DeviceAnywhere’s Mobile Application Testing Blog has Moved!

29 05 2013

blog_movingTo make room for more thought provoking content, we are excited to formally transition this blog to Keynote’s “Mobility” blog. Start reading today on the latest thought leadership from DeviceAnywhere and Keynote, providing the largest product line covering the industry’s testing and performance needs. If you are currently a follower of this blog you will need to ‘re-follow”to get up-to-date content from DeviceAnywhere. We encourage you to register today here!





Biggest Obstacles to Adopting Internal Mobile Apps by Enterprises

20 05 2013

Untitled-1Recently, Chris Cook wrote an excellent article sharing some excellent obstacles enterprises have been hit with as they try to deal with the onslaught of demands in supporting internal-based mobile apps for their workforce as well as the BYOD revolution overtaking these companies.

In he writes “App revenues topped $30 billion in 2012, and the figures are getting better and better every year. ‘There’s an app for that,’ has become a cliché. There are apps on iTunes and Google Play for almost any need you may have (and thousands of apps for needs you don’t have). While generic apps are doing quite well, there hasn’t been concurrent upsurge in enterprises mobile apps development.

Most enterprises have enough resources and the will to create mobile apps for internal use. But there is no clarity in the market on the best strategy for enterprise app development. Some companies are adamant on creating close, internal apps, while others feel that using generic apps and tweaking them could be a better option. There is also a lack of best practices on how to distribute the apps and how to secure them.

As BYOD gains greater acceptance, the need for enterprise mobile apps increases. Although the enterprise mobile market is in its initial stage, most business leaders understand the need for mobile apps. A recent survey of industry leaders and managers by Appcelerator shows that most enterprises feel that more mobile apps will be developed than desktop applications in 2013. But, we are still not seeing the long-awaited enterprise app development revolution. Let’s take a look at the biggest obstacles to mobile app adoption by enterprises.

Security & Control Concerns – The strongest driving force behind the development of an enterprise app is a desire to provide better services to customers and help employee’s function with greater efficiency. So, most mobile apps for enterprises deal with company and/or client data. How secure the apps is, how it collects data and how secure the data is – these are the main concerns of most enterprises. Any security breach can spell big trouble for large organizations.

This is the main reason why most companies build internal apps and build their own app stores to manage their apps. Providing different privileges to different levels of employees and users through mobile apps is also a rather difficult process. Controlling and securing mobile enterprise apps is the biggest reason for the low rate of mobile adoption in enterprises.

Low on the IT Department Priority List – Many industry leaders feel that there are too many issues with enterprise mobile app development – lack of standard technology, problem of integrating the app with enterprise data, inability to formulate a long-term mobile app strategy, etc. Most IT departments in enterprises are working hard on other areas, and they simply do not have the time or resources to custom build applications.

Creating an app (or getting it developed elsewhere), setting the distribution channels for the app, updating the app and tweaking the app to support an array of mobile devices – these are daunting and time-intensive tasks. With most IT staff working on other organizational goals, it is, at times, not possible for enterprises to initiate a mobile app development project.

Inability to Calculate Impact in Long Run – Enterprise app development takes a lot of time, effort and money. Unless all the members who use the app have the same devices, the app will have to be developed for multiple mobile devices. This further exacerbates the situation. The rate at which technology is changing makes it extremely difficult for enterprises to measure the impact of apps in the long run. With Cloud technologies offering similar services, it becomes difficult for enterprises to come to a clear decision.

To Wrap it Up – While there are several factors that inhibit the flight of mobile enterprise app development, the popularity and ubiquity of mobile devices makes it imperative for all enterprises to replace many of their desktop apps with mobile apps. The mobile platform also creates opportunities that desktop apps simply cannot offer. Thankfully, there are countless success stories of large business organizations building and deploying mobile apps successfully. So, even if there are a few teething problems, the future holds promise.

Thanks to Ryan Benson who works for PLAVEB, a leading enterprise app development company in Los Angeles. He has been a part of several enterprise mobile app development projects and feels that 2013 will be the year when enterprises embrace mobile apps on a large scale.”





Building and Testing Mobile Apps for the Enterprise Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

12 05 2013

blackberry-z10-at-t-front_contentfullwidthRecently Derek Britton of Micro Focus issued an article giving some great advice on how to develop one’s enterprise mobile strategy.  As we have been discussing in recent posts, mobile is expanding exponentially and is putting even more pressure on IT teams to support these efforts. Derek covers some great ways to deploy a mobile strategy and support a mobile strategy in a cost-efficient way. In it he shared ” The advent of the savvy end-user and the rising trend of “bring your own device” (BYOD) have immeasurably changed the way in which services must be provided by IT. As smart phone capabilities develop, so does the level of expectations for added functionality.

Businesses will find it impossible to ignore mobile if they wish to remain competitive in the next few years and must consider the most effective way to develop and adapt business applications to the needs of the mobile user.

The take-up of mobile technology will have “dramatic effect” on back-office IT systems, according to a study from Forrester Research. Modern users expect 24/7 mobile access to all the applications and online services that they would use on their desktop or laptop computer, visiting e-commerce sites, accessing their bank online, and more recently, loading their work applications. Yet, according to Forrester, “hidden costs and disruptions” are set to plague organizations that do not make appropriate pre-emptive action.

The Forrester Report suggests that mobile projects hide a variety of potential pitfalls as a result of infrastructure that is ill-prepared for exploding activity volumes. However, organizations need not think that embracing mobile will require a costly and complete overhaul of existing IT infrastructure to resolve these issues.

Businesses should consider re-using as much of their existing business applications and processes as possible in order to guarantee integrity, continuity and security of service for the future. Potential threats to the infrastructure of exploding activity volumes can be mitigated by making smart choices about application provision and workload management, to relieve pressure and offer a more cost- effective and viable solution to adopt mobile.

So what should businesses be doing to embrace mobile in a cost- efficient fashion? There are several steps that businesses can take to ensure that their IT infrastructures are prepared for the mobile explosion:

Re-use and adapt

All too often businesses approach mobile by developing new applications when in fact they could simply re-use and adapt existing, core back-end applications. The benefit of this approach is that costs are reduced and the existing infrastructure is not compromised.

While many may not consider COBOL for adapting business applications to support mobile use, its simplicity and therefore adaptability, makes this programming language, which accounts for approximately 70% of all critical business processes, the perfect candidate to take IT into the mobile era. With tools such as Visual Studio or Eclipse, developers are able to modernise applications to support new mobile applications across a wide number of technical platforms. COBOL can be used in each instance to efficiently deliver business services and their supporting data from the back-end to the user. The benefits of re-using COBOL systems rather than re-writing them are numerous and include a faster delivery of IT service, at lower cost and risk, while retaining intellectual property and competitive advantage.

Thoroughly test your mobile apps

When undertaking a considerable project such as adapting to mobile, testing is one area that cannot afford to be compromised. However traditional testing practices can mean that projects can overrun on time as well as budget. By moving application testing for mobile, web and related back-end systems to a more cost- effective environment that is easy to use, testing phases are able to be completed much faster and more thoroughly without eating into mainframe power. These environments also lend themselves better to supporting test automation and performance testing needs.”

As Derek reinforced –  the need to thoroughly test your mobile apps is critical and that doesn’t have to be expensive either.  Automated testing can be done in many different ways and utilizing different formats for different stages of your testing. From functional testing to performance testing, ensuring that your customers experience the highest quality of app or website is contingent upon how well it’s developed, and tested. More on this topic to come so check back soon or follow our blog today!





US Analysts Predict a Rapid Migration to Mobile

10 05 2013

graphOver the last 5 years since 2007, we have seen an explosion in mobile apps to make our lives convenient and more efficient. And it appears there is no letting up. Recently, Forrester Research noted that there are now 7.3 billion mobile devices in a world where there are only 7 billion people.

“Mobile applications in the Enterprise may be a future vision for many companies, but mobile is a vision that is being realized much quicker than many had expected.  What does the rise of mobile mean for the enterprise?

The global Enterprise Mobility (EM) market is expected to grow annually by 15 percent every year, eventually reaching $140 billion by 2020. By 2020 roughly 10-12 percent of the enterprise IT budgets will be spent on mobility, compared to less than 5 percent today. These numbers are based on a report by Nasscom in association with Deloitte.

Similarly,IDC is predicting that the biggest driver for new IT spending this year will be smart mobile devices, which include smartphones, tablets and eReaders. IDC expects that this segment will grow 20 percent and generate 57 percent of the IT industry’s total growth.

Industries where there are many customer interactions, like in banking, insurance and retail are seeing higher rates of Enterprise Mobile adoption. Mobile adoption is expected to also increase in government, healthcare and media.

