Modern testers use Selenium, a well-known open-source tool, to automate their web browser test cases. Using this tool, the developers have a platform independent way of automating web apps for various testing requirements. To ensure cross-browser compatibility with Selenium testing, the developers must introduce advanced testing processes like Internet Explorer online testing.

    It is very challenging to run the test cases on Internet Explorer because it has various limitations and unique features. Moreover, the shift towards cloud-based testing solutions also complicates executing Internet Explorer online testing. With this article, we will understand the main challenges of executing Selenium testing on Internet Explorer. We will also discuss some of the major solutions for this process.

    Improving Our Knowledge of Selenium Testing

    Selenium is one of the most popular open-source automated testing suites available today. Selenium allows modern testers to start automated web app testing on various platforms and browsers. Selenium also offers a collection of web browser automation tools and APIs. This addition enables testers to create test scripts in any of their chosen programming languages.

    Python, Java, C#, and numerous other programming languages are among the most widely used ones that Selenium supports. The Selenium WebDriver is the main tool in the Selenium test suite. It enables interactions with all the web components. WebDriver also simulates typing text, pressing buttons, and navigating web pages are all simulated.

    Selenium’s compatibility with multiple web browsers is one of its crucial upsides. Using this compatibility, testers can conduct comprehensive cross-browser testing. With the evolution of modern browsers, new features, and optimizations are continuously being added within these browsers. So, Selenium adopts all these changes to provide seamless testing experiences.

    Exploring the Challenges of Internet Explorer Testing

    Let us begin our understanding by analyzing some of the major challenges that the developers will face while implementing Internet Explorer online testing:

    • Compatibility Issues

    Internet Explorer has a bad reputation because it does not provide compatibility for modern web standards. All modern websites are designed and optimized for popular browsers, including Firefox, Edge, and Chrome. This is the reason why Selenium scripts work smoothly on these browsers but encounter issues when executed on Internet Explorer.

    Due to all these issues, the developers can face critical errors like JavaScript errors, rendering discrepancies, and functionality failure.

    • Limited Support for Latest Web Technologies

    When it comes to adopting the latest web technologies and standards, Internet Explorer falls behind other browsers that are available in the market. Modern features like CSS3, HTML5, and ES6 are not fully supported with Internet Explorer. So, the developers have to integrate policies and workarounds for them to function smoothly on this browser.

    Due to this limitation, the developers will face significant challenges while executing Selenium testing to automate web apps on Internet Explorer using these technologies.

    • Slow Execution Speed

    Internet Explorer is slower in rendering web pages when you compare it to other browsers. So, when the developers execute Selenium tests on Internet Explorer, they will face longer execution times, which will impact the overall testing productivity and efficiency.

    Moreover, the slow execution speed will frustrate many testers, especially when they are running larger test suites or executing multiple test instances in a parallel configuration.

    • Limited Development and Debugging Tools

    All the modern browsers have advanced developer tools for performing troubleshooting and debugging. However, Internet Explorer provides limited development tools for these purposes. This offering makes it challenging for Selenium testers to debug JavaScript, inspect elements, and diagnose issues during the test execution process.

    Due to the lack of adequate debugging tools, the efficiency of Selenium testing on Internet Explorer will also be significantly affected.

    • Version Control Discrepancies

    While executing Internet Explorer online testing, the developers will notice that this browser has multiple versions in use. Each of these versions has its own set of inconsistencies and quirks. This is the reason why Selenium scripts that might work smoothly on one version of Internet Explorer may fail on another version due to certain version-specific issues.

    Therefore, the developers have to manage the compatibility of Internet Explorer across multiple versions through comprehensive testing and validation. This process adds a separate layer of complexity to the Selenium testing process.

    Strategies for Overcoming Challenges in Internet Explorer Testing

    Now that we have understood all the challenges that the developers will face while implementing Selenium testing with Internet Explorer, let us go through some of the strategies that can help to resolve these issues:

    1. Utilize Explicit Waits and Robust Locators

    To remove compatibility issues and also ensure reliable test execution on Internet Explorer, the developers can integrate explicit waits along with robust locating strategies. By combining explicit wait and Selenium, the developers can ensure that the test cases wait for a specific condition to be met before moving on to the next step. This approach prevents race conditions and synchronization issues.

    The tests can also use stable locator strategies such as CSS or XPath selectors to find elements smoothly across multiple versions of the Internet Explorer web browser.

