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Software Testing

Compatibility Testing: Everything You Need to Know About

There are traits of high-quality software. It is usable, it is reliable, and it offers performance. Any software that is riddled with bugs works erratically, or does not perform as it is intended to perform is deemed to fail.

It will create angry customers, and disappointed employees, and also make clients lose confidence in the software. 

From RPA to high-tech software development, tons of software applications are being built on a daily basis. From startups to large enterprises, almost every type and size of entity is engaged in software development. 

If your firm is also engaged in software development or wants to develop software in the near future, how can you ensure it is of good quality?

Testing can help with that. It ensures that the software so created passes the basic traits of usability, reliability, and performance.

Compatibility testing is one such form of software testing.

What is Compatibility Testing?

As the name suggests, compatibility testing tests whether software works properly in all browsers, operating systems, databases, devices, networks, etc.

It looks for compatibility in several scenarios and identifies bugs or incompatibilities that could render the software unusable or of poor quality. 

Compatibility testing can be classified as a non-functional software testing methodology since it approaches the externally visible and identifiable virtues of a software program.

Other functional software testing methodologies usually tend to assess the goodness of a software program from the inside, that is how the code is written, the best practices in programming, compiling, publishing, security, etc. 

Example of Compatibility Testing

Let’s understand compatibility testing with a simple and well-relatable example. Imagine you have to launch an updated Android version of the Facebook app.

The app is meant to work flawlessly across all browsers, Android-powered devices and even desktops, laptops, etc. 

A thorough test to ensure that the app works on all these devices without any glitches, and as per the documentation is referred to as compatibility testing.

The test will ensure that the app loads properly and responds properly on browsers, and on all Android-based hardware.

Two Types of Compatibility Testing

There are two types of compatibility testing:

  1. Backwards compatibility testing 
  2. Forward compatibility testing

Backwards Compatibility Testing 

As the name suggests, backwards compatibility testing aims to ensure that newer versions of a software works with older hardware/software. 

Backward compatibility testing is essential to provide a consistent user experience to those users who could be using old devices that might be inferior in system resources.

Also, if those devices are running any operating systems, backward compatibility testing will ensure that the new version continues to be compatible with it. 

Forward Compatibility Testing

Forward compatibility testing aims to establish the compatibility of the latest version of the software with existing or older devices.

Depending on the feature advancements, the application might become inaccessible or incompatible with older devices. 

Even backwards or forward compatibility testing has several sub-categories:

  1. Version testing – Testing to ensure that the application remains compatible with previous versions. 
  2. Browser testing – Testing to ensure that the application performs well across all popular browsers. 
  3. Hardware testing – Testing to ensure that the application remains compatible with all applicable hardware.
  4. Software testing – Testing to ensure application compatibility with third-party software that the application will interact with.
  5. Network testing – testing to ensure that the application can work with various types of networks of diverse bandwidths.
  6. Device testing – testing to ensure that the application works consistently with all devices like Bluetooth devices, printers, scanners, mobile devices, tablets, etc.
  7. Mobile testing – Testing that ensures that the application is compatible with all mobile devices belonging to Android, iOS, and other mobile OS.
  8. OS testing – Testing to ensure that the application is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac, or other different operating systems.

Popular Tools Used for Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing cannot be done with a single tool.

It requires a handful of tools for conducting all the types of forward and backward compatibility testing.

Some such tools include:

  1. LambdaTest – used to ensure that the application runs smoothly on desktop and mobile browsers
  2. CrossBrowserTesting – Another browser testing tool that also enables developers to debug front-end errors easily.
  3. Experitest – A tool that allows checking whether the application works smoothly with all integrated applications. It can be used to fix issues in the responsive design of the application.
  4. Functionize – lets you conduct compatibility testing for various purposes including mobile testing, visual testing, performance testing, and so on.
  5. Sauce Labs – allows hastening the quality check process by enabling users to run multiple tests across browsers and operating systems. 
  6. TestingBot – Perhaps the only compatibility testing tool that offers 1,500+ browser versions, available for instant use for live and automated testing. Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari are some of the popular browsers available for testing. 

In a Nutshell

Compatibility testing is a straightforward way to ensure that the application performs as expected in all browsers and environments.

The two types of compatibility testing ensure that there is minimal friction when the app is deployed. Also, it keeps the testing process well-organized and streamlined.

The tools above also help in driving productivity in compatibility testing. 

If you want help with testing your mobile app or web application, you can get in touch with testing experts at Perfomatix.


Perfomatix | Product Engineering Services Company