Compatibility Testing In Software Testing


In today’s world of competition, website and mobile applications are developed on a rapid basis. And this website and mobile applications are meant to run on different platforms. But, “How sure we are that the website or application built will run perfectly on all browsers and devices”. So, in order to overcome this type of thing we need Compatibility Testing, and tools to support it, Compatibility Testing Tools.

What is Compatibility Testing?

Compatibility Testing is a type of non-functional testing, which is generally performed to check the compatibility of the developer software/product or website/application under different environment. Compatibility testing is one of the important test types when performing Quality Assurance on a software development project. It is done against the different object like- Hardware, Browsers, Operating Systems, Databases, Devices and so on.This type of testing helps find out how well a system performs under a different environment and thus ensure better product quality.

Categories of Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing is done under different circumstances and thus is categorized into-

  • Hardware- 

    It checks the software compatibility with different types of hardware devices like USB port, printers, etc.
  • Software- 

    It checks the build software to be compatible with other software. For example- MS Excel should be compatible with MS Word, Outlook, etc.
  • Mobile- 

    Checking the build software/application is compatible with mobile devices with different OS and with different sizes.
  • Operating System

It checks the compatibility of the software to run properly in different operating systems like Windows, OSX, etc.

  • Browser- 

    Checking whether the built website is compatible and works properly different browsers.
  • Network- 

    It checks the software compatibility in different networks with all parameters like Bandwidth, Operating speed, capacity, etc.

Types of Compatibility Testing

1. Forward Compatibility Testing

Forward Compatibility testing is done to verify and test the software behavior whether the software or hardware is compatible with the newer version of software/hardware.

In Forward Compatibility Testing, all the dynamics of future compatible platforms are not known, hence it is a bit harder than the Backward Compatibility Testing.

2. Backward Compatibility Testing

Whereas Backward Compatibility Testing is done to check the software/hardware compatibility with the older version of the software/hardware.

In Backward Compatibility Testing, all the parameters and dynamics of the potential are known, hence it is much easier and predictable than Forward Compatibility Testing.

Compatibility Testing Tools

1. Cross browser testing

The cross-browser testing tool is one of the Compatibility Testing tools that support multiple OS and browser for performing compatibility testing. This is the perfect tool for browser testing which supports Ajax, Java script and Flash. It helps in testing multiple websites in browser and devices with instant result. It user real physical device for performing the testing.

2. Spoon Browser Sandbox

Spoon Browser Sandbox is one of the most powerful compatibility testing tools. It supports Backward compatibility and supports almost all web and mobile browsers. Spoon Browser Sandbox does not installed into your system rather we have to click Run to download the required browser from Microsoft and install in the Spoon account.

3. IE Tab

IE tab is an add-on for Chrome and Mozilla, using we can check the website in Internet Browser. IE tab is very simple and light and one of the best tool available for free.

4. Microsoft Super Preview

Microsoft Super Preview is another important tool used for compatibility testing. Using this tool developer and testers can view the website for IE, Mozilla, Chrome and Apple Safari browsers. It allows multiple pages with multiple browsers together and also helps in rendering the web page in the different orientation – horizontal and vertically.

5. Browser shots

Browser shots is the open source compatibility testing tool used for web testing. It helps in taking the screenshot of the website for different browsers in different operating systems and thus helps the developers and testers to identify the website look and feel. Though it has one drawback, as it takes much time to display the result by taking screenshots.

6. IE Tester

IE Tester Browser Compatibility testing tool is used for testing Internet Explorer. It is totally free. IE Tester is embedding multiple versions of Internet Explorer rendering engine into one single process. It supports in Windows 7, Windows Vista or XP with internet explorer version from IE5.5 to IE10.

7. Adobe Browser Lab

Adobe Browser Lab is a service which helps in performing cross-browser testing by producing screenshots for the website for multiple browsers including Windows and OS X. It uses Firebug or Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 for acting the dynamic or local pages in the website.

8. Browser Seal

Browser Seal is one of the fast and easy to use compatibility testing tools. Using this tool we can take screenshots of the website in multiple browsers and can inspect the difference. It supports almost all browser including Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera.

9. Virtual Desktop

Virtual Desktop is an Operating System Compatibility testing tool. It can be used to run the application in multiple systems with different operating systems as a virtual machine and then comparing the result.

10. Simulator and Emulator

Simulator and Emulator is a kind of interface that works similar to a real device. It is generally used by the developer to performing the unit testing the application built. We can easily install and uninstall application into the devices using it. The emulator is used for testing application built-in Android and Simulator is used for testing the application built in iOS.

Important Things to Focus On

When performing Compatibility testing, we should focus and pay attention to some important points. They are:

Web Browser- Sometimes, it may happen that the Client found an issue on the website in Google Chrome which the tester is unable to find as the tester was checking in Mozilla Firefox. So, Web Browser is the reason for it. So, our focus should be on the Web Browser which is used by our client or customers.

Operating System- We should also focus on the operating system being used for testing. Some software functionality gets limited based on the operating system versions also.

Screen Resolution- Graphical UI of the application or website is the most important thing. If the graphic is eye-catching, you have the more traffic and more client attracting to your application. So, while testing we focus on the common screen resolutions like- 800×600 pixels, 1024×768 pixels, 1280×800 pixels, etc.