Why cross browser and device platforms are ripe for disruption?

location_city Online schedule Sep 17th 03:00 - 03:45 PM IST place Zoom people 90 Interested


To scale desktop/mobile web/app test automation in a cost-effective way that would meet the demands of good software development design patterns like Shift Left, at the same time, be cost effective.

Problem Statement:

Current cross browser/device platforms are not built to handle the real scalability that software development design patterns require, in a cost-efficient way.

Expensive parallel connection limit:

Most or all cross browser platforms, offers their services based on the number of parallel connections.

Shift Left and Scalability:

Problem with current approach followed by these platforms is that it is not aligned to software development best practices like Shift Left.
With Shift Left, automation suite would run for every commit in a branch of a project, the number of tests running at any point in time is significantly high. Again with this being repeated by many teams, within their own CICD pipeline, across an organisation,, the demand for parallel connections increases exponentially. The cost to support this using current cross browser and cross device approach is astronomical.

Restricted Real Device Usage:

Most cross browser and cross device platforms' primary support are around real device and not emulators or simulators. With real devices, there is restriction on the number of concurrent tests you can run, based on device types and tiers, even though you may have higher parallel connections purchased. This is due to limited number of real devices a platform has and having to share it with 1000s of customers on demand.

Data Center vs Cloud:

Fourth reason is, most these platforms rely on data centres, instead of Cloud. Hence their ability to dynamically scale desktop/mobile automaton infrastructure is very limited.

Desktop is still king of conversion:

Fifth, as much as we would like to think that mobile web is matured, conversation rate in mobile is the lowest compared to Desktop/Tablet as per Akamai. It could be due to many reasons, including performance, usability, etc. This also means that, since the conversation is more in desktop,  importance of testing on desktop browsers is still by far more.

In App Browser Testing:

Sixth, In App Browser is a new trend, where you might have tested your mobile web on different browsers, but it will probably mostly viewed in an In App Browser like Facebook In App Browser (When you open a site in Facebook, it opens it within Facebook's realm instead of on a browser). Even though In App browser uses Chrome or Safari, many users are complaining, that their site is broken when viewed via In App. Companies like Facebook / LinkedIn would like to keep you within their realm so they can track you, hence your mobile web site's experience should also be tested in these In App Browsers. 2018/2019 Facebook In App Browser usage, showed 42% increase as per Akamai.
This means, you have to test your mobile site in In App Browsers as well.

Emerging Country Specific Browser:

Revenue generation percentage for international eCommerce companies is traditionally very high (more than 50%) from U.S, but this is changing where it is normal for a company's ~50-60%% revenue to come from non-US markets. This is also another reason to look at local browser usage habits.
Chromium based Cốc Cốc browser is used by 25 million people in Vietnam.
UC Browser and QQ Browser are number 2 and 3 in China and UC Browser is number 2 in India.
Yandex is number 3 popular browser in Russian Federation. Just these 4 countries alone has around 2.5 billion people.
These are many of the problems with the current Cross Browser / Device Platforms.
a) Expensive parallel connections, b) Limited scalability thats not suitable for good SDLC design patterns c) Real device restriction d) Data centre limitation  e) New use cases, increasing scope and frequency of testing  f) New region specific browsers

New Opportunities - Evolution of Technologies

Now let us look at what has changed in terms of technology that could take us away from the above problems.
a) AWS mac1.metal (Mac Mini computers) - AWS, for the first time, providing scalable Mac minis. Even though auto scaling is not supported yet, this can be used as a scalable solution to build OS X Safari, iOS Simulator at scale, for automation.
b) Many companies providing "Mac Mini Cloud" including Apple XCode Cloud (beta) for device testing.
c) With AWS bare metal instances, you can scale Android Emulators to any limit.
d) With legacy IE discontinuing in June 2022, one less browser to worry about.
e) Proprietary solutions like MacStadium Okra which allows to run OS X as a container in K8s is bound to change the game.


Going by Mobile Test Pyramid, bottom most layer uses desktop browser to emulate mobile devices' break points, to test the responsiveness of the pages, example would be Chrome Emulator. Scalable solution to this can be implemented using cloud providers like AWS / K8s combined. Second layer of the Mobile Test Pyramid uses Android Emulator/iOS Simulator, again with AWS/GCP/Azure and other OS X cloud providers, iOS Simulator/OS X Safari/Android Emulator can be implemented at scale. Most of the use cases of mobile web can be tested on emulators/simulators and can be implemented at scale using cloud providers, mobile apps may have some exceptions. For mobile web testing, there is no need to test bluetooth, gps, battery drain, calling, etc The top layer of the pyramid, real devices can be used from cross browser platforms to do sanity cases, thus keeping the cost down.

Outline/Structure of the Talk

Problem Statement - 7 of them in details (12mins)

New Opportunities and Evolution of Technologies

- Scaling Desktop Browser (7mins)

- Scaling Android Emulators (7mins)

- Scaling iOS Simulators (7mins)

Solution: How to use/implement the new technologies (7mins)

Questions: (5mins)

Learning Outcome

  1. Audience will be able to understand the why and hows of the current problems (build vs buy, cost, purpose) so they can take their own decisions
  2. Audience should be able to see and understand a practical, viable, cost-effective alternative to expensive platforms.
  3. Understand the known unknowns and unknown unknowns, myths, in the world of cross browser/device testing
  4. Audience will understand how and where to use, simulators/emulators/browsers/ browser emulators and real devices as a hybrid approach, there by reducing cost, at the same time achieving the purpose.

Target Audience

Everyone in a software engineering team, Anyone running UI automation, either locally or on third party platforms and would like to find the right balance between their needs and cost, Project Managers, Product Owners, C-level executives looking to reduce the spend on cross browser/device platforms.

Prerequisites for Attendees

There is no prerequisites as such



schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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