Cross-browser testing involves analyzing and comparing a website’s performance across several browser environments. Cross-browser testing ensures that a website delivers the best user experience that is independent of the browser used to access it. But cross-browser testing is easier said than done. Testers must test their website for compatibility with all popular and lesser known web browsers and all their versions as well.
Thanks to the many cross-browser testing tools in the market, the testing efforts in cross -browser testing have significantly diminished. These tools help testers to check the compatibility of the web page and the apps with all possible combinations of browsers and operating systems.
Type of Cross-Browser Testing Tools
There are hundreds of cross browser testing tools in the market, but they can be divided into the following categories at the high level:
- Tools that fall under the Open Source Framework category derived from the Selenium WebDriver framework, e.g. WebDriver IO, Protractor and so on).
- Headless cross-browser testing tools such as PlayWright, Puppeteer and so on.
- Codeless based tools such as Perfecto Codeless, Selenium IDE and so on.
Selecting the right tool from the above mainly depends upon:
Testing objective-Whether the tool is for functional testing, unit testing, exploratory testing and so on.
Tester Persona-Whether the tester is a developer, Business tester or software design test engineer.
Skillset – If the tool is going to be used by a novice tester, tester with specific coding skills, or non-coding skills.
How to pick the right cross-browsing testing tool?
Given below are the main factors you must consider before you zero in on the right cross-browser testing tool for you:
- Testing Ability
The first check you must perform on the cross browser testing tool is its capacity to support both automated testing through the Selenium testing framework and manual testing through completely automated full page screenshots. Your primary goal must be to acquire a cross-browser testing tool with a comprehensive feature set and minimum dependency on a third-party tool.
- Range of Support for Browsers and Operating Systems
Availability of support for a range of browsers, devices and operating systems is a crucial factor in making your selection of a cross-browser testing tool. It is best to avoid tools that do not offer support for many real devices and cross-browser options. It is beneficial to pick tools with a comprehensive design lab that supports new browser variations with constant updates on its offerings.
- Learning Curve to Set up the tool
Every cross-browser testing tool comes in a unique package and has a different set up time. This includes the time to download, install and set-up the testing environment. While selecting your cross-browser testing tool, you must choose the one that requires minimum set-up time and efforts. These tools are of varying complexities requiring learning time from weeks to months.
One of the major concerns among the tool users is the steep learning curve that eats up a lot of effort, time and monetary resources before getting back the ROI. Your cross-browser testing tool must allow everyone from subject matter experts, QA’s, functional testers, designers and engineers to write automated test cases quickly and effortlessly.
- Ability for Parallel Execution
Running cross browser tests in parallel across different test environments can significantly reduce testing time. Look for a testing tool that lets the users run tests parallel on multiple devices, get quicker agile feedback and continuous delivery.
Cross-browser test reporting is as critical as test execution. Therefore, it is important to carefully analyze the reporting feature of the cross-browser testing tool you choose. Through these reports, the user can effectively communicate and share results with his team members and other stakeholders through notes, screenshots, video recordings and other tracking features.
- Are third-party tools necessary?
You may think you have found a cross-browser testing tool that matches your needs, but you may need to dig deeper to find out how those needs are met, whether any third-party tools are being used or not. Especially with automated testing platforms, you will often discover that you will need the assistance of a third-party software to complete the entire job.
For instance, several automated platforms will need a tool such as Applitools Eyes for visual testing to measure results of responsive design or compare deviations during regression testing.
- Customer Service
You must take a trial of the cross-browser testing tool to know how effective their customer support is. They must take minimum turnaround time for query understanding and resolution. Contact the customer support team during the trial of the tool to check how responsive they are whenever your team runs into issues while setting up or running their tests. You must check if the tool is providing additional documentation, videos and tutorials, the engagement and support of the community through forums.
The company must respond to email queries, suggestions, concerns and need for help right away. If the customer service is not there when you require their urgent help, there is no real purpose of having support.
Some other items that must form a part of the must-have list of the cross-browser testing tool are:
Having a cloud service as part of the cross-browser testing tool allows users to perform tests remotely and run the automated tests parallely instead of sequentially. Cloud service features boost the number of tests you can execute, the number of times they can execute and the speed of execution.
Simulators and Emulators
While real devices are needed for usability testing, simulators and emulators that can speed up testing significantly are better for regression and automation tests. A good cross-browser testing tool is one that has a combination of simulators, emulators, and real devices.
Secure tunnel technology feature is imperative for testing a website that is yet to be launched or one that is revamped. Through this feature, you can test the website securely across a proxy, through a firewall or in local files.
Selenium is a popular open-source automation testing tool, and your cross-browser testing tool must offer a platform for Selenium integration. This enables testing on major browsers and real devices. Other integrations you may look out for in the tool are automation frameworks such as Jenkins, Nightwatch, Protractors, Appium, Espresso and debugging extensions like Chrome dev tools, and Firebug.
Market environments are highly dynamic and cross-browser compatibility can be achieved only if these requirements are addressed. Your cross-browser testing framework must allow easy addition and removal of devices based on project requirements without hampering other functionalities.
Flexibility and Customization
To survive in a fluctuation application industry, your testing platform must always be “service ready”. Your testing tool must allow hardware and software integrations and be flexible enough to permit customizations at any point of time.
Catering to the changing user requirements, the tool must be flexible enough to adapt its testing methodologies to meet the customer needs and deliver the product on time.
Artificial Intelligence can help accelerate the process of integrating high-end technologies to achieve effective and quicker results. Cross-browser testing tools that support AI and machine learning will greatly reduce the inconsistencies in test cases. Through AI, test automation can be achieved through minimal efforts without human intervention.
The current software industry has penetrated all domains and industries. Banking and insurance sectors using applications are highly vulnerable to security threats and malpractices. You must ensure that the cross-browser testing tool you choose meets all security requirements and meets the required security compliance essential for smooth business functioning.
Top Cross-Browser Tools of 2021
There are several cross-browser testing tools (free and paid) available in the market and you must choose the tool depending upon your needs. The top cross-browser testing tools of 2021 are:
LambdaTest is a cloud based testing platform that helps the users test their locally hosted website or app for cross browser compatibility. Automated selenium scripts can be run on LambdaTest cloud grid and interactive testing can be done real-time on all browser environments.
CrossbrowserTesting tool allows you to interactively debug and test apps and websites live on remote devices and view websites at once on multiple browsers. CrossBrowserTesting uses frameworks such as Selenium, or Appium. Through CrossBrowserTesting, Agile teams test quicker through parallel testing and continuous integration with tools like Jenkins.
The automated browser testing process of TestComplete tests websites on latest browsers and operating systems for compatibility. TestComplete is a comprehensive UI automated testing tool that you can use to create and run tests on any application.
Browsershots allows you to test your website or app in any browser or operating system. Because of its myriad features and customizations, Browsershots is a widely used cross-browser compatibility testing tool. Parameters such as screen size, color, operating system, and flash settings can be customized for each test.
- Turbo Browser Sandbox
The Turbo Browser Sandbox tool supports testing of your website on almost all popular web browsers without local installation on your system. You can run browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera directly from the web on your local machine.