Cross-browser testing on the cloud: advantages and disadvantages

Cross-browser testing on the cloud: advantages and disadvantages

| September 23, 2021

Cross-browser testing is performed to be sure that your product is working as expected on the various device, platform, and browser (and their versions) combinations that your customers might be using.

With a plethora of devices and their versions in the market, it is integral to perform stringent cross-browser testing to attain a good market capture.

Is it easy? No! Is it necessary? Absolutely yes! However, the pain and efforts associated can be reduced, if the cross-browser testing is cloud-based. Not to forget there are downsides associated with cloud-based cross-browser testing as well. 

 Let us see both sides of the coin and decide if it is for us.

Cross Browser testing
Reference: https://www.silkstream.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ie6-web-design-comic.jpg

Advantages of doing cross-browser testing on the cloud

1. A cloud-based solution saves infrastructure set up and maintenance cost

Today, most applications are being rolled out on the web, mobiles, TV as well as tablets, simultaneously.

Cross-browser testing means testing on all potential device, platform, browser combinations such that all users of all the different devices have a flawless and consistent user experience.

Do you think it is possible to procure, set up, and later maintain such a huge number of combinations manually and in-house? Even if the IT infrastructure management team decides to take up this herculean task – the effort, time, and money associated are mountainous. The associated huge cost can be easily bypassed if the cross-browser testing is moved to the cloud. 

i. Infrastructure

If you set out to set up the infrastructure of cross-browser testing at your end,  the infrastructure setup would require physically buying the devices and this would involve money. Though, with a cloud-based solution, all your infrastructure setup costs would be saved as they would be hosted on the cloud.

For accessing the facilities on the cloud, you would have to pay just a fraction of your setup cost and you would be required to pay only for what you use.

ii. Maintenance

During upgrade or maintenance, the devices are updated either with software or hardware. Both of these scenarios involve time, effort, and money. 

When using a cloud-based lab, switching to the upgraded devices and environment is easy. It only requires choosing and clicking the selection on the service provider’s website.

2. Cloud-based tools provide a reliable and stable environment

When we are using an on-premise test lab, any wear or tear in the devices would lead to downtime. Also, to keep up with the new releases and versions of OS and browser versions – the environment needs to be upgraded every now and then. This also adds to the downtime. We are definitely losing the stability of the test environment here.

Additionally, in case of disaster, outage, or any accident the reliability of the test environment is lost. All these factors lead to delivery delays, which need to be avoided at all costs. 

A cloud-based testing lab is a perfect solution for this since the environment is resistant to any disaster and accidents. They always have backups, and many servers to provide a reliable and stable environment to test. Also, the upgrades and versions are taken care of by the service provider so this is a hassle-free solution to testing woes.

3. The testing environment can be scaled up and down in seconds

The testing needs in today’s world are dynamic and the test environment should complement this behaviour.  

Let’s understand this with the help of an example – there is a  video-streaming website that is available for laptops and computers only. Therefore, it has been tested for cross-browser compatibility on these devices, OS, and browsers. 

Eventually, the website becomes a hit in the market. So, the company decides to launch it on mobile and smart TV as well. And, this leads to scaling-up of the test environment by adding multiple device, OS, browser combinations.

Cloud-based tools allow easy accommodation of new devices and platforms. Just click your choices and start the testing.

Similarly, when the environment requirement scales down, the devices can be unsubscribed from the lease plan in cloud testing.

In both cases – scaling up or scaling down – it is beneficial to use a cloud-based cross-browser testing platform or tool like Testsigma to fulfil the environment needs. Since, they help in accomplishing that seamlessly with just a few clicks, within seconds.

4. Cloud is perfect for remote team collaboration and support

Today when the teams are distributed demographically, team collaboration is the key to the success of a project. 

With cross-browser testing on the cloud, the cloud-device lab can be easily accessed by any team member, at any time. Similarly, if you are using a test automation tool for automating your cross-browser testing – the test reports, test cases, defect details, and other related information can also be easily accessed from anywhere, anytime.

Thus, it becomes very convenient for remote testing teams to collaborate when cross-browser testing is moved to the cloud.

5. Cloud promotes parallel and 24×7 execution of test cases

Cross-browser testing can be slow when thousands of devices are involved. When cross-browser testing is moved to the cloud these thousands of devices are accessible 24×7.

When the cross-browser testing is automated too, the test execution can be set up to be executed in parallel, 24×7.

This helps in achieving the test coverage in much less time.

Let’s understand this with an example – a project has a testing team in the US and India. They are using cloud-based test automation for all testing activities. The India team runs the test cases in IST hours on the cloud testing platform, Then, after their day is over, the US team starts testing on the same platform in their timezone.

Thus, the team collaborates better without any disruption in their testing workflows because of the differences in time zone.

6. Cloud provides better test coverage for cross-browser test cases

The above-mentioned points promote better test coverage through-

  • Parallel testing
  • 24*7 execution
  • A reliable and stable environment
  • Saved time in infrastructure
  • Ability to test on more device combinations in a lesser amount of time 

This ensures a high-quality product is delivered on or before time.

