In this technically advanced world, when someone wants to use any application, he or she has many options to choose from when it comes to the operating systems, browsers, networks and devices.
Let’s say a student is a regular user of Google; he uses it whenever he wants to research something. In school, he uses a desktop pc with Windows 8 OS and Internet Explorer browser. In his mobile device, he uses iOS and Safari browser. At home, he uses Windows 11 OS and Chrome browser. This student can use any of these devices to open Google’s website and search. Now it becomes Google’s responsibility to give its customers a seamless experience, and they need to make sure that their application works flawlessly on maximum possible combinations of browsers, devices, operating systems, etc.
This is true for all the applications or software available in the market. Organizations cannot deny the fact that every customer will have various combinations of browsers, devices, operating systems, etc. Organizations need to ensure that their application/software work on any of these combinations to make it widely used and give their customers satisfaction.
This tutorial discusses compatibility testing that is testing the application compatibility on various browsers, devices, hardware configurations, networks, and operating systems.
What is Compatibility Testing?
Compatibility testing is non-functional testing. It is carried out to verify whether an application or software can run on different devices, browsers, operating systems, hardware, and networks.
Advantages of Compatibility Testing
It is mainly aimed at giving quality customer experience. If any customer is facing an issue due to the application’s incompatibility, it may have a negative impact on the customer, and s/he might abandon the application/website. This testing ensures that the application works on all the possible combinations of devices, browsers, OS, etc. as desired.
Compatibility testing reduces future customer support required for the LIVE application. Whenever any customer faces issues because of the incompatibility of the application, s/he is likely to call the customer service. But if the application has been tested in advance and, these issues were identified and solved before passing the application for customer use, this unnecessary cost of customer service can be avoided.
Apart from the reduced cost of customer service, compatibility testing also helps in attracting and retaining more customers as it is directly connected to giving customer satisfaction, which helps in increasing an organization’s revenue.
Categories of Compatibility Testing
The following are various categories of compatibility testing-
- Hardware Compatibility Testing – In this type of testing, a developed application or software is tested on various hardware configurations to make sure it works on them in the desired manner.
- Network Compatibility Testing – In this type of testing, an application is checked on different networks such as WiFi, 3g, 4G, etc. for various parameters such as bandwidth, speed, etc.
- Operating System Compatibility Testing – Here, an application or software is tested by running it on different operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.
- Device Compatibility Testing – Device compatibility testing is done to check an application’s compatibility with various external devices such as Bluetooth, USB device, printer, etc.
- Mobile Compatibility Testing – In this type of testing, an application is tested on various mobile devices with different operating systems such as Android, iOS and Windows.
- Browser Compatibility Testing – It tests an application’s working on various browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc. to make sure it is compatible with them. To know more about cross-browser testing, click here.
- Software Compatibility Testing – In this type of testing, an application’s compatibility is checked with other software. For example, if an application has a feature which allows user to generate a PDF file, the user should be able to open this PDF file in adobe acrobat reader (being one of the most used pdf readers).
- Version Compatibility Testing – In this type of testing, an application’s compatibility with its older and newer versions is checked. Version compatibility testing has two types as follows-
- Backward Compatibility Testing – Backward compatibility testing tests an application’s compatibility with its older versions. For example, Office 2010’s Powerpoint software should be able to open a presentation made in Office 2007. It is easier to test as the functions of older versions are known.
- Forward Compatibility Testing – Forward compatibility testing makes sure an application is compatible with its future versions as much as possible. It is a bit difficult to do as all the features of the upcoming versions are not clear.
Process of Compatibility Testing
Compatibility testing requires thoughtful planning, as it requires setting up multiple platforms, browsers, operating systems, devices, network configurations, and hardware configurations.
Before starting compatibility testing, a testing team needs to make sure the application is ready to test with the complete development of all the important features.
After that, they need to make a list of all the platforms, devices, browsers, operating systems, etc. on which an application or software is likely to be used or with which an application or software is likely to interact. Testers should also have adequate knowledge of these platforms and devices which will be used for testing.
The next step is to set up an environment with all these platforms, browsers, devices, etc. and to test an application or software.
After testing, all the bugs will be reported and after review, they will be sent to the development team for the fixing.
Once bugs have been fixed, they will go to the testing team for defect verification.
Compatibility Testing Tools
- CrossBrowserTesting – CrossBrowserTesting is produced by SmartBear Company. They offer products such as live testing, visual testing, automated testing on more than 2050 browsers. They have different pricing plans along with a free trial for 7 days. It supports Selenium and Appium test scripts.
- Ghostlab – Glostlab allows testing of a website on multiple browsers and mobile devices simultaneously. You can download it for 7 days’ free trial. Interestingly, they accept payments in bitcoin apart from credit cards and Paypal.
- BrowserStack – It is a cloud-based automated testing platform that allows users to test their application on more than 2000 real devices and browsers. They have different pricing plans and they also provide a free trial. It also supports Selenium.
- LambdaTest – LambdaTest supports more than 2000 browsers and operating systems with products to perform automated testing, live testing, visual testing and to check responsiveness. They have various pricing plans along with one lite lifetime free plan.
- Ranorex – Founded by Ranorex GmbH, Ranorex studio is a GUI test automation framework. It supports selenium.
Compatibility testing is one of the most important testing types of non-functional testing. At times compatibility testing becomes expensive due to the number of devices, platforms involved in it. But even with a higher cost, as a result of compatibility testing, the organization gets great advantages such as customer satisfaction, more financial gain and many more.
Kuldeep is the founder and lead author of ArtOfTesting. He is skilled in test automation, performance testing, big data, and CI-CD. He brings his decade of experience to his current role where he is dedicated to educating the QA professionals. You can find him on LinkedIn.