Compatibility testing is a form of testing which enables the software developing team to deliver a perfect software product which works flawlessly irrespective of the intended computing environments. It also helps in providing an excellent performance and consistent experience across platforms to nearly every user. Compatibility testing can be divided into six categories namely- Hardware, Operating Systems, Software, Network, Browser, and Mobile.
There are two versions of compatibility testing-
- Forward Compatibility testing – Used to verify and test the behavior of software
- Backward Compatibility Testing – Used to check the compatibility of software/hardware with the older version of the software/hardware.
Since now we know the basics of compatibility testing. Let’s quickly switch to 7 things one needs to know about this testing.
#1) Compatibility testing is extremely important.
Compatibility testing of software or application is important since it is the best way to check your product and make sure it is working efficiently in its intended environments.
#2) Never skip the Compatibility testing step.
Compatibility testing is one of the number of Non-Functional Requirements (NFRs) delivered along with a software project. Many software fails in the end because they overlook the importance of Compatibility testing as a major Functional Requirement. One has to specify the compatibility requirements upfront. Then make sure that those requirements are met. This is done in order to ensure that you can easily cope up and deliver software, which works seamlessly with intended hardware, peripheral systems, networks, and users. Maybe, you don’t know how most of the software projects are put on hold at the very last step due to its incompatibility issues. Therefore, it is advisable to plan and review the Compatibility requirements along with functional requirement discussions in order to develop the best possible. So, never ever skip such a testing step.
#3) Compatibility tests and Agile
Even though your software project is agile or not, one needs to perform compatibility testing for sure. Planning of a compatibility test depends on many factors such as the experience of the developing team or developer, methodology preferred by the team and many other factors.
One can use scrum to develop related compatibility tests according to your testing scope for the sprints, which also means you have to plan way ahead and set up the necessary infrastructure for its aid. This type of testing works up to an extent but the range of this testing is influenced directly by the scrum scope. The scope for a general this testing are –
- Hardware compatibility
- Network/bandwidth/carrier compatibility
- Compatibility with different Operating Systems and databases
- Peripheral devices, systems, software
- User Experience
There might be other testing elements. There are possibilities one may not be able to protect his or her team with the testing environment essential to conduct all appropriate compatibility tests within each sprint. This majorly happens in redesigning web pages. So, one can make a decision about their compatibility test into a standalone cycle or make a regular test effort, or both types, depending upon the type of projects, organization, time, cost and other elements.
#4) Such testing cannot be done randomly; it requires a fully equipped laboratory
Compatibility testing is a complex process. One can’t definitely tell which product is used for testing. Therefore, depending on the product one intends to use, there is involvement of setting up environments which are closely used to stimulate the end-users options such as desktops, servers, laptops, phones or tablets which keeps on varying.
#5) Before testing, one should determine the requirement of compatibility testing level
We all know there are large number and types of applications used worldwide on regular basis. This application ranges from simple web applications developed for a mobile phone to highly complex desktop applications which may be used for business or other individual purposes. An application used by company employees at their workstation has a completely different compatibility for people using the application worldwide. Therefore, one requires forming a well- detailed test plan in order to determine the important issues faced by the application and ignoring the irrelevant ones.
#6) One should also know the operating system being used for a compatibility test
The choices of the operating system have a great impact on the stability and performance of the application. The application with poor performance tends to lose the audience very quickly in comparison to other useless applications. The world of applications is highly competitive in nature, so one has to be very careful while developing an application and also during the compatibility testing in order to ensure maximum traffic.
#7) The forward and backward types of compatibility test are not 100% achievable
While developing a plan, everyone thinks of developing an application which doesn’t require regular up gradation or replacement. Everyone wants their application to go on for years. But while developing applications which can be easily used by future generations, one has to keep many things in mind such as investment done in keeping the application up to date as well as product demise. People who are still using five-year-old application may come across compatibility issues such as no support from the device or from the OS running on the phone. This majorly happens among people who are highly attached to their old phones or those can’t afford to buy a new phone. So for such people compatibility is a big issue. So, one should plan the application support for the past and next two generations of a computing environment in advance to ensure smooth functioning.
Software applications cannot be ignored since computers and mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives. Most organizations ignore Compatibility testing without realizing the benefits they reap. It is necessary to make sure that the product works fine without any compatibility issues. Hence it is mandatory for organizations to do compatibility testing early in their project.
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