Adobe shuts down desktop browser testing service BrowserLab without warning, blames rise of mobile devices

Adobe shuts down desktop browser testing service BrowserLab without warning, blames rise of mobile devices ...

Adobe on Wednesday announced and simultaneously executed its decision to shut down its BrowserLab service, used by many for testing content across multiple desktop platforms. The company pointed its customers to two alternatives: BrowserStack and Sauce Labs.

BrowserLab offered cross-browser testing by producing screenshots of websites from various browsers across Windows and OS X platforms. It was very useful for developers looking to support as many different users as possible.

Curiously, Adobe is blaming the rise of smartphones and tablets for BrowserLab’s demise. The company says the mobile market led to a drop in interest:

Since then with the growth of the importance of mobile devices and tablets, the landscape has changed dramatically. Because of this shift, we have seen the usage of BrowserLab drop over the past year while at the same time our engineering team has been focusing on solving this new challenge with new solutions.

Yes, Adobe. If you don’t update your tools to support mobile, you will be left behind. The company does not explain why these engineers could not have simply updated BrowserLab to handle smartphone and tablet browsers.

Also curious is the decision to kill BrowserLab “effective immediately.” The BrowserLab blog didn’t offer a warning of any sort:


The only good news is that, as already mentioned, Adobe is recommending alternatives. Sauce Labs for example is welcoming BrowserLab users with a limited time offer valid for only 30-days from today:

  • 10 hours (600 minutes) of free manual testing time (with no expiration) for up to two concurrent open browsers.
  • Once you’ve used those 600 minutes, your account will revert to a free account which includes 30 minutes per month of free manual browser testing.

For those working on mobile web projects, Adobe recommends its own Edge Inspect tool, which is “designed to work on your computer to remotely control actual devices and will allow you to debug web pages directly on a mobile device or phone.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite get the job done like BrowserLab; although it lets you edit code live on Android and iOS, it won’t let you test the same site across desktop platforms.

We feel if Adobe had kept BrowserLab updated to keep up with the various multiple platforms, it wouldn’t have had to kill it off just a few years after acquiring the technology in December 2007. Remember folks: the Web moves fast.

Image credit: Philippe Ramakers

Read next: Google to axe Google Reader on July 1 as part of larger round of app closures