February 6, 2023

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

Latest news from tech-feeds around the world.

Browser compatibility for ReactJS web apps

User Experience is the key to customer delight and by ensuring a high-quality user experience through software development companies retain their customers. With the availability of a large number of devices and browsers, cross browser compatibility is essential for a seamless and consistent experience as the user switches between different devices and browsers. Cross Browser Testing thus becomes a non-negotiable and very essential part of the software development lifecycle. 

ReactJS is one of the most popularly used web frameworks among the developers as of 2021, hence understanding ReactJS browser compatibility is important to achieve the best results. As a report by Statista suggests, over 40% of the developers use ReactJS to develop web applications.

Source: Statista

Cross Browser Compatibility with ReactJS

To have a sound knowledge of ReactJS cross-browser compatibility, it is essential to first understand how ReactJS works.

How does ReactJS work?

ReactJS is an open-source JavaScript library that supports the front-end and the server using Document Object Model (DOM). It is used for UI development, wherein the user interface of the web application is developed as UI components that are aligned together for a complex comprehensive user experience. These UI components are isolated portions of the UI, based on the functions of the elements, which are further interconnected for an overall user experience. 

Unlike other JavaScript frameworks, ReactJS does not work with Real DOMs, rather it has a Virtual DOM, which is a lightweight representation of the Real DOMs in JavaScript. Here the DOM is represented through a Tree Data Structure with a node for each of the UI elements. This makes the updates faster, as the entire DOM is not changed but only the difference patch is updated by recognizing the affected nodes, which speeds up the loading. Moreover, ReactJS supports both client-side and server-side rendering, which further streamlines the user interface.

Virtual DOM

Source: Stack Overflow

React Cross Browser Compatibility

ReactJS offers code reusability, where a single piece of code for a UI component can be used across different platforms. This support for all the major browsers and platforms reflects React Cross Browser compatibility. Although a lot of the cross-browser compatibility is taken care of by the ReactJS itself, still Cross Browser Testing is important as some of the older versions of browsers have few limitations.

However, as React has individual UI components, Cross Browser Testing becomes easier and managing UX consistency across different browsers, platforms, and devices is simple. The testers can check for the HTML5 and CSS codes of the elements to ensure cross-browser compatibility, in cases where certain features might cause inconsistencies for several browser versions.

Additionally, older versions can be supported by adding polyfills in a ReactJS web app to achieve cross browser compatibility. These polyfills are third-party JS files that work similarly to JS libraries. However, polyfills are also capable of providing new functionalities. For example, a polyfill can be used to support ES6-based features in browsers that fundamentally don’t.

Try Cross Browser Testing on Real Browsers Free

Testing a real ReactJS Web App for Browser Compatibility

To showcase how to deal with Browser Compatibility for ReactJS Web Apps, let us test a real ReactJS Web App: Airbnb on the URL https://www.airbnb.com.au/ using BrowserStack Live.

  • Enter the URL of the Airbnb Web App that is under test, upon opening BrowserStack Live.

  • Select the Device-Browser Combination for testing.

In this scenario, the user is searching for hotels in Melbourne, Victoria for specific dates, and checking if the user experience is consistent across different browser-device combinations. 

Here are some cross browser compatibility tests conducted on different browser-device combinations using BrowserStack’s real device cloud:

  1. Windows 11 on Opera 79

    2. iPad Pro 12.9 2018 v15.0 on Safari

   3. MacOS Catalina on Edge 95

  4.Samsung Galaxy S6 v5.0 on Firefox

  5. Google Pixel 4 v10.0 on Chrome

  6.iPhone11 Pro v13.4  on Chrome

Test Result: 

On all of the devices, the ReactJS web app of Airbnb worked consistently, with a seamless functionality providing the same user experience. Hence, it can be concluded that the Airbnb web app built using ReactJS is cross browser compatible.

Test on Real Browsers and Devices for Free

ReactJS is one of the most popular web frameworks to build dynamic web applications. In a time when UX is pivotal and each of the web applications is accessed through multiple browsers and devices, it becomes essential to ensure a consistent user experience across browsers. Hence, React cross browser compatibility is significant during software development. By performing cross-browser tests on real browsers and devices, the tester could detect and highlight functionalities in the UX that are inconsistent with specific browser versions, which can later be fixed at the backend. 

BrowserStack provides access to a fleet of desktop browsers and real mobile devices that provides wide coverage for Cross Browser & Platform Testing. One can also leverage the power of automation testing to check cross browser compatibility over the BrowserStack’s real device cloud, saving both time and cost incurred. This allows devs and testers to build applications to retain and delight users through its seamless user experience.

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