Top 16 Best Practices To Avoid Browser Compatibility Issues

Today’s software industry and devices, browsers, and operating systems are rapidly expanding. A better user experience for a more extensive user base is critical for any company or program. Depending on the application’s function, your app or software should operate on a variety of devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and smart TV. Also, on all potential browser and operating system combinations. If the program does not support an environment, it should offer the bare minimum of functionality. We will be able to make the program usable for all of the intended users this way. How can we make this happen? We can do so by concentrating on cross-browser concerns.

Ensuring that a website is properly accessible to as many visitors as possible has become a vital aspect of web development. Cross browser testing is becoming a must in every web development project due to the rising browser availability and use of fragmentation. In this blog post, let’s have a look at the problems that are most likely to cause cross-browser tests to fail.

What Is Browser Compatibility And Why Is It Important?

Are you aware that your web browser functions similarly to a translator? This is due to the fact that a web browser can convert a written document written in HTML language and into a well-formatted web page that people can read. In general, web browsers would be worthless if there was no translation guideline. This is what allows for browser compatibility.

Today, more people are visiting websites from their mobile devices than ever before. Therefore compatibility is a big concern. It is not enough to have a website that just works on computers. Ensure compatibility with mobile platforms, whether Android or Apple, tablet or smartphone, to ensure that all of your clients receive what they came for from your website.

As previously stated, internet users utilize a variety of browsers. Making your website compatible with as many browsers as possible effectively expands your audience. As a result, your lead generation grows. Platforms like LambdaTest can help you to conduct cross-browser compatibility tests.

With LambdaTest, you can perform web testing across 3000+ browsers and operating system. You can instantly access real PCs running the web browser, version, operating system, and resolution of your choice. You may choose from a variety of Mac and Windows operating systems, as well as the most recent browsers. Also, be sure to test your website or web app on the most recent mobile browsers for Android and iOS.

16 Best Practices To Avoid Browser Compatibility Issues

Following are the best practices a tester must follow to avoid browser compatibility issues.

  1. Check HTML and CSS for errors

The code is read, interpreted, and handled differently by various browsers. When developing code, it is common for developers to skip certain ‘closing tags’ or ‘semicolons’ in the grammar. While modern browsers will automatically rectify syntax problems, certain older versions may not. Such mistakes may cause rendering issues in older browsers like Internet Explorer. Such mistakes may be prevented by following the procedures below when coding:

  • Coding that is aligned
  • Adding comments when necessary
  • Matching the opening-closing braces and indentation

Validation tools are now available on the market to make things simpler. To deal with such problems, developers employ the following code validation tools:

  • W3C HTML validator
  • JS Formatter for HTML
  • Jigsaw CSS validator
  • JS Lint
  • CSS Lint

2. Maintain a simple and straightforward design

It may sound self-evident, but the less cutting-edge CSS features you attempt to include, the less likely you are to have trouble supporting all browsers. Think about whether you actually need them.

3. Layout Compatibility has to be maintained

We need a responsive application that is compatible with all devices, platforms, and browser versions. The application’s layout should be flawless and consistent in all situations where it will be utilized when it is released.

Read more about responsive application cross-browser compatibility testing.

The following are possible causes of layout incompatibility:

  • On mobile devices, the layout design is unresponsive.
  • Differences in how newer browsers render layout design.
  • Some layouts are not supported by modern browsers.
  • Techniques for preserving layout compatibility-
  • It guarantees that material is appropriately spread over a mobile screen using the HTML viewport metatag.
  • CSS Multi-Column Layouts– It aids in the right layout of multiple column content in accordance with the container’s layout.
  • CSS Flexbox and Grid– These approaches aid in the layout of child components depending on their content and rendering space.

4. Make use of CSS resets

 The default design layout of browsers is applied to the websites that run on them. Developers must override the default design in order to apply a different design layout to the application. Various browsers will display the same application differently if this is not done. Developers use CSS reset style sheets to do this CSS reset in code. In this manner, any issues with layout design may be prevented.

5. Accept failure compassionately

Design your site with the understanding that not all features will work. It’s always a good idea to test how it looks without JavaScript or style to see whether the user can determine what’s going on just by looking at it.

 6. Support the application’s fundamental functionalities

We should test the application in several browsers to see whether it supports native capabilities. If a browser does not support the code, our program should be able to supply an alternate set of codes that will work with that browser. This ensures that the application’s fundamental functionality is always accessible to users.

