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What is Compatibility Testing?

Compatibility testing is a type of software testing used to ensure compatibility of the system/application/website built with various other objects such as other web browsers, hardware platforms, users (in case if it’s very specific type of requirement, such as a user who speaks and can read only a particular language), operating systems etc. This type of testing helps find out how well a system performs in a particular environment that includes hardware, network, operating system and other software etc. Compatibility Testing is a type of Non-functional testing. It is basically the testing of the application or the product built with the computing environment. It tests whether the application or the software product built is compatible with the hardware, operating system, database or other system software or not.

Categories of Compatibility Testing:

As stated earlier, compatibility testing is a type of testing that allows 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:

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    Hardware Compatibility Testing:

    The hardware compatibility testing validates the compatibility of the software with various other hardware configurations and ensures its accuracy.

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      Operating System Compatibility Testing:

      During this type of compatibility testing, the software compatibility is tested with different operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Windows, UNIX, etc.

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    Software Compatibility Testing:

    This type of testing is implemented to check the compatibility of the software with different software.

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      Network Compatibility Testing:

      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.

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      Browser Compatibility Testing:

      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.

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      Devices Compatibility Testing:

      This is done to check the software’s compatibility with different devices such as printers, scanners, bluetooth, and USBs.

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      Mobile Compatibility Testing:

      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.

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      Software Version Testing:

      With the assistance of version compatibility test, the team verifies whether the software application is compatible with different versions of the software.

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:

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    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.

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    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.

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    Establish Test Cases & Environment:

    After designing the necessary test cases, the team works together to establish the environment for testing, wherein the compatibility of the software will be tested and verified.

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    Results Analysis & Reporting:

    Finally, the test is executed and the results are analysed. Any defect, issue, bug, or discrepancies noticed by the team during this phase is recorded and reported to the responsible individual for rectification.

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    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 functionality of the software. Therefore, following are some of the reasons for performing compatibility testing:

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    The main reason for compatibility testing is to ensure that the software is able to work without any issues on all devices and platforms.

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    It ensures that the software product meets the specified requirements accurately.

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    Helps improve the quality of the product.

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    Offer remarkable user experience and helps increase opportunities for the organization.

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:

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    It helps to detect errors in the software product before it is delivered to the end users.

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    Reduces the future help desk cost, which is mainly incurred for providing relevant and required customer support for various compatibility issues.

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    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.

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    Helps test the product’s scalability, stability, and usability.

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    With the assistance of compatibility testing, the team can validate that the software meets the business and user requirements and is optimized for quality.

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    Ensures there is no loss of business if a potential customer visits an organization on any platform.

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    Validates optimum user experience and 100% customer satisfaction.

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