Using BrowserStack for cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility testing

Using BrowserStack for cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility testing

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In the development process, every team has to maintain the high quality of their product. Though it is rather time-consuming, ensuring the product quality is an integral part of its success in the future.

Cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility

Important components of a web product quality are its cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility. Testing how your product pages appear on different browsers, desktop and mobile platforms is often as important as functional testing or other types of testing.

Why is compatibility testing so important?

"The picture" is the first thing a user sees, and few people will remain on the page if its structure is displayed incorrectly because of some features of a specific browser. Thus, the user leaves the page for purely aesthetic reasons, despite the high-quality functionality, performance, as well as interesting content. The site theming could be done on a high level, but with no testing in Internet Explorer or with 1366x768 resolution.

The situation is similar with the site’s display on mobile devices. The percentage of mobile Internet users is growing exponentially every year. Testing the pages with adaptive design is often more important than cross-browser testing for desktops. Often it is the adaptive design that hides many artifacts, moreover, the variety of mobile devices is incomparable to the variety of desktop ones, which makes the testing process more complicated. Here’s when we are faced with a question: 'How to organize cross-browser and cross-platform testing in the web product creation process?'.

How is cross-platform and cross-browser testing usually organized?

Usually, cross-browser and cross-platform testing is organized using one of these methods or their combination:

  • Testing on physical devices. This method may not always be convenient, because you have to work on a new device every time, for which there may be no customary software required for testing. Testing on physical devices is the most expensive, the cost of certain mobile devices is very high, new models regularly appear, and some customer may want to do the testing on something “unusual." One of the advantages of this method is that it provides the most accurate testing results.
  • Emulation of the required devices. This method is much cheaper than the previous one, because only man-hours are required for the emulation of the necessary platforms. Companies will not have to regularly buy new devices or allocate a separate room for them. The disadvantages of this method is that the testing is done on emulators, not on physical machines, so sometimes the testing results can be invalid. Besides, if a new version appears, it should be installed and configured from scratch.
  • The third way is to use online services that provide access to physical devices or emulators of the required platforms. This method maximally neutralizes the drawbacks of the two previous ones and has such indisputable advantages as simplicity, affordability and convenience.

Using BrowserStack for cross-platform and cross-browser testing

Today, more popularity is being gained by cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility testing with online services such as Saucelabs and BrowserStack.

Let us examine the latter in more detail. The key benefits of the BrowserStack service are simplicity, convenience, speed, the ability to test on real platforms. To start testing with BrowserStack, you do not need to install or configure anything for a long time. To improve the convenience, as well as to test locally deployed sites, you can install a browser plugin. For live testing, except for the latest and outdated browser versions, there also are pre-release browser versions of IE, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera.

BrowserStack testing advantages in more detail:

  • BrowserStack allows remote testing on physical devices;
  • screenshots you have made are already on your work desktop where you can mark trouble spots and keep testing with no need to copy/send screenshots from the tablet or phone on your desktop, besides, it is possible to make, edit and share screenshots in BrowserStack itself within a pre-created command;
  • quick switching from one testing platform to another;
  • quick ​​testing in different resolutions. BrowserStack has a list of resolutions to choose from, and enables responsive design testing by means of manual window resizing.
  • all browsers have web developers tools already installed that greatly simplify the testing process, so you don’t have to waste your time on testing environment setup.

More opportunities of website testing with BrowserStack

It is worth mentioning that BrowserStack makes screenshots of the entire page, not just the visible part of it, both on mobile and desktop platforms. This functionality greatly speeds up the testing of adaptive web page design.

BrowserStack supports the automated testing function using Selenium or JavaScript automated tests, as well as using popular continuous integration tools, such as Jenkins and Travis, which greatly enhances its use.


On the whole, BrowserStack is necessary both for QA testers and developers, because it makes website testing easier, more convenient, and saves their time.

Currently, anyone can have 30 minutes of cross-browser manual testing. So if you do not use BrowserStack but would like to try, you have a great opportunity to do so.

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