How to Improve the quality of your software: find an old computer

Posted: August 22, 2011 Comments(2)

How to Improve the quality of your software: find an old computer

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t do much testing outside my development environment. That includes my main machine and the array of virtual machines I browser test within.

Honestly though, that’s not enough. With JavaScript and CSS(3) implementations getting crazier by the project, the browser is doing that much more work. It might look smooth as silk on your fancy six month old machine, but what about your clients using their company-provided machine from a few years ago? Even if it’s running a great browser, the overall feel you took the time to customize might not translate to that level.

I like the author’s solution of grabbing a cheap netbook to keep on hand. The barrier to entry is comparatively low at a couple hundred bucks (keep in mind we’re going after a lower caliber machine here) and it can act as a good throttle for your high level animations and styles.

The other throttle to keep in mind is that higher speed Internet service you’re paying for. Not everyone has a pipe that fat and keeping a close eye on the way your documents are actually painted on screen can be a real eye-opener. You don’t necessarily need a separate machine for that, as you can throttle your own bandwidth with something like Charles, a fantastic Web debugging proxy.

Running Charles on your testing netbook might be a great overall picture of ‘worst case scenario’.

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  1. Good advice to a point… Just as we try and keep up-to-date with browser version, we need to do the same the memory size, processors, etc.

    One of the main reasons that people are now advocating different user experience in different browsers, is so that you don’t hurt the experience of everyone just because a few people are running old browser versions.

    The same logic needs to apply here. Of course it’s harder to change functionality based on hardware configuration 🙂

  2. Good points.
    I think that it is a good idea to run your site in older computers and browsers, at least to some degree.
    However, I am not any more concerned about my site appear in , for example, IE6 or IE6.
    For me they are just very old histories.

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