The move to mobile is being fueled by mobile developers turning out applications for their businesses. Frost and Sullivan report that 82 percent of large North American businesses have already developed mobile apps for their employees. AndGartner is predicting that among in-house development projects, those that target smartphones and tablets will soon outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1.” says Dick Weisinger of formtek.com.

Testing is critical in this process





As Enterprise Mobility Goes Mainstream, So Will Testing

6 05 2013

Forrester 1

In a recent article by Steve Levy of Virivo Software, he affirms what we have been hearing from our enterprise customers over the last couple of years, that the world of mobile app and website development has now gone beyond just supporting the consumer to now supporting their own mobile workforce. And not just BYOD, but there has been a noticeable increase in focusing on improving workforce performance and  efficiency through investing in IT infrastructure and mobile app development for what we call ‘internal apps’ – namely those you wouldn’t recognize or see except when working for particular company. From submitting expense reports to monitoring timecards to supporting sales efforts, enterprises are realizing the importance and benefit they can achieve by supporting such efforts.

Mr Levy write “going mobile meant having a phone and access to email, contacts and web browsing, but little else. For laptop users, mobility has often required a virtual private network connection just to get at email or data held back at the office.

But the good news is that things are changing.

According to Forrester Research, 29 percent of the global workforce are now “anytime, anywhere information workers” who use three or more devices, while Gartner predicts that mobile app projects will outnumber PC-focused app projects by a ratio of 4:1 by 2015.

Starting this year, I believe we’ll see a rapid acceleration in the development and use of custom enterprise mobile apps, transforming the way in which organizations work. This trend will be fueled by the following key factors.

  1. Off-the-shelf apps will become commonplace
    CRM and ERP vendors already offer off-the-shelf mobile apps as standard – soon, sales force automation apps will be as common as e-mail on mobile devices. This signals the maturity of packaged mobile apps, and increasingly they are gaining acceptance and credibility by delivering real improvements in business efficiency.
  2. The mobile ecosystem will encourage custom app development
    In parallel, more companies will develop custom mobile apps that are tailored to the specific needs of the organization, and can integrate with many types of back-end systems. This is possible because software companies are delivering powerful mobile infrastructure platforms with integrated security capabilities, such as remote wiping of data from lost devices and the ability to keep sensitive data on back-end servers.For example, Invesco Canada quickly developed a mobile app that gives financial advisors secure access to data from a back-end client data system, and allows them to send clients marketing collateral. First Solar has built multiple enterprise mobile apps, including one that enables users to document their daily plant-floor “walk arounds” to determine what areas need improvement. For these apps to be successful; they need to both connect with multiple data sources and keep corporate information secure.
  3. Personal infrastructure will drive corporate success
    With the availability and rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, especially by knowledge workers, businesses are increasingly putting BYOD policy at the heart of their mobile strategy. Companies recognize that BYOD presents a security risk and can make things harder for the IT team, but if executed correctly, these challenges can be addressed. Ultimately, the benefits of being able to work with your employees in such a deep and intimate manner – with a device that they keep by their side at nearly all times – far outweighs the costs involved.

So what does this mean for businesses?

Never before have businesses had the opportunity to interact so closely with their employees. The rise in personal infrastructure through the adoption of smartphones and tablets, along with improvements in mobile technologies and the growing availability of business apps, are creating new ways for businesses to empower their workforce.

One thing’s for sure: organizations can no longer procrastinate about mobilizing the enterprise. Taking charge of their mobile initiatives can significantly enhance productivity and positively impact the bottom-line.

So stop flirting and embrace enterprise mobility.”

With this new growth and expansion comes a new level of expectation by the workforce that these new apps will work, work globally, and provide the tools they need to become more efficient and productive. This is where cloud testing comes in. IT organizations in particular who suddenly have to staff and support these new apps may not have the tools or resources to perform adequate testing on a global scale all while supporting different OSs in different regions around the world. It’s a daunting task to say the least. To read more about cloud mobility, check out a new article by DeviceAnywhere on mobile app development in the cloud.





Is HTML5 the Answer to Mobile App Development?

25 04 2013

Appcelerator HTML5 ChartThere is definitely mixed feelings out in the market on how to build and support mobile apps and websites. On one side you have those that are frustrated with HMTL5 (Facebook and others come to mind). A recent report issued by Appcelerator and IDC found that while it is “evolving into a strong and proven platform for creating all but the most demanding consumer and business applications” it has still a ways to go to become a development standard. In the survey, which interviewed over 5,000 developers it was clear that concerns still remain. “On the positive side, clearly HTML5 retains its user satisfaction numbers in terms of its ability to deliver a true cross-development environment. As well, the ability to get updates of applications out the door quickly retains a positive satisfaction level.

Things become dicey, however, on a relatively large number of fronts. The issue of monetization, which tops the list with an 83.4 percent neutral to dissatisfaction rating, is interesting. We wish the survey had done a deeper dive on that, but we suspect that the issue comes down to one of getting HTML5-based apps out into the market. Are developers worried about a lack of app store capability? Are they worried about a lack of ecosystems such as the Apple App Store and Google Play? For enterprise developers these are non-issues; enterprise application stores are easy to build and support.

For developers looking to build mobile apps they may be looking to market for $1 (or whatever price point is appropriate) to a million individual users, the availability of an ecosystem becomes crucial, and it is true that for HTML5 apps an easy path to a viable ecosystem to sell them does not currently exist.”

On the other side you have developers who love it (example – Netflix moving from native to HTML5) and in a recent article Nick Heath shared that “for every firm that switches away from HTML5 to native mobile app development there are major companies, such as the Financial Times and LinkedIn, that have adopted HTML5.”

He continues “The global travel technology company Sabre shares that same sense of excitement about HTML5. The firm provides software for some of the world’s biggest airlines and travel agents as well running travel sites such as Lastminute.com and Travelocity. It is switching its flagship TripCase app for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry app to run largely on HTML5 and JavaScript.

Tomek Krzyzak, software development VP for Sabre, said switching TripCase to HTML5 and JavaScript – with their ability to run on any mobile platform – primarily makes it easier to roll out the app for multiple flavors of handsets.

For TripCase, HTML5 is used to render the app’s interface and JavaScript to control the app’s client-side logic. The app runs within a native code shell on each platform, which allows it to be downloaded through the respective app stores, as well as providing access to platform-specific features such as push email notification.

And while HTML5 has still to overcome the shortcomings of its relative immaturity as a mobile app-development platform, Krzyzak believes that the sheer volume of mobile platforms will drive developers to favor HTML5.”

‘I can see at some point in time that everyone will be doing it,’ he said.

‘Fragmentation of mobile devices is really big. This is like what we saw 30 years ago with the PC, with hundreds of standards and everyone wanting to produce their own PC.’

He predicted it will take five to 10 years for mobile platforms to converge around a standard, and that in the meantime HTML5 will become the de facto choice for developers looking for a manageable way to make apps for the panoply of platforms.”

Regardless of which way you fall, the ability to efficiently develop apps and websites for mobile in a much shorter timeframe will be too hard for many to ignore. As device fragmentation continues to show no signs of disappearing anytime soon, this could be a way out.





The Case for Automated Mobile Testing

23 04 2013

Automating your mobile testing has two main advantages, increasing efficiency and cost savings. With automated testing, imagine you are able to conduct manual tests with simple scripts and run it repeatedly. You save human resources and money. Automated testing helps QA teams quickly create and test scripts to capture, verify and replay user interactions.

Every second saved by forgoing continuous manual input adds up, thus relieving the stress and resources, enabling testing to be streamlined. Some companies are able to automate all of their mobile testing. Depending on the type of app you are testing, at least 80 percent of it can be automated, however, factoring app functionality on different devices and platforms, there is often a need to supplement it with ad hoc manual testing.

Leveraging the tools that help measure and evaluate the quality of your mobile app or website, you can use real device testing or automated scripting to assess the quality of services. This will help you to determine the user’s experience in the environment of the App or service once its launched.

To read more about why you should automate go here.





Emulated and Real Device Mobile Testing

18 04 2013

http://www.mobilesitetesting.com/images/banner_mobile.pngDepending on your application, you will have to assess whether testing on an emulated device or real device is the best option. Many times it is not either/or decision and the best choice is both. Emulators offer the less expensive testing option, but they have many limitations for mobile testing and may not give an accurate depiction of the mobile user experience.

However, as part of the mobile testing process the use of emulation has an important role. There is certain testing that you can conduct with emulators that are sufficient which include testing for screen size or visual form factor. However, emulation is often an approximation of the rendering and can only get you so far.

