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Sunday, December 11, 2011

What are different characteristics of compatibility testing?

First let us clear up with the concept of compatibility.

Compatibility of a software system or an application or any hardware system or components can be defined as the ability of that software system or hardware component to work efficiently with all the versions either newer or older of all CPU architecture designs and operating systems.

- Compatibility is one of the most important properties of any software system or application and hardware system.
- Not every where, every one uses the same CPU architecture designs and operating systems.
- Therefore, it becomes necessary to make software and hardware compatible will all sorts of systems available.
- Otherwise, the software or the hardware will remain confined to only one CPU architecture and operating system.
- There will be no benefit to the software and hardware developers who developed that software or hardware.

In other words, the software or the hardware product or artifact get promotion and hence it would not be widely accepted.
Keeping in view all these issues, care is taken to provide maximum compatibility to the software or the hardware system. Before its release to the open public, the software or the hardware product needs to undergo testing for determining its compatibility.
Such testing is called compatibility testing.

- Compatibility is categorized under non functional testings.
- Compatibility testing can be defined as the testing that is conducted on the software application or the hardware component to determine the concerned product’s compatibility with the computing technological environment.

A proper computing technological environment contains all of the below mentioned aspects:

- Bandwidth handling capacity: the environment should be able to handle bandwidth of the networking software and hardware.
- It should have a computing capacity of hardware platform like HP 9000 and IBM 360 etc.
- It should be compatible with all kinds of peripherals. In other words, it should have compatibility of peripherals. Peripherals include DVD drive, printers, monitors, speakers and so on.
- It should be compatible with all operating systems including UNIX, MVS, windows and so on.
- It should support all types of data bases like oracle, DB2, Sybase etc.
- It should be well compatible with other software systems like messaging tools, networking systems and web servers.
- It should be browser compatible. It should support all the available browsers till date like Netscape, internet explorer, Firefox, Google chrome, safari etc.

The above aspects together make up a proper and efficient computing environment to carry out compatibility testing for the software and hardware products.

Compatibility testing comprises many other small testings like peripheral compatibility testing, browser compatibility testing etc. browser compatibility testing is also known as user experience testing.
It involves the checking of web and network applications on all the available different browsers.

It is done to ensure the following:
- The application under testing should respond exactly in the same way with all the different browsers. It should exhibit same features and functionalities when run under different browsers.
- The visual experience for the users must be the same irrespective through which browser they are using the web application.
- The applications should be backwards compatible i.e., it should work with the older versions of the browser as well.
- The applications should be carrier compatible i.e., data transformation should be same no matter which carrier is being used. Some famous carriers include orange, sprint, Verizon, Airtel, O2 etc.
- Apart from software compatibility, the application should be hardware compatible.
- The applications should be compiler compatible i.e., there should be no difference in compilation by different compilers. All the compilers should compile the source code correctly.
- The applications should be able to run on emulators.

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