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Microsoft Releases BrowserSwarm JavaScript Testing Tool


Courtesy Adrian Bridgwater, Dr Dobbs

Open source route to automate tests across devices and browsers

Microsoft has used its Windows blogs zone to mount an admirably understated launch for BrowserSwarm, an open source JavaScript testing tool for developers to automate tests across devices and browsers.

NOTE: BrowserSwarm is a partnership between Microsoft, Sauce Labs, and appendTo — cloud-driven in its nature, BrowserSwarm is designed to help save time (and precious server resources) when setting-up multiple browser or device testing environments.

Microsoft comments on developer usage of web frameworks and libraries as "building blocks of the web" and says that hundreds of new JavaScript projects are built by the open source community every year. Many of these components will be focused on tasks to simplify coding for common patterns such as web layout, user input, animations, game physics, or even the process of detecting features in older versions of Internet Explorer.

The firm points out that most top JavaScript frameworks such as jQuery, dojo, prototype, and Modernizr (which happen to be used by over 50% of the top traffic websites worldwide) have enough resources to perform testing regularly.

But, asks Microsoft, what if you’re a startup building a new framework?

"Testing is probably the last (but necessary) thing you want to do," writes Justin Garrett of Microsoft. "So — just like the free testing tools and resources on modern.IE that help developers of public-facing sites or line-of-business web apps — we are partnering on BrowserSwarm to help the developers that build stuff for developers — the framework authors. We want to help reduce the time spent testing frameworks (and the sites they service) so that developers have more time to innovate on the Web."

So in terms of use, BrowserSwarm connects directly to a development team’s own code repository on GitHub. When the user publishes their latest project, BrowserSwarm automatically runs it against Unit Testing Frameworks like QUnit in the cloud-powered browsing session using Sauce Labs’ automated testing platform. The user then gets a "fix list" report across browsers, including modern and older versions of Internet Explorer.

"Thorough testing is essential for any JavaScript project that needs to work properly on all browsers. Although some projects do unit testing with ‘headless’ browser setups such as PhantomJS, there is no substitute for testing with real browsers. If that work isn’t automated, however, the chances are that it won’t be done regularly. BrowserSwarm gives projects a powerful tool to automate multiple-browser testing scenarios and find problems before software is released," said Dave Methvin, president of the jQuery Foundation.

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