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Compatibility Testing Methodology

Web applications need to be tested for compatibility on various browsers, browser versions, and OS versions.

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Compatibility testing is a top priority in today’s online and mobile world and involves two distinct aspects, although nowadays they are often performed in tandem. Web applications need to be tested for compatibility on various browsers, browser versions, and OS versions. Mobile device and OS testing is the second aspect, wherein mobile apps and web pages are tested on various devices and operating systems.

Browser and OS Version Testing

Browser trends are always fluctuating and keeping up with the trends is a job in itself. However, that’s exactly what QA Mentor does. In just six years, Internet Explorer dropped from 50% of the share to 10%, while Chrome leapt from 3% to over half in that same amount of time. Firefox, Safari, Opera, and others have fluctuated in much smaller ways, but that could change at any time. Today’s online users are fickle, so it’s important to know what the current trends are as well as keep any eye to the future.

Testing every single permutation of browser, version, and OS isn’t feasible. Our methodology first requires us to identify the top three browsers and operating systems used by your customer base. This is determined by using web server logs, access logs, or other data logs that contain the browser information of users accessing your system. With this information combined with our close monitoring of browser trends and the type of application under test, we can determine the first tier browsers your web application needs to support and the second tier browsers it would be advisable to support.

Compatibility testing is a top priority in today’s online and mobile world and involves two distinct aspects – desktop browser compatibility and mobile device testing.

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We also spend time studying the variations between different versions of the same browser so we understand the differences and potential implications of any changes to an application. This makes us better equipped to decide which versions to support, and also which versions will require more thorough compatibility testing.

Once we have the supported browsers identified, we determine what parts of the application will need to be verified on each. Every single aspect of a web application doesn’t need to be tested for compatibility since only certain things behave differently between them. Knowing what needs to be tested and what doesn’t can help cut the testing time down significantly.

Why is Browser Testing Needed?

New browsers are always being developed

Users can be fickle about browsers

Trends change and an eye to the future is needed

When To Do Compatibility Testing

While development is still ongoing, testing in multiple browsers isn’t advisable. QA Mentor encourages developers and testers to use the same browser at this stage to help differentiate browser issues from standard functional issues. This saves time testing, as well as helping to keep developers focused on the core functionality.

Once development is complete, compatibility testing should begin in earnest with the previously identified required browsers. Prioritizing of browsers is important, especially if time constraints are in place. As compatibility issues are discovered, they will also need to be prioritized according to the identification performed at the onset of compatibility testing. This phase goes much quicker if we have multiple testers, each using a different browser or version.

Mobile Device and OS Testing

Mobile apps are increasingly complex and while this complexity is a boon for users, it negatively impacts testing. Only 1/3 of the businesses test mobile apps due to not having appropriate tools, expertise, or access to many devices. Yet mobile users are increasingly less tolerant of buggy apps. The competition is fierce, and if a website hasn’t been optimized for mobile devices and is unable to load, users will quickly find a different website.

Mobile compatibility testing is more involved than browser compatibility testing. Operating systems have mostly split into Android and IOS, but in this stage we must also take into consideration the popular manufacturer, device, screen resolutions, and input devices. As with browser compatibility testing, mobile testing cannot be done on every permutation. Identification of the most common devices used by the customer base, combined with the type of application being tested, and the current mobile device trends will narrow down the field considerably.

Let QA Mentor Handle It

We study the browser variations

We keep up with the latest trends

We focus on the most used browser and OS combinations

Our knowledge can save time and money by testing the right things at the right time

QA Mentor first defines the platforms, manufacturer, and OS that will need to be covered for the application under test. Once those requirements have been set, and possibly even divided into two tiers, we need to identify any regulations that must be adhered to regarding the type of application under test.

Next, we can focus on what aspects of the application need to be tested across all of them, as well as the varied situations that need to be tested. For example, does the application involve multi-tier interactions or complex business actions? Is network loss or interruption an issue? What about interruption from other applications on the phone? All of the applicable scenarios are identified and written into the test plan.

Once we know what needs to be tested and on what device combinations, we can devise a plan of attack. Our compatibility lab has 75% of the devices we need for mobile testing, but sometimes that is not enough. If we feel it is necessary, we will recommend crowd-sourced testing to fill in any gaps in coverage. As a last resort, we can also use emulators to make sure we hit all of the required bases.

Successful mobile compatibility testing requires the right tools, optimal platform choices, logical automation, adequate performance testing, and regression testing of older platforms when necessary. QA Mentor’s Compatibility Lab was designed specifically for this kind of testing and is fully equipped to handle it.

QA Mentor Compatibility Testing Methodology

BROWSER & OS

Challenges

  • Frequent Browser version changes
  • Fluctuating browser usage patterns
  • Lack of Uniform look and feel and usability

Approach

  • Identify the top three browsers and OS
  • Determine what versions
  • Determine what parts of the application needs to be verified

Execution Methodology

  • Starts after Dev & Test
  • Test based on browser and OS priority
  • Prioritizes issues
  • Multiple testers, each using a different browser

MOBILE DEVICES

Challenges

  • Multiple devices
  • Many OS versions
  • Complex Mobile Apps
  • Website not Touch optimized
  • Lack of Appropriate tools

Approach

  • Identify most common devices in user base
  • Determine factors like complex business actions, interruption from other application etc.

Execution Methodology

  • Device a plan of attack
  • Well equipped QA Mentor compatibility lab (75% devices)
  • Crowd sourced testing
  • Emulators (last resort)

Variations Between Browsers

Font size and style

Some browsers overwrite font specifications

HTML encoded characters

Some browsers overwrite font specifications

Alignments

Image, text, bullets, radio buttons, checkboxes, header/footer, and page alignments can all be affected

Form Data

sent to a database- Different browsers may not send information correctly, or at all

HTML 5 Video Format

IE and Firefox require specific formats, while Chrome is more flexible

External Plugins

Such as for printing

JavaScript

Pages should be tested with JavaScript enabled and disabled to verify behavior

CSS, HTML, XHTML Validation

Lack of adherence to W3 Consortium standards could make them incompatible with search engine crawlers

Page Zoom

With this checklist, the architecture is reviewed for completeness and clarity.

Flash Content

With this checklist, the architecture is reviewed for completeness and clarity.

Cookies

Pages should be tested with cookies enabled and disabled to verify behavior

Ajax and JQuery Requests

With this checklist, the architecture is reviewed for completeness and clarity.

Why Perform Mobile and OS Testing

Mobile apps are increasingly complex

There are many combinations of device and OS

Mobile users are intolerant of bugs

Networks vary across the world

Mobile competition is fierce

Security is an increasing concern

Successful mobile compatibility testing requires the right tools, optimal platform choices, logical automation, adequate performance testing, and regression testing of older platforms when necessary. QA Mentor’s Compatibility Lab was designed specifically for this kind of testing and is fully equipped to handle it.

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Alternatively, drop us an email at support @qamentor.com or give us a call at 212-960-3812

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