Browser Roulette

So I had a thought:

Basically, I want to be given a random browser’s rendering of my page every time I refresh the page.


As time goes on, we have to be considerate of more browsers, devices, screen sizes, environments, settings, and a whole slew of other variables. I’ve found that having quick access to tools that let me test all different screen sizes and even test on real devices during development make me a more considerate developer. I learn about potential gotchas and downfalls before I go down crazy rabbit holes.

I hate cross-browser testing as much as the next developer, and a lot of it is due to the fact that cross-browser testing typically happens after I’ve spent a lot of time getting things to work in my browser of choice. The same way that ish. and remote preview make it easy for me to be more considerate of different screen sizes and devices, I’d like a tool that lets me be more considerate of more browsers.

What do you think? Is this possible? Crazy? Stupid? CrazySexyCool?


  1. Obviously this won’t be _the same_ as testing it on an actual device or other OS’s browser but perhaps this is something that Browserstack could easily implement.

    Maybe a ‘mode’ to change the browser every login / XX minutes / refresh.

    There’ll obviously be issues with this, I’m sure. But hey (not Hay), it’s a Friday #brainfart.

    • That’s not what this is. The idea is to randomly fire up a different browser (rendering engine, scenario, et al) every time you refresh the page. It’s not just viewport resizing. We already have a jillion of those

    • The idea is that every time you refresh, you get a different rendering by a different browser. So refresh once, you might get Safari. Refresh again, you get IE8. Refresh again, you get Firefox. And so on.

  2. I guess, it would be very useful, if it was accurate… Although, personally, I would rather it let me choose which browser to preview.

  3. Yes yes yes. As long as I can keep my browser of choice (cookies, favs, history etc) then hell yeah let me browse with random rendering. Much better than finding out from end users that the last little tweak I made fubar’d my site for users of x. Better yet, a service which emails me screen grabs when it detects a significant difference in how the site operates in different browsers. That’s not too much to ask right?

  4. ‘Ya know, this might actually be brilliant.

    It would force you to code more accurately for browsers. Maybe a feature that will “pass all browsers” once you’ve nailed it.

  5. A few years ago I used to use a browser called Lunascape (I think), it had Trident Gecko and Webkit (I think, possibly Presto) rendering engines in one browser. If that is still around, a plugin for random would surely be simple.

  6. This is actually a great idea.

  7. Laurens

    What about a bookmarklet for BrowserStack?

  8. Throw a changing resolution in there too.

  9. Nigel Wade

    Yup, I would love this. I suspect though I would want it as a specific application rather than just a plugin for an existing browser so that I would get all the javascript quirks, SVG/VML discrepancies as well as the CSS layout bugs and differences.

  10. Eugene

    I think this is brilliant. It’d be great if it had a pass/fail checklist so you could mark which browsers were giving you issues to go back and recheck them.

  11. It’s a good idea but it won’t save you from testing all browsers separately at the end though. You may pick up some issues here and there during dev but at the end you will have to go through the browsing testing round either way to make sure all works correctly…


    PS: You should change the rollover color of the links for your comments, it goes to black text with black background 🙂

  12. Awesome idea!! I also like Eugene’s suggestion of the pass/fail checklist.

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