Testing is a major element of development. Without effective testing, you’re essentially releasing beta software and forcing your customers to be the guinea pigs in discovering any flaws or issues. But Microsoft is making it easier for developers to test how things behave and execute within the Edge browser, thanks to a new partnership with BrowserStack.
BrowserStack provides live, web-based browser testing with access to all variations of mobile and desktop browsers across all operating systems and platforms. The company claims to offer more than 1,100 desktop browser variants, including the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome and Firefox on its cloud-based infrastructure.
BrowserStack is free to open source projects, but commercial use of BrowserStack generally requires a subscription. It offers plans as low as $12.50 per month for freelancers and $2,499 per month or more for larger enterprise teams. However, for the Edge browser, BrowserStack testing is now available for free, thanks to Microsoft.
“Until now, developers who need to test against a specific version of Microsoft Edge have been limited to local virtual machines, or PCs with Windows 10 installed. However, there are many developers that don’t have easy access to Microsoft Edge for testing purposes,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post announcing the partnership.
As a result, developers now can sign in to BrowserStack and test Microsoft Edge for free. Developers can test sites and apps in the cloud-based Edge browser as if it were a locally installed instance, even if they’re working from macOS, Linux or another operating system that doesn’t natively support Edge.
To enable faster, automated testing, Microsoft is also offering BrowserStack’s Automate testing service for free. Microsoft describes it in the blog post, “This method of testing allows you to run up to 10 Microsoft Edge test sessions via script, which can integrate with your local test runners via the standardized WebDriver API. You can even configure your machine so that the cloud-based browser can see your local development environment.”
Developers will have access to three versions of Microsoft Edge within BrowserStack—the two most recent stable releases, and the most recent “Preview” release (the version available in the most current Windows Insider Preview Fast ring build). Testing for Microsoft Edge on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is available now. EdgeHTML 15 will be available in the Windows 10 Creators Update—which will start rolling out to users on April 11. That version will be available on BrowserStack shortly after release.
I hope the developers of Tweetdeck will take advantage of this service. I use Edge as my primary browser. It worked fine up until the Anniversary Update, but since then it has suffered from memory leaks, lags and crashes—but it seems to be related almost exclusively to Tweetdeck. I’ve never been sure whether the blame should be placed on Microsoft or Tweetdeck, but now that this service is being offered for free, hopefully the Tweetdeck developers can use it to identify and resolve whatever issues are causing the problem.