Ask DN: How do you cross-browser test?

almost 9 years ago from , Head of Product at SoPost

Would be great to get people's feedback on their experiences with cross-browser testing. Here's some of the tools that I've used before:

  • Virtual machines (VirtualBox, VM Ware, etc.)
  • BrowserStack
  • Using real devices in device labs

What are people's thoughts on SauceLabs vs BrowserStack?

When we have to be strict with Quality Assurance when putting clients' sites live, testing thoroughly is vitally important. Does anyone have any tips on reducing repetitive tasks with cross-browser testing?

Any general thoughts and tips would be really appreciated as well!


  • Deryck HensonDeryck Henson, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    Virtualbox with various Windows installations. I'd use Browserstack if I thought it was worth paying for but having all the VMs open at once makes testing seamless and super quick.

    Plus this is what Modernizr is for.

    Aside from various Javascript annoyances, anything past IE 9 is going to support most things you use and those that don't you plan ahead for. Most developers shouldn't need to do hands-on or screenshot testing until the very end of the development process.

    3 points
  • Ryan RushingRyan Rushing, almost 9 years ago

    +1 for Browserstack

    3 points
    • James RosenthalJames Rosenthal, almost 9 years ago

      +1 for Browsertack making big improvements on speed, especially in mobile testing. It's less of a nightmare than it was a few months ago.

      0 points
  • Alex ChanAlex Chan, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    VMs mostly (VMware currently, but VirtualBox is great as well). I found BrowserStack very slow and difficult to use when testing out complex interactions (this was 6 months or so ago so it may have improved since then). The same goes for SauceLabs. Between the two of them, I think BrowserStack has the better UI.

    I use the IE9 VM for testing IE9 and below by using the compatibility mode switcher. I have separate ones for IE10 and IE11 because IE10 dropped support for conditional IE comments which are key for fixing rendering issues in earlier versions of IE.

    I get my VMs for IE here: https://www.modern.ie/en-us/virtualization-tools (you can install any browser along with IE to test in a Windows environment as well).

    For phones/tablets, I use emulators. The iOS emulator packaged with Xcode is great and does everything well. I've yet to find a good Android emulator. The one packaged with ADT is terrible.

    2 points
    • Lee MartinezLee Martinez, almost 9 years ago

      I've yet to find a good Android emulator. The one packaged with ADT is terrible.

      How about Genymotion? It's fast as hell, and free for personal use

      0 points
      • David Ingledow, almost 9 years ago

        Genymotion is good, but I've found it a little buggy.

        I'm also looking for a way to get the Play Store and Google Chrome on an Android VM.

        1 point
  • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, almost 9 years ago

    Related: Ask DN: Internet Explorer testing methods

    2 points
  • Arun KP, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    IE - Remote IE chrome, safari, firefox on mac and windows(virtualbox) finally, browserstack.

    1 point
  • Danielle Felder, almost 7 years ago

    You might find real user reviews for Sauce Labs, Browserstack and all the other major cross-browser testing tools on IT Central Station to be helpful: https://www.itcentralstation.com/categories/functional-testing-tools/tzd/c278-sf-63.

    As an example, this user writes in his review of Sauce Labs that he is "able to test on real devices in the cloud without having to manage the devices locally." You can read the rest of his review here: https://www.itcentralstation.com/product_reviews/sauce-labs-review-41567-by-jayson-smith/tzd/c278-sf-63.

    0 points
  • Jochen DelJochen Del, almost 9 years ago

    Disclaimer: I work for TestingBot

    Have any of you tried out TestingBot to do manual browser testing? We're focussing on speed to make testing as smooth as possible.

    If anyone wants to try it out, please let me know and I'll send you a coupon for a 1-month free "Small Team" account

    0 points
  • Kemie GuaidaKemie Guaida, almost 9 years ago

    Browserstack has been in my experience the easiest and most complete solution. I can test local & remote in a huge variety of devices and browsers. I used to use VM, but it was more of a hassle

    0 points
  • Paulo ManriquePaulo Manrique, almost 9 years ago

    I guess the only thing you need is Modern IE.

    0 points
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, almost 9 years ago

    I just let the customers complain then I fix.

    0 points
  • Geoff YuenGeoff Yuen, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    I installed VMs via ievms

    0 points
  • Patrick StinnettPatrick Stinnett, almost 9 years ago

    Virtualbox + modern.ie

    0 points
  • Clark DinnisonClark Dinnison, almost 9 years ago

    VirtualBox with various IE installs. Free & easy to set up.

    0 points
  • Cody Cowan, almost 9 years ago

    We use sauce labs as part of QA/testing process (mainly for automated testing), but it has the ability to do manual tests on a seemingly limitless combination of OSes and browsers, which makes it incredibly useful and well worth the money.

    0 points
  • Lucas CobbLucas Cobb, almost 9 years ago

    +1 for BrowserStack as well.

    I also test a site on iPad, iPad mini, android and iPhone (real devices) before Go Live.

    Unfortunately there are no shortcuts when it comes to QA'ing a site. Be as thorough as you can when testing as every site is different. If you put QA in a box then bugs can be missed.

    0 points
  • Colm TuiteColm Tuite, almost 9 years ago

    For me at least, cross-browser testing has become a different problem, compared to what it used to be. IE has advanced far enough now that I don't need to do much (if any) testing for weird layout bugs.

    Most of my cross browser testing relates to how things look and feel. For example, testing font rendering across Mac/Windows or testing animations etc. For that type of testing, I don't think there's currently any substitute for the real thing, which as it happens, is a bit of a pain in the hole.

    0 points
  • Rıza Selçuk SaydamRıza Selçuk Saydam, almost 9 years ago

    For front-end browser tests, we use BrowserStack but after back-end development we do real device tests in our little lab. Also Selenium tests runs every hour.

    But we're also looking for better ways.

    0 points
  • Eliot HillEliot Hill, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

    Currently going through exactly the same dilemma. My preference is for BrowserStack but as we are developing on Laravel VirtualBox is the only reasonable way but it feels incredible archaic and slow.

    We have set out a list of the browsers and software we are going to support as a first which is helping to keep focus.

    Having said all this, some of the bugs that we found on VirtualBox and iOS simulators do not appear when tested on the physical devices so there's something to be said for that.

    I've basically concluded: Physical devices: most accurate when testing specific models, most expensive Browserstack: best for general testing across huge and varied platforms Virtual Machines: Annoying as hell but very good for debugging the hell out of ie


    0 points
    • Alan IonitaAlan Ionita, almost 9 years ago (edited almost 9 years ago )

      The same goes for builds that work fine in Virtual Box, but have bugs on the real thing.

      We moved away from Browserstack because it's harder to actually figure out what's causing the bug.

      So for us it's VirtualBox for windows and android tablets which is a pain, but works. Also device testing for iOS and Android.

      1 point