Sunday, April 18, 2010

User Tests in Browserscope

It seems like nearly every week we read about an interesting new hosted test for people to visit and run their browsers through (recent examples include and Developers really love to poke at the black boxes they code for - and the matrix of browsers, OS, and networks is enormous. One thing I, and I presume other developers, would love to see are the aggregated results for these tests by user agent. Considering this is exactly what we built Browser to accomplish for our test categories, and that a user-hosted test feature has been on our Roadmap, the Browserscope team is happy to announce that we're opening up an alpha of our User Tests feature.

Conveniently, this past week a User Tests use case came up for me at work and so it's been a driver for building this feature. We began working on a UI component that we wanted to test for speed of task completion. After building up a test page with a timer and some deltas it dawned on me just how cool it would be to open up this test to the world, and aggregate the results. The test is kind of strange in that the the UI component is out of its context, and you can argue about the mechanics of the test itself, but I still feel like the results may be informative. Interestingly too, this test is exactly the kind of thing we would *not* want to feature on the homepage of Browserscope (it's more of a performance test than a spec/binary test). And yet, the backend system with its median aggregation, scalability, and user-agent parsing library is a perfect fit. So check it out - and see how other people are doing on the test (courtesy of Browserscope).

This is definitely a release early/often feature, and we want to be explicit that things may change or break in the API while we're in alpha mode. We may have to take the service offline briefly to fix things. But if you write tests for browsers and want to aggregate your results, sign in to Browserscope, register your test page and then read the HOWTO to start saving your results in the system. Please send any feedback to me or to our mailing list. We really hope to make this an easy system to use for the tests you're already hosting.

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