Most common issues encountered during browser compatibility testing

Most common issues encountered during browser compatibility testing

| January 18, 2021

With the rise in the usage of internet and smartphones, the number of browsers too have increased over the last two decades. Currently, there are multiple browsers across the world and different users use different browsers. Also, every browser has different versions which are in use and you can’t simply assume that your website will look perfect on every browser. So, a website must be compatible across multiple browsers and their different versions in order to gain a significant user base.

But there are some cross-browser compatibility issues that every developer and QA specialist should be aware of. So, in this article, we will discuss the reasons why cross browser testing test cases fail.

Here are some of the most common issues that we generally encounter while performing browser compatibility testing.

1)No CSS Reset

One of the most common issues in browser compatibility testing is that different browsers have their own set of CSS rules which vary from each other. As a result of this issue, a particular style may look different in different browsers. This issue can be resolved with the help of CSS reset which gives instructions to the browser to remove styling to default CSS. Some of the commonly used CSS reset style sheets are –

Add one of these reset style sheets to your page in order to ensure a proper CSS reset.

Normalize CSS provides facility for cross browser consistency of the already written HTML elements in the style file. It fixed the browser compatibility issue which we are facing in different browsers by putting normalize.css file.
First, you need to download the CSS File from the official site. Then, link the CSS file in the head section of the .html file. 

<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”assets/styles/normalize.css”>

2)No Doctype or Incorrect Doctype in HTML Files

Doctype should always be the first line in your HTML. It is important for the browsers to figure which version of HTML you are using in your website. But some browsers with outdated versions such as Internet Explorer look for Doctype to understand which version to look for.

Doctype helps the browsers in recognizing the HTML version used in your website. If a browser has to use a “quirk mode” or guess which coding language is used on the website, it may render your website in a different way. This issue can be easily resolved by including a single line at the beginning of the codebase.

<!DOCTYPE html>

3) Stylesheet Related Issues

Below are the few issues which exist related to the stylesheet:

1. Few older browsers not supporting the latest element styling  implementation
2. Different screen resolution problem
3. Responsive design
4. New layout syntax changes issues i.e. modern layout support
5. Different types of CSS prefixes for different browsers

Example: CSS prefixes syntax is different for different browsers, below are an example:
– Chrome or opera uses “-WebKit-” prefix in CSS
– Firefox uses “-Moz-”
– Microsoft “-ms-”

To avoid stylesheet related problems, it is recommended to use separate stylesheets for different browsers as you can easily link to different stylesheets for each browser. Also, use conditional statements in the same HTML page which will help invoke the right stylesheet for the browser. This helps in avoiding unnecessary bugs and omissions present in different browsers.

4)HTML/CSS Validation Issue

Validation of HTML and CSS codes is one of the common cross-browser compatibility scenarios to check. It is missed because the designer is not generally validating the code through proper HTML / CSS validator that’s why problems occurred because different browsers read and handle the same code differently.

To solve this issue, it is recommended to use code validating tools powered by W3C for HTML and CSS as per the requirements. 

5)Outdated Browser Detection

The problem with the old browsers is that they use older browser detection scripts, so chances are that it will break in case the used version of the browsers is not known. In case your code is not running on modern browsers, then maybe your browser detection is outdated and can’t handle modern browsers effectively. This is a common cross-browser compatibility issue faced due to obsolete java scripts. 

To solve this issue, you can use the Modernizer library instead of browser detection which list all the features of a browser and gives a hassle-free experience.

6)Layout Compatibility

When the developers remove the default design in browsers by applying CSS resets, it causes layout compatibility issues. This is due to the lack of support for some layouts or as a result of a non-responsive design on certain browsers or their variations. This issue can be resolved by using floats that are supported by the majority of the browsers. Also, use tools such as CSS grids and Flexbox while working with modern layouts as these tools are supported by most of the modern browsers.
Example: < CSS Float layout>

7)Using Untrusted Cross Browser Libraries and Frameworks

Most of the websites consist of third-party libraries and frameworks as they help in providing the structure, security, and scalability to the websites. Using untrusted or unfriendly libraries and frameworks gives rise to a gamut of cross-browser compatibility issues including framework crash or faulty working of library features.

Examples:

Below are a few examples where the problem occurred while the user is using the third party libraries or untrusted libraries:

1. Sometimes when developer’s code is dependent on some other libraries or framework and if some changes required or library change required it’s a huge change at the code level and problems occur in the removal of existing and adding new libraries.

2. Using untrusted third-party libraries can cause a huge security issue in your portal because untrusted libraries might have some vulnerability in it.

Here are some of the trusted and well-known frameworks that are cross-browser friendly in nature:

●   Angular JS and React JS (web application development frameworks)

●   JQuery (scripting library)

●   Foundation (Front end framework)

●   Bootstrap and Animate (scripting library)

Make sure to check the documentation for every library or framework you are intending to use as you can get information regarding the cross-browser compatibility there. Here is one of the advance responsive front end Compatibility framework is Foundation. You may follow the steps to make web page responsive as per W3C standard.

Making your web application cross browser compatible is not a cakewalk and these were some of the most common issues that the developers and the QA specialists face. You can reduce the time, effort, and money by using the right tool for cross browser testing. There are multiple tools available in the market that can reduce your cross-browser testing efforts to a large extent.

But it is ideal to invest in a tool that has –

  • Cross browser testing abilities with a comprehensive set of features
  • Minimal initial time setup and fast learning curve
  • Wide range of supported browsers and devices
  • Ability to run tests in parallel across different environments
  • Robust reporting features and good customer support

It is crucial to automate your cross browser testing and these were some of the essential elements that you should consider while investing in an automated cross browser testing tool. As there are many tools available in the market that can automate your cross browser testing, it is crucial to know what features you are looking for.

Testsigma is one of the most comprehensive tools that solves most of the common issues that are encountered in browser compatibility testing. It lets you perform testing in more than 1000 browser and operating system combinations and does not require coding skills to operate as you can write automated tests in simple English language.

Signup for free for Testsigma and see it for yourself

Apart from this, you can also run tests in parallel across various test environments that helps get faster feedback in Agile and Continuous delivery.

With Testsigma, you can make sure that there is uniformity in the looks of your website on all browsers by checking any visual differences. The shift-left approach coupled with seamless integrations with the CI/CD tools helps in keeping the quality of your applications high.