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Adobe tweaks BrowserLab, adds screenshot mode

Adobe continues to add new features to its BrowserLab tool, which lets developers see what their site will look like on different browsers on different operating systems.

Adobe Systems on Thursday is rolling out an updated version of its BrowserLab service. The tool, which was introduced last June, lets Web developers fast track Web site production by displaying how their site will look when rendered by various browsers. Its big trick is to do it all within Adobe's own Flash Player, so it will look the same no matter what browser users are on.

Thursday's release brings one main change, and that's a way for users to save a local version of its results as a full-quality JPEG image file. The company hopes this will be useful for those who want to print out mock-ups, and share the differences (or similarities) with others. Previously, users had to take their own screenshots using external software. This could also require a large screen resolution to accommodate the entirety of a Web site, as it's displayed within BrowserLab's confines. The new tool simply grabs the page render from a virtualized browser (or two at the same time) from Adobe's servers and puts it into a picture file.

Since CNET covered BrowserLab back in June, Adobe has trickled out a number of other additions, including the latest versions of each virtual browser. Other smaller, but still useful additions include a way to add a delay to when the virtual Web browser snaps its render of the page, so as to let on-page videos or animations load. There are also now optional rulers that can help highlight minute sizing differences, as well as a way to pan around the page.

BrowserLab continues to be offered as a free preview by Adobe, although the company eventually plans to start charging for it, either as a standalone product, or bundled with one of its other software or online service packages.

BrowserLab is Adobe's live browser compatability checking tool. It renders what sites look like in different browsers, and on different operating systems--all through the cloud. Josh Lowensohn/CNET