Top Free Cross Browser Automation Testing Tools

If you’re seeking to upgrade an existing digital environment, such as a website or Web application, or if you’re getting ready to deploy a new environment, testing is an essential component of the pre-deployment plan. While there are literally hundreds of various methodologies and tools available to test the functionality and performance of a digital environment, perhaps one of the most important out of all these tests is cross browser testing. Because users will access your site through a myriad of browsers, operating systems and devices, it’s essential to test the operation of your enterprise on as many platforms as possible. Throughout the assistance of browser automation software, this process is simplified. However, if your enterprise is low on funds, you may feel that this level of testing is out of reach. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The following browser automation tools are free to use and offer cross browser testing capabilities for all enterprises.

Spoon Browser Sandbox

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One of the biggest issues many developers have when it comes to cross browser testing is having to manually install the most popular browsers. This can become a time consuming process while adding unnecessary weight to your operating system and computer. This is where Spoon Browser Sandbox becomes a handy tool. This free browser automation tool allows you to run almost every popular Web browsers, such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera and Firefox. Moreover, this tool runs the latest versions of the aforementioned browsers, which ensures maximum compatibility with upgraded browsers. Simply create an account and begin testing your website or Web application through its online interface.

Learn More at: http://spoon.net/browsers/

IE NetRenderer

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While there are several popular Web browsers, one of the most used browsers across all demographics is Internet Explorer. While this is one of the oldest and most trusted browsers, its popularity among users results in a wide array of versions accessing your website or Web applications. Therefore, when it comes to testing your enterprise, it’s essential that you test on all versions of Internet Explorer. IE NetRenderer is a free automated testing solution capable of testing the functionality of a website on almost every version of Internet Explorer. Once signed in, all you must do is select the version of Internet Explorer you’d wish to run and insert the URL of the website you wish to test. Within a matter of moments, you’ll receive detailed information regarding the rendering of your site and its components within that version of IE.

Learn More at: http://www.netrenderer.com/

BrowserShots

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BrowserShots is one of the most effective free automatic cross browser testing solution on the current market. Within its interface, users are able to test the functionality of a website within practically any browser based upon almost every operating system. If you truly wish to understand how users view and interact with your website based upon their browser and OS, this is a must-have tool within your arsenal. Users are able to run browser compatibility tests based upon unique customization options, such as enabling or disabling specific settings or monitoring unique elements of the page. Its simplicity is among the greatest in the industry. Users simply input their URL into the search field and select the various pre-set parameters. Almost immediately upon submission, you’ll receive detailed insights regarding the functionality of your site based upon the user’s browser and operating system. This is an excellent tool for those seeking swift answers to their browser compatibility questions. One thing to consider with this though is that rendering is great, but if you’re looking to test your code in real time, you might need to schedule your tasks using some kind of browser automation service that can help troubleshoot active problems with your code so you can tackle problems as they happen.

Learn More at: http://browsershots.org/

Enhanced Website Testing with Web Application Monitoring

Even if you have a website that’s established with a record for optimum performance and functionality, one of the most effective ways of safeguarding this performance is through website testing with browser automation software. One of the biggest misconceptions regarding browser automation software is it’s only applicable to streamline daily and repetitive tasks. While this software is an excellent resource for simplifying mundane daily tasks, its features may be used to significantly enhance website and application testing.

Benefits of Web Application Monitoring for Website Testing

Although there are literally hundreds of tools designed to test the functionality and performance of a website, few offer the benefits of browser automation tools. Instead of delving into the code of a website or application, browser automation software interacts with a website as a “real user.” This allows administrators a clear look into how the average user experiences the platform. If you’ve just made changes to the workflow of a website or are testing the visual functionality of a digital platform, this form of testing is essential. However, what should you look for to enjoy enhanced website testing?

  • Cross Browser Support – Because not all users will use the same browser, it’s essential that you test the functionality of your website or Web application in all the major browsers. Therefore, it’s imperative that your browser automation software allows testing on the most popular Web browsers, which include: Internet Explore (32-bit and 64-bit), Safari, Opera, Firefox and Chrome. Make sure the tool is capable of interacting with both old and new versions of the browser.
  • Live-Capturing Task Creation – The most user-friendly browser automation tools are those that create tasks by recording your on-screen actions. Instead of having to manually create test scripts, this software allows a “record” button to be activated. Upon activation, the software records all on-screen actions (clicks, keystrokes, etc.). Once completed, the automation software can replicate these actions in rapid speed.
  • Third Party Testing Capabilties – It’s imperative that the software be able to support third party applications, such as Flash, GWT, jQuery, Silverlight, ASP .NET and Yahoo UI Library – just to name a few. Even if your environments do not utilize these applications, your enterprise will likely expand to involve these applications, or some type of web application monitoring.
  • Integrated Checkpoints – A fully functioning browser automation software features several built-in checkpoints, which work to automatically verify the most important elements of a website or application. For example, throughout its task, the software verifies that all links within a page are valid while the entire page contents were fully loaded before moving on. These surface-level insights ensures the full functionality and operation of your website.

