The new testing battlefields: Mobile, IoT and beyond sounds like a nice movie but was a webinar I participated as a guest speaker with three other mobile testing experts on June 15th hosted by Progress and Telerik. If you missed the webinar, don’t worry this is a follow up post with my highlights of the webinar including the slides and the live recording of the event.
In this webinar I had the chance to talk about mobile, IoT and beyond with Jim Holmes who was our host during the webinar keeping the discussion going. Jim is currently working as software tester in the automotive industry. Next to Jim, Richard Bradshaw was another guest speaker. Richard is a well known testing trainer and consultant. He is the creator of whiteboard testing on YouTube and is one of the main organizer of the upcoming TestBash Manchester. Last but not least Iliyan Panchev was the fourth speaker. Iliyan is a former tester and currently working as a program manager for Test Studio at Progress.
The webinar started with the question what’s new in any of the areas such as mobile, IoT or embedded. I started the talk with Internet of Things because this is new to me. Mobile and embedded isn’t new anymore. However, many companies are still not yet on the mobile train but they have to keep up if they don’t want to loose the race against their competitors. The IoT era brings completely new challenges not only for software testers and these challenges requires new thinking on how we use upcoming products. As an example I talked about a wine bottle that is connected to a Wi-Fi showing the ingredients and some further information of the vineyard. This was maybe an extreme example of new products that are connected to the Internet. But there is more stuff coming and even the craziest product might lead into the next big thing and we as software testers should be aware of that. If you want to read funny and scary tweets about Internet of Thing devices, I highly recommend to follow Internet Of Shit on twitter.
While talking about IoT we also talked about the differences between web, desktop and mobile testing. I pointed out that mobile testing is different and must be tested in a different way. Mobile users are on their move while using products. Therefore, it is key for every mobile product that it gets tested in the environment where the customers will use it. I highly recommend to test mobile apps in different environment such as trains, city centers, country sides and what ever environment is required by the mobile product. It is also important to test the different mobile networks if the mobile app relies on a backend service.
Next to the technical challenges I pointed out that there is another challenge every mobile developer and tester have to face. It is the fact that mobile users are emotional attached to their devices and apps. When a user buys a mobile device he/ she expects the product to be perfect from a hardware and software point of view. And they expect the same for mobile apps. If a mobile app is too slow or is not solving the user’s problem in a sufficient way it is very easy for them to leave a really bad review in the app stores and remove the app from the phone and move to the next app. Those bad reviews will have an impact to your product and might prevent possible new customers to install the app.
While talking about mobile testing and its specifics we also talked about mobile test automation and the tools that are required in order to test mobile apps in an efficient way. To summarize the tools for mobile test automation – the tools are not there yet. They are not as mature as for example web or desktop testing tools but it is getting better and there are already really nice tools on the market supporting the testing activities on a daily basis. Richard pointed out, that smartphones as we know them are only 9 years old and that the tool development around this technology isn’t as fast as the product development itself, but it is getting better. Next to the test automation tools we talked about proxy tools such as Fiddler or Charles proxy. We all agreed that proxy tools are mandatory for mobile testing and should be one of THE tool for every software tester to check what is going in and out from the app.
Next to proxy tools other tools were mentioned during the webinar that are really useful for mobile testers.
Last but not least we also talked about the fact, that mobile testing requires lots of manual testing to make sure, that the app is working like expected and that it feels like a high quality product.
Next to test automation tools and manual testing of mobile apps we also talked a lot about underlying interfaces, APIs and the backend. It is not only testing the UI of a mobile app but also checking that the backend is delivering the correct data and that the API is behaving in the way we except it to behave. Testing the API and the interfaces can be done with proxies, too. Another critical point when it comes to mobile apps is the performance of the product. Mobile users expect an app to be fully functional and ready to use within 2 seconds after the user taps on the app icon. Therefore, performance testing is another key point in mobile testing. I suggested in the webinar to compare the current live app version with the next release candidate to see if the app is working slower. I use my feeling and the impression of the apps to see if there are some problems. But you should also consider using tools to monitor the performance of the app while using it.
The last topic we were talking about was modeling. From my point of view modeling is really important in every software development project not only for mobile apps and services. It is a very useful method to draw the architecture of a system and to identify the critical parts of the product that requires more testing. Modeling is also very useful to get everyone in the team on the same page and to get a common understanding about the system and the functionality. Richard created a YouTube channel called Whiteboard Testing where he and other software testers explain models or problems with the help of drawings. If you haven’t seen the videos yet, I highly recommend to do so.
We closed the webinar with our statements and I outlined the following:
- Don’t automate everything.
- Stay up to date with the market.
- Adapt your testing to the change in technology.
If you are interested in the slide deck of the webinar, take a look here. If you are too lazy to read :), listen to the new testing battlefields recording on YouTube.
Follow up posts by
- Richard: http://www.thefriendlytester.co.uk/2016/06/webinar-follow-up-new-testing.html
- Jim: http://www.telerik.com/blogs/testing-battlefields-webinar-follow-up