Leveraging emulators is a positive step towards real device testing, however, not sufficient for comprehensive testing needs. With cloud-based testing you no longer need to have a bunch of people in a room with different mobile devices.

Testing on real devices gives the tester full functionality of the mobile device. While device types may be more limited than the emulated devices, testers should be able to have access to the real processor and hardware to understand the quirks that some real device have. Without this ability, users may not discover some real life issues that device differences would present in a real environment versus in an emulated environment.

It is important to conduct real device testing when needing to test mobile engagement with the device, launch applications, and interact with device at a more detailed level.

Keynote offers some useful free tools to perform mobile testing. Developers and testers can quickly conduct interactive functional testing on their websites from the convenience of their desktops with remotely accessed real devices and an accurate device emulator. To read more click here!





Mozilla and it’s Plans for the Mobile Web

16 04 2013

Mozilla-Firefox-Mobile-OS
In a recent article written by Stephanie Blanchard, she discussed Mozillas plans for it’s web-centric approach to supporting mobile. In the article she writes “Back when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dominated the desktop, Mozilla, an offshoot of Netscape, decided to challenge the monopoly with an open-source browser. After all, the non-profit organization’s core values revolve around one concept — the Web is a common good for society, not to be controlled by one or two companies.

After several Beta versions, Firefox was introduced in 2004. The browser attracted 100 million global users within its first year. Today, Firefox products (including Firefox for Android) account for almost half a billion users around the world.

With the new mobile OS, which debuted at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), Mozilla’s calling is once again to “free the internet, to create a common set of standards across all devices,” and to “unlock mobile” by giving users a viable option.

“We are fundamentally in the same place we were over a decade ago where it’s being unnaturally controlled by a few parties,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla, at MWC. Indeed, Apple and Android account for the bulk of smartphones, with Windows and BlackBerry fighting for third, or what many industry analysts consider crumbs.

The Approach

When Mozilla unveiled its ambitious mobile plans back in mid-2012, Telefonica, Qualcomm and Deutsche Telekom signed on as early adopters. Today, the organization has more than two dozen content and service partners, with Alcatel, LG and ZTE committed to manufacture the devices. (Huawei is expected to follow later this year.)

Not surprisingly, Mozilla takes a web-centric approach when it comes to mobile. HTML5 apps exist as a “first class citizen” on the homescreen. Similar to Android, Firefox OS is based on Linux. It runs the Gecko engine for its user interface, with more than 40% of its code written by volunteers.

Although Mozilla expects to continue to attract followers, especially as two billion new users come online within the next five years, the organization says it is not driven by profits, at all. Instead, it wants to be a much-needed catalyst in the mobile space, providing enabling technologies. John Jackson, Research Vice President, Mobile & Connected Platforms., IDC, concurs.

“Mozilla is a .org, so it’s not a disruptor in the commercial sense,” he said to Mobile Enterprise by email. “They’ve always been a source of innovative, community-based enabling technology. But, to be sure, if they see a degree of successful distribution in the mobile market, it will be plenty disruptive.”

Smart or Simple

In 2011, one-third of Americans owned a smartphone. That turned into one-half just a year later. According to the recent iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report, more than 62% of employees now use a personal smartphone for work, a trend that is expected to grow.

Despite Kovacs’ statement of the altruistic mission of Mozilla’s smartphone strategy, there is still a possibility that phones will eventually find their way into the enterprise via BYOD. Mozilla will likely aggressively focus on converting the remaining simple handset users to its inexpensive device.

“More is always more if you’re in the business of proliferating an OS platform so I reckon they’ll be happy to have you no matter what phone you’re moving from,” Jackson replied. “I think the strategy, generally speaking, is to fit into modestly priced hardware, and in so doing, attract feature phone owners who still number in the hundreds of millions.”

As more and more devices are introduced with the Mozilla browser pre-installed the use of HTML5 web apps and hybrid apps will grow exponentially. When utilizing the DeviceAnywhere platform it is important to remember that our devices come with whatever comes pre-installed on the device. Many devices may or may not have Mozilla or be HTML5 enabled so feel free to ask your rep or sign up today for a free trial!

To read more from the article click here.





Results from the DeviceAnywhere Test Center Customer Survey

12 04 2013

A few months ago Keynote sent out a survey to our DeviceAnywhere customers and we wanted to share some of the results.

The survey first asked a few demographic questions “What is your role in your company?”.

Tcdsurveyblog1It’s somewhat surprising that only about half of users are in QA.   More developers and product/project managers were using our product than expected. Also interesting were the “Other” responses—mostly because they indicate that this was a poorly worded question! Many of these responses were “Manager/Director/VP of Engineering/QA.” The word “role” was interpreted as job title, when it was intended to mean functional area. That’s one of the good and bad things about surveys – when you get the question wrong you don’t get the best results, but it’s also very easy to identify sub-optimal questions so you can improve them for the next time.

The survey also asked users “What type of mobile products do you test using DeviceAnywhere?” and allowed multiple answers.

Tcdsurveyblog3
It’s interesting to see such a high % of customers testing Websites, where in the past Native and Hybrid Apps has been the most popular responses for our product.  It does highlight the priority that companies are placing on providing quality mobile optimized versions of their websites. Here’s a good reason why in this quote from a Forbes article: “Two-thirds of smartphone users say a mobile-friendly site makes them more likely to buy a company’s product or service.” You can see the full article here.

Now perhaps the most important question in the survey – we asked about 5 device dimensions, including Reliability (do the devices work as expected), Cleanliness (do the devices have evidence of past use), Speed (interaction with the devices), Availability (are the devices available when you want to use them, and not offline or busy) and Model Availability (do we offer the device models you need). Users were asked to rank the importance of improving each of those dimensions. The chart below shows how many respondents said a given dimension was the most important to improve.

Tcdsurveyblog4
The only surprise here is that so few respondents said Cleanliness was the most important item to improve. However, in thinking about this, it makes sense. Getting on a cluttered device is a big annoyance; however, it will not completely block testing, unlike just not having the model you need. So, this is not an endorsement of “dirty devices”—we are still working on improving the cleanup process! However, it does mean that Keynote needs to place a very high focus on the other items on the list, most important of which are device interaction speed and new model availability. We are in various stages of working on all of the above items, and future blog posts will have more details once we are closer to making improvements available.

Thanks to everyone who gave us their feedback; this information is invaluable to the product, engineering, and operations teams in helping us prioritize efforts that will provide the biggest benefit to our customers. We always want to hear from our customers, so please either respond to this post or send us an email anytime at products@keynote.com.





Cross-platform App Development Frameworks: An Aspirin for Developer Headaches

12 04 2013

mobile-appsOne of the biggest challenges facing enterprise mobile app developers today is designing and developing apps across multiple platforms. In 2011-12, having a mobile strategy was imperative as the “consumerization of IT” and “BYOD” trends pervaded. As a result, enterprises now must shift their mobile strategies to support multiple mobile devices and platforms or else, lose the power to manage all the various devices within their environment.

Some companies can focus on developing apps for just one device type or mobile OS if the devices were company-issued, but this is becoming less and less the case. Businesses and brands must support more than one device or risk backlash from select employees for not supporting their non-supported devices. Keep in mind – as prevalent as the iPhone seems to be, Android has been caught up in popularity.

Cross-platform app development frameworks are becoming critical tools for developers because they’re designed to lessen the time and resources that developers or development teams has to allocate to creating apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and beyond. By not spending excess time and effort creating apps to apply for different devices and mobile OSs, they can focus on what matters most – end user experience.

However, since each cross-platform development tool is unique and exhibits diverse features, capabilities and behaviors, developers will face increased challenges and opportunities designing successful device- and OS-agnostic mobile apps.

I recently spoke on a panel at Mobile+Web DevCon and my fellow panelists and I got into a discussion about the pros and cons of using cross-platform app development frameworks.

The Pros:

  • Reuseable Codes: Rather than having to write the specific action or sequence for each platform, a developer can just write the code once and then reuse those bits in later projects or on other platforms.
  • Plugins: Most cross-development frameworks offer easy access to plugins and modules that can easily integrate with other services and tools.
  • Easy for Web Developers: Most cross-platform frameworks are dynamic and simple for web developers to jump in and use, because many of these frameworks support HTML5 and CSS3.
  • Reduced Development Costs: This is perhaps the biggest advantage because it allows companies and brands to get an app onto other platforms without having to invest in a separate developer or team.
  • Support for Enterprise and Cloud Services: In addition to plugins and modules for specific functions, most frameworks also have the option to directly integrate with cloud services, including Salesforce.com, AWS, Box.net and others.
  • Easy Deployment: Deploying apps is much faster in a cross-platform scenario because it’s easier to incorporate one development code onto multiple devices. This is especially true with many of the new cloud-based tools that various frameworks are starting to push out.

