Cross browser testing made easy by BrowserStack

Nowadays, creating a website became easy with the advent of HTML5 and CSS3 but testing the same web application in various browsers and different operating systems is really a tedious job. In this article I would like to explain how to make cross browser testing easier using 'BrowserStack'.

Many of us face the same problem of booting up of an entire virtual machine just to test a web application in a particular browser. With BrowserStack, we don't need any VMs. We need to just enter the URL of our website or application and it will take care of remaining things. Let us see how things work on BrowserStack.

What is BrowserStack?

BrowserStack is the brain child of two IITians, Ritesh Arora and Nakul Aggarwal. After their education at IIT Bombay, they started working on creating a website for their consultancy services. It took only two days for them to build a website but the real task started when they started testing on different browsers and OSes. It is very hard and time consuming. Then they started working on different ways to efficiently test their website. At last they found a solution and named it as 'BrowserStack'.

What browserstack can do?

With BrowserStack, we don't need any of the virtual machines to test our application. It provides everything that we need to test our application on all common browsers and platforms. It offers an interactive environment within our browser with all the necessary browsers along with their developer tools to test in real time. In short, it provides instant access to a browser in a virtual machine with developer tools. It is like live testing of your application on other browsers through your browser.

So, How to start with BrowserStack?

For BrowserStack, we don't need to download any application and install it. To start with Broswerstack we need to setup account either for trail version or a paid plan. Free trial lasts for just 30 minutes. When we log in, we will see the BrowserStack interface as shown in the below figure.

BrowserStack Landing Page

It allows you to specify a public URL or even use it to test internal applications of your system or network. The UI comes with lot of dropdown menus to choose the required operating system and browser. We can even choose the preferred screen resolution.

Various Browsers and OSes

We can even test web applications local to our system or network. For that, we need to install either a browser plugin or using command line binaries. For browser plugin, we need to download and then install it accordingly. For working with command line interface, we just need to follow the steps specified under the section. The whole above said feature comes under the category 'Live'.

Local testing using Binaries

We can even automate the tests instead of manual testing. 'Automate' feature provides a platform to run automated browser tests using Selenium or JavaScript. Like live, this feature allows testing both public URLs and local URLs using local testing. There is a huge amount of information under docs section on how to automate tests, languages used and how to implement them.

Automation Feature

Screenshots feature of BrowserStack helps to conduct rapid layout testing of the websites. It instantly generates screenshots of the website in more than 650+ browsers, by selecting 25 at a time. We can use these screenshots for comparison and reference in the future.

Screenshots feature

Another feature from BrowserStack is 'Responsive'. The name itself says that it is for 'Responsive layouts'. Yes, it lets you test your website for different mobile devices and OSes. We can use the screenshots feature combined with this feature.

Responsive feature

Final Verdict

Seriously, you can't find this type of web service with easy UI interface and support for automation anywhere. So, It looks like may be in future, BrowserStack is a must for all who are developing web applications because they cannot escape from cross browser testing and more over it gives you everything necessary to interactively test a web application in real time. Moreover, we don't have to worry about virtual machines, memory, OS licensing and software updates.

BrowserStack has grown to 50 employees from two in 2 years' time, and in June 2014, reached 23,000 customers. Microsoft even partnered with BrowserStack with the goal to simplify Internet Explorer testing.

You can start working on BrowserStack here.


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