What is Compatibility Testing?

What is Compatibility Testing?
March 15 11:00 2011 Print This Article

Compatibility testing is a type of 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 its 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 can be automated using automation tools or can be performed manually and is a part of non-functional software testing.

Developers generally lookout for the evaluation of following elements in a computing environment (environment in which the newly developed system/application is tested and which has similar configuration as the actual environment in which the system/application is supposed to fit and start working).

Hardware: Evaluation of the performance of system/application/website on a certain hardware platform. For example: If an all-platform compatible game is developed and is being tested for hardware compatibility, the developer may choose to test it for various combinations of chipsets (such as Intel, Macintosh GForce), motherboards etc.

Browser: Evaluation of the performance of system/website/application on a certain type of browser. For example: A website is tested for compatibility with browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox etc. (usually browser compatibility testing is also looked at as a user experience testing, as it is related to user’s experience of the application/website, while using it on different browsers).

Network: Evaluation of the performance of system/application/website on network with varying parameters such as bandwidth, variance in capacity and operating speed of underlying hardware etc., which is set up to replicate the actual operating environment.

Peripherals: Evaluation of the performance of system/application in connection with various systems/peripheral devices connected directly or via network. For example: printers, fax machines, telephone lines etc.

Compatibility between versions: Evaluation of the performance of system/application in connection with its own predecessor/successor versions (backward and forward compatibility). For example: Windows 98 was developed with backward compatibility for Windows 95 etc.

Softwares: Evaluation of the performance of system/application in connection with other softwares. For example: Software compatibility with operating tools for network, web servers, messaging tools etc.

Operating System: Evaluation of the performance of system/application in connection with the underlying operating system on which it will be used.

Databases: Many applications/systems operate on databases. Database compatibility testing is used to evaluate an application/system’s performance in connection to the database it will interact with.

Source: http://www.vietnamesetestingboard.org

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  • http://www.google.com Deepankar Senapati

    Does OS/Hardware effect a Web Based Application or it effects only standalone applications?
    If yes in what ways?

  • Jack Richard

    Nice article! compatibility is a non-functional testing to ensure customer satisfaction, compatibility test should always perform on real environment instead of virtual environment. Compatibility testing is to check the application working in same way for all platforms.

    Thanks for the article.
    Cheers Jack!