What is Cross Browser and how is testing done?

Those who work with development probably know and have already used the cross browser test in one of their projects. Testing is responsible for ensuring that a website or application is compatible with multiple browsers at the same time.

Given the amount of browsers available and the huge number of updates, browser tests are necessary so that the pages always continue to work without major problems.

In this article we are going to delve into the importance of cross browser and bring step by step how to do a cross browser test.

What is cross browser?

Cross browser is the ability of a website to be compatible between the main web browsers. That is, it refers to the settings of websites working correctly on pages such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc.

Importance of cross browser testing

To ensure that the websites work well in most browsers, the backend developer needs to cross browser test the websites. In summary, the cross browser is important for the developer to be able to identify failures and correct them , ensuring that the sites work in all browsers and devices.

Why do problems occur between browsers?

Typically, cross-browser issues arise from a number of issues. Firstly, because most browsers, especially mobile ones, do not follow navigation standards and the implementation of resources happens differently in each browser.

Another reason for bugs across browsers is that they have different levels of support for technology features . This means that if you want to implement advanced features, some may not work on older browsers due to lack of updates.

Step by step to do the cross browser test

Now that you know the importance of the cross browser, we have prepared a tutorial on how to test it. Usually, it is done in 5 steps and we will talk about each of them below:

1. Define test browsers

First, it is necessary to define in which browsers the test will be performed. To do this, you need to have a plan defined together with the site’s client and have some information available, such as:

  • What will be the functionalities and contents of the site?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Which browsers and devices are most used by the public?

With this information available, you can move on to the next step.

2. Create a strategy

To develop your cross browser testing strategy, you need to analyze the responses obtained earlier in planning with the client.

From them, you can choose in which web browsers the tests will be carried out, according to the most popular browsers and devices among your project’s target audience.

For example, a recent survey by StatCounter , a web traffic analysis company, points to Chrome (65.86%), Safari (18.67%) and Edge (4.45%) as the top three web browsers all around the world.
It is imperative to carry out the Cross Browser Test on your website before going live to avoid bugs and errors.
Therefore, when setting up your strategy, it is practically mandatory that you include tests in these browsers, both in the desktop and mobile versions.

But, in addition to popularity, you can classify browsers and take them into account when choosing which ones to test:

  • Group A – Common Browsers: Full Test and Support;
  • Group B – Older browsers: test and make sure the user will have a basic experience when accessing the site;
  • Group C – Unknown browsers: do not test, but make sure that at least the main information of your site will be available in these browsers.

3. Learn to deal with common problems

Right after putting together the strategy, it’s time to identify the problems between the chosen browsers. Problems are typically found with HTML /CSS, JavaScript , and site accessibility.

The most common issues identified in cross browser testing are:

  • HTML/CSS: Responsive design, HTML surrogate behavior and the use of CSS prefixes;
  • JavaScript: modern features and new APIs that don’t work in old browsers;
  • Accessibility: color and color contrast, context of elements and alternative texts.

4. Implement crash detection

Once you’ve found common errors, it’s time to implement feature detection that serves to test whether features are compatible with the current browser . If they are compatible, the code will run to provide a better experience on both supported and unsupported browsers.

Typically, developers use Modernizr , a feature detection library, in this process of looking for cross browser test failures.

5. Automate and configure cross browser tests

Finally, it’s time to test your site! Tests are important to identify failures, correct them and prevent errors such as Error 403 Forbidden from appearing in the user’s browser.

For testing, professionals usually use Selenium , a browser automation tool that has a powerful API called WebDriver that automates some processes.

In general, tests are carried out in several browsers at the same time and atomic tests, autonomous tests and with a good geolocator strategy are usually written.

Advantages of doing a cross browser test

Those who work in the area, be it web development or mobile development , know that cross browser testing is a step that brings advantages. Check out the main ones below:

User Experience

A cross browser site, which is functional and works well in most browsers, improves the user experience (user experience) and makes the user feel more satisfied when navigating the pages of the site.

Avoid bugs

Cross browser testing lessens site bugs for users , as most of the time they are identified and fixed before the sites go live.

Challenges of doing a cross browser test

For anyone working in development, the biggest cross browser challenge is coding defensively to ensure that a site works well across the many browsers available today.

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