How to Choose the Best Cross-Browser Testing Tool

10/23/2017 4 min read Written by Roman Kniahynyckyj

It’s happened to the best of us. You put together a snazzy web project that’s sure to please the masses. Yet once it’s launched and live online, it ends up only a portion of the masses are even able to view the project properly. That’s because the project doesn’t work right in every browser. How can you be sure your project works in every browser? 

Although you may have tested the project on what you thought were the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Edge, you may have also left out Internet Explorer, UC Browser, Opera Mini or any of the oodles of other browsers and browser versions used across the board on desktop and mobile devices.

The solution, of course, is a cross-browser testing tool. To ensure your chosen cross-browser testing tool is the only testing tool you’ll need to use, we put together a list of questions to ask as you’re making your selection.

What type of testing can it perform?

Yes, the short answer is cross-browser testing. But the long answer involves the specific types of cross-browser testing the platform is built to perform. Can it handle live and manual testing with automated full-page screenshots? What about automated testing with Selenium? You may run across several platforms that specializes in one or the other, but you’ll really be flying high if you can find one that has a comprehensive and complete offering of all of these features.

Does it take care of everything or would you still need to use third-party tools?

Even if you do run across a cross-browser testing platform that appears to meet your needs, dig a little deeper to find out exactly how those needs are met. With automated testing platforms especially, you may often find you’ll still need to head to a third-party tool to get the whole job done.

For instance, many automated platforms would still require you head over to a tool like Applitools Eyes for visual testing to evaluate responsive design or compare changes during regressions.

How many different browsers and devices does the platform support?

Anything less than 500 is a dud. In fact, anything less than 1,500 is probably a dud, too. You want to opt for a platform with a massive real device lab that’s constantly updating its offerings. New browser versions are consistently streaming down the pike, and the best cross-browser testing tools are those that have led the pack by being one of the first to offer live testing on browsers and devices like iPhone 7, Firefox 54 and Chrome 59.

Does the company actually respond to your emails?

When using any type of online platform, you may run across a few questions, concerns, suggestions – or the need for help, now! If a company isn’t prone to responding to your simple questions, you can only imagine the horror of what could happen if you actually need something urgently.

CrossBrowserTesting immediately comes to mind here, as its support team actually answers each and every email with a personal response. Issues are rapidly resolved by either a solutions advisor or a developer, which means you’re getting quality support from someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

And suggestions? Let’s just say more than one platform feature came about from customer requests. One customer asked for a way to speed up playback options, and CrossBrowserTesting had the feature up and running within a month.

Additional Considerations

Other items that make the must-have list when it comes to cross-browser testing platforms include:

  • Cloud service: Having a cloud service where you can test remotely lets you run automated tests in parallel, instead of sequentially. This feature can boost the number of tests you execute as well as the speed you execute them again and again. Only cloud platforms offer this advantage.
  • Emulators, simulators, and real devices: While real devices tend to be better for usability testing, emulators and simulators are ideal for automation and regression tests to speed up testing considerably. A good cross-browser testing service will have a combination of emulators, simulators, and real devices.
  • Secure tunnel technology: Find this feature and you’ve found a way to test securely behind a firewall, across a proxy or on local files. This technology is vital for testing a website that has not yet been launched to the public, such as first-time or substantially revamped website designs.
  • Integrations: Selenium is a huge open source tool for automated testing, which means you’re likely to want a platform that features Selenium integration so you can run tests against real devices and browsers. You can also look for integrations for CI/CD like Jenkins and TeamCity, frameworks like Protractors and Nightwatch, and debugging extensions like Firebug and Chrome dev tools.

Related: How We Build Super-Charged Inbound Websites

As you can tell from the lineup of considerations, not all browser-testing tools are created equal. Some may be OK to have in your browser-testing toolbox, but the one you ultimately want to choose is one that easily replaces them all – while providing additional features, functionalities and high levels of satisfaction.

By: Roman Kniahynyckyj

Roman has been helping clients develop and implement revenue enhancing inbound marketing strategies since 2009. Prior to becoming an inbound marketer, Roman was a management consultant with Ernst & Young, Booz Allen Hamilton, BearingPoint, and KPMG. Roman's relentless focus on client satisfaction and client results has garnered accolades from many clients and teams.

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