With thousands of new mobile apps uploaded and billions downloaded every day, testing these apps can surely be challenging. Moreover, there is a diversity of factors including mobile devices, app types, testing tools and test interfaces. Fortunately, there are solutions to the issues arising from this diversity.
A huge diversity of mobile devices is available nowadays - including smartphones, laptops, netbooks, tablets, ultra-mobile PCs, mobile internet devices and personal digital assistants (PDAs) - providing diverse environments for mobile apps. Furthermore, if a tested app works well on one device, there is no guarantee that it will work on other devices as well.
To confront this diversity, the easy way is to outsource it to an external lab. As an alternative, companies may choose a combination of internal and cloud-based mobile labs. (The ratio of in-house to cloud-based will differ depending on company size and the number of platforms supported.)
Mobile App Types
There are three types of mobile app architecture: native, web and hybrid. Issues may arise as test case scenarios for each vary, especially in terms of compatibility, performance and stress testing. Here are the key differences between the three mobile app types:
To avoid the additional complexity of supporting multiple app architectures, at least one or both of the alternatives must be eliminated by executive decision.
Mobile Testing Tools
Mobile test automation tools are hugely available in the market. Which will you use: Free or paid? For native or web apps? For Android or iOS? Another question is how many tools are you going to use?
When choosing tools, make sure tool capabilities are matched to the skill of your testers, existing development toolset and, of course, budget. The key feature to look for is the ability to make scripts from manual tests, which enlarges automated test coverage and improves collaboration between testers and developers when detecting, verifying, and fixing bugs for user errors.
Mobile emulators and simulators let you verify general functionality and perform regression testing regularly, but their nature means testing is done in an environment that is not ‘real’. Their advantages, thus, are limited in scope and should never fully substitute real-world testing.
If testing on real networks becomes necessary, a temporary solution is to use emulators along with an operator’s web or test proxy, which avoids airtime charges and allows testing to proceed with an instrumented test stack. If you cannot acquire in-house accounts with target networks, cloud-based testing services (most include remote carrier coverage) will provide the most realistic testing scenario.
You may encounter these and more issues along the way but, as long as you know how to resolve them, there is no need to worry. Knowing these problems and their corresponding solutions will help you make sound decisions regarding your mobile testing needs.