Cross browser testing is the challenge for any software tester as there are endless combinations for browsers, versions, platforms. Dealing with all these combinations is not an easy task as not all web browsers are created equal. Some are exclusively compatible with certain operating systems, while some restrict certain features to specific operating system. Some claim, better rendering over others.
Before going deep down in any topic, we must ask a few questions to understand its core. Questions like What, Why, When, Who and How?
Let’s start by answering above questions:
What? : In simple words Cross browser testing is to test your website or application in multiple browsers to make sure that it works consistently as intended without any discrepancy, or compromise in Quality.
Why? : It is required to check appearance and functionality of web page in different browsers to verify whether is it same, different or better than other browser, etc.
When? : It is always good idea to start cross browser testing as early as possible, when page layouts are available. But it can be performed when application is fully functional and available for QA testing.
Who? : QA team will perform the cross browsers testing after getting relevant information from business analysis and design teams who are keen on knowing how the application behaves on multiple browsers.
How? : It can be done manually using multiple machines, OS’s and browsers. I can also be done by using tools which are available in the market.
Now answering above questions, will trigger more questions in the mind, such as Is there any checklist that can followed? The answer is “Yes”. There is a checklist for Cross browser testing.
- Page layout in different resolutions
- Page styles
- Page content alignment to center, Left side or Right side
- Page zoom-in and zoom-out functionality
- Font size validation
- CSS validation
- HTML or XHTML validation
- Ajax and JQuery functionality
- Images and Alignment
- Header and Footer sections
- Date and Time formats
- Special characters with HTML character encoding
These checks need to be performed on different browsers, operating systems etc.
Here are some tips on How to improve Cross Browser Testing.
Finding Correct Combination:
Before starting to perform Cross Browser testing, it is very important to get correct combinations of browsers, platforms and machine for testing.
Every single day companies come up with latest versions of browsers with different ways of handling java scripts and rendering technologies, this leads to lot of combinations and repetitive work.
One solution to this problem is that most companies supports only the recent versions of browsers. That helps us to test just a couple of versions in a few browsers.
The other way of doing it by using sampling. This can be done by using tools like Google Analytics after website has been in production for some time. Tools like analytics gives information like, user browser data, version, which page gets frequent hits, operating system information. With this information, we can guess which browsers, operating systems and versions, should be considered for Cross Browser Testing.
Using Emulators and Virtual Machines:
While doing Cross browser testing it is very important to make sure that, website works fine on older as well as latest versions of browsers. It is often seen that people not always use latest browsers especially in case of Internet Explorer (IE), and still lot of people don’t keep it updated.
To test application we can either use emulators or virtual machines both have their own benefits.
Emulators like ‘IE Tester’ are very useful to test older versions as they can replicate the exact look and feel of website on older version, however they don’t always replicate the functionality. So in case any issue is observed it is very hard to tell whether the problem lies with emulator or browser.
On the other hand Virtual Machines are more reliable as they are configured to use specific browser versions. Using actual browser will give us the idea how the site will look to actual users.
As the world is moving from Personal computers to Mobiles, it is very essential to test website on different mobiles devices, screen sizes and browsers .However, it is very difficult to keep up with every variation of phone size and model, especially when new versions of hardware and software are released regularly.
A good solution to this is to use tools available in the market which allows us to test a website on a large variety of mobile devices by selecting different screen sizes, operating systems, manufacturer etc.
It could be the good idea to use automation for Cross Browser Testing. Different automation tools are available in the market that provides the support for multiple browsers, multiple versions and operating systems. Automation tools makes cross browser testing easy and saves lot of time. However selecting correct automation tools is totally dependent on the requirements of the user.
As Cross Browser testing is continues process as software technologies, browsers and devices are evolving every single day, so it is good idea to make cross browser testing as a part of regression suites to ensure best possible experience for end users.