In simple terms, it can be defined as a state in which two different things exist together without any problems. In the software field, we can refer to this as interoperability between any two products of the same or different types.
In this section, we are going to enrich our knowledge about what is compatibility testing, why we use this compatibility testing, when we should go for compatibility testing, why this compatibility testing is important, different types of compatibility testing, and how this compatibility testing works.
What is Compatibility Testing:
First, let us see what compatibility testing is? – Compatibility testing is one of the different types of Software testing. It falls in the Non-Functional testing category. Here, we examine the compatibility of the application or the product with different computing environments, mobiles & tabs.
Why do we use this compatibility testing? – We do this testing to confirm whether an entire software application/product/component is working smoothly without disturbing the existing hardware platforms, operating system, database, web browsers, networks, and other software, both in terms of co-existence & interoperability.
When should we go for compatibility testing? – As per the client’s requirement, the QA engineer should know where all and in what all the devices the application software going to be used. Then, once when we get the fully developed or functionally stable software application, we should go for compatibility testing; so that, we can check the developed software application functionality on various software, hardware platforms, network, browser, etc, as in the view of the end-user or clients.
Why this compatibility testing is important? – Among all the functional and non-functional testing processes, this compatibility testing plays a vital role. It ensures all the functional requirements are done and gives complete satisfaction to the client or end-users; it shows our software application provides service across multiple platforms perfectly and helps us identify major bugs and defects during the development process; so, we can rectify them easily.
Different types of compatibility testing? – Here, we divide this testing into two major categories: Software Compatibility Testing and Hardware Compatibility Testing. The testing process on the different Operating systems, Browser, Database, are coming under Software Compatibility Testing. The testing process on the different Hardware components like RAM, Processor, Graphics card, Screen size, Network Stability is coming under Hardware Compatibility Testing.
How does this compatibility testing work? – In compatibility testing, first, we need to define the set of environments or platforms where the application is expected to work or going to be used. Next, we must develop a test plan based on the environment and prioritize the issues faced by the application in these tests. This process gets a bit difficult from here, i.e.) to set up the environments, to see what the end-user is going to experience, such as on desktops, smartphones, tablets, etc. The most important thing is the QA engineer should have in-depth knowledge of various software, hardware and platforms and their behaviour in various configurations. Once the arrangements are completed and the testing environment is ready, the tests can be executed. If any bugs and defects are identified, the bug should be reported and corrected immediately before the Software application goes live or the Production phase.
Now, we can see the process of software Compatibility Testing as follows:
Software Compatibility Testing Process:
In this testing process, we can differentiate this into the following divisions as
- Operating System Testing
- Browser Testing
- Database & Software Testing
- Version Testing
OPERATING SYSTEM TESTING:
- Testing the compatibility of an application with different Operating Systems like Windows, Mac, Unix, Linux, Ubuntu, Android, etc.,
- This testing is also known as Cross Browser Testing and this process verifies compatibility across different browsers like Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari, Opera, UC Browser, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc., and as well as across browsers on different devices, such as laptops, Androids, tablets, and iPhones.
DATABASE & SOFTWARE TESTING:
- This testing is to verify the compatibility on multiple Databases like Microsoft SQL, Oracle SQL, Postgre SQL, MySQL, MongoDB server.,
- It checks your developed software to be compatible with other software which exists in the system already. For example, the MS Word application is compatible with other software existing like MS Outlook, MS PowerPoint, MS Excel, etc.
- This testing process ensures compatibility with different versions of the software.
- This process is a common and last step in checking compatibility with Operating System, Browser, Database & Software Applications.
The version compatibility testing is classified into two types:
- Forward Compatibility Testing: This is a process to verify the behaviour and compatibility of the developed software with the newer versions of the existing software. Forward compatibility testing is a bit hard to predict, as the changes that were being made in the newer versions are not known.
For example: From the latest version of the platforms (software).
Windows 11 → Win 10 → Win 8.1 → Win 8
- Backward Compatibility Testing: also known as downward compatibility testing this technique verifies the behaviour and compatibility of the developed software application with their older versions of the existing software. Backward compatibility testing is much more predictable as all the changes from the previous versions are already known.
For example: From older versions of the platforms (software)
Windows 7 → Win 8 → Win 8.1 → Win 10
How to Execute Compatibility Testing:
With these steps, we can complete the compatibility testing successfully:
- As the first step of execution, the QA engineer needs to know the functional requirement as well as a non-functional requirement from the client or user.
- Then, as per the non-functional requirement, the one base platform needs to be finalized according to the most used platform.
- After that, the QA engineer will start the testing process on the base platform until the application is functionally stable.
- Then, the QA engineer should do the testing process with different platforms, devices, networks to check whether our software application runs well under different configurations.
- After that, the QA engineer will do one round of compatibility testing on all different platforms, and environments, and verify all the end-to-end flow and reports about the raised bugs.
- Once the bugs are fixed the QA engineer, Re-test all the end-to-end flow to confirm bugs & defects fixing are done properly as per the requirements and proceed with the process until the application is stable, and applications work fine for all necessary platforms, and then we can go for a client demo or production process.
The challenge we will face while performing compatibility testing is to decide the necessary needs which are to be tested.
|Performance Testing Planning|
on all existing platforms will be a hugely time-consuming process.
Hence, we need to minimize platforms and environments which are commonly used by end-users.
Possibility of Bugs/issues Rectified by Compatibility Testing:
Here are some typical defects that are seen during compatibility testing:
- Changes in font size, the existence of broken frames,
- Changes in the user interface,
- Scroll bar issues,
- Content Alignment, and overlap issues
- Compatibility issue
- Functionality issue
Tools that Help to do Compatibility Testing:
There are lots of tools readily available to execute the compatibility testing process.
Virtual Desktops is to assist in the Operating System Compatibility Testing Process. It allows QA engineers to run the software applications on multiple operating systems as virtual machines and helps to connect multiple systems can be connected to compare them and obtain the perfect and correct results.
Browser Stack is to assist in Browser Compatibility Testing: This tool allows QA engineers to check applications in different browsers. Here are a few wide ranges of browser compatibility testing tools.
- Browser Stack,
- Lambda Test,
- Cross Browser Testing,
- Browser ling,
In the process of testing software applications compatibility, testing plays a vital role to ensure the best outcome of the software application and confirms whether the application is compatible across all platforms and gives an excellent customer experience to all the end-users.
Here, testing the functionality, integration, and end-to-end flow on the different platforms is what we do testing in the compatibility to give a true feel experience to the clients.
This testing is necessary to check whether the application ensures whether developed software works as per the client requirement across the different environments and without disturbing the existing application software in the defined system.