Compatibility testing is a type of non-functional testing. It is a type of software testing which is done to ensure that the system/application/website built is compatible with various other objects such as other web browsers, operating systems, users and hardware platforms etc.
In today’s technology driven business, a software application is demanded to work with various platforms and versions. Adjusting rapidly to changing platforms would help companies to manage huge business demands and deliver results that provide true business value. Extensive testing helps create products of high quality that provide value for money. Multiple software tests are performed while the product is under processing and testing is also performed on the finished prior to its release. This testing ensures a competitive edge for the end product in terms of quality, compatibility, cost, and delivery before it is delivered.
Compatibility testing ensures complete customer satisfaction as it keeps a check on whether the application performs as expected for all the intended users across various platforms. This testing is performed on the application either through automation tools or it can be performed manually to test application’s compatibility with different versions and environments. Common Compatibility testing defects are changes in UI (look and feel) and font size, alignment and scroll bar related issues, style and color changes, content overlapping and broken tables or frames etc. Compatibility testing is of two types:
1. Forward Compatibility Testing is a type of testing makes sure that the application is compatible with the upcoming or newer versions.
2. Backward Compatibility Testing makes sure that an application which is designed using latest version of the environment also works in an older version.
However, companies must analyze the compatibility issues and make decisions that could help in making necessary changes so as to make the application compatible with the preferred platform. For this, an effective test strategy and appropriate testing tools are needed to test the application. Thorough testing of the application on different platforms for issues requires experienced and technically sound testing teams. These aspects could be time consuming and expensive in case of in-house testing. The companies that outsource their testing activities should also look out for cross platform compatibility testing.
Another challenge faced by the companies is that there are applications that might not readily work well in new platforms. A lot of expenditure and wasted efforts could be saved by gaining understanding on which platform the application will work easily, on which platforms the application cannot work at all, on which platform the application needs to be modified in order to make it work. Testing lets you know in advance what all changes are required to make and also gives you an insight on whether an application works on a new platform or not. A good testing team is needed by the companies that can help in determining which of the existing applications can work well with the new platform, which ones cannot work at all with the new platform, which ones need modifications so as to work on the new platform. Complete satisfaction could be achieved by identifying application behavior on different platforms.
Comprehensive platform compatibility testing lets you know exactly how your application will look and operate across various platform combinations. Cross platform testing can be a challenge for software testers. A cloud-based cross platform compatibility testing can help in ensuring complete application’s compatibility in various platforms. And it also helps in saving a significant amount of time and money.
Compatibility testing can be performed for the various databases like Oracle, SQL Server and operating systems like Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. It can also be conducted on mobile applications and multiple browsers like IE, Chrome, Firefox, Mozilla, Safari etc. Finally, the true fact is that the end user might test the product in different platforms and they may find bugs in the application which is not right in terms of quality. Such issues should be reduced and in order to release the quality products, it is important that the application must be tested on all the platforms and versions. Thus it can be rightly said that compatibility testing is an important aspect of testing applications.