This is known as feature detection, and it protects the program in the case that the browser doesn’t support the code. As a result, we offer an alternative code to execute in the browser to maintain a consistent user experience. Feature detection may be implemented in code by-

  • Create your own CSS and JavaScript feature detection code.
  • Make use of feature detection libraries such as Modernizr, Polyfill, and others.

7. Look for difficulties with JavaScript

To prevent cross-browser compatibility difficulties with JavaScript, follow the instructions below. Use the JavaScript library with care to ensure that it supports the browsers and functionalities of the application.

On outdated browsers, JavaScript code using the newest capabilities of ES6/ECMAScript may not work. JavaScript Transpiling transforms ES6/ECMAScript-based code into a version that works in earlier browsers.

8. Component reuse and reduction

This might range from the fundamentals of CSS class management to the use of web components to modularize your complete site. The simpler it is to handle, the fewer locations you have to test and maintain identical modifications.

9. Start with the most challenging browsers

 Start using Internet Explorer 6 if you know you’ll need to support it. You don’t want to go 90% of the way through your testing without finding the first flaw.

10. Verify the DOCTYPE tag

The DOCTYPE keyword specifies the rules that will be utilized in the code. We need to declare DOCTYPE in the code so that the web browser understands the rules and doesn’t go crazy.

The DOCTYPE tag at the start of the code is checked by older versions of Internet Explorer. The program will not display correctly if the tag is not found. A browser has three modes of operation:

  • Full standard mode- The browser performs more thorough tests in full standard mode. According to W3C requirements, the browser checks for faults.
  • A few peculiarities are incorporated in this almost standard form.
  • Older browsers may use Quirk mode since it is backward compatible. Mode browsers, for some reason, do not execute error checks. The design reflects non-standard behavior.

When a code skips a DOCTYPE element, the browser enters quirk mode, which stops conducting error checks and acts unusually. As a result, it’s essential to include the DOCTYPE tag at the start of the code.

11. Run tests on actual devices

Although virtual computers and environments may be used to test an application, real devices are ideal for more effective testing. We should test the program on genuine PCs, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops to prevent cross-browser compatibility difficulties later.

Because manually setting up a real device lab is unfeasible, we use Cross-Browser testing tools in these situations. Though there are tools that allow you to manually conduct cross-browser test cases or automate and then execute them, you must first define what you want.

LambdaTest, an online automation testing tool, gives customers instant access to over 3000 browser-OS combinations. You may execute test cases in parallel on actual devices in less time. You may test on the local workstations in our office or select from the hundreds of settings accessible on the cloud.

12. Understand your target market

Make sure you know what browsers and devices you’re going after. Is your site primarily designed for mobile users? Do you work for an organization that still utilizes old browsers? Test as needed.

13. Make use of a framework

When you use a well-known framework, whether for style (e.g., Bootstrap) or for JavaScript, you can be certain that a lot of the cross-browser compatibility work has been done for you.

14. Examine your characteristics

Before using newer features, double-check browser support online, and employ feature detection and polyfills if you really must depend on anything that isn’t well-supported.

15. Vendor-Specific Capabilities

Developers should be aware that, depending on whatever browser they are developing for, they must use particular CSS code when building features/functionalities. To prevent cross-browser compatibility concerns, follow the steps above. The developer must also provide the function without the prefix to ensure that no errors appear in other browsers.

The following are some typical prefixes to remember:

  • Chrome and Safari (-WebKit)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer (-ms)
  • Mozilla Firefox (-moz)
  • Opera (-o)

16. Run tests as you go along and use different stylesheets for different browsers 

Don’t wait until you’ve done development to start testing, especially if you’re doing anything complicated. To detect difficulties early, use an iterative approach.

These stylesheets are more likely to cause a compatibility problem. As additional stylesheets are added, they will get more bloated and unstructured. Worst of all, if the same stylesheet is used by many browsers. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to have distinct stylesheets for each browser supported by the web application. And “condition comments” must be used to determine which form of the stylesheet is best for the website.

The main issue that developers encounter is that the website they create does not operate on all platforms. That is just a compatibility problem. Here’s a quick rundown on compatibility testing. After the application has been constructed and all criteria have been completed, the test engineer will ensure that the application is functional in all browsers (platforms). That is, the application’s functionality should be consistent across all browsers. Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and so on are examples of browsers.

Developers and testers who keep above- mentioned best practices in mind are more likely to prevent mistakes in the first place. Because cross-browser testing is so important, errors in it might create delays that are completely preventable. Browser compatibility testing may become a valid facilitator rather than a barrier in the software development process if these mistakes are avoided.

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