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Browser Compatibility Testing: A Quick Read

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By Author: Apurv Khajuria
Total Articles: 8
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It’s been 30 years since the world is familiar with using browsers. Different browsers read and handle codes (HTML, CSS & JavaScript) differently, like Firefox uses Gecko and Chrome uses Blink as their browser engine. So, sometimes slight variations in content delivery of websites and web applications occur when accessed through different browsers, if browser compatibility testing is not performed properly. Moreover, to get competitive advantages, browser companies frequently update their browsers which also affect the delivery. Furthermore, device constraints also affect the delivery process. For instance, consider a website with a lot of animations and videos. The delivery in a high-end system(higher version of RAM like 8-16GB, huge memory space like 2TB or more, display like OLED, high graphic settings with graphics card like NVIDIA GeForce etc, in which even newest games can run smoothly for a long time, just like a supercar.) might be better as compared to a low spec system(lower version of RAM like 4GB, memory like 120GB,or even less,with a normal display in which even some basic games will not function as they should. ...
... ). To fix such issues, browser compatibility testing is performed.

This article provides an in-depth understanding of browser compatibility testing otherwise known as cross-browser testing.This article also elucidates processes related to browser compatibility testing like, why browser compatibility testing is a vital part of development, how to perform this testing efficiently using manual and automation testing, tools which can make the automation testing easier and less time consuming with minimum expenses.

What is browser compatibility testing?
Browser compatibility testing is the process of ensuring whether or not a web application or a website or a script renders all content as it is intended to, irrespective of the browser, device, and any assistive tools used to access it.

Why is browser compatibility testing a vital part of the development process?
It is close to impossible that a website or a web application will act identically for all the browsers in the world. However from a developer’s point of view, delivery of content should be identical for some most commonly used browsers. To attain this identical delivery, defensive coding is used. Coding defensively means, if certain functionalities do not work in the way it should, at least it should provide an acceptable user experience making the basic functions accessible by the user. An extremely useful tool, CanIUse is used for testing the compatibility of frontend technologies for different browsers. Hence browser compatibility testing is a vital part of the development process.

Post the planning process, the implementation process starts. If the project is pretty large it is suggested to test it regularly through unit testing. This will help the team to keep a track on the behavior of new features added and the old features as well.

How to perform cross-browser testing.
Irrespective of type of testing, first of all, select a baseline and run all test cases on the default browser of the system as per the software requirement specification (SRS).

Design a testing plan irrespective of the browsers, devices, and operating systems used. Follow the strategy to figure out flaws in UI UX and try to enhance it. It can also be used to verify whether or not it satisfies user requirements in a specific amount of time across all browsers, to check functionalities like zoom-in & zoom-out, content display behavior like page alignment, and image resolutions, and along with validations.

Pick some commonly used operating systems like Windows, Apple macOS, Linux, Android and Apple iOS. Consider most popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera, Android stock Browser, etc. for each OS. Perform the testing in each of them.

Use of Analytics: Use analysis tools like Google Analytics, SE Ranking, Matomo, Woopra, etc to track the traffic of website or web application. Analyzing closely to those data will give a customized report on:
browser used to access the site or application,
OS used, and
devices used.
The combination of device-OS-browser will help you to customise and fix bugs for the target audience.

Using Automation applications: There are several commercial testing tools out in the market like Testsigma, Lambda Test, Selenium, TestingWhiz, Sahi, etc which are used to run the end-to-end test. Apart from this, setting up own automation testing environment (a customised setup for the application under test to perform test execution with software, hardware and network configuration) to run the entire testing process is also useful.

Considering time and cost, design a suitable and effective strategy to implement for best results. For instance, perform the end-to-end test in top 5 most commonly used browsers for most commonly used OS. Then run the test processes for widely used functionalities.

Carry out a testing process for assistive technologies like screen readers, screen magnification software, not using mouse, etc.

The product you develop, may it be a simple website or a complex application, you will not be the only one to use it. So it should be designed in such a way that the delivery remains the same irrespective of the browser and specifications of the device used to access it. To achieve a higher accuracy, you will need a fully automated cross-browser testing tool like Testsigma. It has several unique features like near-zero initial time and cost, faster response to changes. It also uses AI to save maintenance efforts by 70% and a lot more. So it is lot more than a testing environment.

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