The modern application development industry has revolutionized a lot to keep up with the rising and changing demands of the end-user market. For instance, the testing cycle has bridged the development and production phases. This is because, with the help of an efficient application testing process, developers can ensure that the app is performing as expected and can meet the company’s expectations. Proper test cycles also help the developers to quickly roll on the final version of the application to the production phase. In the modern application development industry, developers use advanced testing processes like automation testing to ensure the highest application quality. The integration of both of these testing processes is crucial for the app development process.
With this article, we will spread the basic knowledge regarding cross-browser automation testing. We will also deeply examine some of the common challenges developers will face while executing cross-browser automation. We will also discuss some of the best ways in which developers can deal with these issues and solve them. Finally, we will conclude our discussion by analyzing some of the best platforms and tools that can help developers in this process.
Understanding the Core Concept of Automation Testing
Modern applications consist of thousands of elements that serve specific purposes in the stable execution of the application. This means that all of these elements not only have to be appropriately placed but should also be operational to ensure the optimal level of end-user satisfaction. While testing these elements, it becomes impossible to verify the individual performance of each element with the help of manual test cases. So, to improve the efficiency of the testing process and remove any human-involved error, the developers can use automation testing. In simple terms, it is a significant effort toward eliminating human involvement in the test case execution process. Instead, the system will use a text file consisting of all the required parameters that will allow it to interact with the application like a normal user.
The developers can also make required changes in the text file consisting of the parameters to ensure that the results are accurate and determine the requirements of the app development project. It is also very easy to store, reuse and maintain the automation files when the developers are working on future app projects. However, test automation comes with an increasingly high initial investment. This investment will cover all the requirements like various libraries, plugins, and frameworks that are crucial to ensure the stable execution of test automation cases. So, the developers must have enough resources and business perspectives to justify this investment.
Exploring the World of Cross-Browser Testing
During the initial years of the Internet, the end users could access all the online services with the help of a desktop platform. However, with the advancement of technology, portability became one of the most important factors in the lives of ordinary people. So various portable options like smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches started to arrive in the market. The app development companies realized the importance of this market as multiple statistics show that mobile users control more than 55% of the online traffic. So, the app companies started to ensure that all of their applications were compatible with these devices. However, it is not an efficient process to create standalone applications for all the platforms. Instead, the developers should focus on cross-platform apps that can function similarly irrespective of the change in platform or browser.
The development of cross-browser and cross-platform apps gave rise to cross-browser testing. In simple terms, it is the process of verifying the performance of applications irrespective of the end user’s random change in the operating system, browser version, or any other device specification. While performing cross-browser testing, the developers also have to verify the influence of a device’s physical parameters on the application’s performance. So, we can say that real device testing has a critical role in verifying the proper execution of cross-browser testing. However, it is a costly process to set up and maintain a physical device lab. Cloud platforms can be an excellent alternative to a physical device lab. We will learn more about this in the latter part of this article.
Understanding The Major Challenges While Executing Cross-Browser Testing
The concept of automated cross-browser testing is still thriving in the modern app development market. So, certain challenges are quite common in this segment, yet very little is known about them. Let us discuss some of the significant challenges while executing automated cross-browser testing and how to solve them:
1. Lack of Real Device Testing
As we already discussed earlier, real device testing is essential to analyze an application’s behavior based on a device’s physical parameters. However, it is a costly process, and developers often avoid it. The easiest solution to this process is the integration of cloud platforms in the app development bench. With these platforms, developers can achieve similar test reports while executing all the test cases over remote servers. These remote servers have hundreds of real devices, including legacy devices. While performing remote testing, the developers can also execute the test cases from anywhere worldwide. Let us improve our knowledge about the present status of cloud-based testing by bringing in LambdaTest as our understanding point:
For the general introduction, LambdaTest is a unified intelligent cloud-based digital experience testing platform that enables developers and testers to perform manual and automated tests on their web and mobile applications over 3000+ browsers and OS environments. LambdaTest also allows developers and testers to execute multiple test cases with the help of parallel test execution on the cloud servers. Parallel test execution also helps app developers to test cases on various systems. LambdaTest can run the automation test file from not only Selenium but also other well-known names like Appium and Playwright.
This platform is also an excellent choice for verifying the local performance of internally hosted web pages. Finally, the combination of real devices and thousands of emulation software improves the accuracy and dependability of the test reports.
2. Browser Versioning
Browsers are one of the most frequently updated software currently available in the market. With every update, the manufacturers bring significant changes to the rendering or API of a browser. So, it is very important for app developers to constantly update the test bench to ensure that the application is compatible with the latest version of every browser. However, it is also important for the developers to continue providing support for the older browser versions. This is because recent surveys have revealed that more than 80% of Internet users do not update their browsers.
3. Synchronization Issues
To understand the user interaction capabilities of an application, the automation test scripts need to interact with all the elements of the web app. These interactions include clicking buttons, scrolling through the page, or entering data in forms. However, various browsers have different loading times. So, the developers can only generalize the synchronization process for some of the browsers they’re currently targeting. In such a case, the automation test script will try to insert data before the web page has loaded completely. This form of introduction can give rise to various errors known as false positives or false negatives. So, the developers must consider all of these factors and configure the test cases accordingly.
4. Cross-Browser Debugging
Whenever a critical bug or error is detected in the application, the debugging process becomes difficult. This is because the debugging tool of every browser is different and provides various features, tools, or limitations. So, while performing the debugging process, the developers have to get used to the tools provided by all the browsers and must have definite knowledge about the core functioning of these browsers. It is also a great idea to create a test strategy that will properly elaborate the debugging process for every browser present in the company test cycle. During the test debugging process, the developers should also consider the application’s limitations in terms of environment, use case scenario, or user limitations.
5. Browser Compatibility
Different web browsers have their rendering engines. So, app developers can’t generalize the compatibility test cases while working with multiple browsers. The easiest solution to this problem is to create individual test cases for all the browsers they are currently targeting. To create a list of target browsers, the developers must have a clear idea about the requirements of their audience base. The easiest way to gather this information is to conduct a thorough market survey. New companies that are going to release their first software can consider popular browsers as their benchmark to begin the development process. Currently, some popular browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.
These are some of the common challenges developers will face while executing automated cross-browser testing. So, we recommend that app development companies consider all of the challenges while creating the application test plan. Moreover, it is also important to include not only the development and testing teams but also the business teams while creating the test plan. It will develop a sense of responsibility among the company members so that they can have a basic knowledge about the application undergoing the development process.
Automation testing is one of the driving factors in the modern app development market. This article focused on some of the significant issues developers will face while executing automated cross-browser testing. So, we recommend all app developers continue improving their knowledge about test automation and its recent trends. The app companies can also conduct frequent seminars and awareness campaigns to continue distributing the required knowledge for healthy automation testing practices.
It is also essential for app developers to choose the correct test automation tool or platform that can complement their requirements and preferences. Lastly, app developers need to conduct frequent market surveys to develop basic knowledge about their target audience’s requirements. It will help them to customize the application to improve their market reach.