    1. Implement Browser-Specific Workarounds

    The testers can solve the compatibility issues of Internet Explorer by identifying and implementing browser-specific workarounds. Some of the commonly used examples include conditional statements, polyphenols, or alternative approaches. This helps the testers to handle features not supported by Internet Explorer.

    The incorporation of browser-specific workarounds also helps the developers to ensure consistent behavior of the application across multiple browsers including Internet Explorer.

    1. Optimize Test Execution Performance

    As we mentioned earlier, the test cases executed on Internet Explorer may run slowly compared to other browsers. So, to avoid this issue, the developers must optimize the test execution performance. They can achieve this goal by reducing DOM manipulation, minimizing unnecessary waits, and parallelizing test execution as per their requirements.

    The testers can also consider using cloud-based Selenium Grid solutions, which offer parallel execution capabilities across multiple browser instances, including Internet Explorer.  Using cloud platforms, the developers can also distribute the test execution process efficiently, which will improve the overall performance of the test execution cycle.

    LambdaTest is one such cloud platform that facilitates cross-browser testing by offering a scalable and convenient cloud-based solution that enhances the coverage and reliability of your Selenium tests, ultimately improving the quality and compatibility of your web applications across various browsing environments.

    1. Use Third-Party Platforms for Debugging

    Since Internet Explorer does not have native developer options, the testers must integrate third-party tools for implementing comprehensive troubleshooting and debugging. Modern tools like DebugBar and Fiddler will provide advanced debugging capabilities for Internet Explorer.

    Using these capabilities, the developers and testers can inspect network traffic, diagnose rendering issues and debug JavaScript. Moreover, cloud platforms like LambdaTest create comprehensive test reports, including screenshots and videos, to quickly find faulty elements and implement the required debugging processes.

    The final goal of this process is to streamline the debugging process with Internet Explorer to quickly release high-quality applications to end users.

    1. Adopt Version-Specific Testing Strategies

    We advise the developers to create version-specific testing strategies. This approach will help them to address the discrepancies across different versions of Internet Explorer. The tester should also maintain a matrix of supported browser versions as it will help them to conduct thorough compatibility testing. It will also help them to identify certain version specific issues at the earlier phases of the development cycle.

    The testers should also customize the Selenium scripts and testing scenarios to accommodate version-specific differences. This approach will ensure consistent behavior across the targeted versions of Internet Explorer that are added in the testing environment. 

    Best Practices for Integrating Selenium Testing with Internet Explorer

    Now that we have understood some of the major challenges of executing Internet Explorer online testing and their solutions, let us go through some of the best practices that can help the developers and testers elevate the standard of the entire development and testing cycle:

    • Create Comprehensive Test Plans

    Before beginning the Selenium testing process on Internet Explorer online, the app developing companies should create a comprehensive test plan which will help them to list down all the stages and tools necessary for the execution of this process. 

    In this test plan, the app developers and testers should also mention the debugging steps that they will implement to remove all the errors that might be present within the application infrastructure.

    Using a comprehensive test plan, the app-developing companies can also maintain a basic understanding of the current status of the application development project between all the members of the company.

    • Implement Regression Testing

    Since modern applications go through a frequent updating process that either adds new features or removes existing errors, it is crucial to integrate regression testing within that testing cycle. Using this process, the developers can verify that the new additions do not harm the functioning of the previously present elements.

    We advise the app developing companies to combine regression testing with automation testing so that the system can automatically initiate the test instances whenever it finds any change within the application infrastructure. This process will boost the application’s productivity and also eliminate human errors.

    • Use Real Devices

    It is crucial for the developers to remember that the physical parameters also have a massive impact on the functioning of the web applications on Internet Explorer. So, the developers must add real devices within the testing infrastructure to ensure dependable and accurate test reports.

    Since it is an expensive and time-consuming process to set up and maintain an in-house device test bench, developers and testers can also use cloud platforms to achieve similar test results while eliminating all these hassles. Moreover, cloud platforms also provide access to certain devices that are impossible to find in the present market.

    The Bottom Line

    So, while executing Selenium testing or Internet Explorer online, the developers will face several challenges starting from compatibility issues to slow execution speed. However, by carefully planning and strategically implementing, testers can easily overcome these challenges. It will also help them to achieve an efficient and reliable Selenium testing process on Internet Explorer.

    The testers can also increase the efficiency of this process by understanding their target audience and implementing the customizations accordingly. In conclusion, we can say that despite the challenges posed by Internet Explorer, Selenium will remain a valuable tool for automating web app testing and validating web app functionality across diverse browser ecosystems, including Internet Explorer.

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