Gone are the days where cross platform testing was just about an optimized OS browser software testing strategy to check how an application fared across supported operating systems and browsers.
Given how the test efforts were largely manual back in the days, even this was often a time consuming task.
Today cross platform testing has a complete new outlook – with the kind of applications that are developed, the diverse set of platforms that they are delivered on, co-existence and synchronization across platforms, the scope and scale are huge.
However, thanks to automation and a smart software testing strategy, the required test coverage is still being achieved by testing teams.
Let’s take a very typical example of an application that is developed in today’s world. A web presence and mobile presence have become mandatory.
At a bare minimum applications get tested on the web and on iOS and Android. Automation touches on UI, API and mobile pieces.
Within each of these, the core OS/browser support is provided wherever a GUI is available. However, testing frameworks are designed with maximum re-usability such that once created they are leverage-able with minimum changes to be used across other areas.
For example, hybrid testing frameworks to test for both UI and API are becoming a norm. Web testing framework is being used with minor changes for mobile automation too.
The core automation solution often supports cross platform testing, with tests that can be executed across the supported matrix.
While these complexities have come in given the scale of operations today, optimization is simultaneously happening at several levels:
- At a business level – where teams are aware of a prioritized set of platforms to work with. This includes platforms where complete support is important, ones where a sanity would suffice. Teams are also able to brainstorm with stakeholders on which issues to take in and which can be left as is, making cross platform quality an informed exercise
- At a tool level – test automation and varied analytics tools provide a lot of features to take on cross platform testing, give valuable data in putting together the right software testing strategy, making this exercise very doable from timeline and prioritization standpoints
- At an experiential level – while objective elements around business analysis, tool features etc. make cross platform testing easier today, nothing can take away the experience and past learnings of the tester. While they are subjective in nature, the tester’s prior experience and gut still play a very important role in determining the desired test coverage and bring in the required levels of optimization
- At a regression level – cross platform testing, today takes an important seat not just in the core test effort, but also in the regression suites, given the diverse user feedback that continues to flow in post-production release. The regression suites are herein kept very small, but they are often run across the supported matrix to ensure thoroughness and to this extent, automated regression suites are playing a very important role in the overall test strategy.
The scale, scope and tools associated with cross platform testing may have changed, and will continue to change.
The core essence where it remains both a science and an art, will never change, giving this activity an important seat in every software testing strategy.