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Recent Desktop Web Browsers Innovations and More

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Recent Desktop Web Browsers Innovations and More

In this post, we offer some advice on how to get the most out of your performance testing of web applications using Chrome and Firefox.

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There is no distinction anymore around which platform is used to consume content today, whether it's a smartphone, tablet, or a desktop browser when it comes to web apps.

If your company is developing a web app or responsive website, these sites ought to be tested thoroughly against all of the above platforms.

In general, it is good to know that from a desktop browser market share, there are less familiar players such as UC Browser by Alli-baba and Samsung Internet browsers that hold a nice chunk of the market (globally) - so, avoiding them as part of your test coverage matrix might not be a good strategy.

Source: http://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share

In general, the below would be the formula for web testing that I would recommend these days, however if from a web traffic analysis and supported geographies you have a requirement to target China, Europe, and others - then the above metrics should be added to the mix either in addition to the below, or as an adjustment.

With that in mind, I wanted to highlight in this post some recent web specific tools that are out there and free and that can be extremely useful for both developers and testers.

In Google Chrome 59 (Beta is already available today!), Google is introducing new code coverage built-in tools that can allow both developers and testers to record the screen activities and report back in a nice dashboard how much of the site content (JavaScript, and more) was actually executed in an aim to optimize the website quality, performance, and much more.

From a user perspective, they only need to enable the Code Coverage option from within the developer tools in Chrome, so it is added under the Sources menu option as seen in the below screen shot:

Once that is done, simply start capturing the code coverage by clicking on the Record button to get an output like what've I got below - simple, valuable, and unfortunately only available as a free and built-in solution within this browser compared to FireFox/Safari and others.

I went and used this new tool on Geico.com's responsive site and nearly completed the most common transaction of querying for new car insurance. At the end of the recording, I received the below chart that, as you'll see, shows a usage of only ~60% of the site's JavaScript code in this journey.

When drilling down deeper to a specific .JS source file, you can see a highlighted source with Green/Red where it is actually used and unused - this is what your web developers need to see and optimize wisely.

Let's see a key feature that was recently introduced in FireFox also, and that can be useful for both Dev and testers.

Two weeks ago, Mozilla released FireFox 53, their first step in a new project called Quantum, that aims to enhance performance, stability, and more.

Among the innovations in that release are compact themes, usability features like reading time for the pages, a new permission model, faster performance, and few other bug fixes for stability.

Detailed release notes on FF 53 can be found here: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/53.0/releasenotes/.

In addition to the newly introduced features, and if you're not aware of - FireFox offers quite useful developer tools including an object inspector, performance monitoring, a debugger, and a network monitor that can also enhance your overall web dev and test activities (see example below).

Performance Monitoring Tools From Within FireFox Developer Tools

Network Monitoring Options From Within FireFox Developer Tools

Bottom Line

With Chrome and FireFox being the leading Desktop and Mobile browsers, it is very important for web teams to continuously monitor the early releases from Google and Mozilla, and as the first beta or dev branches are available to validate - do it. This can not only reveal earlier regressions but might also, as mentioned in this blog, offer you some new productivity tools that can increase the value to your overall dev and test activities.

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