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The Best Uses for Live, Visual, and Automated Testing

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The Best Uses for Live, Visual, and Automated Testing

Automated visual and live testing capabilities open up possibilities for all your testing scenarios. Read about some of these use cases below.

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This article was first published on the CrossBrowserTesting blog.

From our humble beginnings as a manual testing tool with just around 50 browsers, CrossBrowserTesting has come a long way to be the reliable end-to-end testing tool you know today. With a range of offerings as old and problematic as IE6 and as new as Chrome 63 amongst our 1,500 configurations, we're unquestionably the most complete cross-browser testing platform.

Another part of growing up and expanding was adding visual testing and automated testing capabilities in addition to live testing. Today, individuals and teams across the country depend on these features, but we want everyone to get the most bang for their buck. So, in order to truly understand our core functionalities and the best times to implement them, we're explaining the best uses for live testing, visual testing, and automated testing.

Live Testing

We started with live testing to give people a way to manually test their website in a variety of browsers. Today, manual testing is as important as ever. As teams adopt Agile and Continuous Integration practices, it's important that manual testing isn't overlooked and continues to be a part of the SDLC into the future. Having dedicated testers who understand software and are focused on finding defects and reporting bugs is quintessential to proper live testing.

Best Use Case - Exploratory testing.

Exploratory testing is not a strict set of rules checking whether or not the application works, like automated testing. While there should be a plan going into exploratory testing, it's also a somewhat ad-hoc process based on testing the limits of a new integration within the software, or even a completely new application, before it's deployed. It takes a keen sense of observation and an understanding of the application design and purpose to be executed with value.

Using the live testing feature in CrossBrowserTesting, exploratory testing becomes more manageable with access to browsers, operating systems, and devices that teams may not have had previous access to, but their customers are using. By remotely accessing a variety of configurations rather than just the browser your developers are, owning this detailed observation for a broad user base is much more manageable.

Tips for Live Testing - Check out our tips for exploratory testing an eCommerce site for ideas on what to look for during an exploratory test. Additionally, our native debugging tools allow you or any of your teammates to fix a bug, on the spot, in the very browser it was found on.

Visual Testing

Visual testing is used to assess a web application's responsiveness across browsers. By performing visual testing, you're looking at the UI/UX components on the front end to decide whether the application under test is acceptable on a variation of browsers, devices, and screen resolutions since they all provide a different experience.

Best Use Case - Screenshot comparisons for visual validation.

Our screenshot comparison engine lets you take screenshots across multiple browsers in a matter of seconds, allowing you to easily compare full-page layouts. By highlighting the differences from your baselines browser, it's easier than ever before to decide whether your web page is consistent across browsers without having to manually compare them. With the option to test on hundreds of devices, you can be confident that you're accounting for every customer.

By performing visual regression testing, you can also compare new changes to historical versions to make sure any added integrations or application updates are supporting improvement rather than adding any glitches to the user experience.

Tips for Visual Testing - Run a risk analysis and pick five to ten of your highest priority pages. Find out what the most popular browsers are that your users are on, and run each of those targeted pages on those configurations to give you a basis as to whether or not the application is visually acceptable for the majority of your users. If you happen to find that a page is faulty, take to live testing to debug.

Automated Testing

Automated testing in CrossBrowserTesting relies on Selenium and Appium open source software to allow you to create test scripts in any major language that can be run across multiple browsers. While automated testing does require programming knowledge, it's often teams prefer it to be able to run tests in a fraction of the time without needing to perform every step manually.

Best Use Case - Functional and regression testing.

You can take all the screenshots in the world, but just because something looks great, doesn't mean it also works like it's supposed to. Automated testing digs deeper into the backend of a web application to analyze unit, integration, and end-to-end test cases and make sure that code renders properly on different browser configurations. By looking beyond the surface of the application, you can better insight on whether or not it will actually work correctly for users at different stages in their journey through your application.

Test automation is also a preferred method for regression testing since repeated actions of long test suites don't have to be done manually. Instead, running an automated regression test can check that previously stable code still is functioning as it's supposed to after a new integration, feature, or bug fix is added.

Tips for Automated Testing - Running an automated test across browsers in parallel can make testing up to twenty times faster, depending on how many configurations you include. While automation is already a great way to speed up repetitive or boring tests, parallel testing allows you to run that same script on other configurations at the same time rather than waiting until each is done to start the next.


While live testing, visual testing, and automated testing each have it's own purpose, designing a strategy that involves all three is the key to truly comprehensive testing. As your team and product grow, using these capabilities to help your organization balance speed and quality will be what sets you apart from the competition and ensures your brand's trustworthiness.

Find out more about how Scalyr built a proprietary database that does not use text indexing for their log management tool.

devops ,automated testing ,software testing ,exploratory testing ,functional testing ,regression testing

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