The Cons:

  • The Framework Might Not Support Every Feature of an OS or Device: If, for example, Google, Apple or Microsoft adds a new feature, the framework being used will need to be updated to support those new functionalities.
  • You Can’t Always Use Your Own Tools: Most frameworks want users to use their own development tools and suites, and that can mean that a developer has to forgo his or her own preferences and use something else, even something unfamiliar.
  • Code Might Not Run as Fast: The cross-compilation process can sometimes be slower because it may take longer to load than native tools.
  • High-End Graphics and 3D Support is Often Limited: Fortunately, game-centric development platforms, like Unity, are here to help fill in those gaps.

When considering the pros and cons of app development, Josh Clark, Interaction Design guru, states that app design is one of the major factors cross-platform developers need to be aware of — whether they use a framework or not. Designing an app for the iPhone is different than designing one for a tablet; the UI and UX conventions are different, and touch points and menus work in different ways.

In addition to app design, it’s also important to factor in who the app is being developed for. This pertains to anything from the mobile web apps to e-publications to native apps.

Certainly a couple of years back, developers could quite safely shoot for iOS first, think about Android later and ignore everything else. Now, there are many more options, and although its pros and cons are almost equivalent in nature, taking a cross-platform approach to mobile app design and development appears to be the wave of the future for app developers.

Regardless of which platform, if not all, you’re developing for, app testing will still be one of the most critical steps of the app development lifecycle. Just because an app works fine on iOS doesn’t mean it’ll work just as well on Android devices. Likewise, just because an app works fine on an emulator doesn’t mean it’ll work fine on a real device. So, test early, test often, and on real devices to ensure the quality of the app. A trend I’m realizing is that end-users are becoming very unforgiving about buggy apps which are, quite frankly, synonymous with “revenue- and reputation-killer.” App development is a hot industry and the market is saturated with app developers, so being blasé about app quality is not an option.





The Right Tool for the Job – Building an Automation Testing Matrix

9 04 2013
Untitled-1For Desktop-based testing it’s a no-brainer: Use object-based scripting to maximize reuse across platforms/browsers.
In today’s mobile world it really isn’t that simple. There are many different platforms, OS versions, form factors and carrier/manufacturer customizations. Multiply that by mobile web, native app, or some hybrid in-between and you’ve got yourself a healthy testing matrix. A daunting task for even the most skilled Automation Engineer.

In order to tackle this problem, an Automation Engineer cannot simply look at it from a “one size fits all” perspective to create a set of objects and re-use them across all combinations of platforms. For example, there are fundamental differences in how an app behaves on iOS and Android, even with something as basic as a “back button” has its quirks.

Although these fundamental differences can be grouped together as a step or action, they are unique enough to not be able to simply share an object between the two OS’s.In some cases with mobile testing, you may be able to get to the object-level, however this usually requires that you instrument your app, or test on an emulator. While this fulfills a piece of your testing matrix, you will probably need to seek a couple tools to get this done across all platforms. In other cases, the content you are testing might be HTML-based and you can test by WebKit profiling. Again, part of your testing matrix is fulfilled, however you aren’t quite there.This may be enough to satisfy a short-term goal, but at some point you need to be testing on real mobile devices.

In order to truly automate on mobile, your mobile testing “Utility Belt” needs to be designed in such a way that allows for testing by object when possible, element when possible, and also be able to quickly fall back on text or image verification in order to satisfy all areas of your testing matrix and assure the highest quality of your mobile product. Having the flexibility to be able to choose how to get the testing done is paramount since as an Automation Engineer,you very rarely have a say in how a particular app or mobile web site is developed. The job requires you to sometimes understand functionality without necessarily being privy to the construction, and there is always a tight timeline to achieve results. The right tool for the job is a tool that takes all of this into consideration, and provides a platform to consolidate all of these different types of testing approaches.The first step is to determine the type of app you are testing. Is it fully native, fully web, or somewhere in between?

  1. If it’s fully native, you may be able to get to some objects on a per platform basis, but you will probably be falling back on text and image based verification, especially if you are trying to go cross-platform.
  2. If it’s fully web, a lot of testing can be done up front in a WebKit profiler. When it comes to real devices, element-based testing can be done cross-platform if you want to instrument, or you can fall back on text and image verification.
  3. If it’s somewhere in between, you’ll need to mix and match.
The second step is to find which pieces or steps of your test cases are reusable between each other, and can accept parameterization to fulfill the task. For instance, automating the selection of an item or link on your main screen of your app or landing page: Maximize reuse by engineering a parameter to accept different values, and reuse it across each test case. Although you may need to individually determine what type of verification you will use to achieve this on a per platform or device level, you will save time in the long run when you write additional test cases. The third step is to then group those pieces or steps together by device screens or pages. This way, as you write the test cases you have an organizational structure that is easy to identify by where you are within the app or site and where you need to navigate to next.Following these steps will provide a structure that can be grown to accommodate new features within an app or new sections within a mobile web site. As mobile devices become easier to automate against, this structure can easily adapt to emerging technologies that allow for greater reuse across platforms.

Note: This article was recently published in the April, 2013 issue of Automate Software Quality Magazine.





The Keys to a Successful Mobile App Strategy

4 04 2013

processThere are many phases in the testing of any mobile app or website, specifically when it comes to QA and development. Within development (or pre-launch) there is Functional Testing, Usability Testing, and Performance Testing, amongst others. And in production (post-launch) there is Benchmark Testing, Availability Monitoring, and Performance Monitoring. All of these types of testing are critical to the success of any mobile platform. While there are many factors that can affect an apps success,  the importance of having a mobile strategy that incorporates testing is crucial.

For development teams the use of emulators and real devices for testing is vital to ensure the app or site is of the highest quality to avoid pitfalls such as misplaced images, non-functioning apps, apps crashing, broken links, etc.

For Web sites or Web apps it is viewable by users around the world. Even if you’re initially targeting only users in a single country or on a single network, it helps to understand the global dynamic.

When you test mobile Web apps or sites you encounter several challenges presented by the nature of the global, mobile Web. As we understand the nature of each challenge, we can explore different technology options to manage issues and mitigate risk. Coming up with the right solutions for your requires an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages inherent in each of the testing options available to you and determining the technology that best suits your testing requirements. These mobile testing challenges include

devices, network, and scripting.
For native apps, while application testing has always been an important step in the application development process, its importance is becoming even more critical for the following reasons, as adapted from an ABI whitepaper:

  • Mobile applications drive productivity – they must work.
  • Device platforms vary – applications developed for one platform must work on other platforms. For example, device fragmentation on different Android devices.
  • Applications will evolve – as worker’s needs and responsibilities change, applications will be both upgraded as well as downgraded in functionality.
  • Cloud systems affect where data is stored. In addition, authorizations and connectivity APIs are not consistent across cloud service providers.
  • Multiple wireless networks – businesses connect to different radio networks based on network capabilities, worker needs, and contractual relationships. But all of these conditions can change which will require modifying the application.
  • Operator choice – devices commissioned for use on a network in France may be recommissioned for use on a network in Germany. Or a business may change mobile operators. Applications will need to be tested on different operator networks to ensure consistent connectivity when upgrading in-the-field devices.
  • Worker demographics will change device type and application.




HTML5 and the Fight Over Who will Win the OS War

2 04 2013

201209-Cross-Platform-AppsMobile developers continue to struggle to determine how and on which OS’ to develop their mobile projects on.  As Michelle Fredette recently explained in her article that “Developing applications for multiple platforms is expensive, primarily because it takes developers a lot of time to create two or three versions of a single app. Not only does the coding itself take time, but the developers also have to learn multiple authoring systems: Xcode for Apple apps, Visual Studio for Windows apps, and the Android SDK development tools and platform for Android apps. And when updates are needed, which is inevitable, changes must be replicated across the various operating systems. Costs escalate even further when you account for the extra time needed to develop for different-sized devices. Ryan Matzner, writing in Mashable Tech, estimates that adding iPad compatibility to an iPhone app can increase development costs by 50 percent.”

 

She continues “Another drawback associated with native apps is that companies such as Apple act as gatekeepers: Users have to visit their app stores to download the app or update it, and these same companies must approve the app before it goes public–a process that can take weeks. It’s a lopsided arrangement with which not everyone is comfortable. “There are real concerns with [these] companies deciding who can and who can’t publish what on their stores,” explains John Kennedy, developer of Pocket Universe, a successful iOS app.

