Letter from the Editor – December 2012

In the November 2011 issue: Mobile Application Testing, I began my column with the statement, “Everything is mobile.” One year later the statement is even more true. More devices, more platforms, more diversity, more apps.

It boggles the mind how fast the landscape changes. Blackberry has been kicked to the curb by cooler and slicker Apple and Android devices, and Microsoft is making a run with Windows Mobile 8 and the Surface tablet. As of this writing Windows Mobile 8 just launched and the tech press boasts “Nokia Lumia 720 ( running Windows Mobile 8 ) is ‘sold out!’” and Surface is “selling well.”
Mobile used to mean phones. Now it’s netbooks, smart phones, pads, scanners, mobile POS (point of sale) devices… it’s data, consumer products, corporate application, financial services and games — the list goes on.

It’s also interesting that while a lot of corporate IT staff are just now warming to supporting smart devices for internal users, the corporate market is the largest consumer of mobile computing. From mobile auto insurance data processing to the long existent mobile sales and inventory systems on every Coke, FedEx, FTD and DHL delivery truck around the world, mobile computing makes business run!

Inside software and product development, we know that along with the explosion in devices, in this new millennium, development teams must be leaner, more agile, more distributed and faster! But how? In the case of testing, the only answer is to automate more! Yet this answer has new twists today. We know dev tools on new platforms come first and that test tool development lags. The test tools for mobile are coming fast- yet the overwhelming majority of current tools are single platform tools. So how do we automate for so many platforms? What interface is best to automate? What issues will we miss by using emulators/simulators and not the real devices? Should we do security and performance testing for each release?

Our test strategies are going to have to change as well. A common situation I see is releasing a browser application with the focus on Internet Explorer first. Then add Chrome and Firefox, and maybe partial support for Safari. Now this seems simple. But what happens when you have to add mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows Mobile? What will have to change in your test strategy?

Some companies have just managed to come to grips with significant cross browser test automation. Adding mobile platforms can put them right back into full manual regression testing mode. Mobile requires us to get better faster. I hope this issue helps you along the way.

In this issue, the LogiGear team shows the importance of understanding the mobile ecosystem; Abhijit Phatak shows us some best practices for mobile test automation; Julian Harty highlights what you need to know in order to have effective and reliable test automation for your mobile apps; HP’s Ed Hill discusses the importance of keeping up with mobile testing trends and Motorola’s Ittichai Chamavanijakul reviews the book Android Application Testing Guide by Diego Torres Milano.

In our next issue, The Changing Landscape of Software Testing, we’ll examine major shifts in testing that are pushing teams, technologies, methods and tools to change at a rapid pace. How can you keep up? Find out in February! And don’t forget, you can check out the editorial calendar on our website.

We wish you a great holiday season and happy new year going into 2013!

Michael Hackett
Michael is a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics. Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), and Global Software Test Automation (Happy About Publishing, 2006). He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

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