The web application Development Industry has completely revolutionized in the modern age. Various factors have played a major role in the popularity of the online world. The first factor is the portability of Smartphones and their immense potential. It has helped the users to access all of their daily applications on the go. The second factor is the covid-19 pandemic that has completely turned the industry upside down. Due to this pandemic, various companies and business organizations have to shift to work from home culture. Even the conventional Business models like health and banking were forced to adopt this new change. All these factors have placed a massive burden and work stress on web development companies.
So, these companies had to introduce radical changes and various new trends to cope with the demand. One of the major additions to the web Development Industry was automation testing. Companies were also forced to test the functioning of the web application on different browsers and browser versions. With the help of this article, we will try to find out various strategies that can help the developers to automate the test cases on major browsers. We will also find various tips to increase the efficiency of a browser compatibility test environment.
The History of Compatibility Testing
During the early years of software development, the developers had to create applications only for the desktop platform. This is because, during the early years of the internet, the desktop was the only platform to access the web. Moreover, the browser market was also very limited as Internet Explorer was the only available browser. This situation soon changed as Technologies began advancing and new companies started Rising. Currently, customers can access the internet on desktops, mobiles and even tablet devices. The diversity in the browser market has also become noticeable as many new competitors like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Samsung browser and Safari have surfaced. The developers also have to consider the older versions of every available Browser. This is because a recent study shows that 80% of the user base do not update the browser very often.
The initial approach of performing browser compatibility testing was using manual test cases. However, companies started to realize the negative impacts that manual testing has on browser test cases. So, the modern method of performing browser compatibility testing is the use of automated compatibility test cases. These test cases also help the developers to verify the functioning of their Browser on older versions as well.
Basic Strategies to Automate Browser Compatibility Testing on Major Browsers
1. Maintain the Simplicity of the Code
The simplicity of the code has a vital role in ensuring the proper execution of browser compatibility tests. A simple code helps the developer to keep track of all the relevant test cases. Experts also suggest that a simple code base is vital for beginners in the browser compatibility industry. It also helps the automation testers to conduct browser compatibility testing even without having proper knowledge about programming languages. A simple code base will also help the company to bring down the maintenance cost for the automation test scripts. A vital role in this process is to ensure that quality is always superior to quantity. The automation testers can also refer to the open-source community to get a better idea about this segment.
2. Use of Different Frameworks
The browser compatibility test cases aren’t highly efficient on their own. This is because the web development environment will require various code libraries and extensions to function properly. Generally, these aren’t present in the core frame base of a test script. The developers will indeed require some time to get themselves accustomed to the features of various frameworks. However, after completing the training system, they can use these features to create responsive applications of their own. Responsive web applications are those apps that maintain their functionality and visual aesthetics even on mobile devices. Currently, Google Analytics gives higher priority to all responsive apps. So, web developing companies must adopt this new trend to maintain higher rankings in search results.
3. Define a Valid Doctype
Doctype is the first line of code in the primary code base of the web application. It defines the specific HTML code that your web application uses for the rendering process. This is highly essential as different browsers have their unique method for Website rendering and element viewing processes. In case you failed to define the correct doctype then the rendering engine of the website will try to guess it for you. This guessing process is one of the major reasons that give rise to various bugs and inconsistencies. As a developer, your primary focus should be to provide the ultimate User experience to your customers. Defining the Correct Doctype is the first step towards achieving this goal.
4. Use of Cloud-Based Platforms
Performing browser compatibility testing can become a handful for new automation testers. This is because they have to repeat this process for every browser and its respective version. Moreover, it is highly expensive to maintain a physical device testing lab for testing purposes. So, the web developing industry needs a solution that can resolve all of these issues at once. The easiest fix to this is the integration of cloud-based platforms. These platforms can conduct test cases on various virtual machines and emulators. The developers can also use these platforms to test the functionality of the application on real devices from anywhere in the world. Currently, various cloud-based platforms offer these services. Let us use Lamdatest as an example to shed more light on this segment.
It is a cloud platform to run compatibility testing of various web apps. The developers can use this platform to test the functioning of both mobile and desktop applications. It allows the developers to test the functioning of the web application on more than 1500 browser and browser versions. Lamdatest also supports the parallel testing of web applications. This feature helps the companies to run multiple test cases simultaneously. It is very beneficial when you have to run hundreds of test cases in a short period. Experts believe that this feature can reduce the testing time to less than 2 days. Lamdatest also helps companies to test the Cross-Browser compatibility of all locally hosted web apps. Currently, thousands of companies use Lamdatest in their test bench. It also stores all the test results for further analysis. Lastly, Lamdatest has various attractive subscription plans.
It is also important to perform a loyalty check of a third-party application before integrating it to the primary test bench. Experts believe that the best way to complete this process is to check for user reviews on multiple forums online. These forums consist of honest reviews and daily experiences of developers who are currently using this tool.
5. The Validation Process
One of the common sayings in the web development market is better late than sorry. This law is also applicable while you are validating all the codes in the core framework of the web application. During the production process, the developers must ensure that every fragment is working as expected. This process will help the companies to provide a smooth and consistent end-user experience to the customer. It also helps the developers to prevent any major bugs and errors in the web application. One of the primary focuses of the validation process is to keep a check on the bounce rates and increase the user retention rates for the company.
6. CSS Reset
Every browser has a set of CSS rules that it follows. The web application must comply with these rules so that the browser can render it properly. It also helps the browser to display all the elements of the web application as expected. The CSS Reset feature helps a web app to adapt itself to this set of rules. It is highly essential because the app has to change its rules as it moves from one browser to the other. It is also advisable that the developers must check whether the CSS Reset feature is working as expected or not.
7. Conditional Comments
Conditional comments help the developers to link different style sheets with their web applications. This feature is highly essential when the visuals of the web-application change depending on the browser. To understand the change of visual depending on the browser, we can use the example of Internet Explorer. Since Internet Explorer is a Legacy browser, it doesn’t have the ability to render all the advanced elements in modern applications. So conditional comments allow the web application to reduce the complexity of these elements and adapt to the browser requirements. In this competitive industry, a company cannot afford to alienate any segment of the user base due to browser or device incompatibility.
8. Prepare for Unexpected Obstacles
While performing a complex process like the development of web applications it is childish to assume that everything will go as expected. As a web developer, you must prepare yourself for all the unforeseen circumstances that might arise during the web application development life cycle. The best process to counter these unforeseen circumstances is to create a proper browser compatibility test strategy. To increase the effectiveness of a test strategy, companies must include all the teams involved in the development process. This means that the development, production, quality assessment and testing teams must have equal opinions during this process. Companies can also use various third-party integrations to increase the effectiveness of the test coverage. An important step for this process is to have a proper eye on all the visual elements of the web application.
The Final Views
So, we can conclude that automated browser compatibility testing is one of the most essential steps in the web application development life cycle. Using this feature, the developer can quickly deliver high-quality web applications to their end-users. However, proper developer training is essential to utilise the full potential of this testing method. The developers should also pay proper attention while choosing the tools and frameworks for the integration process. Experts believe that the domination of automated browser compatibility testing will continue to rise in the coming years. So, companies should try to adopt and integrate this process in the test environment as soon as possible. Developers should also use it as an opportunity to increase their present market share. All these factors are important to survive in a competitive market such as the development industry.