Testing for cross-browser compatibility using BrowserStack


Learn how to do it with this example

Recalling my BrowserStack review, their main tools are:

  • Automate: Where you run your automated Selenium tests and check the results.
  • Screenshots: Paste an URL, select the browsers and version you want, and in a few minutes you get a batch of screenshots.
  • Live: by connecting to their data center you are able to do exploratory testing of your web app on the environment you need without having to worry about virtual machines.

Note that BrowserStack Automate tells you if a test has completed, not that it passed. For me that’s just weird. So when a test fails locally it doesn’t (necessarily) fail remotely. I explicitly created an assert that would always fails like assertThat(true, is(false)) and it would fail locally and pass complete on BrowserStack. I had to use that API workaround to mark tests as failed you will se below.

Here is the code I used to integrate my local Selenium tests with BrowserStack’s Automate service. Their documentation and customer support helped me achieve it.

public class EndToEndBrowserStackTests {

    private static WebDriver driver;
    private static String targetDriver;
    private static String targetRootUrl;
    private static URL browserStackAPI;

    // When a test fails, you need to explicitly mark it as failed on BrowserStack... #fail
    public TestRule testWatcher = new TestWatcher() {
        public void failed(Throwable t, Description test) {
            // Take screenshot
            try {
                File screenshotFile = ((TakesScreenshot) driver).getScreenshotAs(OutputType.FILE);
                FileUtils.copyFile(screenshotFile, new File(SCREENSHOTS_DIR + test.getMethodName() + ".png"));
            } catch (Exception e) {

            if (driver instanceof RemoteWebDriver) {
                failRemoteTest("Failed test at " + test.getMethodName() + " because '" + t.getMessage().replace('\n', ' ') + "'");

    public static void init() throws Exception {
        // Use system env variables for CI environments or constants if your testing manually on your IDE
        String browserStackUser = System.getenv("BROWSERSTACK_USER");
        String browserStackKey = System.getenv("BROWSERSTACK_ACCESSKEY");
        browserStackAPI = new URL("https://" + browserStackUser + ":" + browserStackKey + "@hub-cloud.browserstack.com/wd/hub");

        targetRootUrl = "http://your-url-under-test.com/"; // either local or remote
        targetDriver = System.getenv("BROWSER_NAME");

    public void checkForNavigationLinks() {
        try {
            driver = getDriver();
            WebDriverWait driverWait = new WebDriverWait(driver, 5);  // seconds

            NavigationHeader navHeader = new NavigationHeader(driver);
            assertThat("Header links should be visible", navHeader.isDashboardLinkVisible(), is(true));

            NavigationMenu navMenu = new NavigationMenu(driver);
            assertThat("Menu links should be visible", navMenu.isLoginLinkVisible(), is(true));
        } catch (Exception e) {

    public void tearDown() {
        if (driver != null) {

    private static WebDriver getDriver() throws Exception {
        DesiredCapabilities caps = new DesiredCapabilities();
        caps.setCapability("os", "Windows");
        caps.setCapability("os_version", "10");
        caps.setCapability("resolution", "1024x768");
        caps.setCapability("browserstack.debug", "true");
        caps.setCapability("browserstack.video", "false");
        caps.setCapability("browserstack.local", System.getenv("BROWSERSTACK_LOCAL");
        caps.setCapability("browserstack.localIdentifier", System.getenv("BROWSERSTACK_LOCAL_IDENTIFIER");
        caps.setCapability("project", "Your Project's Name");   //TODO: the name of your project
        caps.setCapability("build", "");                        //TODO: leave empty if you don't want the results to be grouped by build

        switch (targetDriver.toLowerCase()) {
            case "chrome":
                caps.setCapability("browser", "Chrome");
                caps.setCapability("browser_version", "50.0");
            case "ie": case "internetexplorer":
                caps.setCapability("browser", "IE");
                caps.setCapability("browser_version", "11.0");
            case "ff": case "firefox":
                caps.setCapability("browser", "Firefox");
                caps.setCapability("browser_version", "46.0");
            case "": case "phantom":
                return new PhantomJSDriver();
        return new RemoteWebDriver(browserStackAPI, caps);

    private void failRemoteTest(String errorReason) {
        try {
            String remoteSessionId = ((RemoteWebDriver) driver).getSessionId().toString();
            String encodedAuthString = ""; // TODO: Find out which one is yours, it should be a base64 string
            URL url = new URL("https://www.browserstack.com/automate/sessions/" + remoteSessionId + ".json");
            HttpURLConnection connection = (HttpURLConnection) url.openConnection();

            connection.setRequestProperty("Accept", "application/json");
            connection.setRequestProperty("Content-Type", "application/json; charset=UTF-8");
            connection.setRequestProperty("Authorization", "Basic " + encodedAuthString);

            String payload = "{\"status\":\"error\", \"reason\":\"" + errorReason + "\"}";
            OutputStreamWriter writer = new OutputStreamWriter(connection.getOutputStream(), "UTF-8");

            if (connection.getResponseCode() != 200)
                throw new Exception("Failed to change remote test state.");
        } catch (Exception e) {