For those of you who have worked on making web applications, the laborious process of having to test your application across every operating system and browser, over many days will be all too familiar. In order to save time, developers around the world have made their own customized solutions as workaround to the problem. Some of these solutions have been turned into products and have been effective in accelerating the testing process for web apps. But all have their shortcomings and are not reliable enough.
To address this problem, about a year ago Ritesh Arora and Nakul Aggarwal from Mumbai decided to take matters in his hand, and that’s how Browserstack was born. It is an online tool that allows developers to test their web applications by running real OSes and browsers within your browser.
Focus on Usability and Reliability
Ritesh was part of four startups before Browserstack and is all too familiar with the testing problem. He says, “We would spend a lot of time testing the web app while building it wouldn't take as much time. We then did a little research to find if others also faced this problem and that was the case with most people.”
At the time of launch about a year ago, Ritesh said that there are at least a dozen solutions trying to solve the testing problem, but none of them were reliable and easy to use as their product. “As soon as we launched, we put in a note to John Resig, the founder of JQuery, about Browserstack and he instantly loved it. He has spoken about us at many conferences,” says Ritesh proudly. He reveals that marketing monies for Browserstack has been near zero and almost all their clients have been acquired through sheer word of mouth. Their clientele today include GitHub, AT&T, Accenture and Salesforce among others.
As of now, there are only two other products in the market that do what Browserstack does, of which, it is the only solution that runs off the cloud.
Our Test Result
Browserstack allows a 30-minute free trial when you sign up for it. Into the first three minutes of use, we understood what they meant by usability and reliability. It was really easy to use. Once you’re done choosing the operating system and the browser that you wish to emulate, Browserstack gets to work and provides you a virtual environment within your browser.
Now this is a heavy bit of software running at the backend and the environment lags a little, but still gets the job done. As a developer, this tool will help you find how your application will render on various browsers across various OSes, including mobile OSes such as Android, iOS and on other mobile devices as well.
If your web app isn’t live on the internet, Browserstack also has the facility to run apps hosted locally via a private tunnel.
In our half hour test, the app never made the browser crash despite a heavy application running in the backend. Ritesh revealed that the app runs off the cloud and is the only one in its category to do so. It is also very easy to use and all its main functions are easy to access.
Ritesh feels that the Browserstack is only 50 – 60% complete and there is more work to be done. With over 5,000 paying customers, Browserstack is financially profitable and the team is reinvesting its money in making improvements on the app. Ritesh says another innovative product for mobile app testing which will be released in the near future.
It is truly heartening to see such a good product come from India and with the worldwide acclaim that the app and its team has received — the perennial problem of web developers finally have a solution. Browserstack’s lack of need for marketing doesn’t surprise us and reaffirms that virality is a good product.
Give Browserstack a spin and stay tuned as we bring you news of the next product coming from the Browserstack stable.