Mozilla Labs launches TestSwarm

Ronny Kerr · August 26, 2009 · Short URL:

Web developers encouraged to use the swarm for multiple browser JavaScript testing

TestSwarmOne of the biggest headaches for Web site creators is getting their brilliant work of web design to look and feel right across all the many different browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, and Apple Safari make up the vast majority of used browsers. Even within each browser, however, sites may run differently on different versions. Add to that the different versions across operating systems, and headaches transform into migraines for many programmers.

In an attempt to alleviate the pain a little, Mozilla Labs has launched a new project called TestSwarm, a tool intended to greatly decrease complex and time-consuming JavaScript testing by enabling programmers to submit their site to “the swarm.”

The front page of the TestSwarm site shows all the browsers available for testing, which includes many versions of all of the browsers noted above. The red numbers floating above the icons show how many clients are connected waiting to run tests.


Once a developer submits a site for testing, a results page returns precise stats for the number of failures for each specific run. ‘Green’ indicates zero failures, ‘red’ indicates at least one failure, ‘black’ signifies a critical error, and ‘grey’ indicates that tests have not yet been run.

Test results

The cool thing about TestSwarm is its use of regular users who simply want to help out with testing. Anyone who uses open source JavaScript libraries can join at

Unfortunately, at the moment TestSwarm is still in alpha testing, Mozilla warns:

NOTE: TestSwarm is currently in an Alpha state. Critical problems may arise during the alpha tests that result in lost data, disconnected clients, and other un-desirable effects. Please keep this in mind while participating in the alpha test.

Nevertheless, Mozilla’s embrace of open source has solidified itself a dedicated community, guaranteeing that this could someday be an indispensable tool for Web developers.

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