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If you start thinking about testing after completing your web application, you’re already too late. The decisions you make before and during development impact and shape testing more than one might think. And not involving testing from the start may lead to some severe problems that can prevent a timely release. In particular, cross browser tests can be a bottleneck. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 6 essential factors that can help you improve cross browser testing and plan ahead!

1. New Isn’t Necessarily Better

Web technology advances swiftly, and innovative features are being introduced with each new browser version. We know the urge to use fancy new tech in a project can be massive. But you have to keep in mind that new doesn’t automatically mean better! Some of these functionalities are still in beta, experimental, or not yet supported in all major browsers. As a result, you deliberately introduce cross browser variations into your product and face a more difficult time testing.

Our advice:
If using a particular new technology brings no real value to your users, think twice about integrating it into your app. Avoid unnecessary cross browser variations in your web application.

2. Stop Reinventing the Wheel

When your team plans the technology stack for your next web-based project, see if you can use existing frameworks, libraries, and so on. Use React, Vue.js, or Angular, and don’t depend on Vanilla JS in your app too much. You not only save a considerable amount of time in development but also during testing!
The same is true for CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation. They are already tested on a wide range of browsers, and devices, saving you time testing your app.

Our advice:
Go with established frameworks and libraries to write your CSS and JavaScript code. They are usually thoroughly tested, and you can safely use them in your project. That way, you reduce the code you need to write and validate. Additionally, you can reuse already tested components, further reducing testing time.

3. Only Test Clean Code

Have your developers follow coding and style guidelines and let them deliver clean, consistent code. As a result, your code is less error-prone, and bugs can be found more efficiently. Additionally, anyone in the team can work on the source code regardless of who wrote it. If you don’t have guidelines or don’t have the resources to create them, use existing ones! Why not use style guidelines from other companies such as the Airbnb React/JSX Style Guide?

Our advice:
Using and enforcing coding and style guidelines makes developing and testing your app more straightforward. Ensure your team delivers clean code by having your developers install code linters in their IDEs. These linters should automatically check the written code against your guidelines and find minor errors, like spelling mistakes or missing brackets.
As a result, cleaner code – without the usual minor errors – arrives at your testers without investing too much extra time!

4. Make Use of Automation

Test automation can help you shorten testing time significantly so you can release updates and bug-fixes more often. Although automating cross browser testing can be a bit tricky in some places, we can’t shut our eyes to the benefits. Automating tests also means that your devs and testers can eliminate repetitive and tedious tasks from their todo list. This gives them more time to create new features and perform necessary manual tests.

Our advice:
First, see what you can automate and which parts or browsers you should manually test. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Follow TDD for your JavaScript code. Write and automate unit tests by using a framework like Mocha.
  • Use browser automation and inspection tools like Selenium WebDriver to automate your end-to-end tests.
  • Take a look at the different tools in the Selenium suite that help you test your apps. Learn more about the suite in our blog article series about Selenium.
  • Make sure your app looks immaculate on different screen resolutions by automating image regression testing. Cloud-based services like CrossbrowserTesting provide the functionality you need.

5. Test on a Large Scale

Automating your tests is nearly worthless if you don’t run them on real browsers and devices, preferably at the same time. Sure, test automation saves time, but if you have to run these tests on one device and one browser at a time, the process takes forever. Also, keep in mind that your users are real people who use real computers, smartphones, tablets, and browsers. Can you imagine anyone using emulators to browse the internet? Consequently, make sure to run your automated tests on multiple real-world devices and browsers in parallel. This lets you test more efficiently so you can spend more time on other things.

Our advice:
Choose a cloud-based testing service, that lets you run tests on multiple real-world devices and browsers simultaneously. As a result, you can run more tests in less time while ensuring your app works as intended in a variety of real-world scenarios. In the end, you can release new features to your customers with more confidence.

6. Bring Continuous Integration into Play

If you’ve integrated all previous steps into your workflow to improve cross browser testing, then Continuous Integration (CI) is the icing on the cake. If you are unfamiliar with CI, be sure to read some information on this topic, as you will undoubtedly benefit greatly.
In a nutshell, CI works as follows: Whenever a developer pushes code into the project’s central repository, several jobs start running. Usually, these jobs perform a variety of tests. In the end, CI helps you determine whether the committed code is releasable – only commits that pass the validation get accepted.

Our advice:
Using CI does not require your developers to start the tests manually, so no test can be forgotten. Additionally, only perfectly valid code is accepted for release. Not only does CI automate repetitive processes, but it also makes sure your app performs at its best. You can find many different CI tools that meet your specific needs. For example, use Jenkins if you want to run jobs on a dedicated server. Or use TravisCI if you wish to use a cloud service instead. However, many, but not all, cross browser tests, can be integrated into a CI job. Consequently, you need to pick the service that’s most compatible with your other tools!

Wrapping up – Improve Cross Browser Testing by Using the Right Tools

Test early and often, use tools that fit your needs, and make sure you run automated tests on real devices as often as possible! Use different tools and services that match your situations and needs. Don’t hesitate to use a cloud-based service to make your test processes more efficient and resource-saving. Why not take a look at the different services offered by our friends at crossbrowsertesting.com and try them for free?

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Sarah Mischinger

Tech Writer