Web Developers frequently come across issues where the developed website or web application does not work as expected on certain combinations of browsers and operating systems. Does this mean that enough effort was not spent in the automation testing process? The possibility is that the web developer and test automation engineer did not do thorough cross browser testing!
In simple terms, cross browser testing is a form of web testing where the website features are tested on ‘many’ browsers, operating systems, and devices (as per the target market). Setting an in-house testing lab that houses the resources catering to different browsers, browser versions, platforms, and device configurations would require a mammoth ‘recursive’ investment!
When it comes to web applications (or websites), cross browser testing should be a high-priority item on the automation testing checklist. However, choosing a scalable, secure, and reliable cross browser testing infrastructure should not be overlooked in the process.
In this blog, we look at a detailed guide on how to get started with cross browser testing in the minimum amount of time. By the end, you would be in a much better position to give wings to your cross browser testing strategy!
Introduction to Cross Browser Testing
As a developer, one of the key focus areas is ensuring a uniform user experience across different browsers, operating systems, and devices. Consider a scenario where the end-users are using Internet Explorer browser to reach your website but you have not considered ‘testing on IE’ a part of your testing process! It would cause significant damage to the user experience and negative word-of-mouth for the product.
Key Metrics to consider for Cross Browser Testing
Here are some of the essential factors (or metrics) that should be factored in the cross-browser testing activity:
1. Core Functionalities – For any web product, features like login & log-out, search, checkout (for e-commerce websites), etc. that are considered the base features or core functionalities in a web product. If the basic functionalities do not work as expected, it could hinder the entire user-experience. Hence, they should be thoroughly tested against different browser and platform combinations since many supplementary functionalities might depend on them.
2. Responsiveness – How does the site (or app) respond to different viewports (or device resolutions), browsers, browser versions, and other varied factors that can affect its responsiveness.
3. Geolocation – Depending on the location from where the site (or app) is accessed, it should be checked whether the ‘locale specific’ features are working as per the requirement. A simple example of geolocation is Amazon.com. The user is presented with different UX and content depending on the country (or locale) (e.g. UK, South Korea) from where it is accessed.
When building a global product, your UI (and UX) might have a good amount of customization to suit the target locale. Geolocation testing lets you test the functionalities of the product from different IPs that belong to countries of the target market.
4. Network Throttling – If your app is built for a global audience, it is important to test the app features in varied network conditions (e.g. 3G, 4G). Along with testing on different network conditions, you should also check the app’s behaviour with different UL (Upload) and Download (DL) speeds.
5. Time Zone – You may want to test the product functionalities against different time zones (e.g. UTC, EST. MST, etc.). Testing as per different time-zones is important when you have features that are dependent on the user’s time zone. For example, if your US-based user is celebrating his/her birthday, you may surprise the user with a 50% discount coupon. It brings the element of personalization and helps in reducing user churn.
6. Fallback Options – The visitors of your app (or site) might be using older (or retired) browsers like Internet Explorer or older versions of browsers like Chrome, Firefox, etc. As different browsers prioritize different things, it becomes important to check whether ‘fallback options’ implemented in the app’s design are working as expected. By no means, the users of older technology should be locked out from using your product!
Figure 1 Source
Different Forms of Cross Browser Testing
There are two major forms (or types) of cross browser testing techniques – manual and automated testing.
Manual browser compatibility testing involves manually running the required tests against ‘pre-decided’ browser and platform combinations. Manual cross browser testing is best-suited when the product is at the initial stages of development. With more features, it becomes difficult to perform manual testing as it will involve significant investment in manpower and a robust IT infrastructure.
This could hamper the test coverage, which in turn could lead to ‘unearthed bugs’ on untested browsers (or browser versions).
Automated browser compatibility testing involves writing scripts using popular test automation framework like Selenium. The usage of Selenium requires understanding about the framework and programming languages like C#, Python, Java, PHP, etc.
This means that Selenium-based automated browser testing can only be used by Automation QA Engineers who have programming expertise. On the other hand, codeless automation tools like Testsigma enable team members to come up with stable test automation scripts without writing any code. You can read more about Testsigma here.
You can also refer to our detailed coverage on the comparison of manual and automated cross browser testing for further information on manual and automated testing.
Getting started with Cross Browser Testing
Now that you have understood the core essentials of cross browser testing, the question that might be hovering in your mind is “Should my web product mandatorily undergo cross browser testing”? The simple answer to this question is a “Firm Yes”! There are a wide range of browsers, operating systems, & devices that have to be catered to and cross browser testing is the only way to address this challenge.
The visitors to your website (or app) can use the browser and platform of their choice and browser compatibility testing is the only way to ensure that the app works seamlessly across different browsers & platforms.
The rendering engine is primarily responsible for displaying the requested contents on the browser screen. As seen below, different browsers use different rendering engines indicating that the look & feel of your website (or app) could vary from one browser to another.
Figure 2 Source
You should also factor different browser versions in the cross browser testing strategy! Rather than taking a big-bang approach for cross browser testing, you should make a list of the browser (and corresponding versions) against which tests should be performed on a priority basis.
Deep diving into the nuances of the target market of your website (or app) could be a good starting point to prioritize the browser, platform, and device combinations. Choosing the right tool is important for accelerating the cross browser testing activity.
Codeless Automation meets Cross Browser Testing
Testsigma, an AI-driven test automation software tool that lets you perform automation tests on a range of browsers, devices, and operating systems. It is a codeless automation test platform that is easy to set up and requires a low learning curve. It is much beyond the rudimentary record and playback testing. The test methods are written using easy-to-understand English via NLP (Natual Language Processing).
Maintaining the test scenarios is relatively easy with Testsigma, as only the basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Web locators (e.g. XPath) is necessary. The manual automation testing team members who have a wealth of black-box testing expertise can also participate in the automation testing activity.
Codeless automation on the cloud with Testsigma lets you run cross browser tests against secure, reliable, and scalable Cloud.
Creating new test cases/test suites and testing the same against 1,000+ real browsers and platform combinations is easy with Testsigma. Shown below is sample test environments for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer (IE).
It requires minimal effort to automate cross browser testing for Continuous Delivery (CD) with Testsigma. Testsigma also supports integration with:
- Collaboration tools (e.g. Slack)
- ALM tools (e.g. JIRA)
- Cloud-based cross browser testing platforms (e.g. Sauce Labs)
- CI/CD tools (e.g. Jenkins integration with Testsigma)
Testsigma when integrated with the necessary tools helps in achieving Continuous Testing and making the most out of the automation testing resources. Choosing a codeless automation platform like Testsigma helps in getting the best out of your test resources and test infrastructure in comparison to other Selenium-based test automation platforms available in the market.
Getting started with Testsigma is super-easy and test engineers can come up with test cases with ease since it requires understanding about the NLP grammar used in building the test cases!
Wrapping it up
Web browsers have evolved in recent times, making it important for organizations to focus on cross browser testing for their web products. Building an in-house testing infrastructure requires significant investment and resources. On the other hand, cloud-based platforms provide the much needed scalability and reliability necessary to perform the tests.
Codeless automation testing is considered the future of automation testing, as engineers and testers can get started with building test cases in a lesser time frame. Testsigma is one such codeless automation testing platform that lets you run cross browser tests in parallel on 1,000+ real devices and operating systems online.
Get started with scalable and reliable Cross Browser Testing with Testsigma