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Cross Browsing: Its Importance in Real- Time Web Applications

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Cross Browsing: Its Importance in Real- Time Web Applications

If you're developing a web application, testing it across multiple browsers is crucial to its success. Read on to learn more about cross-browser testing.

· Web Dev Zone ·
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Hello everyone, in this article I will be focusing much on how we can get started on cross browsing, what it is, and how we can start working on cross browsing scripts using BrowserStack. First, I would like to give my audience a brief idea about cross browsing and what it is used for.

'Cross-Browser' means the ability of a web application, HTML construct, or a client side script to function in an environment that provides its required features. So if any of the required features is missing from either the client side application or script then the application should not behave or function as expected.

With regards to scripts, there is a misconception between a cross-browser and multi-browser. The scope of a multi-browser is limited to only specific environments that have been already predefined from the beginning, or rather, the scope of a multi-browser is limited as compared to cross browsing which covers a much bigger functional aspect. Multi-browser scripts tend to break or become fragile when a new environment is introduced to the script. The features have to be deprecated and removed and the assumptions that were previously made have to be invalidated. Therefore, multi-browser scripts have to be maintained regularly. As the number of browsers and configurations in use has grown, so has the frequency of such maintenance. Older (or otherwise lesser) browsers and browser versions are periodically dropped as supported environments, regardless of whether or not they are still in use and without concern for what the new scripts will do when exposed to these environments. A typical scenario has them fail (e.g. by throwing an exception during initialization) in ways that were never anticipated, possibly rendering the content inaccessible.

Note: Scripts are categorized as cross-browser or multi-browser based on their logic.

Not all web browsers are created equal. Some are exclusively compatible with certain operating systems, while some boast features they claim others lack, like privacy mode and auto-updating. Some browsers even restrict certain features to a specific operating system. For instance, Safari’s text-to-speech feature works exclusively with Mac operating systems. There are web browsers that were once praised as the frontier leaders in web exploration and the pioneers of internet navigation that are now nearly extinct — so old and under-used that younger generations of web users often have never even heard of them. With so many variables on the surface, there are even more differences underneath that impact the way websites and web applications display and behave across different browsers. For this reason, when a web application is in the process of being completed, it is good practice to conduct Cross Browser Testing.

Why Should You Conduct Cross Browser Testing?

A web application that behaves precisely as desired in one web browser might have some issues when it is run in another web browser – issues that could keep the vital functions of the application from working altogether. There are many client components that can yield different results based on the web browser they are run in, such as Applets, JavaScript, Flash (although these are not used much now), AJAX requests, and the list goes on. For anyone who desires to have a professional looking website or application, Cross Browser Testing is essential. Not only are web browsers on personal computers (whether desktops or laptops) a concern here, but with the ever progressing advancement of tablets and phones with their web access capabilities, Cross Browser Testing of web applications must extend to mobile web browsers as well.

Considering the above-mentioned fact, there are some factors which come into play when discussing cross browsing which include:

  1. Browser type which can be ChromeFirefoxSafari, etc.

  2. Browser Version 

  3. Operating system, for example, Internet Explorer runs only on Windows' operating system.

  4. Device types which cover responsiveness of an application for different screen resolutions corresponding to a particular device.

My next blog will go over the process of cross-browser test automation with BrowserStack cloud services.

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Topics:
web dev ,browser testing ,cross-browser testing ,web application development

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