Introduction

With more businesses going online and the rapid evolution in technology, organizations need a mechanism that makes it easy for developers to build the best web applications with multi-browser compatibility potential. For this purpose, organizations should focus on cross browser testing to bring a shift in web development and consider it more of a necessity than just an addition to the process. To experience the transformation, it becomes essential to overcome the Cross Browser Testing challenges on priority. Recently, a Quality report 2020-2021 published by Capgemini mentions the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the QA and IT strategy of the businesses, compelling them to become more agile than before so that they can accomplish more with less while also adjusting to their new working ways with the team. With low resources and budgets, organizations face multiple Cross browser testing challenges. It demands a robust methodology to test new features and essential business processes to help reshape the ways to achieve success.

Cross Browser Testing – An Overview

Cross-browser testing is a technique to check the website’s compatibility and consistent performance across different browser platforms. Practically implementing the cross browser testing procedure is a complex concept altogether. Testers usually follow the principle of testing early and frequently for testing the web applications before even putting them into the production environment. Cross browser testing is a favorite among many DevOps teams because of its numerous benefits like providing feature-rich applications, enabling easy access from different browsers, UI design and usability on all popular platforms, homogeneity of features on every device, enhancing user experience, etc. The common issues with cross browser testing are caused due to errors within the website codes because all browsers work distinctly, and each browser reads the code differently. But what kind of scenarios do you test when you perform cross browser testing is a question we all ask? To answer that, it covers various scenarios like Device platforms, browsers, CSS, HTML, Networks, Tables, etc., in short anything that involves the validation of the website performance across different combinations is what cross browser testing encompasses.

As we move ahead, we will uncover the cross browser testing challenges which are most commonly faced while performing web browser testing and unravel how to fix them.

Major Cross Browser Testing Challenges and Their Solutions

-In-house Infrastructure

One of the most common Cross Browser Testing challenges that enterprises especially, small businesses and startups face is building and managing in-house infrastructure. Maintaining infrastructure is time-consuming especially, doing it manually and running automated tests using a series of test scripts is even tougher. To test a web application, the testing team has to ensure all the latest browsers, browser versions, operating systems, and latest devices are kept in place. Managing all of this needs a skilled team which turns out to be a costly affair.

Solution: Adopting a Cloud-based infrastructure management in the initial stages is a more affordable and practical solution in this respect. A cloud-based cross browser testing tool like pCloudy can maintain a large number of browsers, with different versions for mobile devices and desktops, internally. It provides a collaborative environment eliminating the initial set-up and maintenance cost. It also eases the tester and developer efforts to a great extent. Cloud-based testing tools offer affordable upgrades, easy integration with popular third-party tools, live interactive testing, continuous access to shared information resources, and much more.

-Testing on too many browsers is not easy

It is one of the most common issues with cross browser testing. There are far too many browsers having multiple versions with various system requirements. It is challenging to maintain all the browsers (their versions) and the computer systems. Also, these versions continuously change, which makes it even more challenging to keep everything up-to-date and ensure impeccable website performance. If one web application works fine in one type of a browser, it does not mean it will also be compatible with all the remaining browsers. Every browser works differently and has its own rendering system, behavior, and errors. So, they render websites uniquely. For example, an application that is accessed on different browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer on operating systems like MacOS, Windows, Linux might not work the same on a particular combination that it was built or tested on. The majority of the users do not keep the browsers up-to-date. Just think to yourself, how many times have you updated your operating system or browsers? The number increases, and it becomes tougher totest as the list multiplies. It can take a minimum of one hour to test, excluding bug fixes. Hence, this is the greatest cross browser testing challenge.

Solution: To overcome this challenge, you can start by analyzing if you even need to test your web application across all the combinations or choose the ones to test on. You can rely on the basic analytical tool as a first step to check your website visitors and their preferred browsers and Operating systems. Based on the analysis, you can formulate a cross browser testing strategy that can include prioritizing tests, testing the combinations that have your maximum user coverage, etc. When your website is accessed from 100 percent of the combinations, pCloudy is the go-to tool that allows you to test your website across multiple combinations with the help of the online Selenium Grid.

-Handling frequent browser updates:

This one is another top cross browser testing challenge that business leaders often face. Technology evolves with time, and to stay on par with the changes, everything powered by technology has to be updated constantly, or there are chances of errors. Normally, the browsers push their new updates every 6-8 weeks, making testers continuously test the application to ensure that the users do not face any cross-browser compatibility issues with the latest versions. In some cases, where the browsers auto-update, the users do not even realize the change.

Well, when this was not enough of a challenge, we had to understand that every browser is updated at a different time, i.e., you update the browser and test your website every time the former is updated, which means every 6-8 weeks! The testers keep updating the test scripts with every update. How can it be easy? Sometimes they skip testing unless any issue is reported but, as a result, they face more cross-browser compatibility issues in the web app.

Solution: To overcome this challenge, the testers should adopt automated cross-browser testing; no matter how challenging, it proves to be the best option to handle frequent browser updates. They can either adopt a preventive approach like skipping testing the website on the updated browser until the user reports any bug or adopt a third-party approach where a third-party cross-browser testing tool stays up-to-date with new browser updates.

-Automating Cross browser testing is not easy.

Automation can work like magic when handling multiple browser updates and different browser-OS-Device versions, but automating cross-browser testing is not easy. Choosing the right automation tool is quite tricky. The role of the browser automation tool is crucial as it can speed up your web app release cycle and test the functionality of the web apps. Although it may seem that tools like Selenium ease the testing effort, there is a lot more that it takes to perform automated cross browser testing on the cloud. It involves preparing test scripts, defining test script capabilities, etc. Responsive design testing, browser compatibility testing and even layout testing matters, and comparing screenshots is the best way to detect changes. It is challenging because it depends on the UI elements of the browser and the resolution where it was taken in the first place.

Solution:You can overcome this cross browser testing challenge by choosing the right automation tool for cross browser test automation. The tool should test the web application across different updated browser-OS combinations, should be able to record video and take high quality screenshots, etc. pCloudy is one such cloud-based tool to assist you in achieving this.

-Running parallel tests on different browsers

What are the automation tools made for? There are multiple benefits, but one of the most important functions that the cross browser testing tool performs is running parallel tests to reduce the execution time by covering the testing of web applications on different browser-OS-device combinations. It is beneficial if not done manually.

Solution:There are many automation tools available in the market to perform parallel testing. There are a myriad of benefits to parallel testing – it can run multiple tests parallely and detect application bugs in no time, and all of this little to no human involvement.

Cross Browser Testing Challenges
-Too many OS versions

Just like too many browsers and browser versions, there are too many operating systems as well, and over that, when it combines with their combinations, cross browser testing becomes a nightmare. Adding the devices to the list makes the testing even more challenging.

Solution:Even the thought of testing innumerable Device-OS-Browser combinations seems daunting. The only way to save the testers from going through such a phase is by adopting a cloud-based testing tool like pCloudy that seamlessly enables teams to test on various mobile/ desktop browsers on multiple operating systems.

Conclusion

Issues related Cross browser compatibility can be a real hurdle in achieving smooth web app performance. By now, we should be able to answer questions like what is cross browser testing? What are the common issues with cross browser testing? What causes cross browser compatibility issues? What kind of scenarios do you test when you perform cross browser testing? Cross browser testing is necessary for validating every web application performance on every type of browser. But with it comes the challenges that make the task of testers and developers pretty cumbersome. This blog also explains expert suggestions mentioning different ways to tackle these challenges to make cross browser testing easy and feasible. Happy testing!

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