Best Ways to Perform Cross-Browser Testing of Your Web Application

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In the earlier years of software development, the desktop was the only way to access the internet. So, app developing companies had only one target platform. However, with the advancement of technology, mobility became an important factor due to the busy life of the people.

People started to access the internet on their smartphones. Soon, the smartphone industry began to explode due to its immense advantages.

A recent survey suggests that more than 50 per cent of the present internet traffic is dominated by mobile users. Thus, the companies had to use some new strategies to cope with this sudden change in platforms. The initial approach was to test the performance of the web application on each of these platforms individually. However, it soon proved to be a time and resource-draining process.

Moreover, the browser industry began to change with the advancement of technology. During the initial years, Internet Explorer was probably the only way to access the web. However, with time, many new players began to enter this industry. Some dominant companies like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox quickly began to make the name in this competitive web browsing industry.

Currently, Google Chrome holds the top position with almost 60 per cent of the internet user base followed by Safari in second place and Firefox in third. 

Due to these various platforms and browser combinations, developers needed a method that could help them seamlessly conduct the testing processes. This was the main reason that gave birth to cross-browser compatibility testing.

In 2022, as technology begins to expand and advance even further, cross-browser compatibility testing takes an even greater role than before. So, in this article, we are going to discuss the best ways to perform cross-browser testing.

The Definition of Cross-Browser Testing

The Definition of Cross-Browser Testing

Cross-browser compatibility testing is a form of non-functional testing that allows you to check the compatibility of your web application.

Using this testing method, you can verify how your website reacts to various Browsers and browser versions. The developers can use various tools to verify the functionality of the web application on different operating systems, devices, browsers and browser versions.

Cross-browser testing also ensures that other factors like the network bandwidth, location of the user and visual specifications do not affect the performance of the application. This form of testing is highly important for progressive web applications that are meant to perform on various devices and browser combinations.

Lastly, cross-browser testing also verifies that assistive tools like screen readers do not have any negative impact on the performance of the web application. These tools are mostly used by differently-abled people to access the internet. 

The Importance of Cross-Browser Testing

Cross-browser testing provides a seamless experience for both veteran users and newbies. As a developer, you must ensure the peak performance of the application to ensure that it achieves the maximum audience coverage.

Whenever a site is broken or has some issues, the user will generally reload it to give it a second chance. In case they find the same error, they are most likely to perform one of the two possible actions. Firstly, they will conclude that the site has issues and will leave it with the resolution to never return.

Secondly, they can also conclude that the site is broken and will immediately leave it in search of an alternative.  Presently, the browser vendors follow the open web standards. However, they have their way of integrating these standards. 

Every browser interprets the JavaScript and CSS code uniquely. So, it is not enough to verify the functionality of a web application on a single Browser. This is because a single test report cannot verify that a web application will function similarly on other browsers as well.

Cross-browser testing helps the developers to find the browser differences. Using this testing method, the developers can quickly pinpoint the browser-specific errors and debug them on the go. With this feature, you can ensure that you are not alienating any segment of the user base just because of the browser or operating system incompatibility. 

The Importance of Cross-Browser Testing

Features That Are Analyzed in Cross-Browser Testing

While performing cross-browser testing, you must find all the features that might pose an obstacle in the performance or the functionality of the web application. However, the developers always do not have ample time to perform all these processes.

To perform the cross-browser testing most efficiently, the product team must have a manual consisting of all the essential features in a web application.  This manual will consist of a list of various browsers, browsers versions, features for testing and required platforms.

All these factors will help to complete various parameters including test scenarios, timelines, budget and compatibility benchmarks. While performing cross-browser testing, the developers need to pay proper attention to the base functionality of the web application.

They should also ensure that the web application is responsive enough and accessible over a wide range.

Selecting the Browsers to Perform Cross-Browser Testing

In the present web developing industry, many browsers are available in the market. Each browser has several versions that are currently operational.

However, a developer can’t test the functionality of the web application on all of these browsers. Therefore, it is highly important to shortlist some particular browsers depending on their popularity and features.

