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The How’s and Why’s of Cross-Browser Testing

People can access your website from more than just one browser, so it’s critical to conduct cross-browser testing. Here’s an in-depth look at what it means.

Cross-browser testing ensures that a site or web app performs and looks similar across various browsers and platforms. With each browser company having a different take on how a browser should work, it’s only logical to ensure that your site pairs up nicely with a wide range of browsers.

Here’s everything about cross-browser testing and how you can leverage it for your business.

What Is Cross-Browser Testing?

A website is the sum of various components and a browser’s relationship with these components varies from browser to browser. For instance, CSS can act entirely differently in the Mozilla Firefox browser than in Google Chrome. Design elements, too, can vary in size across different browsers. 

 

Cross-browser testing is a means to ensure these components function seamlessly across all targeted browser versions. You can use it to ensure HTML, JavaScript, Applets, AJAX requests, Flash, and web design elements all look and behave as intended on every individual browser type. The overarching goal of cross-browser testing is to provide uniformity by enabling testers to detect bugs that might prevent a site from displaying or functioning properly across various screen dimensions and browsers.

Why Is Cross-Browser Testing Important?

Although it’s one of the biggest time-grabbers for QA and development teams, cross-browser testing is essential for delivering the best experience possible to users. 

Right now, if you look at different browsers, they each have a unique technology working in the backend to render websites. Cross-browser testing accounts for the differences in these technologies. It calls for changes in the site’s code to help it adapt to different browsers. Plus, it helps designers and coders identify bugs, which should be resolved as soon as they are identified. 

Typical cross-browser issues include:

  • Different JavaScript implementation 
  • Missing CSS resets
  • Font size and image orientation mismatch 
  • No support for HTML5 
  • Inconsistent page alignment 
  • Layout incompatibility with browser
  • Mismatches in frameworks or library versions
  • and more … 

With cross-browser testing, you can address these and other pitfalls before launching your site or web app officially.

What Measures Are Involved in Cross-Browser Testing?

Modern cross-browser testing requires more than just visual verification. Essentially, it includes unseen functionality and browser-related business logic surrounding server- and client-side code. The individual performing cross-browser testing has to go through the following steps:

  • Validate code – Ensure that the CSS and JavaScript validate completely across all of the target browsers.
  • Verify UI – Ensure that all aspects of the user interface closely align with the specifications and requirements.
  • Operation – Verify that operation is consistent throughout all popups and pages. This includes tabs, panels, links, and navigation menus. 
  • Check browser performance – Keep an eye out for variances in some browsers regarding user interface or processing performance. 
  • Test for mobile consistency – Do you see discrepancies in display across the mobile browsers you intend to reach? It’s vital to test for consistency when it comes to resolution and orientation. 

Does Cross-Browser Testing Matter in Every Product Release Cycle?

 

It’s recommended that you conduct cross-browser testing for every product release cycle. Short release cycles and automatic updates have brought us to the point that no major web browser is static software. Now every 8-12 weeks, a new browser version is released for different users. The majority of them won’t even know their browser is getting an update. Browser updates bring more features, quirks, and bugs. 

It’s also worth mentioning that browser vendors tend to seed their updates on varying schedules. If you’re targeting more than one browser, it will be important to update your suite and reconduct cross-browser testing every 8-10 weeks. And if you say you support a specific browser, you should still do proper testing to avoid any surprises later. The end result of cross-browser testing is wider compatibility, which means fewer support tickets, happier users, and more time to improve your offering.

How do you do Cross-Browser Testing?

When it comes to running cross-browser tests, you have two options: do it manually or rely on automated testing. 

Manual testing is where you’ll test web apps across browsers without any assistance from tools or scripts. In this case, you’re going to manually execute test cases to check bugs and verify the critical features in a web app. This can help keep costs low if you’re a small business targeting just a couple of browsers, but quickly becomes time-consuming when you have to test a larger site or app across multiple browsers.  Browser testing automation is what you need in such instances. However, even then there are some pitfalls. For example, with Selenium-like scripted testing frameworks, you will find yourself having to rewrite every test script for every browser you want to test.

How can Functionize AI-powered testing help?

With Functionize, you can automate browser testing on various combinations of operating systems and browsers – and even mobile devices. Our intelligent test platform uses AI to understand the intent behind all your tests. This means that the tests will automatically work on almost any browser and platform, including mobile. With this combination, Functionize users enjoy shorter execution times by running tests from all target browsers simultaneously, rather than running them in one lengthy sequence.

Are you a large enterprise with complex needs?  Functionize offers organizations the ability to scale whenever they feel it’s time. The testing tool allows users to seamlessly switch between single-browser or parallel tests that execute smoothly across each target browser in no time. A dedicated virtual machine is provided for each target browser to ensure high-speed parallel execution for each of our customers.

So, if you want to alleviate cross-browser compatibility headaches, sign up for a free trial of our browser compatibility testing tool. With Functionize, you can do your cross-browser testing every testing cycle, which is critical for keeping your suite up-to-date.