How to Detect Web Browser Compatibility Issues for Your Enterprise Website and Web Applications?

There is no doubt that cross browser testing of web apps is one of the challenging tasks for QAs. But, at the same time, it is also the essential last step in the testing process that ensures your web app meets the set requirements. As we all know, the software market is growing rapidly with innovations in smartphones, browsers, and operating systems. Thus, it is crucial for businesses to provide a seamless user experience across all platforms.

A web app should work efficiently across all devices, operating systems, and browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Edge, etc. While all other testing processes can be executed easily, when it comes to cross-browser testing, QAs face a lot of compatibility issues due to various browser rendering engines. However, you can avoid these issues with minimal practice.

In this article, we will look at how you can avoid and detect web browser compatibility issues in the early stages.

  • Invalid HTML and CSS

Every browser has a different rendering engine that reads, interprets, and handles code differently. Sometimes, even developers omit certain closing tags and semicolons in the syntax while writing code. Although most browsers have a strong algorithm that autocorrects the syntax errors, not every browser has the same capability. These errors often create a problem while rendering for an old browser like Internet Explorer.

As a developer, you can avoid these errors in your code with the below steps:

  • Inserting comments wherever required
  • Writing well-designed code
  • Indentation and matching the opening-closing braces

You can also use validation tools like W3C HTML validator, CSS Lint, Jigsaw CSS Validator, JS Lint, and more to handle such situations.

  • !DOCTYPE Error

Doctype Error is one of the most common errors, leading to a faulty rendering. Though modern browsers don’t check for the Doctype error, browsers like IE 8.0 pay attention. So, in case your code is missing a Doctype error, the site will not render properly on browsers.

You might be thinking, why do browsers check doctype? There is a specific reason for that. While running a website or web app, browsers operate in two particular modes – Strict Mode and Quirks Mode.

In Strict mode, the browser works with stricter code error checks and makes sure that the code adheres to the W3C specifications. Finally, the Quirks mode provides backward compatibility to older browser versions that are not capable of performing strict error checking.

So, when there is a doctype error in the web app, the browser tends to go into the quirks mode. Besides, if any browser doesn’t support HTML5, it will not understand which version to look for. It will make your site unresponsive.

The simple solution to this problem is writing the one-line code at the very beginning of the code – !DOCTYPE html.

  • Layout Compatibility

Everyone needs a responsive application that works on all devices, OS, and browsers. So, the application layout must appear perfectly across all platforms. But, even after a lot of testing and changes, the layout doesn’t appear the way it should.

This often happens either due to an unresponsive design on mobile devices or due to modern browsers’ lack of support for layouts. You can now easily resolve these issues using floats supported by most browsers. But, a float is a floating image inside a text box that comes with limitations.

However, there are dedicated layout mechanisms like CSS grids and Flexbox for modern-day layout.

  • Reset CSS for Applying Another Design

Most modern browsers have a default design that is applied to every running website. To use a specific design layout for the application, you need to override the default design. If this is not followed, the application will render differently on different browsers.

The CSS reset is done in code by using CSS reset style sheets by developers. It will help you resolve many layout design issues. Some examples of CSS reset style sheets are – HTML5 Reset, GitHub based Normalize.css, Eric Meyer’s Reset CSS, etc.

  • JavaScript Issues

There are many issues related to JavaScript often faced during cross-browser compatibility. For instance, if the JavaScript code is written using the latest features of ES6/ECMAScript, it might not work. To avoid these errors, you can follow the below steps:

  • Use JavaScript library to ensure that the library supports browsers and features of the application
  • Use JavaScript Transpiling to convert the ES6/ECMAScript based code into a code that can run on older browsers
  • Vender Specific Functions

Most functions defined by the developer contain functionality specific to browsers. And while writing the CSS code, these browsers are signified by specific code snippets. Therefore, in order to ensure complete functionality and avoid the cross-browser issue, you need to ensure that the function is added without the prefix.

It will ensure that there is no error in other browsers. Some of the common vendor prefixes are – Opera (-o), Mozilla Firefox (-moz), Internet Explorer (-ms), and Chrome (-webkit).

  • Test on Real Devices

Though many testers have started using virtual machines to test their applications, it is advisable to use real devices to test web apps effectively. Using real devices, you can easily avoid cross-browser compatibility testing issues. However, it is impossible to set up a real device lab manually because it requires a lot of resources like devices, operating systems, mobile phones, etc.

So, the best approach is to use an automated tool that allows you to test your application across multiple devices. For example, LambdaTest is an astounding platform that supports 3000+ browsers, OS, and devices for automated testing and exploratory testing. It will enable you to easily test your web app across all the platforms. You can even run test cases in parallel across real devices in the minimum time possible. Furthermore, with LambdaTest, you can detect almost every browser compatibility issue that is stopping your web app from performing.

It supports different test automation frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, Playwright TestCafe, Puppeteer, Appium, Espresso, and XCUITest to run automation tests on a cloud-based infrastructure.  

  • Use Friendly Libraries and Frameworks

Most web apps rely on third-party libraries and frameworks, which help developers bring the application’s structure, scalability, and security. But, using incompatible libraries can lead to various cross-browser issues that range from the incorrect working of library features to a complete framework crash.

So, focus on using well-known and trusted frameworks and browser-friendly libraries, such as AngularJS, React JS, Bootstrap, Animate, jQuery, etc.

Wrap Up

Cross-browser compatibility testing is a challenging task for QAs, as it is almost impossible to get accurate results from every browser, OS, and device. But, you can avoid a lot of roadblocks in your web app cross-browser compatibility by using simple approaches and techniques. This article will help you understand how you can detect cross-browser compatibility issues in the early stages.

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