Free online tools for testing mobile and desktop web applications

Posted: February 7th, 2014 | By | Filed under: Development, Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

So, you’ve written you state of the art web app. You wrote unit tests, functional tests, relied on browser features detection, validated and linted your code and markup, and researched browser compatability carefully.

(First of all, wow, I’m impressed)
But still..

What about the layout? And some obscure html5 APIs you’ve been using? Are you entirely confident it works and renders ok on the chaotic multitude of devices, operating systems and browsers?

Without going through the hassle of setting up browsers and virtual machines, you can check your browser using some online tools. Those tools can help you to:

  • Test manually as a user your site or application
  • Run tests in the browser, and look at their reported results manually
  • Run tests, and report their results to some server (browserscope might help)
  • Run selenium tests (and javascript test suits) fully automated

Whether you’re just after a tool for manual testing, or a way to run your tests on multiple platforms, the following list of free(ish) tools might help.

Hey, 39$  a month as the minimum cost is not that free! And the 30 minutes free trial is not enough for much too.
But, good guy Microsoft sponsors 3 months of use free through their modern IE project, for browsers running on windows. It’s the minimum they owe us for Internet Explorer (except IE3…)
Browserstack are arguably the best in manual testing tools, offering great UI, features, and variety of browsers. They also provide automated tests.

  • Type: Manual, Javascript tests, Selenium test
  • Desktop platforms: good variety
  • Mobile: good variety, actual devices
  • Cost: 3 months free for Windows (through this promotion),  from 39$)

Browserstack’s geekier brother, which targets automated tests using Selenium (where they have a very solid product).  Their manual testing tools I find not as good compared to browserstack’s, but still ok for desktop testing. And the value is good at 10$ a month, with unlimited manual testing

  • Type: Automated selenium and javascript, manual
  • Desktop platforms: good variety
  • Mobile: a few emulators
  • Cost: free tier of 30 minutes / month manual, from 10$ with unlimited access + unlimited automated hours.

Its intended use is for front end performance testing, but it can be quite a useful free tool for other tests. They provide some analysis of the performance, and advanced tools, such as resource loading time, page loading events timing, some optmization check list and so on. But also the good old screen shot.
They’re a bit messy and look outdated, but offer a pretty unique set of features, and completely free, so worth checking out.

  • Type: screenshots, performance analysis.
  • Automated testing: limited, some obscure scripting API
  • Mobile: actual devices, small variety
  • Desktop: reasonable variety (only browsers supported by their agent)
  • Cost: free

A mobile testing service by keynote, an application testing and monitoring services company.
They allow you to connect to an actual mobile device, with whatever state the last user left it, and remote control it. That means you can install applications, browsers, whatever. It’s actually kind of interesting in what kind of random state you get the devices you log into.

  • Type: Manual (full remote control)
  • Mobile: actual devices, ok variety on free, huge variety on paid subscription
  • Dektop: none
  • Cost: free for unlimited number of 10 minutes sessions on a few devices. Various subscription plans (from ~280$ a month)

A veteran screenshot service. Kind of works. Sometimes. When you subscribe works somewhat better. Doesn’t work with hashtags urls (for client side apps urls).
So, not such a great service, but when it works, you can run a bunch of unit tests or screen caps on some browsers at once.

  • Type: Screenshots
  • Mobile: None
  • Dekstop: Good variety, some really esoteric ones.
  • Cost: free, up to a daily quota per website. Ridiculous 30$ subscription.

Another free screenshots tool. Very minimal, but worked fast for me.  Doesn’t work on hashtags.

  • Type: Screenshots
  • Mobile: None
  • Desktop: medium-small variety
  • Cost: free

tip: some ad-hoc email address service such as might help to evaluate some of those services quickly.

Let me know if I missed any nice services that you use.

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