Aug 6, 2012

Cross-Browser Testing

Lets discuss a type of compatibility testing which is known as cross-browser testing, which is mostly “forgotten and ignored” in many projects with web based applications, or even with organization’s internal applications but with multiple browsers installed in their environments.
Several reasons which makes cross-browser testing as “Forgotten and ignored” , because a project team ,
1. Only considered testing the application/website on the browser (s) of choice
2. Considered it, but don’t have the “time” to do cross-browser testing across all browsers
3. Tested in the latest versions of two browsers of choice
Browsers generally use different layout engines, as well as having differences in the way they present and handle code. It is for this reason, that unless you are in a severely locked down environment with one installed browser, and nobody in the world outside your organization needs to use whatever it is that you are developing, then you need to perform cross-browser testing.

Not everyone uses the same browser. Similar to how everyone is running on a different operating system, you can’t expect all people to be using the same web browsing tool.
So what are the options? The data about current browser share varies depending on the source and the region, but in general, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera make up most of the market share, with Internet Explorer dominating the market.When there are so many different options out there, each running their own rendering engine, how do you ensure that your web design or application will hold up in each of them?

You do not need to go to the point of ridiculous and test every version of every possible browser.
But if you are developing something which will be seen in world wide web, and you want to ensure that it does not break or contain high severity bugs that may actually cost you more money to fix than to test, then you need to test it on the latest versions of the most popular browsers.

Why the latest versions? Because in the real world, people do update their browsers automatically from the internet. This update is usually with minimal impact on their browsing experience.
If you are lucky enough to be developing something that can be reached *from* the internet, you could also make use of Browsershots to give you visual feedback on a wide range of browsers. Be aware that if you are testing with sensitive data, do not consider using that option.

Below goes some help available on the web for cross-browser testing.
Adobe Browser Lab

Adobe Browserlab offers an awesome solution for viewing on demand screenshots of your site. This is usually my go-to program for testing in various browsers.

Allows you to test the compatibility of your design with Mac OS X browsers.

The next time that you are on a Web application testing project, ask the question if it is not already discussed… “Are we testing on multiple browsers?”
And if you want to be noticed as a thinking tester, do ask, “Are we testing mobile phones? In which platforms? Android? Ios/iPhone? Do we have an interface optimised for mobile browsing?”
Sometimes, you will be amazed to hear that it has not been thought of yet.

I plan to discuss on testing your site in some web based mobile emulators in my next article

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