A recent survey suggests that in the desktop segment, Google Chrome is dominant with a 60 per cent market share followed by Safari in second place and, Firefox in third. While in the smartphone industry, Google Chrome still dominates the first position followed by Safari in the second place and Samsung browser in third.

So, it is a safe decision to test the compatibility of your web application on these browsers. You can also analyze the preferences of your audience to get more customized results.

Selecting the Browsers to Perform Cross-Browser Testing 

Executing Cross-Browser Compatibility Testing

Cross-browser testing can be a complex process if the developers fail to perform it in the correct sequence. Let us look at some of the important factors that the developers must remember while performing cross-browser compatibility testing:

  •  It is very important to establish a proper baseline before performing cause browser compatibility testing. For this process, the developers can run all the testing processes on their primary Browser. 
  • It is very important to have a specific test plan before beginning the testing process. The developers can use all the test specific documents to create this plan.
  • While performing cross-browser testing, it is very important to maintain the optimal balance between manual testing and automation testing.  The perfect coordination between these two testing processes will help the companies to quickly deliver high-quality web applications.
  • Web developing companies should have the proper infrastructure to execute cross-browser testing. The optimal infrastructure will include various real devices, virtual machines, emulators and a set of effective tools.

The Perfect Moment to Perform Cross-Browser Testing

During the initial years of software development, it was one of the common beliefs that cross-browser compatibility testing should be performed at the end of the development phase.

In reality, it was a time consuming and complex process for all the web developing companies.  This is because due to this practice, the developers had to go back to the drawing board for even the smallest of errors and bugs. Due to these time-consuming practices, the production and delivery phase was massively delayed.

All these factors negatively affected the reputation of the company. So, modern experts believe that cross-browser compatibility testing should become an integral part of the development process all along. This process will help the development and testing team to work in close coordination and create a high-quality web application. 

Teams Responsible to Perform Cross-Browser Testing

One of the earliest beliefs regarding cross-browser compatibility testing is that only the quality assessment teams are responsible to perform the testing process. Modern web development technologies have however contradicted this belief.

Close coordinated efforts between the development, production and QA teams is the best way to perform cross-browser compatibility testing.

The companies can also integrate Agile and DevOps methodologies to increase the efficiency of the testing framework. All these processes will help the developers and testers to quickly find all the major errors and Critical bugs in the core framework of the web application.

Teams Responsible to Perform Cross-Browser Testing

Role of Tools in Cross-Browser Testing

A single individual can’t test the compatibility of the web application on every browser and browser version. It will be a resource exhausting process both in terms of time and effort.

However, tools can help to increase the efficiency of a cross-browser compatibility test environment. Using these tools, the developers can automate various processes related to the compatibility of the web application.

As a developer, you must remember that you cannot simply integrate any tool from the market into your test environment. This is because every tool is different and is made to serve a specific purpose. Therefore, you must use the perfect tool to utilise the full potential of your web development environment.  

There are various factors that you must consider during the tool’s selection process. For instance. you must think about your project requirements and your preferences. During this process, you should also consider the present market trends related to testing automation and cross-browser testing.

Let us consider the example of LambdaTest to analyze the role of a tool in cross-browser compatibility testing:

LambdaTest is a platform to perform automated cross-browser testing of a web application. Using this platform, the developers can verify the compatibility of the web application on a Safe and Secure online Selenium grid. The cloud platform ensures that the developers can perform compatibility testing from anywhere in the world.

The parallel testing feature is one of the most popular features offered by this platform. Using this, the developers can test the compatibility of the web application of thousands of different browsers, devices and operating systems at the same time. Lambda test also helps to verify the compatibility of locally hosted web applications.

Currently, millions of companies all around the world use LambdaTest to verify the cross-browser compatibility of their web applications. LambdaTest also helps to verify the compatibility of the web application on real mobile devices.

The Final Verdict

So, we can conclude that cross-browser testing will continue to remain one of the most important testing processes. Future technologies like artificial intelligence and cloud-based services will also play a vital role in the popularity of this testing method.

The developers must prepare themselves for this radical change to ensure a bright future for their company. Lastly, the company should also pay proper attention to the tool’s selection process. 

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