7. Cloud testing helps in faster delivery of the final product

In an in-house lab, cross-browser testing is bound to take time and may pose quality issues as well. 

When moved to the cloud, quick and quality testing of the product is ensured. Reasons are better coverage, parallel testing(when test automation is in place), 24×7 testing, no time lags in infrastructure set up, etc.

8. Cloud-based testing services are inexpensive as compared to an in-house setup

The efforts, time, and cost required in an in-house lab setup for cross-browser testing are greater than a cloud-based platform.

Below are a few of the roadblocks that are cleared when testing is moved to the cloud

  • software and hardware installation 
  • upgrades 
  • wear and tear

Thus, you save on time, human effort as well as cost.

The cloud-based testing platforms(SaaS) also provide user-friendly UI. They promote below features at a nominal fee and thus are inexpensive:

  • Ease of choosing the test environment. 
  • Stability of cloud testing environment.
  • Faster test execution
  • Better coverage leads to bug-free products and thus less rework

Disadvantages

1. Environment unavailability due to shared resources

In a cloud-based testing environment, the devices are shared across projects, clients, teams, etc. The device which you require may become unavailable as soon as you click on it. This may increase delay and frustration while testing.

The solution is to use a dedicated cloud-based test lab where the devices are only available to you and your team. Quite evidently, this setup is going to cost more.

2. Internet-based

From one point of view, it is advantageous that the whole testing process requires only a stable internet and a browser to commence and complete the testing activities.

However, this soon becomes a disadvantage in case if the internet is down, you are completely blocked and can not perform anything.

Solution

  • Do not migrate the whole testing to the cloud, keep few scenarios for in-house testing. E.g.Usability, UI, ad-hoc testing.
  • Make sure you keep a backup in case the services are down in one area.

3. Lack of control and dependency on the service provider

The whole environment, devices, network, servers – everything is owned by a service provider. This may cause a lack of control to the users because the service level agreements by the service provider may restrict the user to have access to the backend.

Solution

  • Cloud platforms such as Testsigma provide access to multiple test labs. If one of the device test labs is not available for testing, the user may connect to any of the other test labs.
  • Backups of the servers help in disaster management.

This ensures continuity and stability in testing.

4. Migration is an issue

When the user has the requirement to change the vendor – the data, information, test cases everything needs to be migrated to the new vendor. This is a difficult process if the vendors do not have the flexibility to support it. 

In this case, the user is stuck with the existing vendor and this is known as vendor lock-in.

Solution

  • Choose a vendor which provides excellent support for test migration. It may be a bit expensive than other service providers, but this ensures flexibility.

5. Security and privacy issues

Security and privacy concerns are common because the sensitive information of the organization is getting stored on an external cloud owned by someone else. Additionally, the whole information and artifacts are stored and accessed online, this makes the whole process vulnerable to external attacks.

 So it becomes the responsibility of the vendor to have top-notch security measures in place to provide a safe and secure test environment.

Solution

  • Policies and Service Level Agreement in place to follow standards
  • Use of data encryption in data communication
  • Installation of proper certifications for security
  • User hierarchy is set up to control the access rights

Now that we have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of cross-browser testing on the cloud, what’s next?

You would want to look at the different tools available for cross browser testing and decide which one is for you.

But before here is a tool that you should know about if you are looking for automating your cross browser testing – Testsigma. Testsigma is a complete cloud-based test automation tool that lets you create your test cases easily, which are easy to maintain too.

And then lets you connect to the device lab of your choice for test case execution. Below is how Testsigma solves above disadvantages (while it does have all the advantages of doing cross-browser testing on the cloud)

How Testsigma solves the disadvantages

  • Testsigma is a SaaS-based platform which considers user security as its priority.
  • Access control is provided to the users as per their user profile.
  • Easy integration with other external tools for CI/CD, bug tracking, test labs, collaboration tools, and product management.
  • It is a SaaS-based service where the experts are taking care of the servers, applications, platforms, devices, and sensitive data.
  • Pay according to what you use.
  • Easy scale up and down according to requirements.
  • Policies and encryption to ensure security from cyber attacks.
  • Follows security protocols and procures proper certifications.
  • If the user requires it then they can test on their own on-premise test lab using Testsigma.

Reasons why Testsigma is a good choice as a cross-browser testing tool, are here.

Testsigma is giving a 30-day free trial – review all features before you decide

For an exhaustive list of cross-browser testing tools, refer here.

Conclusion

The cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing.Paul Maritz, former CEO of VMware and Pivotal

Cloud-based testing is something that perfectly complements cross-browser testing, but even then there will be some points that will have to be taken care of in every scenario in real life.

We hope that post gave you a clear picture of what are the advantages and disadvantages of adopting the cloud for cross-browser testing. Do let us know if you have any feedback or comments for us in the comment section below.