What Matters in Mobile Testing?

Devices matter. We don’t yet trust the mobile devices like we trust desktops and laptops. In the course of testing traditional web applications, rarely do you have to think about the model of the actual machine. In mobile, however, the behavior of an application can vary from device to device. You can no longer just think about browser/OS combinations.

Mobile emulators aren’t good enough. They get you part way there, but you still have to physically test on many devices.

The version of the OS can be quite important. Just as you think about the physical device, you also must consider how nuances of each OS version can affect application behavior: iOS 3, 4 or 5; Android 2.1, 2.2 , or 2.3; Blackberry 5, 6, or 7; Windows Mobile 7.0 or 7.5; etc. Add that to your test matrix.

Mobile web apps can become native apps. Tools like PhoneGap and Appcelerator enable web applications to be compiled into native applications. Now you might need to test a version of the application that runs in browsers and a version that runs natively.

Native phone features must now be considered. With the ability to turn web applications into native applications, this opens up access to native phone features, like the camera, accelerometer, address book, etc. These are not things we are all that familiar with.

Mobile web applications tend to be heavy on the JavaScript. Many factors lead to a thick-client architectural style for mobile applications. Business logic is pushed to the client-side—i.e. JavaScript —and the server-side becomes a set of services. Suffice to say that you now may find yourself much more concerned about how to test JavaScript.

Offline capability is important. This may become a first class concern. There are several reasons why a phone can lose connectivity, such as Airplane mode and driving into a tunnel, and mobile applications must be designed to deal with this fact—yet, another thing to add to your testing list.

Connection quality is unpredictable. Remember when you had to worry about dial-up users? It’s like that. Even if you assume your target user base will have at least 3G, connectivity can degrade or be lost at any time. One minute you’re on Wi-Fi, the next on 3G, and the next on Edge.

Data plans might be metered. Many users do not have unlimited data usage. Now the application architecture and design has to take into account how it will need to respect the user’s data plan. And you have to test it.

Instrumentation and test tool support is lagging on mobile devices. Any time there is emerging technology, the development of supporting tools (like testing tools) lags. For example, there are not currently a great many mature tool options available to automate tests of mobile applications across the spectrum of devices, OSes, browsers, etc.

The network provider might matter. Perhaps a particular network provider throttles connection speeds. Perhaps a particular network provider configures its phones in a particular way that might be important to know.

You have a lot to consider building your test matrix for testing mobile applications. The test strategies are still evolving. We are all still figuring out what matters in mobile application testing. Good luck!

John Roets
John Roets has been providing software engineering leadership, specifically to application development for the web, since 1998. John is currently a Senior Architect at ITX Corporation in Rochester, NY; providing solutions to a multitude of clients, focusing his attention (at the moment) on mobile applications. He is just as likely to engage you in discussion about design patterns, databases, and the latest web technologies as he is about business strategy, software development methodologies and organizational structure.  John can be contacted through http://jroets.blogspot.com/</em
John Roets
John Roets has been providing software engineering leadership, specifically to application development for the web, since 1998. John is currently a Senior Architect at ITX Corporation in Rochester, NY; providing solutions to a multitude of clients, focusing his attention (at the moment) on mobile applications. He is just as likely to engage you in discussion about design patterns, databases, and the latest web technologies as he is about business strategy, software development methodologies and organizational structure.

The Related Post

This article will cover 10 common mobile app testing mistakes to avoid when you are a software tester working in a mobile app testing and development environment. The 10 points may help you to start your mobile testing activities if you are new to mobile testing or they may help you to recap your existing mobile testing ...
  Mobile analytics experts Julian Harty and Antoine Aymer have teamed up to deliver a 161-page handbook designed to help you “enhance the quality, velocity, and efficiency of your mobile apps by integrating mobile analytics and mobile testing”.
 LogiGear_Magazine_October_2014_Testing_Smart_and_Mobile
Strategies to Approach Mobile Web App Testing Mobile web technology has been continuously changing over the past few years, making “keeping up” challenging. In this article, Raj Subramanian covers the latest trends and changes happening in the mobile web and how testers can prepare for them.
Users aren’t likely to forgive and forget buggy apps. Mobile has big implications for business. The mobile experience is the customer experience, and you don’t get many second chances.
Will testers be among the first IT professionals to shift their toolset and workflows from desktops and laptops to tablets and smartphones? As I’m sure you already know, a monumental shift from desktop to mobile is upon us. Not only have consumer applications started leaving the desktop behind, but B2B applications are also starting their ...
Steps that will enable you to identify the weaknesses of your new app, its vulnerabilities and strengths. So you’ve just finished developing a nifty, customisable app that can help farmers track their produce from source to market via their mobile phone. You’re elated and want to get started marketing it right away. Not to burst ...
A sampling of some free, online, and easy-to-use mobile device emulators that can help get you started with testing. ScreenFly A free, customizable tool to test your website on any screen size, including desktops, tablets, televisions, and mobile phones.
What you need to know in order to have effective and reliable Test Automation for your mobile apps I realized that Test Automation interfaces are pivotal to effective and efficient Test Automation, yet very few people trying to test their mobile apps seemed to know how their automated tests connected with the apps they wanted ...
Manual testing teams may not be able to test all the processes with each build Test automation of applications has been around for many years. There are many of us in the automated testing field that started very early in the test automation phase, but the introduction of mobile devices has brought on a new angle ...
25% of Americans own a tablet. Up from 11% of U.S. adults in July of 2011 to 18% in January of 2012. – Pew Internet & American Life Project Nigeria has close to 100 million mobile phone lines, making it Africa’s largest telecoms market. – Nigerian Communications Commission Google plans to sell 200 million Android ...
This is the second part of a two part article that analyzes the impact of product development for the internet of things (IoT) on software testing.  Part one of this article (LogiGear Magazine, Sept 2014) gave a wide view on the IoT, embedded systems, and the device development aspects of testing on these projects. This ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in the loop with the lastest
software testing news

Subscribe