August 26, 2010

Compatibility Testing

Compatibility Testing concentrates on testing whether the given application goes well with third party tools, software or hardware platform.
For example, you have developed a web application. The major compatibility issue is, the web site should work well in various browsers. Similarly when you develop applications on one platform, you need to check if the application works on other operating systems as well. This is the main goal of Compatibility Testing.
Before you begin compatibility tests, our sincere suggestion is that you should have a cross reference matrix between various software’s, hardware based on the application requirements. For example, let us suppose you are testing a web application. A sample list can be as follows:

Hardware
Software
Operating System
Pentium – II, 128 MB RAM
IE 4.x, Opera, Netscape
Windows 95
Pentium – III, 256 MB RAM
IE 5.x, Netscape
Windows XP
Pentium – IV, 512 MB RAM
Mozilla
Linux
Compatibility tests are also performed for various client/server based applications where the hardware changes from client to client.
Compatibility Testing is very crucial to organizations developing their own products. The products have to be checked for compliance with the competitors of the third party tools, hardware, or software platform. E.g. A Call center product has been built for a solution with X product but there is a client interested in using it with Y product; then the issue of compatibility arises. It is of importance that the product is compatible with varying platforms. Within the same platform, the organization has to be watchful that with each new release the product has to be tested for compatibility.
A good way to keep up with this would be to have a few resources assigned along with their routine tasks to keep updated about such compatibility issues and plan for testing when and if the need arises.
By the above example it is not intended that companies which are not developing products do not have to cater for this type of testing. There case is equally existent, if an application uses standard software then would it be able to run successfully with the newer versions too? Or if a website is running on IE or Netscape, what will happen when it is opened through Opera or Mozilla. Here again it is best to keep these issues in mind and plan for compatibility testing in parallel to avoid any catastrophic failures and delays.

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Tomboy

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