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What is Compatibility Testing in Software Testing?


Definition of Compatibility Testing?

Compatibility Testing
Apart from quality and performance, the number of components that determine the effectiveness and popularity of a software product are miscellaneous. Compatibility, which is an extremely vital feature of a software is the perfect example of the component that plays an important role in determining the popularity as well as the success of a software product. With the assistance of compatibility, a software product is able to perform across various platforms and devices, without portraying any defects or issues. Therefore, to validate the compatibility of a software, software testers perform compatibility testing during the early stages of quality assurance testing.

Let’s understand the significance of compatibility and compatibility testing with the assistance of the following discussion.

Defining Software Compatibility:

Oxford dictionary defines the term compatibility as “ a state in which two things are able to exist or occur together without problem or conflict.” Likewise, software compatibility can also be defined as a software’s ability to perform and function with other systems and devices without any difficulty or hassle. This component of a software is extremely vital and is verified with the assistance of compatibility testing.

What is Compatibility Testing?

A significant part of software testing life cycle (STLC), compatibility testing is a non-functional testing technique, which is generally performed to validate and verify the compatibility of the developed software product or website with various other objects, such as other web browsers, hardware platforms, users, operating systems, etc. Performed during the early stages of quality assurance, compatibility testing enables the team to ensure that the compatibility requirements, requested by the client, are fulfilled and inbuilt in the end product.

Furthermore, compatibility testing enables the team to deliver a software product that works seamlessly across various configurations of the software’s computing environments and offers consistent experience and performance across all platforms and to all users.

Categories of Compatibility Testing:

As stated earlier, compatibility testing is a type of testing that allows a software to work appropriately across and with various devices and platforms, which further helps the team to deliver a software that offers impeccable performance and user experience. Moreover, this type of testing can be categorized into 8 different categories, which are mentioned below:

  1. Hardware Compatibility Testing:
  2. The hardware compatibility testing validates the compatibility of the software with various other hardware configurations and ensures its accuracy.

    1. Operating System Compatibility Testing:
    2. During this type of compatibility testing, the software compatibility is tested with different operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Windows, UNIX, etc.

  3. Software Compatibility Testing:
  4. This type of testing is implemented to check the compatibility of the software with different software.

    1. Network Compatibility Testing:
    2. While performing network compatibility test, the team evaluates the performance of a system in a network with varying parameters, such as bandwidth, operating speed, capacity, etc. Additionally, it verifies the application in different networks with the assistance of these parameters.

    3. Browser Compatibility Testing:
    4. In this type of testing, the team verifies whether the built software or website is compatible and works properly with various browsers like IE, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc.

    5. Devices Compatibility Testing:
    6. IThis is done to check the software’s compatibility with different devices such as printers, scanners, bluetooth, and USBs.

    7. Mobile Compatibility Testing:
    8. Mobile compatibility test checks the compatibility of the software product with various mobile devices of different operating systems and sizes, such as iOS, Android and more.

    9. Software Version Testing:
    10. With the assistance of version compatibility test, the team verifies whether the software application is compatible with different versions of the software. This is further ensured through two of compatibility testing, which will be discussed below.

Types of Compatibility Testing:

To ensure the compatibility of the built software product with various versions and platforms, two types of compatibility testing is used by the team of testers- backward compatibility testing and forward compatibility testing.

  1. Backward Compatibility Testing: During the process of backward compatibility testing, the team verifies if the developed software or hardware product is compatible with older platforms or not. This type of testing is also known as downward compatible and is more predictable than forward compatibility testing, as all the dynamics of the potentially compatible platforms are known to the team in this case of testing.
  2. Forward Compatibility Testing: Forward compatibility testing or forward compatible is a process of verifying and testing the developed software or hardware to ensure whether it is compatible with future versions of other platforms or not. However, forward compatibility testing is harder to execute than backward compatibility testing, as all the dynamics are not always known to the team members in this type of testing.

General Process for Compatibility Testing:

The process of compatibility testing is an easy one and can be executed manually or with the assistance of numerous compatibility testing tools available in the industry. This process involves four important stages, which are:

Platform/Environment Identification: The initial step of the process is to identify and define the set of platform and environments that the application has to work on.
  1. Design Test Cases & Configuration: During this stage of the process, different test cases and configurations are designed by the team. The testers performing this task should be experienced and must have in-depth knowledge of various platforms, versions, hardware, etc., to understand the workings of the application under various configurations.
  2. Establish Test Cases & Environment: After designing the necessary test cases, the team works together to establishes the environment for testing, wherein the compatibility of the software will be tested and verified.
  3. Results Analysis & Reporting: Finally, the test is executed and the results are analyzed. Any defect, issue, bug, or discrepancies noticed by the team during this phase is recorded and reported to the responsible individual for rectification.
  4. Rectification & Retesting: During this last stage of the process, the responsible team rectifies and resolves the issue and retests the software, to validate the accuracy of the process.

Reasons for Compatibility Testing:

Nowadays, when software products are being developed in abundance, it is important for them to be perfect and effective to garner the attention of the users as well as the IT industry. Therefore, reasons for compatibility testing are numerous and without implementing it during software testing life cycle it is difficult to guarantee the compatibility as well as the performance and functioning of the software. Therefore, following are some of the reasons for performing compatibility testing:

  • The main reason for compatibility testing is to ensure that the software is able to work without any issues on all devices and platforms.
  • It ensures that the software product meets the specified requirements accurately.
  • Helps improve the quality of the product.
  • Offer remarkable user experience and helps increase opportunities for the organization.

Common Compatibility Testing Defects:

During the process of compatibility testing, the team encounters a variety issues and defects, which become a major hurdle in providing remarkable and effective software compatibility. Hence, here is a list of defects and issues majorly encountered by the team, while performing compatibility testing.

  • Modifications or changes in the user interface (UI), such as its look or feel.
  • Any changes in the font size.
  • Issues related to alignment can hamper the effectiveness as well as compatibility of the software.
  • Changes in the CSS style and color.
  • Any broken or incomplete tables or frames in the software can cause issues with its compatibility.
  • Defects or issues in or related to the scroll bar.

Benefits of Compatibility Testing:

Compatibility testing is an important testing process, that offers numerous advantages and benefits to the testers, some of which are mentioned below:

  • It helps to detect errors in the software product before it is delivered to the end users.
  • Reduces the future help desk cost, which is mainly incurred for providing relevant and required customer support for various compatibility issues.
  • Improves the process of software development, as it tackles all compatibility related issues and validates the performance and functionality of the software across various platforms and devices.
  • Helps test the product’s scalability, stability, and usability.
  • With the assistance of compatibility testing, the team can validate that the software meets the business and user requirements and is optimized for quality.
  • Ensures there is no loss of business if a potential customer visits an organization on any platform.
  • Validates optimum user experience and 100% customer satisfaction.

Compatibility Testing Tools:

When it comes to executing the process of compatibility testing, there are multifarious tools available in the market that can be utilized by the team of testers to validate the compatibility of the software. Some of the most popular tools used by testers worldwide for compatibility testing are:

Conclusion:

Compatibility testing, without any doubt, is one of the most important software testing technique, that is used by software testers around the world to verify and validate the compatibility of a software across various platforms and with multifarious devices. Moreover, it helps improve the reputation of organizations and enables them to serve their customers and clients effectively. Hence, perform compatibility testing and ensure superior user experience.