How we test and validate browsers
Anthology’s approach to determining browser testing and validation is driven by two main considerations:
- We want to test and validate the latest browsers, especially where browser auto-updates drive rapid end user upgrades.
- We want to test and validate an appropriately broad set of browsers that are being used among our clients.
When a browser is listed as tested and validated, Anthology is committed to supporting client usage in two main ways:
- Before a Blackboard Learn release, by testing the available browser and operating system combinations to prevent any browser issues from being released.
- After a Blackboard Learn release, by rapidly addressing client issues by:
- Accepting Support cases on the platform technology, assisting with resolution, and escalating the issues for resolution, regardless of the browser in use.
- Working to resolve any browser issues in product releases as with any other type of issue.
Anthology tests and validates four primary browsers for Blackboard Learn releases.
This includes browsers that follow a traditional software update path with periodic releases of new versions as Generally Available, typically tied to a particular operating system (OS):
- Apple® Safari®
This also includes three browsers that follow a cross-operating system, channel-based rapid software update path:
- Google Chrome™
- Mozilla® Firefox®
- Microsoft® Edge®
With these browsers, Anthology tests their latest "stable" release channel at the time of testing, which is the channel that gets the most testing by the browser vendors themselves before being released to users.
In addition, Anthology tests and validates Firefox's specialized Extended Support Release (ESR) channel, which is a subset of their stable channel designed for enterprise-wide deployment. To learn more, see Firefox's Extended Support Release page.
Anthology’s approach to rendering in browsers
Our universal design approach focuses on interoperability. This means that wherever possible we do not write code specific to a certain browser or we use the minimum amount of encapsulation to handle variations among the browsers.
- The rendering layer of Blackboard Learn interacts with the rendering engine of your browser, which is the part that draws the web pages in the main part of the browser window.
- WebKit, which powers Safari, Chrome, and Opera
- Blink, a version of WebKit that powers the most recent versions of Chrome
- Gecko, which powers Firefox
This design approach to the rendering layer of Blackboard Learn allows us to be confident that new versions of browsers, when released, will continue to work with current versions of Learn.
Newer browser versions
Because of the increased frequency of new browser version released by some vendors, Anthology’s policy is to support all new browser versions released to the market as Generally Available or by supported release channels, even if the browser is released after testing has concluded for the release. We address any critical browser issues found by clients in the field against a provisionally supported browser as a top priority. We execute frequent test cycles against new browsers to ensure the system continues to perform as expected and will update client facing supported browser documentation appropriately.
Just as we recommend keeping up with the latest version of Blackboard Learn for the best experience, the browser vendors make the same recommendation about their software. Some older versions of browsers from some vendors may have rendering issues with newer versions of Learn, and some newer browser versions may have rendering issues with older versions of Learn.
Anthology still accepts client issues for these browsers reported to Support and will attempt to replicate the issue on a fully supported browser. If we can't replicate the issue, Anthology recommends that the client move to a browser version fully supported by Blackboard Learn. In some cases, an additional recommendation might be to update to a more modern version of Learn if not on SaaS.
Blackboard Learn also provides a feature to allow users to acknowledge a cookie disclosure statement when logging in to Learn, as is required in some places. To learn more about this tool, see the Security Management - Data Use and Privacy Disclosure topic.
Blackboard Learn doesn’t require additional browser plug-ins, but uploaded and shared content may have plug-in requirements. Users may be prompted to install the additional software when accessing this content or, depending on individual browser security settings, users may need to acknowledge a browser message allowing the plug-in to run on their system.
Assistive software and accessibility
For the best Blackboard Learn experience with your screen reader, use ChromeTM and Jaws on a Windows® system. On a Mac® use Safari® and VoiceOver.
Anthology strives to make all its products as accessible as possible. To learn more about assistive technologies, visit Accessibility at Blackboard or Accessibility for Blackboard Learn with the Ultra Experience.