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Developing a website aiming to the Chinese market, I am wondering whether I should do compatibility tests with the 360 secure browser, which is based on the Trident layout engine (like Internet Explorer).

Any developer experienced in designing websites for China? Did you test on this browser? Is it really different from IE? What is its market share in mainland China?

Note: Multiply by OS versions x use cases x website releases, and testing ends up costing a lot, so I need to think carefully about adding a browser to the supported browsers list.

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If its using Trident for rendering shouldn't it give the same output? –  TheLQ Jun 13 '11 at 5:56
    
TheLQ: My optimism would say so, but if this browser's market share is large, then the right decision would be to test it as well. –  Nicolas Raoul Jun 13 '11 at 7:04
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2 Answers

I think rather than jumping to any conclusions or dumping money on testing, it would be safer and more economical to compare it against IE using existing tests.

If for instance it has the same number of ACID and/or test262 failures as a known version of IE, then there's a good chance that all the components involved (HTML/CSS/JS) are the same, and so your website will behave the same so long as you use only those components (how it runs Flash or Java applets would be up in the air). Only if any test results don't match any version of IE would I bother doing any meticulous tests.

It's easy for people to say "test it because it's good practice to test", but it'd be totally senseless to go nuts testing if it turns out to just be IE in different clothes. There are such browsers out there.

Test smart, not lots.

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Great idea! I will try. –  Nicolas Raoul Jun 13 '11 at 10:03
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Browser stats is your friend

This is exactly what you use browser stats for as a metric. An even better metric is to check what browser paying customers are using; e.g. if you have a check out process, how many exit it with paying etc. Not only does this hint if there is any problem in this process, but also what web browser your users are using to achieve this.

So check how many of your users use 360 secure browser. If it is less than 1%, maybe you shouldn't put in all those man hours to test for this crowd.

In conclusion: If you find that the usage is way too low to mandate for the development cost to test one particular web browser then ignore testing on it. It is also a good indicator on when to stop developing for a legacy browser (dare I say and hope: IE6).

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Exactly. Problem is: the website is not online yet, so no visitors. I could not find it in publicly available user agent statistics either. –  Nicolas Raoul Jun 13 '11 at 9:29
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If you know the Trident version (i.e. MSHTML.dll) that 360 Secure Browser uses, then you know which version of IE you should be using. But I'd recommend testing occasionally on the actual browser from time to time, until you decide to drop the support for it (due to low usage) or escalate the support for it (due to high usage). –  Spoike Jun 13 '11 at 10:57
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