W3C Strategic Highlights: Strengthening the Core of the Web (Browser Testing and Tools and Web Platform Test)

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(This post is part of a series recapping the October 2018 W3C Strategic Highlights and does not include significant updates since that report.)

Browser Testing and Tools

comics illustration of a man wearing a helmet and goggles

Browser testing plays a critical role in the growth of the Web by:

  • Improving the reliability of Web technology definitions;
  • Improving the quality of implementations of these technologies by helping vendors to detect bugs in their products;
  • Improving the data available to Web developers on known bugs and deficiencies of Web technologies by publishing results of these tests.

There is now a standard way to do Web testing, a way to automate interaction with a browser across different browsers and engines. WebDriver was recently published as a W3C Recommendation. It acts as a remote control interface that enables introspection and control of user agents. It provides a platform- and language-neutral wire protocol as a way for out-of-process programs to remotely instruct the behavior of Web, and emulates the action sof a real person using the browser.

WebDriver is widely used day-to-day by Web developers around the world to ensure their Web applications work across multiple browsers. It is also used for cross-browser testing by browser vendors as part of the web-platform-tests effort, in order to catch and eliminate browser incompatibilities before they ship.

Read more in the W3C Blog post.

WebPlatform Tests

Since 2014 W3C began work on a coordinated open-source effort to build a cross-browser test suite for the Web Platform: WebPlatform Tests, which W3C, WHATWG, and all major browsers have adopted. Interest from China has recently increased, with more questions on how to generate tests for Chinese browsers.

Last May WPT moved to its own GitHub repository to facilitate the management of the project and the workload the project generates. With 11K pull requests closed, 32K commits and 1.5K forks as of September 2018, this project is very active.

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