 

These costs and hosting concerns don’t apply to HTML5 solutions, which generally incorporate CSS (cascading style sheets) and JavaScript, the code language often used to augment HTML apps. All three are considered among the easiest codes to write, and can be written in Notepad or any number of free editors. Plus, you don’t need a development environment to compile them, just a browser for rendering.

 

An additional advantage of HTML5 involves updating. In truth, people are terrible about updating their apps when new versions come out. Browser-based apps draw their features and content in the form of data hosted on the web. If there’s an update, it’s incorporated in that data. The user doesn’t have to download it from an app store. The user might not even know about it.

 

Another benefit is flexibility, allowing a user to access the same piece of content from multiple devices, something that’s especially critical in higher education. Harvey Singh, CEO and founder of Instancy, a company specializing in web and mobile learning solutions, says it’s increasingly important for users to be able to “open a course on a desktop, then go on the road and access it using a mobile device and continue where they left off.”

 

So why aren’t we hearing the death knell for native apps? Well, HTML5 also has real limitations. With native apps, for example, course content can be downloaded to users’ devices, so they don’t need constant access to the internet to work on a course. With a native app, furthermore, when network access is restored, files are automatically synchronized on the network.”

 

Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform prides itself on being agnostic when it comes to devices and even OS’. Since our technology can work with any device on any OS, that becomes a non-issue and allows our customers the opportunity to switch platforms as they see fit. That being said, we do see value in HTML5, especially as it pertains to automated testing of mobile apps and websites. While traditionally this has been done on a 1:1 ratio leveraging scripting, HTML5 gives us a framework to perform automated testing across any device (provided it is an HTML5-enabled device, which is  becoming the standard in the industry).

To read the rest of Michelles article click here.

To learn more about HTML5 Web Tesing with DeviceAnywhere’s Automation platform click here.





For Testers, Shipping Devices Is a Major Headache – Mobile Cloud Testing to the Rescue!

28 03 2013

deviceanywhere_mobile_cloud_testingTraditionally, to conduct real device mobile testing vendors shipped devices to testers all over the world. A major roadblock is the upkeep of these devices and maintaining them with the latest OS version or device model. Shipping back and forth becomes a huge pain point as time and cost rises exponentially. With cloud-based services there is no need to ship, purchase devices, or subscribe to service plans.

Cloud-based architecture enables easy access to application performance information anywhere in the world and eliminates the need to have a physical device on hand to test.

Some cloud-based tools allow mobile teams to receive real-time alerts against any measurement criteria, allowing them to address issues before they impact end-users. Real device testing, such as Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform through the cloud gives teams the ability to access real devices from anywhere in the world. This is perfect for organizations that either offshore their testing because of cost or have internationally-based teams. These teams can have access to the latest devices from locations with an Internet connection.

For a free THREE HOUR trial with access to the LARGEST library of real devices in the world – click here!





Zillow Leverages Existing Web Development Team to Develop for Mobile and Succeeds!

26 03 2013

zillow-mobileTime and training of your resources for mobile has become a tremendous problem for companies going mobile. While many testers are adept at QA, they may not be experts in mobile. Because of device fragmentation the demand for output becomes increasingly challenging for teams that do not have the bandwidth to increase their existing resources. Now, a person managing web development takes on multiple roles (to include mobile) and has less time.

With these hurdles, it creates even greater demand to have the proper testing tools and methods in place. While the number of device types and OS fragmentation makes it cumbersome and expensive for organizations to acquire and test mobile apps, there are efficient automated and real device testing tools that make this transition cost-efficient for testers and their teams. Organizations are beginning to adopt testing-as-a-service (TaaS) as a way to bolster the capabilities of QA and IT departments with testing. For these organizations, finding the right TaaS will help reduce cost and errors.

Recently, while at the Mobile Enterprise conference in San Francisco, I learned about how Zillow was able to train their existing web-based development team on how to code for the mobile environment, as opposed to hiring new mobile developers, thus reducing overlap and ramp-up time. Zillow was able to overcome the challenges and as a result, through precision-like ad placement, meet the needs of its consumers and connect them to the right person at the right time. This strategy has made it a win-win for both consumers and realtors alike.

Spencer Rascoff, chief executive officer of Zillow Inc., talks about the company’s mobile technology and real estate search services. He speaks with Cory Johnson on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” http://http://bloom.bg/NK4maL

Companies such as Zillow who have been able to monetize on mobile are seeing the value and importance of testing as part of their mobile development process.





With Adoption of iOS 6 Apple gets Fragmented!

21 03 2013

iOS-6-fragmentation-detailed-which-device-gets-whatWe recently wrote about how the launch of the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini, each having a different form factor than their predecessors provides unique challenges for a QA tester and developers who are trying to keep up with the onslaught of new devices into the market. Android who has been the king of fragmentation due to it’s open OS and overwhelming OEM development has had to deal with this for some time. This is new for Apple while rarely changing it’s form factor since it’s launch of the iPhone in 2007.

But as the devices have changed, so have the operating systems supporting them. With the launch of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini came a new OS – OS 6. This new OS provided new challenges as it could now be leveraged by carriers and partners to be customized to provide competitiveness and flexibility for their users.

In a recent article entitled “iOS 6 “fragmentation” detailed: which device gets what” the author writes  “‘Fragmentation’ is a word heavily loaded against Android and a term a bit too broad for our liking. It’s true that software updates on Android devices often arrive too late, but this depends on the carrier, it’s also true that some features are available on certain devices and not on others, and on and on, but using the general term fragmentation blurs those issues and writes all Android devices under a common negative denominator.

So far, Apple has been particularly proud of its “non-fragmented” operating system and lineup, but it seems that this concept broke with iOS 6. Hidden in the fine print of iOS 6 new features and updates are some staggering inconsistencies across devices – certain features are reserved for the newer devices and will never allow on older models. If that’s not a perfect example of something begging to be labelled with the same vague word “fragmentation” than we don’t know what is.
The folks from India’s iGyaan.in have penned this brilliant table showcasing just how fragmented Apple’s ecosystem really is after iOS 6, and it’s a joy to behold for the Android fans who finally get a big weapon in their anti-Apple arsenal. We bet you know this, but let’s keep this civil and think about what this means for the ecosystem that Apple is building. “
ios-fragmentation-tn




Netflix Talks HTML5-based Mobile Testing on Android

19 03 2013

DSC01749In a recent article posted by Amol Ker of Netflix, he shared his struggles with performing device testing of their mobile apps and websites. Since they operated on a hybrid approach using HTML5 based coding. In the article Amol shared the following “when Netflix decided to enter the Android ecosystem, we faced a daunting set of challenges: a) We wanted to release rapidly every 6-8 weeks, b) There were hundreds of Android devices of different shapes, versions, capacities and specifications which need to playback audio and video and c) We wanted to keep the team small and happy. Of course, the seasoned tester in you has to admit that these are the sort of problems you like to wake up to every day and solve. Doing it with a group of other software engineers who are passionate about quality is what made overcoming those challenges even more fun.”

He continues… “To put device diversity in context, we see almost around 1000 different devices streaming Netflix on Android every day. We had to figure out how to categorize these devices in buckets so that we can be reasonably sure that we are releasing something that will work properly on these devices.”

And later mentions “We keep our team lean by focusing our full time employees on building solutions that scale and automation is a key part of this effort. “

Netflix’ issues are not new and are not specific to Netflix. Anyone looking to test their apps or websites MUST perform real-world, real device testing before release AND after it’s launched to support forthcoming updates. Netflix has chosen a way that works for them that has potential flaws, in that it can easily miss most of the device OS ecosystem if they don’t test on a certain device or platform. And as budgets and efficient-driven teams demand, utlizing mobile test automation software is key to their strategy.

Keynote, with it’s acquisition of DeviceAnywhere has developed several tools to address these issues helping thousands of companies become more efficient and enabling them to centralize their testing efforts while maintaining dispersed, cost-efficient development teams around the world. With DeviceAnywhere Test Planner, QA managers and developers can get free assistance on determining which devices they should test on that will provide them the widest coverage while testing on the lowest number of devices, providing the ultimate in efficiency and planning of any new rollout.

deviceanywhere_device_planner Keynote also offers automated mobile testing with it’s TCE – Automation platform – leveraging the latest HTML5 web-based coding for ease-of-use giving you the flexibility of running the same test across any HTML5-enabled device or tablet. No more need to ship devices around or leverage agent-based systems whereby one does not get a true experience from the consumer’s perspective, resulting in potential pitfalls for the developer and in result potentially affecting revenues.





The Android OS – the Ultimate in Device Fragmentation?

