Go responsive or go home! This is the tagline of many web development companies that have closely studied the recent web usage trends. Around half a decade back, the population of mobile users surpassed the desktop users and Google also announced mobile-first indexing algorithms. Seeing these trends, all website owners had to jump on the responsive website wagon. However, one challenge most of the website developers and designers faced was during the testing of these websites across different devices.
They had to check their website on each device and browser simultaneously along with keeping a tab on actions like scrolls, clicks, navigation etc. Manually doing these operations was impossible and that's where synchronized cross-device website testing tools came to the rescue. Whether one is testing homepage design, landing pages, contact forms, or overall site navigation, these tools came as a Godsend. Below, we have discussed the top four tools for synchronized cross-device website testing.
A Mac-based application, Ghostlab allows you to synchronously test a responsive design on various browsers and devices. It allows the developers to test websites and web apps for the simultaneous testing. Not only does it tests the basic actions but also tests synchronously the smaller actions like clicks, scrolls, navigation, and form inputs.
- One can easily use this testing tool without having to install or set up any additional software
- It offers live reloading of the website across multiple devices and browsers
- Inspecting items in different pages is also possible with the Chrome Inspector
- Information like user agent string, viewport height & width, pixel ratio, etc., is visible on the testing page itself
This extremely fast website or web app testing tool is one of the most popular among web testers. This cross-platform tool is open-source and can be used across all devises and operating systems like Windows, Linux, OS X, etc. It helps in cutting out the repetitive manual tasks by offering the replication of all actions and mirroring each scroll and click.
- One of the biggest features of Browsersync that makes it super popular is that it is Free of cost. This open source is licensed under MIT and comes completely free.
- Once a reload is done, this open source application remembers your scroll position and doesn't ask you to move your cursor or page to the earlier position manually.
- No browser plugin is required to install Browsersync. The script it uses, enables in opening a socket between the server and the browser, thus serving the files directly.
- Not many tools work with the older and earlier versions of the Internet Explorer. The Browsersync tool supports all the versions from Internet Explorer 7 to the latest version.
One of the top tools for web browser automation, Selenium empowers the testing team with several features. It automates like no other suite of tools and can run across several browsers and operating systems. Unlike other tools, Selenium is not just limited to automating synchronization during testing, it also helps in automating the boring and manually tiring web-based administration jobs.
- It WebDriver protocol that has been already standardized by the W3C or World Wide Web Consortium. With this standard protocol, it is pretty easy for any third-party to involve in the web synchronized testing.
- Selenium is one of the few web testing tools that are capable of allowing cross testing of websites and apps across the present browsers and even enabling future browser addition.
- The developers connected with Selenium tool create a strong and active support community. This support community ensures that any type of query related to synchronize testing on Selenium is quickly resolved.
While majority of the tools discussed here work on a few particular operating systems, Phantom JS is one such toll that can easily run on all types of operating systems like Mac OS, Windows, FreeBSD, and Linux. One can easily install it on his/her device from PhantomJS official site and add its executable path through the binary for your device. It offers a number of functionalities that allow screen capturing, page automation, cross-device web testing, monitoring of network, and much more. Headless website testing and exporting of page data are other functions that make it stand out.
- When performing testing of different web pages or web apps, PhantomJS enables the testing person to take screenshots that can later be used for rendering into different formats as per the requirement.
- Native headless browsing through PhantomJS is made easier and quicker owing to this tool's compatibility with WebKit.
- Developers can now run an array of web tests on their designs without having to go through new web browsers. This tool automates web page evaluation and at the same time, saves a lot of time.
- PhantomJS is also gaining populating in the developer community as it has support for a number of browser standards. It allows support for JSON, CSS parsing, DOM, canvas, and SVG.
There are many reasons for choosing responsive website design. But to test the design simultaneously across all devices like mobile, desktop, tablet, phablets, etc., poses a big challenge. Manually testing different pages for assessing the site's performance across different devices and browsers cannot just be time-consuming but also be termed as humanly impossible. To streamline and simplify the process of cross-device website testing, the tools discussed above can be very effective and efficient.