With digital transformation and evolution in technology, a lot of things have been changing rapidly, especially in the IT sector. It has now become easier for developers to build responsive web applications that are compatible with multiple browsers. But, when it comes to testing a web application, some things are still often overlooked by testers. Cross-browser testing is amongst those things that were not given priority. But, now, it has become a substantial requirement for all businesses.
What is Cross Browser Testing?
Cross browser testing is an essential element behind a web application’s success, as it ensures the web app is compatible across all the required browsers and operating systems and provides a smooth experience to all users. In other words, the practice of testing a web app across a combination of needed browsers, operating systems, and devices to ensure its functionality and responsiveness is considered as cross browser testing.
It might sound pretty simple to perform cross browser testing on web applications, but it’s not! Developers and testers face various challenges while executing cross browser testing on a web application. And we cannot deny the fact that there will always be challenges in cross browser testing, but what’s more important is how we overcome these challenges.
In this article, we will cover five major challenges of cross browser testing encountered by testers, and how we can deal with those challenges.
Top 5 Challenges of Cross Browser Testing
Challenges in cross browser testing are not limited to a specific amount; the more you dive into it, the more difficulties you’ll find. However, here are some common challenges that need to be resolved before making your product live.
1. Testing the Combination of all Browsers, OS, and Devices
Many businesses still believe that if a web app performs well in one browser, it will work equally in other browsers as well. But, that’s not how the algorithms and rendering engines of browsers work. Every browser has its unique rendering engine, bugs, and behavior, which render a web app accordingly. Thus, it is imperative to test the combination of all the required browsers, OS, and devices.
But this is the most complicated thing to do!
Finding it difficult to understand? Let’s put it this way!
Consider you choose five popular browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer with operating systems – Windows, Linux, and macOS for cross browser testing. For a beginner, the testing combination would be as followed:
- Windows: 5 browsers
- Linux: 3 browsers
- macOS: 4 browsers
So, a total of 11 browsers will be tested based on the above combination. But, if we combine the latest versions of the browsers with the earlier release of operating systems, then it would extend to 33. Likewise, if we consider both the 34-bit and 64-bit operating systems, the combination would extend to 66.
Now, testing each of these combinations will take up to 1 hour without any bug fixing. But, it is still not a big deal, as most development teams can easily execute cross browser testing against these combinations.
Another problem is that most individuals don’t update their browser or operating systems easily. For instance, some users might still be using Windows XP on their system. So, if we start considering these versions as well, the list for cross browser testing combinations would be endless.
To overcome this challenge, analyze your web app’s most important browsers, operating systems, and devices for cross browser testing. It could be achieved with the help of an analytical tool.
2. Regular Browser Updates
Updating browsers frequently is a standard procedure for browser vendors to stay ahead in the market. That’s why every browser gets a new update within 8-10 weeks, especially popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Besides, most users set their browser settings to auto-update, which means they don’t realize when a new version of their browser has been installed in their system.
Though updating browsers is crucial as they come with the latest security patches and features, it creates a problem for QA teams to test their web application because new updates bring new bugs.
So, if we consider 4-5 browser updates in one month, then testers need to update their browser suite and retest their web app every month. And it’s no less than a nightmare to update every test script every 4-8 weeks to test the latest versions of browsers.
To overcome this situation, you can either avoid testing your web app across the latest versions unless a bug is reported by visitors regarding the web app compatibility or automate the entire cross browser compatibility testing with an automation tool.
3. Testing Various Screen Resolutions for Compatibility
We need not tell you again that every browser has its own rendering engine, and they render web pages as per their preferences. Apart from that, users can access your website across any screen resolution, including the mobile display, tab, iPad, iPhone, or desktops. So, various screen resolutions need to be tested to find any visual bug in your application.
But, do you think it’s that easy to test every screen resolution and find visual bugs in it, especially with manual methods?
Even if we consider the mobile devices that come with their own browsers, the list would be never-ending. And it could take months to test every screen resolution manually. That’s why testers need a solid strategy in place to test all the screen resolutions.
To overcome this challenge, you can take help from an automation testing tool like Selenium that can be used to automate your web app’s UI testing. Furthermore, if you want to test various screen resolutions simultaneously, prefer using a cloud-based automation testing tool.
4. Parallel Cross Browser Testing
This is another major challenge for cross browser testing, which requires running test cases in parallel. Although parallel testing facilitates to test a combination of multiple browsers, versions, and operating systems continuously, it is pretty complicated to execute. And with a manual testing approach, it would never be easy to perform parallel testing because it consumes a lot of time and resources.
However, with the help of automation testing tools, we can easily perform parallel testing side-by-side. With a tool like LambdaTest, you can execute parallel testing as many times as you want and find inevitable bugs in your web app quickly.
5. Automating Cross Browser Testing is Not Easy
For those who have never used automation, it might sound an effortless solution, but it’s not!
Most individuals often think that automation testing is all about creating test scripts, testing in the early stages, taking screenshots, finding bugs, and repeating the process. But, automating cross browser testing is more challenging than you think.
The first challenge in automation testing is choosing a reliable and efficient automation tool. There are plenty of automation tools available in the market, but not all meet your testing requirements. An automation tool helps test the functionality of a web app to ensure that it meets the expected outcome of stakeholders, testers, and other team members included in the project.
So, before choosing an automation tool, do thorough research on features, functionalities, and price of the tool. Also, make sure it meets all your specific requirements of cross browser testing. For example, you can go for an open-source Selenium Automation testing suite that gives you four different tools, including WebDriver, IDE, RC, and Grid, to test different web app requirements. But, it requires adequate knowledge of using the platform and integrating it with various testing frameworks. Also, it is not ideal for beginners to use the selenium suite without proper training.
LambdaTest for Cross Browser Automation Testing
LambdaTest is a cloud-based automation testing platform that is included with a combination of more than 2000 browsers, operating systems, and devices. It allows you to automate a web app’s entire cross browser testing process with a single script by selecting the specific browsers and operating systems. Besides, you can also use the platform to perform responsive testing, functionality testing, and real-time testing of a web app.
The features included with LambdaTest make it one of the most dynamic and reliable automation testing tools. Some extensive features of the tool are:
- Integrated with a combination of 2000+ browser, OS, and device for cross browser testing
- Screenshot and video recording feature to record the entire testing session and share it with your teammates
- Easy integration with numerous testing frameworks, including TestNG, Jenkins, etc.
- Available with an automate Selenium Grid to run cross browser testing smoothly
- Parallel test execution across various browsers and operating systems at one time
- Offers in-built develop debugging tools to find and report bugs in your testing scripts
- Ideal for testing locally hosted web pages to save the web apps from after-deployment bugs
- Available as a plugin for Chrome browser and WordPress web apps
Apart from the above features, LambdaTest has recently launched a new tool – LT Browser, which is specifically designed to test a web app across mobile browsers in order to check their responsiveness. So, you can see it is a full-packed automation testing platform for all your needs.
Cross browser testing might sound a minor term for most individuals. Only developers and testers understand how challenging it is to execute cross browser testing, as there are many challenges they need to overcome. So, if you’re a beginner to cross browser testing and willing to execute it flawlessly, then make sure you keep the above challenges in mind that you might face. We believe the solution mentioned above will definitely help you overcome all the problems in cross browser testing.