We are so dependent on the internet these days that we find googling easier than turning the book pages. In such an age, where the internet is one of the most integral parts of human life, businesses hosting a website is probably the best option. It is the first step in introducing one's business and maintaining market relevance.
Having only a website is not enough. To make the website qualitative, informative, user-friendly and interactive with a balanced load, it should be well-tested and quality-assured before deployment.
In this part of the blog, we will discuss the challenges faced during the web-application testing.
Challenges In Web Application Testing
Cross-Browser Compatibility or Interoperability
There was a time when only Internet Explorer was available. Back then, unit testing could cover everything, and cross-browser compatibility was not even a matter to think about.
Today, a website working perfectly fine on a web browser does not mean that it is the same level fluent in all the browsers available in the market. Cross-browser compatibility has been a common issue in web application testing, as there are hundreds of browsers for desktop and mobile devices. Installing and testing in every available browser is impossible for web application testing. I suggest you use a cloud testing platform to crack this challenge.
People nowadays excessively use mobile devices to access the internet, rather than PCs or laptops. This does not mean that PCs and laptops are totally out of searching a website. There are thousands of devices with different OS and different screen-size from different companies. There might be limited devices in the case of iOS, but if you look into Androids and PCs, it has a never-ending list of devices.
Testing in all those different devices is challenging during web application testing. A web application tester must test on a maximum number of physically available devices and use the cloud platforms to test on the other physically unavailable devices.
Expectations Vs. Reality
Testers usually gather brief knowledge of the work they are performing. They might look into the end user's requirements but not always meet all the testing requirements. When the deadline for a code is near, they mostly rely on what they expect to happen, not what they need to do. As a result, they might miss the vital requirements and bugs without realising them.
Let's move into reality. Testing is always a reality. As a tester, you can expect the software delivery how you like it before testing. You got the web app delivered to test. Now, testing should not be influenced by the developers' goal. Testing must follow the end-users requirements to deliver a good UI/UX.
Skill-level requirements for an IT industry's employee are never enough. You always feel like you lack something that could help you unconditionally in your work field. The same applies to web application testing.
However, being an SQA engineer, you must have sound technical knowledge and acceptable soft skills to work effectively. Since it is web application testing, you cannot always rely on manual testing. There are a lot of areas that can be automated in a website.
The most developed automated test tools are more compatible with websites than mobile apps. So experienced knowledge of automation testing will greatly impact your skills as a web application tester.
User Input Validation
Websites usually have one or more integrated forms for data collection from the end users. This might be like asking a user to enter an email or password to sign up or sign in.
If there is a field to enter an email address, then it must be validated with email format; for example,
email@example.com. Here, as a tester, you need to verify '@' and '.' to signify that the text entered in the email address text box is actually an email address. Further use of at least a letter can also be added to validate the data.
Let me share an incident when I filled out a form for my friend at the Public Service Commission in Nepal. There was a mandatory field to include a document, but I did not upload one. Surprisingly, the site did not validate that mandatory field and further proceeded to pay. I confirmed the payment and received a receipt stating I successfully filled out the form. However, the application got rejected because I did not upload a mandatory file. Funny, right? After that incident, the Public Service Commission asked me to fill out another form with another payment.
Hence, user input validation is a very important part of web application testing that might get skipped. You obviously do not want to get the 'Name' of one of your website's users as 12453.
Due to the problems with security certificate compliance, a port or a firewall might block a web app, creating difficulties when communicating with firewalls. Testing the application on several firewalls is essential to prevent such situations.
Online service layers like
REST are frequently utilised by modern web applications for data exchange between programs or systems. This has considerably raised the demand for these web services to be verified.
Web testing tools, however, are not well equipped to manage the verification of web services. Because of this, testing web services is a major challenge for QA teams. For example, you should compulsorily test an API, regardless of where you import it. Let's say you are using Google Map API to integrate into your web application. Do not leave it untested, stating it is of 'Google'. You must test it to ensure its integration with your web app is working as expected.
Checking The Standard and Accessibility
According to Wikipedia, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organisation for the World Wide Web. This organisation has listed several standards and guidelines with which a web application must comply. The code should be thoroughly inspected to determine whether the website complies with those standards and recommendations. This should be done to guarantee proper site ranking in the search engine index, which can be a heavy back for a web application tester.
Also, W3C has included several guidelines under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which mandates that a website be usable by everyone, particularly for those with impairments. Test it against hearing and vision impairments which may include screen-readers.
User experience in any web application must be swift and easy. Do not include a very long drop-down, a sophisticated password, a colourful pallet or a very crowded screen. Make it slick and easy. A layman could easily navigate and do what they needed to do with the web application they interacted with.
Do not make it like this, a website that is humorously and purposefully challenging to use. This website highlights how much our interaction with the web and electronic gadgets is based on ingrained habits and design norms.
Testing is unique and difficult in every field, whether in web development, app development, cyber security or DevOps.
This is all for the common challenges faced while performing web application testing. In the next part, I will discuss overcoming these challenges and the steps to effective web application testing.
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