14 03 2013

animoca-androidIn an article posted in 2012 in TechTarget, Kim-Mai Cutler had the chance to interview “Animoca, a Hong Kong mobile app developer that has seen more than 70 million downloads, says it does quality assurance testing with about 400 Android devices. Again, that’s testing with four hundred different phones and tablets for every app they ship!”

She continues .. “The photo above is just a sampling of Animoca’s fleet of Android test units. Yat Siu, who is CEO of Animoca’s parent company Outblaze, snapped and posted it from Outblaze’s headquarters today. In total, Siu says their studio has detected about 600 unique Android devices on their network.

“We haven’t managed to track down all of those devices because, in large part, they are no longer available for sale,” he says. Sad cakes!

On top of that, Siu said that the number of handsets from the lower-end Asian manufacturers is also growing rapidly. These are the phone makers that Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop was probably talking about in his famous “burning platform” memo when he said that are Chinese OEMs were “cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, ‘the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.’” If you take those out, the actual number of devices you need to test for is much lower.

But if you want to break into Asian markets, these phones matter and make it especially challenging for Android developers to ensure their apps work on every single Android device. Android fragmentation is a huge issue because developers have to check their work on dozens of devices. Animoca happens to be backed by Intel Capital and IDG-Accel, so it has the resources to buy all of these devices for testing and pay employees to use them.

But imagine the long-tail of developers! Imagine the people who make the roughly 500,000 apps in the Google Play store. Total nightmare.

It puts a real dent in Eric Schmidt’s prediction from six months ago that developers might start going Android first within six months. His deadline is up now and there aren’t signs of this happening. Appcelerator did a survey of 2,100 of its developer clients in March and found that, if anything, interest in Android development is stagnating.

Siu isn’t fazed though. He’s told me in the past that thorough QA testing makes Animoca’s apps retain users better because so many other Android developers do a bad job at it. Unlike iOS users who throw up their hands in frustration, write bad reviews and just leave, Android users tend to be delighted when they find apps that work even if they have a glitch or two.

He adds, “We like fragmentation as users prefer choice. We are not big believers that one size fits all.”

At Keynote, we see this all the time. Our customers tell us of the pain of having to manage libraries of real devices and the vast variety of OS versions even just within Android, let alone iOS, BlackBerry, or Win 8.  Developers who started with one or two devices a few years ago are now up to 20-30 today as seen in this image from another developer – Pocket Gems. They had two of the 10 top-grossing games on iOS last year, according to Apple’s iTunes Rewind.

android-table

And there is no end in sight now with the release of new form factors from Apple such as the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini. One of our customers – Microsoft’s Windows Live team was able to replace their entire cabinet of devices with the DeviceAnywhere platform. No longer having to check out devices to team members or update devices with different OS’, or manage/maintain separate plans for each device locking them into a 2-year agreement with the carrier. Mark Boyce of Microsoft’s Windows Live deployment team said at the time of the release “Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere solution has saved our department a lot of time and headaches by eliminating most of the tedious, manual tasks associated with our in-house mobile testing process. We no longer have to chase down lost devices and SIMs, dig through boxes of chargers, or even track multiple phone bills and expense reports.”

To learn how you too can benefit from access to real devices from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need to maintain your own library or even having to ship devices around the globe, check out Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform and we’ll even get you started with THREE free hours, TODAY!

To read more of Ms. Cutler’s article click here.





Is Apple Dominating the Mobile Enterprise Market?

12 03 2013

Screen Shot 2012-08-10 at 15.19.01In a recent article by Jonny Evans of CITE World, it would appear that Apple is starting to dominate the enterprise marketplace. For years, this was a market long-held by the king of enterprise devices – BlackBerry. However since the iPhone and it’s worldwide acceptance amongst consumers and since organizations have seen an explosion in employees bringing their own devices to work and deploying work-based apps on them it is no shock that it’s dominance would make it’s way into the enterprise. The permeation of the Android device has also made its way into the enterprise, resulting in a battle over the mobile enterprise marketplace.

In the article Mr Evans states “If you believe the latest Appcelerator/IDC survey results, poor security, explosive growth in malware threats, and device fragmentation is costing Google’s Android a place in the mobile enterprise, with Apple scooping up believers in this space.”

As an example, CITE recently discussed how PepsiCo took a chance and gave iPhones to 4,500 hourly employees — and it’s paying off.  Even at Keynote, we have seen an increase in request for iOS devices for testing of internal enterprise apps by our DeviceAnywhere customers.

Mr Evans article continues:

“Times are changing

Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 3,632 Appcelerator Titanium developers in May, asking them about their development priorities. They found that Apple now holds a 16 percent lead over Android when it comes to OS deployment among enterprise users: a huge hike since Q3 2011 when both mobile operating systems were tied. Fifty-three percent of developers say iOS will win in the enterprise, while just 37.5 percent side with Android.

The reasons? According to the survey, these include:

  • The popularity of the iPad
  • Frequent reports of Android malware
  • Enterprise challenges in dealing with Android fragmentation
  • Reports of enterprises re-evaluating widespread Android deployment outside of particular business vertical implementations like Machine-to-Machine (M2M).

When it comes to mobile at least, this is translating into an Apple-dominated ecosystem. “Apple iOS device activations still account for more than twice the number of Android activations in the enterprise when it comes to overall platform activations,” says the latest report from Good Technology. iOS accounted for 70.8 percent, Android was 28.3 percent and Windows Phone 7 was 0.9 percent, the research claims.”

Time will tell if Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform takes off as they attempt to extend their enterprise dominance with Windows to mobile.

To read more of the article from CITE go here

 





The BYOD Challenge and BlackBerry’s Answer

7 03 2013

risky-byodBYOD has presented many challenges specifically to the enterprise. Enterprises have a new challenge of managing employee devices that contain external (personal) applications combined with an organizations internal system. Many times an internal CRM app can cause conflicts with outside apps, causing them to not function properly or making them susceptible to security breaches. This puts pressure on IT teams to constantly troubleshoot new issues so that workers can maintain efficiency. While it remains risky (see infograph), employees continue to push the boundaries forcing their organizations to be more efficient and in return making them more effective employees.

Recently, BlackBerry launched their newest device, the Z10 which includes the ability to run enterprise apps and personal apps on the same device while protecting the enterprise’ network at the same time.  Called, “BlackBerry Balance” – it is a feature aimed at corporate users who want to keep their work and personal lives separate – on their phone. It allows users to store apps and data on two distinct profiles – Work and Personal. Users can easily switch between the two profiles and users who bring their device to office can easily format the Work profile when they switch jobs without having to change any setting in the personal one. This is an interesting attempt at trying to address this issue as BlackBerry fights to maintain relevance in the enterprise marketplace.

In addition, the introduction of BYOD has increased existing pain points for internal IT teams and increased the need for solid mobile app performance. IT teams are challenged with meeting the needs of the enterprise and integrating internal systems with personal devices that could have conflicting programming. The ability to testing enterprise applications on real devices to determine bugs and conflicts becomes critical.





No End in Sight to Device Fragmentation for Mobile Developers

5 03 2013

fragmentation_200Fragmentation has always been a difficult issue, but new complexities have been introduced with the proliferation of mobile devices. Many companies are challenged with figuring out how to monetize mobile assets for all types of devices in a cost-effective and efficient way.

Although there has been a reduction of mobile OS’, the number of device types for Android and iOS is increasing. With Android being an open platform for developers, it introduces inherent differences in the functionality and performance of each device. For iOS, while there is less platform fragmentation, the introduction of the iPhone5 presented a new difference in form factor (screen size) from its previous models, adding to the complexities of fragmentation.

This device diversity creates a steep challenge to stay ahead of the curve in the today’s mobile market. Not addressing these issues can mean the difference between a successful mobile launch and wasted resources for broken applications.

Testing is critical and choosing the right devices is essential. To maximize your device coverage in the most efficient way check out the free Device Planner by Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform. With it, you can target the right devices and platforms for your mobile apps, websites,  or services.





Aricent Supports a Tier 1 UK Operator Utilizing Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere Platform for Automated Mobile Testing

4 03 2013

aricent_logo-774095Aricent Group, a global innovation and technology services company, working closely with Keynote, has developed a flexible, best-of-breed testing environment for a Tier 1 mobile network operator in the UK. This operator and other companies can now have complete visibility into how their applications and services run – in this case ten different real mobile devices running over 1,350 test cases, with growth expectations to top 3,200 test cases in the near future.

The Keynote-Aricent partnership has succeeded in removing the time-consuming process of manually testing each software update, or each new device, therefore reducing human error. By creating an automated testing environment to the operator’s specifications, testing is done by simply pressing a button.  Furthermore, the automation process clearly demonstrates the impact of different software upgrades and new features in order to create the highest level of service and quality.

Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere cloud-based platform allows companies to test mobile apps, websites and services on devices remotely – regardless of location or time – enabling operators to speed up their delivery without compromising on quality or reliability and therefore mitigating risk.

“By working with Keynote, we are able to help our customers take their services and devices to market with unprecedented speed and quality. Their solution was a natural complement to our existing network testing infrastructure.” said Adrian Luker, program manager at Aricent. “Our customers need to be completely aware of the experience they are providing for the end user. Even the smallest update can have a huge impact, and we need to know what the impact is, before it happens. Having this superior insight into what consumers will be experiencing, means that changes can happen quickly, and we can be confident that end users will see improvements, rather than be inconvenienced. This is tremendously important in reducing risk for our customers when launching any update.”

“The mobile market is highly competitive, and with smartphones making mobile Internet access increasingly prominent, the service an operator provides – in terms of updates, applications and maintenance – must be a seamless experience” said Vik Chaudhary, vice president of product management and corporate development at Keynote. “Delivering top quality service for consumers should be the highest priority for all customers, including operators, and we are delighted to be working with Aricent to deliver this. Mobile performance and functional proficiency can no longer be a guessing game, and companies need to understand exactly what customers are, and will be experiencing, in order to fully tap into these revenue streams.”

For the full release, click here





Best Trends and Tools in Mobile Testing

28 02 2013

Mobile-TestingMobile website development is becoming more critical for businesses as the demand for smartphones and tablets grows and becomes more commonplace. The 2012 -13 World Quality Report (WQR) reveals that a majority of developers and QA professionals are skimping on important steps in the mobile testing process in order to rush their mobile apps and websites to market to meet truncated deadlines. Many development teams are feeling the pain that occurs with the demand of high output and quick product deadlines. However, they may not have the right tools for effective mobile testing and QA, if at all.

Many businesses are expanding their mobile development without adding headcount; therefore it is important to the bottom line that they increase workflow efficiency and productivity. The adoption of mobile brings on new challenges for development and QA teams. According the WQR, when QA testers and developers from a variety of industry sectors were asked if mobile app testing is a regular process in their development stage, answers for yes ranged between the 20-30th percentile. It is clear that there is a lack in regular testing in the development stage .For mobile initiatives to be successful, teams must be armed with the right tools and methods to properly test and troubleshoot mobile apps and websites.

Try out our new free mobile web testing platform – DeviceAnywhere Free NOW!





Wave of New Mobile Devices Complicates the Delivery of Optimal Mobile Experience – Keynote to the Rescue!

28 02 2013

Untitled-1

  • Industry Leading Mobile Testing Platform Keeps Pace with Mobile Device Market, Adding Popular Smartphones, Tablets and Mobile OS’s
  • Keynote Underscores its Position as the Definitive Leader in Mobile Testing Supporting More Than 1,000 Mobile Devices; now including iOS6, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and Windows 8 Devices on the Keynote DeviceAnywhere Platform
  • Devices added include: iPhone 5, iPad Mini, Nokia Lumia 920 and the Droid RAZR M with more on the way

Feb. 25, 2013– Keynote® (NASDAQ: KEYN), the global leader in Internet and mobile cloud testing and monitoring, today announced device support for iOS 6, Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) and Windows 8 devices with its DeviceAnywhere platform. The newest additions to the Keynote device portfolio extend the company’s position as the market leader in devices supported for real mobile device testing. DeviceAnywhere support now includes the newest popular devices including the iPhone 5, Nokia Lumia 920 and the Droid RAZR M.

Delivering a consistent high-quality mobile experience continues to be a major challenge for companies interested in reaching a diverse universe of mobile users. Keeping up with the continually evolving device ecosystem presents some of the biggest challenges facing QA teams. While the number of operating systems and OEM device manufacturers are shrinking, device fragmentation continues to be a big issue. Testers new to mobile quickly realize that one Android device may behave quite differently than the next. Meanwhile, Apple has introduced new form factors for their iOS devices with the introduction of iPhone 5 and iPad mini. As new Windows 8 and BlackBerry OS devices also hit the market, device fragmentation adds an additional layer of complexity to mobile development. By adding the most up-to-date mobile devices to the DeviceAnywhere library, Keynote helps testers keep up with the changing mobile landscape, while maintaining the flexibility needed to address future changes.

“As an increasing number of new mobile device types and form factors arise, Keynote is delivering the most up-to-date mobile testing solutions in the market,” said Vik Chaudhary, vice president of product management and corporate development at Keynote. “The ability to test across the latest device models and form factors with real devices gives users the most accurate way to test their mobile websites and mobile apps without the overhead of purchasing and maintaining a portfolio of mobile devices. With the addition of these new devices across the DeviceAnywhere platform, users are able to leverage the power of real, remote, manual and automated device testing from the cloud.”

All existing Keynote DeviceAnywhere customers will have access to the newly supported devices from all products including: DeviceAnywhere Test Center Developer®, DeviceAnywhere TCE Interactive®, DeviceAnywhere TCE Automation® and DeviceAnywhere TCE Monitoring®.

Keynote also recently introduced DeviceAnywhere Free, the first completely free tool for remote, real device interactive testing; giving users a real-time view of their mobile websites on select smartphones via a streamlined Web interface. When a user’s needs surpasses basic spot-checking, Keynote’s Test Center Developer and Test Center Enterprise provide a seamless upgrade path to fully test mobile websites and applications.

Keynote is currently offering a free trial of the DeviceAnywhere platform. Users can experience real-device testing for mobile applications and mobile web on popular smartphones including: iPhone 5, iPad Mini, Nokia Lumia 920 and the Droid RAZR M. Go here to sign up TODAY – https://www.keynotedeviceanywhere.com/product_trial_form.html





BBVA Compass Ensures a Better Mobile Experience for its Customers using Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere Platform

28 02 2013

BBVA-Compass-LogoKeynote provides access to hundreds of real mobile devices for BBVA Compass to test their rapidly growing portfolio of mobile apps and services

Keynote® (Nasdaq: KEYN), the global leader in Internet and mobile cloud testing & monitoring, today announced that BBVA Compass, one of the 15 largest banks in the United States with a leading franchise in the Sunbelt region, has selected Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform. BBVA Compass uses DeviceAnywhere to test its rapidly growing portfolio of mobile apps with a large number of mobile devices during the development process to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction in a cost effective manner.

“Mobile apps are an increasingly critical service—and we want to make sure they work flawlessly before they are available to customers,” explained Chris Causey, mobile channel manager at BBVA Compass. “DeviceAnywhere allows us to test our mobile apps with virtually any mobile device without the need to purchase expensive service plans or ship the device to different development centers. With this capability, we can fix glitches early in the development process to reduce costs and improve the customer experience. Prior to implementing Keynote DeviceAnywhere it was challenging to fully and adequately test our applications because we could only test them with a limited number of devices.”

With the DeviceAnywhere platform, companies have the ability to access hundreds of real mobile devices including iOS, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry devices from anywhere in the world. Companies can also utilize a free tool (Test Case Manager) to build, manage, and maintain their test cases all in one, convenient location.

BBVA Compass developed many test cases using the Test Case Manager tool within DeviceAnywhere allowing their team members to capture results for review. These test cases allow them to examine functionality such as checking account balances, looking up transaction histories, paying bills and transferring funds between accounts. Developers also perform ad hoc testing by going through varying sequences of opening windows and tasks to identify the source of errors that occur on one version of a device but not another.

“Using DeviceAnywhere, our customer satisfaction scores have improved steadily because we understand what our customers see and can quickly diagnose problems,” said Causey. “In addition, we’re getting significantly higher ratings for applications that we make available through app stores.”

Development costs are also lower. The company’s development experience backs up estimates that costs are 50 to 200 times higher to fix bug issues as the project life cycle progresses and gets closer to implementation. (Source: “Software Project Survival Guide,” Steve McConnell, Microsoft Press)

In the near future, BBVA Compass plans to expand its use of DeviceAnywhere to its customer service centers. By making available hundreds of mobile devices to customer service agents from all over the U.S. through the Internet, agents will be able to test apps using the same devices customers use so they can replicate what the customer sees and more quickly troubleshoot problems.

“DeviceAnywhere was designed specifically to allow organizations to test mobile apps and websites on any mobile device from any location,” said Rachel Obstler, senior director of product management at Keynote. “BBVA Compass’ use of Device Anywhere for their development and customer support operations is a perfect example of how organizations can use this solution to improve customers’ satisfaction with their mobile solutions.”

