting for these 10-15 seconds, I was told that my time was up. The countdown was still running down while this message was shown.

Going back to the queue, I'm assuming that the 1:30 I saw counting down on the other page is a standard time limit for a free user, so why can't you give me a reasonable estimate based on something like (users-in-queue * 90seconds) / number-of-available-machines-or-vms-or-whatever?

I ended up on a "Loading" page during the whole 90 seconds and then was told that my time up.

Sorry about that! When the API servers go down (these interface with our windows servers) it tells everybody in the queue "time's up" instead of a more informative message since we're using connection drops as a poor way of passing along the session expiry event.

I think this could be successful because it lets people interact live with elements on the page. This is one thing that Adobe BrowserLab fails to do (http://forums.adobe.com/thread/725431?tstart=0 for example).

You may not want to answer this, but how will this service scale? Booting an individual VM for each user seems incredibly resource intensive.

(disclaimer: I interned on BrowserLab)

Worked perfectly for me. Great job James & Peteris

Tried it out for IE6 and when the window loaded, someone else's site was up and I was unable to do anything while the counter ticked down. A bit concerning from a privacy standpoint. Maybe the machine fell over?

Something similar occurred once for me as well.

I had about the same; when switching to Firefox, it opened a new tab and before this was opened I was still able to look at an existing tab of someone else.

All I've got was "loading", some cmd.exe window (it did not react to any input) and then timeout.


Does the queue update while you're sitting on the queue page? I was at #2 the whole time, and then it gave me a "time's up" message.

Everything crashed at one point so we had to restart everything. Everyone lost their queue. :(

Great idea. I see this as a benefit for developers who do not have access to their own pc. Or to clients and/or qa who need to do a quick check.

Otherwise, developers can do everything that Browserling does and more with a combination of Virtual Machines, Multiple IEs, and Internet Explorer Collection, etc. Having developer tools is the key.

This could be super helpful. I don't think anyone here doesn't feel the pain of cross browser testing.

I think that the queue is an interesting concept. I understand that you have to tier your system, but it made me bounce, and not want to go back. If you keep it, find a way to make it clear and seamless.

I get an error message (from the actual app, http://browserling.com/) - "No API resources availble for null group" (seems to be no matter which Browser/Version or URL I choose).

I'm using Chrome, as requested.

Interesting technology. I feel it creates more opportunity like your favorite IDE configured with SCM (say github) available right on your browser. Code as you go. No more setting / configuring the IDE more than once.

Now i goto grok the stack vm code. ;-)

Great idea and I look forward to using this.

There appears to be several issues to work out. I've not been able to get a page rendered. I get "Nexus is down. Try again shortly." "No API for group null" and "You are not signed in!" when I am signed in.

There might be a privacy issue here. I seem to have gotten the page another user requested, and not the one I typed in: http://imgur.com/QB6Yc.png

I got somebody else's page when I tried to view HN, along with a dialog box that said IETester has stopped working.

I tried to go to google.com but it showed me ebay... Switching browsers or going to a different site didn't update anything.

Its a neat idea though!

I got "No API resources availble for null group". (available is misspelled btw) I'd love to try this if you get it working.

IE 5.5 uses IETester. I don't see the advantage of this service if it uses IETester, since I can use this tool myself.

I typed in a URL, selected IE 6, clicked Go, but nothing happened. Did it submit the request? Did I go into a queue?

I'm willing to bet that if you'd pitched them with your online education video site you'd have got a interview :-)

Cool! However, I'm seeing an error: "No API resources available for null group".

There are other websites doing that since ages. What's the difference here ?

What sites?

[shameless plug here]http://crossbrowsertesting.com [end shameless plug] :)


first one when I search for "browsers screenshots"

EDIT : I can't get it to work neither on Firefox nor on Chrome. But I believe the difference is that we can click and use javascript on Ycombinator's version ? That can be usefull to test IE on a website's javascript. Eventhough using a framework like jquery should let us stop worring about that right ?

As far as I can tell this uses StackVM to run multiple browsers in a VM in your browser, so it's a bit more than screenshots or testing javascript.

This is much more than screenshots and jQuery does not eliminate the need for interactive cross-browser testing in any way.

erratic layout: http://stashbox.org/1034016/ssr.png Chrome 8.0.552.210

Are you guys using Socket.io under the hood?

I know this. They use dnode (https://github.com/substack/dnode) for most of their inter-process/inter-browser communication, which uses socket.io for the web action.

I think they use self developed variants of node.js

funny enough it doesn't work in IE 8 - enter a url - hit button nothing... gives me a console js error of some sort

shows ebay.com all the time, nevertheless of what i've entered

if it's in beta, why are you already asking for money?

the asking for money bit is also in beta...

Unfortunately 2 session timeouts, one missing route error, and now my seconds are ticking down while a rather bashful robot tells me my site is loading.

Good idea though - if you can get the pricing model to a point where it's appealing to my infrequent but bursty usage (and you make it reliable), I'd definitely be interested.

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