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Before we start exploring the importance of cross browser compatibility testing and how we should perform it. Let us know what do we mean my cross browser?

Today we have lots of web browsers available that our users can use to browse our websites. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera are most widely used web browsers on desktop but are not limited to. It’s not possible to guess what platform or which browser or which version of the browser will be used by our end users to access the web application we have developed unless you are lucky enough to build websites for B2B where you can recommend using a particular web browser :).


The ability of rendering on different web browsers of our web application are referred as Cross Browser compatibility. HTML, CSS, Client side scripts are major elements that affects the rendering of content and functionality of the web application on various web browsers.

I believe the cross browser testing must have been started in late 1990 when the “browser war” started Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer  and we started using JavaScript’s as scripting language. Since Java script was a scripting language it was important that all clients (browsers) should understand and render the functionality in same way it was designed to work. Rapid evolution on different versions of HTML, CSS, JavaScript’s and Web Browsers almost made it mandatory to test web application on widely used web browsers before we actually release it to end users.Currently the end users have wide range of choice of browsers which they choose based on their preference. It is the responsibility designers and developers to ensure that web applications we have created are compatible with most of the commonly used browsers. Below are links to some Browser stats that can help in understanding the popularity of web browsers:

  1. Stats Counter
  2. Wiki Pidea
  3. W3Counter

Importance of Cross Browser Testing:
For me there are 2 main aspects of Cross Browser Testing:
1. Style Sheets and HTML Tags: Some of the Cascading Style Sheets render differently across browsers/browser versions, these are mainly due to unsupported tags, styles or values used in CSS and HTML. Older versions of browsers are generally affected by this, I am say this with my personal experience with Internet Explorer.
2. Client Side Scripts: When using any client side scripts frame work and ready available JavaScript on internet, it’s important to understand what support is and what is not supported in the browsers. This is another important aspect for cross browser testing.


How Do You Conduct Cross Browser Testing?
Cross Browser Testing can be performed in various ways. Either you can choose to test it manually by sitting on computer and browsing the web applications in multiple web browsers or you can choose online or offline tools to do this job. Manual way will give you an upper hand on testing the functionality specially related to client side scripting and tools will give you convenience to check the rendering of application on multiple browsers quickly. Some of the tools available for Cross Browser Testing are as follows:

  1. Browser Stack (Paid): This is web based browsing testing tool.
  2. Broswera (Paid)
  3. Saucelabs (Paid)
  4. (Paid)
  5. Browser Shots (Free): Browsershots makes screenshots of your web design in different operating systems and browsers. It is a free open-source online web application providing developers a convenient way to test their website’s browser compatibility in one place.
  6. Cross Browser Testing (Paid): This is an online tool. Check out their demo.
  7. IE Tester (Free): IETester is a free (both for personal and professional usage)  you will have to download and install this application.
  8. BrowserLing (Free & Paid): This is online tool
  9. Browser Sandbox (Free & Paid)
  10. Net Renderer:  This online tool is ideally suited for web designers working onApple Mac and Linux. It allows to verify web designs natively on all popular Internet Explorer versions without the need to have several Windows PCs

Thanks for reading, Do let me know your thoughts.


Ravi Ranjan

Ravi Ranjan is Business savvy and Technically sophisticated professional with experience of more than 14 Years, reflecting strong leadership qualifications, primarily in Project management and Business Analysis. Currently spearheading as Project Manager and handling Techno Functional role in an IT Firm in Mumbai.

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