Do you always need a mobile device for mobile application testing?
In a single word, the answer would be YES, you need a mobile device for mobile application testing.
Your app is meant for end users, to be run on physical mobile devices, and hence it is important that the testing is also done on them.
Speaking of mobile applications, there are two different natures of applications which run on mobile devices, native mobile applications and mobile web applications. The testing practices of each of these kinds of applications vary, but the primary challenge when dealing with mobile application testing are the different devices used by the end user. In which case, is having each of the different devices a solution? Or is there a better strategy which when employed will be optimal in terms of cost, quality and time-to-market.
– They run based on the hardware and operating system for which they were developed for
– They offer rich experience to the user and offer a economic advantage to the developer
– Testing: The app needs to be successfully downloaded onto the device, executed and the app should also be able to communicate with the backend infrastructure
– The application runs on the global web and here again the compatibility with different devices and networks come into play
– There are different technology solutions which can be used to mitigate risks depending on the target audience requirement
– Testing: The key areas which need to be tested are the compatibility across mobile devices, mobile browsers, network and scripting challenges.
A successful mobile application testing strategy typically has the following testing options:
- Emulators: An emulator emulates various handset hardware configurations, and operating systems to enable emulated testing of the app under various scenarios. They also enable stress ad performance testing to be performed with very definitive outputs available. Initial testing on an emulator can offer device options and speed, which is crucial during the development phase. This is the most cost effective solution.
- Cloud testing tools: There are cloud based emulators which enable hosted testing services, wherein the app can be deployed, tested and managed on the cloud. Cloud allows for the largest number of devices available for testing and most importantly, you can run tests on different devices in parallel.
- Physical devices: Testing performed on physical mobile devices provides the real world scenario and also factor in device lags and network issues as would be experienced by an end user. No emulated device or cloud testing solution can factor in the faults and characteristics which only a physical device can exhibit. Hence, it is extremely essential that there are some real device tests in your test plan to verify and validate the emulator results.
Apart from the above mobile application testing options, there are specific practices which aid in developing a thorough testing strategy.
- Automate: In the case of emulators and cloud testing solutions, automation can help in saving time and money. They allow for far more test cases to be run with a better consistency and the reports and logs being documented, help to detect and solve issues quicker.
- Network: Each network functions differently and can have different challenges associated with it. For example, some networks might implement a mobile web proxy which can restrict the flow of information between your servers and the test client, hence causing disruption in the application. One solution is to bypass the network and use the internet for the testing purposes, but this again will not provide real world scenarios and outputs for your tests. The second, better solution is to use a remote real device, where a device is remotely located with access over the web for interface and keypad control. This enables a real world analysis and in many cases also test recording capabilities for which proves useful for regression testing. There are many providers who allow testing time slots to be purchased for particular models and make of devices on a remote real device.
- Scripting: When using an emulator, they automate the test execution, using a high- level, abstracted scripting language, which is independent of devices and platforms. The initial cost of setting up the script will be high, but with subsequent re-runs of the script, the automation, makes the scripting worth the while. When testing mobile websites, many automated scripting tools also “spider
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