The hallmark of successful entrepreneurs is seeing a need and filling it. The other behavior of those entrepreneurs is, if something isn’t working or gaining enough traction in the marketplace, than go ahead and try another approach or maybe even build a completely different offering. SpiceApps founders, Craig Condon and Tim Erickson (see our 2009 article on them here) have seen a new need and have just opened the door to an alpha of a new offering I’m pretty excited about called BrowserTap.
One of THE most challenging aspects of creating websites or web applications is being completely confident that a design (or some functionality) doesn’t break or not display correctly within various browsers. Though there are many methods to perform aspects of this sort of testing — having multiple operating systems/browsers running; using some ‘snapshot’ service like Browsershots — actually testing the entire website or web application in real-time is hard, resource-consuming and many developers often skip full testing since it’s such a pain.
Reesponsive design is another aspect of website/web app creation that is throwing a bit of a monkey wrench in to having sites work cross-browser and across mobile devices. Ensuring that sites setup as responsive for mobile have technologies or design that breaks in computer browsers is critical and challenging. It is also tempting to toss in many of the new and latest features (e.g., HTML5, WebRTC or even CSS3) to a website design or application, but many past browsers either don’t support some of the features or don’t quite yet (and just look at all the browsers!). Understanding browser limitations and CSS mistakes you may have made, especially if you are focused on a target audience you’re fairly certain has a mix of old and modern browsers, is a few clicks away with a cloud offering like BrowserTap.
THAT is why I was so pumped to get an alpha-invite to BrowserTap and they layout their value proposition in three sentences:
“Forget VMs, screenshot services, or dedicated testing computers. BrowserTap works by broadcasting a live RTMP stream of a browser window on a cloud server. Your keyboard and mouse commands are relayed to the server, live, allowing you to test web layouts in realtime.“
Take a peek at this brief video as it will give you a quick overview of their value proposition and how BrowserTap works:
The SpiceApps guys don’t yet have a pricing model in place for BrowserTap (it’s too early anyway) but I’m sure once they get an idea on load, server and bandwidth costs during this alpha phase they’ll likely put a model in place before launch. Since I know all too well how this new software-as-a-service for testing browsers will save us time, money, aggravation and potential client disappointment (one of my businesses, Innov8Press, delivers sites ) you can bet I’ll use it.
Want to try out BrowserTap for yourself? Go here to sign up for the alpha and if there is still room you might get lucky and snag an invite.