Evolution of Browser Testing

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Evolution of Browser Testing

Does anyone use Internet Explorer?

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As technology has evolved, browser testing has also had to make strides to keep up. This article is an outline of browser testing in the past, and how it has changed to keep up with our growing technological field.

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The evolution of technology.
You may also like: Comparing Top 10 Cross-Browser Testing Tools of 2019

Testing in the Earlier Days

In the early days of the internet (the 1990s), the number of browsers developed and used for testing was very few, namely Netscape (now known as Firefox), Internet Explorer. Given the early period of the internet, and hardly a few browsers to choose from, Manual testing was the apparent approach followed then by the developers to test their websites.

Given the waterfall approach for SDLC, testing the web-app manually took nearly three to four months, proving to be a very time consuming and tedious task.

Change in the Web-Infrastructure

The Internet has drastically evolved with the continual growth and introduction of new browsers (like Chrome, Safari), operating systems, and mobile devices. The percentage of internet users coming from mobile devices has increased from 48% in 2014 to 63% in 2019, as per Statista.

A graph showing the increase in internet users over time.

With the constant proliferation of smartphones having unique individual configurations, it is a big challenge for the developers or QA team to ensure that the website performs well across a wide range of devices having different browsers and OS configurations.

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Imagine the life of a tester!

Also, each browser follows its unique rules to render CSS, HTML, JavaScript of web applications. Thus each browser renders sites differently and it became a critical task for the developers to develop pages compatible with different browsers and also to test it for functional and visual competence.

This is where automated cross-browser testing comes into the picture. Cross-browser testing helps in ensuring excellent performance of the website across various browsers or versions of a specific browser.

Need for Automated Browser Testing

The current web-infrastructure has grown diverse in terms of browsers, operating systems, and real devices. Manual testing is not sufficient and feasible for covering the full range of test configurations present in the current web-infrastructure. This problem gave rise to an advanced solution: online automated testing platforms. To get extensive test coverage, browser test automation proves to be a very feasible solution.

Nowadays, there are excellent online testing tools available like BrowserStack, LamdaTest, CrossBrowserTesting that helps to test across a wide range of browsers and real devices.

Something You Didn't Know

Also, there is a service provided by Microsoft known as Modern IE. Using Modern IE, one can test a website on different versions of Edge and earlier versions of Internet Explorer online from IE version 8 to version 11.

Interesting Facts on Browser Landscape

It’s surprising to see how the landscape of browser market share has drastically changed, especially in the past decade. It’s also interesting to see how Internet Explorer lost its market share over the past few years to Chrome. Internet Explorer had a global market share of 64% in Jan 2009 and has drastically dropped to 2% in 2019. You can refer the below graph for analyzing the browser stats for the past decade:

A map of the number of users per internet browser.

Coming Back to Browser Testing

Automating the tests and executing them across popular browsers and real devices help the QA teams to discover any flaws or bugs on different machines. Automated browser testing results in delivering high-quality software in a time-efficient manner. Not only this approach reduces the testing time, but it also helps in reducing human errors.

Automation testing also makes the regression testing process easier and faster when compared to manually performing regression tests, which is a cumbersome task. Automated tests enable the QA team to focus on testing new areas and building more test cases.

On the Concluding Lines

  • With the drastic change in the web-infrastructure over the years, developers or QA needs to adopt the Automated Testing approach to ensure maximum test coverage.
  • Manual testing is not an efficient solution for covering extensive tests with diverse configurations.
  • It is vital to perform browser testing to evaluate how the site performs across various browsers, right from Chrome, Firefox, Safari to even Internet Explorer. Products such as BrowserStack, Lambda Test, etc. provide access to different browsers and versions and real devices to run automated test suites.

Further Reading

Java: Development and Evolution

Kubernetes Evolution

automated browser testing, browser testing, cross browser testing, cross browser testing tool, mobile app testing, mobile testing, performance, testing tools

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