Running Object-Driven Tasks with Browser Automation Software

The modern the network and website infrastructures are finding themselves at a unique crossroads. While the digital business landscape is one filled with intense competition and pressure to turn a profit as quickly as possible, the testing methodologies used by such organizations offer poor outcomes and generally lead to a lower return on investment. Although there are many causes for this issue, perhaps one of the most substantial of these is how platforms are tested. Object-drive automated testing solutions empowers its users by streamlining the testing process and delivering results that are accurate, cost-effective and deeply influential in assisting the decision-making process regarding platform growth and development.

The Challeges of Traditional Automation Testing Procedures

Traditional automated testing comes with a host of challenges. Many of these issues are far too complex and time-consuming for the average network. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for those who’ve chosen to test their digital environments with traditional methods to eventually forego testing for simply “monitoring.” This can be a costly and critical mistake. Perhaps the most notable issues with traditional automated testing procedures is:

  • High-Cost and High-Dependence on Programmers – Testing scripts are generally created through a multi-phase process, which results in complex and lengthly testing scripts. These scripts are often difficult to upgrade or maintain, therefore administrators heavily rely on the talents of their programmers to make necessary adjustment – which delays test deployment and costs associated with script creation. Ultimately, this situation results in a bottleneck scenario, which halters productivity.
  • Vulnerability – Perhaps one of the most notable challenges one is faced with when they undergo traditional testing methods is vulnerability when personnel changes occur. Since the programmer who designed a script often does so with their own personal “flare”, when personnel changes happen, it can be catastrophic for the functionality and progress of vital automated tests.

Benefits of Object-Driven Automated Testing

Because of the complex nature of traditional automated testing, object-driven testing has risen in popularity. While there are many benefits associated with this testing methodology, the most noteworthy benefits of object-driven testing include:

  • User-Friendliness – Unlike traditional automated tests, which required hand-coding of testing scripts, browser automation software that features object-driven tasks are simple and user-friendly as non-programmers may adjust and implement tests through a streamlined “drag-and-drop” workflow. Once the library of objects is created, users may adjust tests and create new tasks by selecting the appropriate objects and specifying tasks through an “above-the-code” process.
  • Shareability of Tests – Object-driven automated test may be able to share tests and various workflows across an entire network, which means it’s able to be re-used for a variety of purposes. This significantly reduces the time and cost associated with creating new scripts.
  • Higher Degree of Automation – While this may vary, the majority of tests and tasks may be automated – in fact, most system administrators reports up to 90 percent of their tests and tasks may be automated within a single software tool. This leads to accelerated coverage for reduced cost and an increased return on investment.

Browser Automation to Test User Interface Functionality

Testing is a vital component for any Web application or website. It’s throughout the processes of testing that errors and functionality issues are uncovered, which is an imperative process for the development and release of any digital platform. While most testing solutions are designed to isolate issues within the actual code level and server communications of a website or application, uncovering user interface, or UI, functionality is best done with browser automation software. UI testing offers a unique insight into how real-users will experience an application or website.

Why Use Browser Automation for UI Testing?

Even if your enterprise engages in various testing techniques, such as unit testing, UI testing is essential as it determines how real users will interact with your environment. UI testing overseen by browser automation software perfectly replicates the experience users will have in “real life,” which allows you to gain an accurate insight into the real functionality and the performance of your digital platforms. Another major benefit of automated UI testing is its ability to the test and review the functionality of complex levels that are commonly associated with eCommerce and content-rich websites or applications.

The aforementioned is just a sample of browser automation UI testing. The following advantages are universally beneficial for all enterprises – regardless of size and scope:

  • Cost Effective – The only comparable alternative to browser automated UI testing is manually testing the functionality of a website or application. While this is an effective way to test the user interface of an environment, it requires a significant amount of work, which can be costly. Browser automation software eliminates the cost associated with manually testing user interfaces, as once its tasks have been assigned, they are executed on a scale that would otherwise cost an enterprise thousands of dollars.
  • Reduced Time Draining – While user interface testing is an essential level of testing for any network, without browser automation software, this necessary task can take hours, days or weeks to gather the same amount of data as a single day of automation. Because of this system, many administrators are turning to automation as it not only reduces financial expenses related to testing, but the quantity of tests is at a much greater scale than manual testing.
  • Cross Browser/Platform Testing – Testing the user interface in major browsers and on multiple devices is essential to gain true insight. However, with manual testing, this can take hours of tedious work. Browser automation software is capable of running on multiple browsers and via multiple devices. This means you’re able to test the functionality and performance in a digital environment without having to manually navigate through multiple browsers and across multiple platforms. If you want true cross platform testing of your web apps, you might have to move to a more robust solution like a web application monitoring tool that can actually go out and test your code in real time to ensure that you aren’t having any issues, and if you are, help you to fix them.