Harmonizing Your App's Performance: The Art of Cross-Platform Testing

Harmonizing Your App's Performance: The Art of Cross-Platform Testing


By the end of this article:

  • You’ll learn some practical hacking skills using cross-platform testing across multiple platforms to ensure your users get the best experience.

  • What is Cross-platform testing you ask? 🙋🏼 This process involves evaluating software applications or websites on various operating systems, or devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.

  • How much does it cost? The best part is it won’t cost you a dime. 🤑

boxyhq / hacktoberfest-23

This repo serves as Hacktoberfest guidelines for BoxyHQ contributions.


🚀 Hacktoberfest with BoxyHQ

Welcome, let's kick off Hacktoberfest 2023 with a resounding celebration!

The best way to celebrate Hacktoberfest with BoxyHQ and show your support is to star ⭐ our Jackson repo. 🤩

We've thoughtfully tagged numerous repository issues (see the list below) with hacktoberfest, and there are more exciting tags on the way.

For Hacktoberfest 2023, the coveted prize is an exclusive 🎁 certificate from BoxyHQ.

Participating is a breeze – All it takes is two successfully merged Pull Requests, and as October draws to a close, your outstanding contributions will be duly rewarded We welcome everyone to join in and start contributing

🌟 About Hacktoberfest

Hacktoberfest is an annual celebration of open source, encouraging contributions throughout October. It's a fantastic opportunity to join a vibrant community, learn, and give back, all while earning appreciation from DigitalOcean.

✅ Before You Begin:

Before diving into contributions…

View on GitHub

By the way, since Hacktoberfest has started, we atBoxyHQwould like to invite all contributors to join us in this open-source journey. 🚀 And while you are there please add a star to ourSAML Jacksonrepo.

It motivates me to write more articles!

Let’s Set Up the Scene

Your website or application is the doorway to any experience you’d like to share with your users. A seamless experience across different operating systems will make or break it for your users which is the key to retaining and expanding your audience. But how can you thoroughly test your product on various operating systems without investing in a fleet of devices? Sure, there are paid platforms in the marketplace but what if I told you, with a little bit of patience, you can accomplish the same results?

Enter the world of User-Agent spoofing—a clever "hack" that allows you to simulate different environments for testing and development. Let's take a look at why cross-platform testing is essential and explore the value of User-Agent spoofing.

Why Cross Platform Testing Matters

Compatibility Assurance: Each operating system has its quirks, and web content or software may render differently on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, or Android. Ensuring compatibility across platforms is vital to prevent functionality or visual glitches.

Bug Identification: Some issues are platform-specific. By testing on various operating systems, you can identify and resolve bugs before they impact users. This proactive approach reduces negative user experiences and maintains your reputation.

Security Assessment: Security vulnerabilities can vary across operating systems. Thorough testing helps assess your product's security in diverse environments, enabling you to fortify defenses and protect user data.

Performance Optimization: Performance can vary based on the underlying OS and hardware. Testing on multiple platforms aids in optimizing your application's speed and responsiveness, enhancing the user experience.

Market Considerations: Different regions or industries may favor specific operating systems. Adapting your software to these preferences can open new market opportunities.

Introducing User Agent Spoofing

User-agent spoofing is a technique used to mimic a different operating system, application, or browser in your web browser's request headers. It's primarily employed for testing and development purposes and allows you to view websites or applications as if you were using a different platform.

How to Use User Agent Spoofing

Note: Let's take a look at how to use User-Agent spoofing in Google Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
(Disclosure, by the time this article is published the browser steps may be slightly different after updates.)

Google Chrome:

  • Open Chrome and visit the website you’d like to test. Right-click anywhere on the page and select Inspect or press Cmd+Option+I (Ctrl+Shift+I on Windows) to open Developer Tools.

chrome tab

  • In the Developer Tools panel, click the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner.

  • Go to More Tools > Network conditions.

chrome tab2

  • Scroll down in the Network conditions panel, find the User agent section, and uncheck Use browser default.

  • Choose a User-Agent from the dropdown list that corresponds to a different operating system or browser.

chrome tab3

(Look Internet Explorer is even on the list) 🤣

Laughing baby

  • Refresh the webpage to view it as if you were using the selected User-Agent.

Just a note: Chrome has a plugin called User-Agent Switcher and Manager but if you don't want to overload your browser, you can perform the same actions without the plugin as we just saw.

The Edge & Brave browsers employ the same steps since they both use Chromium, the open-source projects behind the Google Chrome browser.


  • Click on Safari and navigate to the settings tab

Safari tab

  • If the Develop menu isn't already visible in your Safari menu bar, you need to enable it.

Safari tab2

  • You should now see the Develop menu in your Safari menu bar.

Safari tab3

  • Select the user agent you want Safari to use. For example, you can choose an option that emulates Safari on an iPhone, Firefox on Windows, etc.

Mozilla Firefox:

⚠️ Disclaimer: Mozilla does not have a robust list of User Agents. In fact, their developer tools are not user-friendly at all, but let's take a look at them so you get the full meal deal 🙂

  • Open Firefox and in the search bar add about:config.

Mozilla tab

  • Dismiss the warning and proceed add general.useragent.override in the search bar and select string and +.

Mozilla tab2

  • This is the point where you will need to manually add a user-agent and there are lists where they can be obtained.

  • Refresh the webpage to see it from the selected User-Agent's perspective.

The Value of User Agent Spoofing

Development and Debugging: Developers use User-Agent spoofing to test and debug websites and applications for various platforms, ensuring consistent functionality and appearance.

User Experience Enhancement: It allows you to see how your product behaves for users on different OSs, helping you identify areas for improvement in usability and accessibility.

Competitive Analysis: User-Agent spoofing lets you explore how competitors' offerings function on various platforms, gaining insights into their strategies and potential weaknesses.

Key Takeaways

  • Cross-platform testing is essential for delivering a seamless user experience and your users will thank you!

  • User-agent spoofing is a valuable tool for achieving a similar experience that your users will have.

  • Within the context of altering the user agent, it's important to note that this practice isn't limited to developers alone. In fact, it can offer significant advantages in scenarios where certain content is typically available on one platform but hidden on another.

With the right approach, you can ensure your product excels across the diverse landscape of operating systems, reaching and delighting a broader audience.

I hope you enjoy learning and developing as much as I do. I’d love to hear from you. Just let me know in the comments and if you’d like to chat join our BoxyHQ Discord Community of Developers.