Every Millisecond Counts When Code-Testing Mobile Apps

Whether a company is creating mobile applications for e-commerce, customer service or internally to boost employee productivity, the rapid development and effective deployment of mobile apps has become a business imperative.

The global mobile application market was estimated at $106 billion in 2018 and is expected to hit $407 billion by 2026; an annual growth rate of 18.4%, according to Valuates Reports. Growth is being driven primarily by e-commerce, gaming and IoT, according to the report. “The advantage of having a mobile application, even for a small business, is that it improves brand recognition and offers a whole new level of e-commerce user experience, helps create customer loyalty, gathers feedback and helps [the business] stand out from the crowd,” the report says.

Mobile App Developers Face UI Pressure

Unfortunately, mobile application users are a tough crowd with zero tolerance for bugs or user interface (UI) issues. In fact, one-fourth of end users abandon mobile apps after their initial experience, according to the report. In this highly competitive environment, the ability to effectively test mobile apps prior to launch is critical, but many organizations face challenges when it comes to creating a suitable test environment.

“Test environments and test data are the most cited challenges for core enterprise applications, as well as more fluid applications developed in short cycles, often deployed on smartphones, tablets or a web browser,” according to a recent Capgemini World Quality Report.

The percentage of organizations struggling to keep pace with mobile app testing requirements is increasing, according to the report. Respondents cited a slew of issues, including not having the right processes, methods or tools to test mobile applications; not having in-house mobile testing experts; not having an in-house testing environment and/or not having enough physical devices on which to test.

These challenges are pushing many organizations to cloud-based application testing platforms, which offer a way for developers to avoid common testing bottlenecks that slow mobile app deployment. The COVID-19 pandemic created another driver for adoption of cloud-based testing platforms, since mobile application testers lacked access to physical testing spaces where they could access and share an inventory of mobile devices.

Accelerating Demand for Mobile Apps

The shift to agile software development and continuous deployment methodologies is another factor ratcheting up pressure on developers to create new apps in weeks, or even days, without sacrificing quality.

Unlike traditional apps, mobile applications need to be tested on dozens, sometimes hundreds of devices to ensure they run anywhere. The proliferation and ubiquity of mobile devices means developers need to test on more than 350 devices just to cover 90% of the mobile device market. In a present-day enterprise BYOD scenario, for example, each employee might use three to five different devices – a number that’s only expected to increase as wearables and IoT gain mainstream adoption. Development teams must prove the app is hardware agnostic and functions as expected; otherwise, imagine the fallout if the company launched a BYOD app that didn’t run properly on the CEO’s smartphone, for instance.

This is where the value of cloud-based application testing platforms becomes clear. Cloud-based app testing platforms enable developers to manually test applications on an unlimited number of mobile devices, and to perform crucial measurements and tests of functionality like screen rendering. Mobile applications must seamlessly render in the tester’s browser without lag or latency to avoid poor user experience.

Beyond that, there are time considerations to think about. A large enterprise organization could have hundreds of testers working around the clock to validate an application, and a slowdown of even a few milliseconds per screen rendering could cost  thousands of dollars a day in lost productivity. That’s why every millisecond matters.

Selecting a Mobile App Testing Vendor

Selecting a vendor that can deliver a cloud-based testing platform without lag or delay is critical, but there are other factors to consider, as well.

Some solutions use emulators or simulators to test application performance, but nothing can replace the real thing. Look for a vendor with the ability to perform tests on real, physical devices. Since most organizations operate in a hybrid world, look for a vendor that gives customers the flexibility to combine both cloud-based and on-premises testing.

Automation is also a major factor to consider in vendor selection. According to one survey of more than 350 mobile developers and software testers, 55% said automation would improve software quality, but the majority of respondents, 76%, are automating fewer than half of all software tests.

Look for a vendor with the capability to take an initial manual test and automatically create scripts for all of the devices under test, without requiring developers to write new code. Test automation scripts can be created and executed exponentially faster than manual efforts, which enables businesses to get to market faster with better quality mobile apps.

Content By DevOps.com

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