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Web-based application testing versus desktop application testing

Project managers need to understand the major differences between Web-based application testing and testing traditional desktop applications.

What are some of the differences in Web-based applications versus traditional desktop applications that a project manager should be aware of?

Web-based testing can present a variety of issues that typically aren’t concerns for traditional desktop applications. Examples of specialized Web-testing would be things like browser compatibility testing, Web accessibility testing, checking for dead links and client and server messaging considerations, just to name a few.

Many tools and resources that are used for Web development will be different from those used for other technologies.


As with testing any application, project managers should understand the underlying technology and know the tools and processes that are best suited for the development team to operate smoothly. Many tools and development resources that are used for Web development will be different from those used for other technologies.

There are many excellent open-source and free resources available online that help with Web development and test. Rob Lambert’s free e-book 36 Days of Web Testing provides 36 lessons for Web-based application testing. It is chock-full of resource links to additional tools and websites that will help those who are exploring the world of Web development and test. In the article, "Three important lessons in Web testing," you’ll find more information about the three areas that Lambert felt were the most important: browser extensions, Web accessibility, and client and server watching.

As a project manager, having a basic understanding of the technology helps ensure that you are engaging the right people at the right time. Performance and security issues will be different on Web applications than they are on desktop applications. There will be differences in customer base, the way the application will be deployed, and how often the application will be deployed. The service and maintenance model is also different for Web-based applications. Understanding these differences between the two models helps project managers understand who the stakeholders are and how to make sure the team is well-prepared to handle the challenges that are unique to Web application development.

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