Cross browser testing helps the developers to verify the compatibility of the web application across various browsers. With the help of this test, developers can ensure that the web application retains its functionality irrespective of the browser or browser version. However, it is a complex process and might cause errors at certain times. Some of these issues can often throw the developer off track and delay the web app production process. This process can drastically harm the reputation of a company. So, in this article, we are going to discuss the most common cross browser compatibility issues that a developer might encounter. We will also try to find possible solutions that can help the developers to overcome this obstacle. However, before discussing the problems, we need to understand the basics of cross-browser compatibility testing.
The Basics of Cross Browser Compatibility Testing
During the earlier years of the internet, people mostly used Internet Explorer to access the web. However, with the advancement of technology new browsers have been introduced for the Web industry. These browsers have successfully dominated the industry with the help of attractive features. For instance, Google Chrome dominates more than 50% of the modern web browsing industry. Therefore, the developers must ensure that their web application performs smoothly on all browsers that are available in the market. This is because a company cannot afford to alienate any segment of the industry due to browser incompatibility. Moreover, they must also ensure that their web application retains its functionality on the older functions of the browser as well.
Cross-browser compatibility testing helps the developers to achieve this goal by testing it on thousands of different browsers and browser versions. This test also ensures that all the visual elements of the web application stay in the correct location irrespective of the screen size or resolution. Now let us look at some of the common issues that the developers might encounter while performing cross-browser compatibility testing.
The Most Common Cross Browser Compatibility Issues
1.Performing Validation for HTML and CSS Codes
Performing the validation of HTML and CSS codes can become tricky depending on the browser. This is because various browsers have different methods for detecting and interpreting these codes. So even a small error like a missing bracket can cause drastic outcomes in these browsers. Whereas certain browsers can automatically fix these errors and run the code smoothly. The best way to fix these errors is to increase the vigilance of all web developers and testers. They must analyze all these HTML and CSS codes properly before executing them. There are also various CSS and HTML validation tools that can help the developers in this process.
2.Missing the CSS Reset Options
Ordinarily, every browser has its design layout that is automatically applied to every website. However certain websites have their unique design. To utilize this design the developers have to override the default browser design layout. In case the developers fail to conduct this, the website will be rendered differently depending on different browsers. To solve this issue the developers have to use CSS reset style sheets to override the default web design layout. Normalise.css is one of the most commonly used CSS style sheets in the web development industry.
3.Detection of the Doctype Error
Doctype is considered one of the basic lines for the web development core framework. However, if the developers failed to include this line, it can cause some major errors during the rendering process. Commonly, a browser runs into different modes like strict mode and quirks mode. Most of the modern browsers don’t perform the test for Doctype. However certain old browsers such as internet explorer version 8 still perform this check. So, these older browsers still use strict mode and perform all the checks including the Doctype error checking. The quickest solution to this problem is to mention the doctype at the top of the source code. This will help the developers to display the webpage as intended.
5.Issues Related to the Layout Compatibility
In the earlier part of this article, we discussed the process of performing CSS reset. However, this process can cause layout compatibility issues in certain situations. This issue is mostly caused due to non-compatibility of a website layout. In certain cases, a non-responsive web application can also cause this error. However, it is quite simple to fix this issue. Developers can use various tools like Flexbox while working with modern web layouts.
6.The Use of Untrusted CSS Libraries
The conventional web layouts can never provide a customized experience for a web application. Therefore, the developers often use third-party CSS libraries for providing customization, scalability, and security to a web app. However, the use of untrusted CSS libraries can have dramatic outcomes in the web development life-cycle. These outcomes include the improper working of CSS libraries or the crash of the entire framework. To avoid these errors the developers must use trusted and well-known libraries like angular JS. They should also check the documentation of a CSS library before integrating them into the development framework.
7.Unavailability of Separate Stylesheets for Different Types of Browsers
Most of the common cross-browser compatibility issues are related to the stylesheets. These issues mostly occur when the older browser versions do not support the modern style elements of a web application. The use of different CSS fixes for various browsers can also trigger this compatibility issue. The easiest way to solve this error is to implement different style sheets for different browsers. To verify this process the developers can use conditional spreadsheets. This process will help them to link the stylesheets with the respective browser or Browser version.
8.Improper Choice of Testing Tools and Platforms
A web tester can’t conduct all the testing processes single-handedly. Therefore, he will require the assistance of certain tools and platforms to complete this process. Many web developers believe that the choice of tools is completely random and does not have any significant impact. In reality, a proper tool can help to increase the development potential of any web development company. To make the correct choice, the Testers should perform thorough research on the business requirements and project needs. This data will also help them to get an idea about the needs of their users. Lastly, web developers should also consider the recent market trends and developing strategies to make the perfect decision. Let us consider the example of LambdaTest to understand the potential of a Cross browser testing tool.
LambdaTest is a platform to perform automated cross browser testing on multiple browsers and devices simultaneously. This platform uses a safe and secure online Selenium Grid to perform all the testing processes. The cloud-based server helps the developers to perform all the testing applications from anywhere in the world.
Using this platform, the developers can also verify the functionality of the locally hosted web applications. The developers can reuse the LambdaTest test scripts in various other developing projects as well. LambdaTest also helps a tester to perform automated visual testing on the UI elements of a web application. LambdaTest maintains an activity log to store all the final test reports during the web application development life-cycle. Lastly, it provides various attractive plans to support the growth of small web developing companies.
9.Ignoring the Functions for Vender Specific Tasks
As we already discussed earlier, all web applications are not created with the same intentions. For instance, a company can create a web application for conducting business, storing data or displaying some vital information. Depending on the purpose of the web application, the developers have to customize the designing and development process. For instance, developers have to arrange all the visual elements properly to avoid any compatibility issues. The primary goal of a vendor-specific web application should be to maintain user satisfaction.
10.Old Systems for Browser Detection
To optimize a web application for a browser, the developers need to understand which browser the end-users are using. The conventional way of completing this process was using a simple browser detection system. However, with the advancement in technology, these systems have failed to deliver the correct results. To solve this problem, the developers have to get rid of the conventional browser detection system. Instead, they can use modern technologies such as a modernizer which conducts a series of super-fast tests. These tests will reveal all the browser features. The developers can use this data to provide a seamless experience.
11.Insufficient Testing on Real Devices
In this modern generation, most companies try to complete the testing process with the help of an emulator or virtual machine. Many web testers have the misconceptions that an emulator can completely substitute a physical device testing process. In reality, there are certain factors that a virtual machine or an emulator can never simulate. For instance, it cannot perform testing for human interaction on various web applications. It is also impossible to use emulators to perform visual element testing. To solve this issue, the developers can use various online cloud platforms to perform remote testing on physical devices. There are various platforms like LambdaTest that can help the developers to achieve this goal.
So, we can conclude that cross-browser compatibility testing is an important process to ensure the proper functioning of a web application. The developers must perform this test to ensure that they can provide the ultimate user experience to their end-users. In this article, we discussed various obstacles that might occur during the cross-browser compatibility testing phase. However, with the help of innovation and work experience, the testers can easily overcome these hurdles.
Lastly, we would like to recommend the testers seriously consider the tool and platform selection process. During this phase, they can consider the project requirements and their company ideals to make a perfect choice. This process will help the testers to use the full potential of the testing environment. The primary goal of a web developer should always be to quickly provide high-quality web applications to the end-users.