Moving from desktop to mobile app testing

As traffic move from desktop to mobile, more testers will be asked to test for mobile. Mobile may be the future for ecommerce but for testing it will feel like a step backwards.

Automation tools and frameworks are 5 years behind desktop, and reliability of simulators/emulators are a big issue. Every new release of Xcode gives a huge headache as every simulator type has a different bug in it. Limitations on VM’s and hardware by apple make scaling up automated testing very difficult. Android emulators are also slow and unreliable.

Continuous deployment is not a reality, App store approval delays and manually triggered downloads means the release cycle can be fortnightly at best. This means that the level of risks you can take – fail fast – are more limited, there is no rollback option.

Backwards Compatability is something that may not have been an issue you had to consider before. We can’t stop people from using an app version – so messaging becomes important. Also users may not be able to get latest app if on an device where they cannot get the last supported version of an OS. Depending on your market you may want to keep these existing apps running for as long as you can.

Big Bang releases are sometimes unavoidable, like for a redesign due to new OS design standards, or a change in the navigation.  For a tester, this is the worst nightmare, big bang release to 100% of users with no rollback option.

and there are just new things to consider,

interruptions and interactions with other apps, using external memory (android), permissions, GPS, battery drain, rotation, gestures, native shortcuts, accessibility, and so it goes on.

It is a lot of fun though – and you don’t have to worry about Internet Explorer anymore

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