Mobile application testing is a challenging and skilled quality assurance process where a testing professional needs to interact with multiple devices available in the market to test the mobile application built by software developers. The process consists of checking the performance of application across multiple handheld devices with different screen sizes and operating systems. The mobile application users and customers expect enterprise mobility service providers to ensure that any given application is isolated, secure and has high performance. Therefore, testing/ QA team should permit deployment team to implement a fully tested and certificated application for the users. This can be achieved by finding cost-effective solution at the same time avoid any compromise on quality.
QA Challenges in Mobile Application Testing
- Device Diversity – A mobile application can be deployed across various devices which have different OS platform and version support, distinct manufacturers with variance in keypads such as virtual keypads, hard pads etc. So, it is difficult for quality team to assure that a well-tested application in one device may work 100% in the other.
- Mobile Platforms/OS Variation – The major mobile platform players includes Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Testing a single application across multiple devices running on the same platform and every platform possess unique challenge for testers.
- Industry Standards- There are certain standards and guidelines for a mobile application to be globally acceptable. Testers need to focus on those areas to submit a high quality application on the App Store.
- Mobile Network Operators – Mobile application testers has to be attentive in testing mobile application in accordance with different network available worldwide. There are more than 400 network operators globally. GSM and CDMA technologies are most preferred by the operators.
- Scripting – To ensure a high quality app is a challenge when release cycles become shorter and frequent, in Agile Methodology. In this kind of environment, QA team needs a skilled Automation Test specialist to develop test automation framework, to attain the stability of the application.
Importance of Online Mobile Testing Tools
While developing a mobile application, we may need to test it in multiple handsets. After development, we are not aware of how it will appear in each device available in the market as one needs to buy each of them to test it manually. Online Mobile Application Testing Tools make this work simple by utilizing some available tools to test the mobile application. Tester can examine the app on these tools, analyze it for the mistakes/errors, and then optimize it according to the recommendations. Key factors in deciding specific device models for testing are:
- OS Version – The application should be tested on all major OS versions in the current installed base.
- Form Factor – The application may behave differently on smart phones and tablets. If the test application supports both smart phones and tablets, it should be tested on both form factors
- Display Density – The screen size and screen resolution of a device can also affect application user experience. Device models selected for testing should include a mix of different display densities.
Some of the other factors such as keyboard, CPU type, memory can affect specialized applications that depend on specific device features and should be considered. Selecting specific iOS device models can be easier due to the fewer number of OS versions. Source: Mobile Application Testing – Whitepaper by TCS
Benefits of Online Mobile Testing
Some of the key benefits of online testing are:
- Large number of devices available for testing
- Test execution can be performed on several devices in parallel
- Without a phone plan, one can test incoming, outgoing call services and messaging
- Variety of plans available such as hourly, monthly or yearly subscriptions
- Automation can be recorded and can be played as videos
- Users can use the tool from anywhere, anytime
Types of Online testing tools
A cloud based simulator. Testing can be performed on Android, iOS, and Web apps on 100s of real, non-emulated phones and tablets. Users can upload apps via web client or through the API and AppThwack tests those apps on desired devices. The simulator generates reports in minutes, therefore the issues are identified well before one can deploy the app for consumers. It supports tests through all popular automation platforms like Robotium, Calabash, UI Automation, etc and provide full control of devices and examine application flows and behaviors. AppThwack’s API is designed as an easy-to-use gateway for testing on AppThwack’s infrastructure through clients other than the official site. It follows a RESTful architecture and returns all results in JSON with appropriate HTTP response codes. Some of the features include – multi platform support, frictionless testing, detailed teports, custom tests, security and privacy.
In-browser Android emulators allows embedding apps in websites, development, collaboration, automated testing and QA. Users can upload their Android apk and check the flow. Manymo is not a device specific emulator instead it is version specific. It provides support up-to Android 4.4 -Google Api. Some of the features include – quick launch, light-weight, supports multiple OS versions and device screen sizes. However, Manymo is not a free-ware, and user is limited to check 10 launch in a month without any cost.
A load testing platform-as-a-service (PaaS), which is fully compatible with open-source Apache JMeter (the performance testing framework by the Apache Software Foundation). BlazeMeter provides developers with tools for a simple integration into their native development environment by providing mobile, web application, website, web-service or database testing that can simulate thousands of users visiting a website simultaneously using the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service. Users can run multiple load tests in order to locate and fix performance bottlenecks. The platform is scalable from 1000 to 300,000+ concurrent users.
BlazeMeter’s load testing platform has built-in integrations that can be extended with a series of custom plug-ins. BlazeMeter currently provides a free plugin to Jmeter, a Drupal module, and a Jenkins CI plugin for load testing.
An on-demand tool for testing mobile web content on real mobile devices. It allows users to interact remotely with mobile devices in real-time. Users can analyze the website content and can act according based on the behavior of the application. DeviceAnywhere Free is a no-cost, online service where user can get an unlimited number of 10-minute sessions on any available device. Some of the benefits include – targeting the right devices and platforms for your mobile app, getting content or service to the market quickly, users have a consistent brand experience across a diverse set of mobile device platforms, reduces the time and effort to manage and scale resources it takes to test mobile apps and websites on all of these different devices and networks.
Feature comparison of four popular online mobile application testing tools
To deliver a high quality mobile application, testing is critical. Testing with real devices can be expensive, depending on the way we explore it. It can also be disorganized and labor intensive if the testing environment is not helpful to creating, collecting and generating results in a consistent manner.
Emulated devices, on the other hand, are relatively easier to manage. Users can switch the device by creating a profile and can perform testing on incoming/outgoing calls, messaging etc. without a phone plan. There are various cloud-based testing tools available and enterprises can explore these cloud-based testing tools, if the requirement is to reduce project cost and high ROI.
Software Test Engineer, RapidValue Solutions