Compatibility Testing In Software Testing

In today’s world of competition, websites, and mobile applications are being developed rapidly. This website and mobile application are meant to run on different platforms. But, “How sure we are that the website or application built will run perfectly on all browsers and devices”. So, in order to overcome this type of thing, we need Compatibility Testing and tools to support it, Compatibility Testing Tools.

What is Compatibility Testing?

Compatibility Testing is a non-functional testing generally performed to check the compatibility of the developer software/product or website/application under different environments. Compatibility testing is one of the important test types when performing Quality Assurance on a software development project. It is done against different objects like- Hardware, Browsers, Operating Systems, Databases, Devices, and so on. This testing type helps determine how well a system performs under a different environment, thus ensuring better product quality.

Categories of Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing is done under different circumstances and thus is categorized into-

  • Hardware- It checks the software compatibility with devices like USB ports, printers, etc.
  • Software- It checks the build software to be compatible with other software. For example- MS Excel should be compatible with MS Word, Outlook, etc.
  • Mobile- Checking the build software/application is compatible with mobile devices with different OS and sizes.
  • Operating System– It checks the compatibility of the software to run properly in different operating systems like Windows, OSX, etc.
  • Browser- Checking whether the built website is compatible and works properly with different browsers.
  • Network- It checks the software compatibility in different networks with all parameters like Bandwidth, Operating speed, capacity, etc.

Types of Compatibility Testing

1. Forward Compatibility Testing

Forward Compatibility testing is done to verify and test the software behavior to determine whether the software or hardware is compatible with the newer version of the software/hardware.

In Forward Compatibility Testing, all the dynamics of future compatible platforms are unknown. Hence it is a bit harder than the Backward Compatibility Testing.

2. Backward Compatibility Testing

Meanwhile, Backward Compatibility Testing is done to check the software/hardware compatibility with the older version of the software/hardware.

In Backward Compatibility Testing, all the parameters and dynamics of the potential are known; hence, it is much easier and more predictable than Forward Compatibility Testing.

Compatibility Testing Tools

1. Cross-browser testing

The cross-browser testing tool is one Compatibility Testing tool that supports multiple OS and browsers for performing compatibility testing. This is the perfect tool for browser testing, which supports Ajax, Javascript, and Flash. It helps in testing multiple websites in browsers and devices with instant results. It uses a real physical device for performing the testing.

2. SpoonBrowser Sandbox

SpoonBrowser Sandbox is one of the most powerful compatibility testing tools. It supports Backward compatibility and supports almost all web and mobile browsers. SpoonBrowser Sandbox is not installed in your system; rather, we must click Run to download the required browser from Microsoft and install it in the Spoon account.

3. IE Tab

IE tab is an add-on for Chrome and Mozilla, and we can check the website in Internet Browser. IE tab is very simple and light and is one of the best tools available for free.

4. Microsoft SuperPreview

Microsoft SuperPreview is another important tool used for compatibility testing. This tool lets developers and testers view the website for IE, Mozilla, Chrome, and Apple Safari browsers. It allows multiple pages with multiple browsers together and also helps render the web page in horizontal and vertical orientations.

5. Browsershots

Browsershots is the open-source compatibility testing tool used for web testing. It helps take screenshots of the website for different browsers in different operating systems and thus helps the developers and testers identify the website’s look and feel. However, it has one drawback: it takes much time to display the result by taking screenshots.

6. IE Tester

The IETester Browser Compatibility testing tool is used to test Internet Explorer. It is free. IETester embeds multiple Internet Explorer rendering engine versions into one single process. It supports Windows 7, Vista, or XP with Internet Explorer versions from IE5.5 to IE10.

7. Adobe Browser Lab

Adobe Browser Lab is a service that helps perform cross-browser testing by producing screenshots for the website for multiple browsers, including Windows and OS X. It uses Firebug or Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 for acting the dynamic or local pages in the website.

8. Browser Seal

Browser Seal is a fast and easy-to-use compatibility testing tool. Using this tool, we can take screenshots of the website in multiple browsers and inspect the difference. It supports almost all browsers, including Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera.

9. Virtual Desktop

Virtual Desktop is an Operating System Compatibility testing tool. It can run the application in multiple systems with different operating systems as a virtual machine and then compare the result.

10. Simulator and Emulator

Simulator and Emulator is a kind of interface that works like a real device. The developer generally uses it to performing the unit testing of the application built. We can easily install and uninstall applications on the devices using it. The emulator is used for testing application built in Android and the Simulator is used for testing applications built in iOS.

Important Things to Focus On

When performing Compatibility testing, we should focus on some important points. They are:

Web Browser- Sometimes, the client may find an issue on the website in Google Chrome, which the tester cannot find as the tester checked in Mozilla Firefox. So, the Web Browser is the reason for it. So, our focus should be on the Web Browser used by our clients or customers.

Operating System- We should also focus on the operating system for testing. Some software functionality gets limited based on the operating system versions.

Screen Resolution- The graphical UI of the application or website is the most important thing. If the graphic is eye-catching, you have more traffic and more clients attracted to your application. So, while testing, we focus on the common screen resolutions like- 800×600 pixels, 1024×768 pixels, 1280×800 pixels, etc.

I love open-source technologies and am very passionate about software development. I like to share my knowledge with others, especially on technology that's why I have given all the examples as simple as possible to understand for beginners. All the code posted on my blog is developed, compiled, and tested in my development environment. If you find any mistakes or bugs, Please drop an email to, or You can join me on Linkedin.

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