Automated web application testing is easy, right? You sit down at a client computer, pop open a browser, record a few scripts that reflect test cases, then set them up to execute automatically on the application. You may have to go in and adjust some of the parameters to make sure the script with exercise the right control with appropriate data, but other than that, you’re ready to play back those scripts during normal testing activities.
But one wrinkle is that actual use is a little messier than that. For example, users are likely to use different browsers with your web application. Years ago, it would have been possible to test with a couple of different releases of Microsoft Internet Explorer and cover over 90 percent of visitor traffic. Testing with different browsers was a very minor part of the testing process.
But users have become more savvy about web browsers today, and the alternatives have become better. Chrome, FireFox and its cousin Mozilla, and Safari are all in common use, and in some measurements Chrome use is at least the equal of IE.
Fortunately, many automated functional testing tools let you simulate test execution using different browsers and often different versions of the same browser. Generally, FireFox, Chrome, and IE (current or past version) are provided as possible test automation clients. Testers can have a level of confidence that the application works with the script running from different browsers.
But what about recording those scripts on different browsers? At first thought, you might think that it wouldn’t matter. What is the goal of recording automated tests with more than one browser? But think about it for a minute.
There are a couple of clear advantages of this capability. The obvious one is that you’re not limited in your personal or organizational choice of browser for recording your tests. If you have a preference, or if your organization mandates a particular browser, you can use that one to record your tests.
A second, and more important reason from a quality standpoint, is that different browsers can interact with the same web application in different ways. Depending on the implementation details of the application, it’s possible that one or more popular browsers will render the page incorrectly, or produce an error on the page. If it’s critical that your web application appears the same, no matter what the browser, you’re going to want to test for this.
You won’t know this unless you generate the test script from the web browser in question. With multiple browser recording, you can make sure that almost anyone using your application sees exactly what you want them to see.
The new Test Studio R1 2013 lets testers both playback and record tests from multiple browsers, including IE, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. It’s launching next week, so check it out.
Peter Varhol is an Evangelist for Telerik’s TestStudio. He’s been a software developer and software product manager, technology journalist, and university professor among the many roles in his past, and believes that his best talent is explaining concepts and practices to others. He’s on Twitter at @pvarhol.