I have heard of ways by which one can perform cross-browser testing by setting up virtual desktops. I want to know the various ways by which this virtual desktop can be set up.
For cross platform testing, you have two options:
You create virtual machines (which any operating systems, including Windows, any Linux distributions (such as Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and so on) by using a software like VMWare Workstation1 ($), Oracle VirtualBox (free). Setup such environment is relatively easy (i.e. you create a virtual machine by providing required specifications (i.e. how much CPU cores, RAM, disk space and so on), then you install wanted operating systems and software). This kind of infrastructure is perfect for restricted environments where you are not allowed use cloud-based solutions (like in financial corporations). Disadvantages of testing infrastructure based on virtual machines are the cost of operation and maintenance.
Or you can use cloud-based solutions such as SauceLabs or BrowserStack, which provide access to multiple browsers versions on different operating systems. Cloud-based solutions will provide a better return on investment than having a testing infrastructure based on virtual machines.
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The tool Browseemall can be used fot that. The tool is to be installed on peremisis, so the website does niot have to be accesible from the internet. This is not a free/open source tool. One of the things it does is offer you the possibility to enter a url and pick a browser and version you want to test it on. If it is needed te tools downloads a virtual image for you. The tool also has an integrated Selenium Grid.