Say you do your development work on a Mac, but you’d like to test out some designs in Microsoft Edge, which doesn’t have macOS version. Or vice versa! You work on a PC and you need to test on Safari, which no longer makes a Windows version.
It’s a classic problem, and one I’ve been dealing with for a decade. I remember buying a copy of Windows Vista, buying software to manage virtual machines, and spending days just getting a testing environment set up. You can still go down that road, if you, ya know, love pain. Or you can use CrossBrowserTesting and have a super robust testing environment for a huge variety of browsers/platforms/versions without ever leaving the comfort of your favorite browser.
It’s ridiculously wonderful.
Getting started, the most basic thing you can do is pick a browser/platform, specify a URL, and fire it up!
Once the test is running, you can interact with it just as you might suspect. Click, scroll, enter forms… it’s a real browser! You have access to all the developer tools you might suspect. So for example, you can pop open the DevTools in Edge and poke around to figure out a bug.
When you need to do testing like this, it’s likely you’re in development, not in production. So how do you test that? Certainly, CrossBrowserTesting’s servers can’t see your localhost! Well, they can if you let them. They have a browser extension that allows you to essentially one-click-allow testing of local sites.
One of the things I find myself reaching to CrossBrowserTesting for is for getting layouts working across different browsers. If you haven’t heard, CSS grid is here! It’s supported in a lot of browsers, but not all, and not in the exact same way.
CrossBrowserTesting is the perfect tool to help me with this. I can pop open what I’m working on there, make changes, and get it working just how I need to. Perhaps getting the layout replicated in a variety of browsers, or just as likely, crafting a fallback that is different but looks fine.
Notice in that screenshot above the demo is on CodePen. That’s relevant as CrossBrowserTesting allows you to test on CodePen for free! It’s a great use case for something like Live View, where you can be working on a Pen, save it, and have the changes immediately reflected in the Live View preview, which works great even through CrossBrowserTesting.
The live testing is great, but there is also screenshot-based visual testing, in case you want to, say, test a layout in dozens of browsers at once. Much more practical to view a thumbnail grid all at once!
And there is even more advanced stuff. CrossBrowserTesting has automated testing features that make functional testing and visual testing on real browsers simple. Using Selenium, an open source testing framework, I can write scripts in the language of my choice that mimic a real user’s actions: logging into the app, purchasing a plan, and creating a new project. I can then run the tests on CrossBrowserTesting, making sure that these actions work across browsers and devices. Because CrossBrowserTesting is in the cloud, I can run my tests against production websites and applications that bring in revenue.
Functional testing can be a life saver, assuring that everything is working and your customers can properly interact with your product. Once these tests have run, I can even see videos or screenshots of failures, and start debugging from there.