To learn more about DeviceAnywhere Free view: http://www.keynotedeviceanywhere.com/da-free-product-overview.html

To learn more about the Keynote DeviceAnywhere platform including DeviceAnywhere Test Center Developer and DeviceAnywhere Test Center Enterprise view: http://www.keynotedeviceanywhere.com/





Miss our Webinar on How to Extend your Existing IBM RQM Environment to Mobile? VIEW NOW ONLINE!

19 02 2013

IBM-RQM1IBM-Ready-for-Rational-3If you missed our webinar today on our IBM RQM integration and mobile testing in general, we encourage you to check it out for yourself! It was an amazing event, attended by many of the top Fortune 1000 companies in the US. Presenters included: Leigh Williamson, IBM Distinguished Engineer, Rational Quality Software CTO Team & Rachel Obstler, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Keynote DeviceAnywhere

Overview:
What if you could effectively manage the cost and complexity of your mobile application testing without compromising the quality of the result? An effective mobile application testing strategy that uses real devices while leveraging your existing test environment and testing methods—including manual testing, automated testing, and continuous monitoring—can help deliver better results.IBM’s mobile app testing strategy works by combining multiple testing techniques and utilizing specialized techniques and services from IBM partners, such as Keynote. Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform enables mobile app and website testing on real devices, helping to improve quality of your mobile applications while accelerating your test process and making it cost-effective.

During this event, Leigh Williamson from IBM and Rachel Obstler from Keynote shared:

    • How to simplify your mobile testing with test automation, while leveraging your existing environment
    • How to enable improved control over your testing processes with advanced, state-of-the-art features
    • How to utilize IBM’s Rational Quality Manager and DeviceAnywhere together to easily test on real devices with real results

VIEW NOW HERE





WEBINAR: An Integrated Testing Strategy for Your 5-Star Mobile Apps (Learn How to Extend your Existing IBM RQM Environment to Mobile)

12 02 2013

IBM-RQM1 IBM-RQM2We invite you to join us for this exciting webinar focused on mobile app and website testing, all from within the IBM Rational Quality Manager platform!

Titled: An Integrated Testing Strategy for Your 5-Star Mobile Apps

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!
Broadcast Date and Time: Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at 2 p.m. ET
Presenters: Leigh Williamson, IBM Distinguished Engineer, Rational Quality Software CTO Team & Rachel Obstler, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Keynote DeviceAnywhere
What if you could effectively manage the cost and complexity of your mobile application testing without compromising the quality of the result? An effective mobile application testing strategy that uses real devices while leveraging your existing test environment and testing methods—including manual testing, automated testing, and continuous monitoring—can help deliver better results.IBM’s mobile app testing strategy works by combining multiple testing techniques and utilizing specialized techniques and services from IBM partners, such as Keynote. Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform enables mobile app and website testing on real devices, helping to improve quality of your mobile applications while accelerating your test process and making it cost-effective.

During this event, Leigh Williamson from IBM and Rachel Obstler from Keynote will help you learn:

    • How to simplify your mobile testing with test automation, while leveraging your existing environment
    • How to enable improved control over your testing processes with advanced, state-of-the-art features
    • How to utilize IBM’s Rational Quality Manager and DeviceAnywhere together to easily test on real devices with real results

  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER! 





iPhone 5 Now Available for Testing on DeviceAnywhere!

30 01 2013

iphone5We are proud to announce the support of the iPhone 5 (with iOS 6.0) on all of our product lines including Test Center Developer, as well as for our enterprise customers. It is also included in our new free offering – DeviceAnywhere Free!

Our iPhone 5 devices are full-hardware integrated devices and are NOT jailbroken – giving you the exact, pixel-for-pixel experience as if you had the device in your hand!

So, don’t delay…. for free mobile website testing get started now! For free mobile app testing with upload ability, go here to request a free, no-obligation, 3 hour trial!





Mobile World Congress 2013 – Focus on LTE and New Devices!

30 01 2013

M4DatMWCThe agenda for this previously announced mobile event in Barcelona on February 25 – 28 has been published. (Come see us at our booth # 6C71!). Several sessions deal with Long Term Evolution and a panel discusses challenges the industry is now facing around LTE network deployment.

In online publications and from big consultancies there’s more on the topic. One article in the German publication c’t summarizes what fourth generation mobile communications can accomplish. In addition, Deloitte has published its study “Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2013″, parts of which also cover LTE.

Bottom line: LTE is growing and here to stay. Until the end of 2013 over 200 mobile providers in 75 countries will offer LTE-services. Most recent addition in Europe is Orange in France – after competitor SFR joined late in 2012. In Germany, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica/O2 offer LTE services, while ePlus is still testing.

In terms of marketing, a key question for Deloitte is how best to differentiate 3G and 4G. Operators need to strike a balance between underwhelming and overselling, as there may not be any single new killer app in 4G, which 3G cannot deliver. What will differ markedly, however, is user experience, and as a result duration and intensity of usage.

This combination entails that for the increased data that will be transferred, Web pages and apps need more meticulous programming and even more custom tailoring to the available devices. Extensive testing will lead to an increase in quality and also will work as a differentiator.

An estimated 300 devices (smart phones, tablets und dongles) will be on the market by the end of this year. Looking at smart phones only, Apple and Samsung are hard to beat – c’t also mentions HTC One XL from Taiwan as one of the players in the field.

But competitors think on their feet and two of them currently work vigorously on their comeback. Nokia – one of the sponsors at the Mobile World Congress in February – is back in the black. The company gave up its own operating system Symbian and now relies on Windows in its attempt to catch up with its competitors. Microsoft in particular has put its focus on the mobile market in striking such a partnership. The company is still to be counted on, especially in the enterprise segment, where it always had a strong presence.

The quoted article points to an additional report, which highlights the new partnerships Microsoft has entered into: There’s Nokia for mobile apps, YELP supporting local searching and also Barnes & Nobles in e-reading und mobile devices. Its headline is strong: “Microsoft is raising an army” – alluding to the company arming itself against the key players in the market: Amazon and Apple.

Research in Motion is aware that this is their last chance in the mobile market. Today they are launching their new Blackberry 10 (IDC Analyst Ramon Llamas: “RIM is betting the farm…”). Historically, RIM was never the most developer-friendly platform and is now planning a 180-degree turn around in offering 70.000 apps on its Blackberry 10. The company pursues this goal aggressively in promising 10.000 USD during the first year of BB10 to each developer. Its huge installed base will come in handy when tackling this task. Today, Research In Motion Ltd announced it is changing its name to BlackBerry, the company announced on Wednesday, in move to refresh its tarnished image as it begins marketing a re-engineered line of BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

Looking at the big picture, it will be hard to catch up with Android and Apple by their sheer volume. Differentiation will be the name of the game and this will most probably not be decided by the number of apps a provider can push to market.

So here at DeviceAnywhere we lean back and just wait and see how the market responds. Our software is agnostic and works across each and every platform. The need for quality, thoroughly tested applications will be crucial and therefore, on the rise. The more data that is transferred over 4G, the more bugs will surface. Let’s wait and see…





Recommendation: Mobility Should Become Fully Integrated into Testing Priorities

29 01 2013

tick_approve_290x230_istockphoto_Thinkstock

According to the recent 2012 -13 World Quality Report (WQR) “We were surprised by the relatively low level of proactive structured testing in this increasingly essential area of business connectivity. We believe that mobile testing needs to be a fully integrated element of the QA discipline, so that the mobile strategy of the enterprise takes testing into account right from the start. The strategy should consider the objectives of the business owner, how the mobile app is delivered, and the target user for the app whether that be customers, suppliers, or employees. Organizations need to accept the paradigm shift brought about by mobility and embrace the new notion of quality for mobile apps, which is a departure from traditional standards applied to desktop applications.

… Proliferation of smartphone and mobile devices including the roll-out of 4G and the use of social media continues to exacerbate the issue of fragmentation. As will the need to focus on the user experience and functionality testing as well as performance. If organizations are to turn the mobile opportunity into a business advantage, some will need to ‘skill up’ or ‘skill out’.”

Of course you may expect this from a mobile testing platform, but our customers are continuing to see the value of having a testing strategy as part of their mobility rollouts. This includes planning, testing, automating, and monitoring their apps and services resulting in a shift in their understanding to see it as a need-to-have as opposed to a nice-to-have. Especially enterprise organizations who are investing millions in building out a successful mobile strategy to generate immediate revenue for their bottom line can’t afford to take that risk. There is too much on the line. As the report illustrated the user experience will be king and there’s no better way to test that experience than on a real mobile device.





The Emergence of a More Global and Uniform Industry for Mobile QA

27 01 2013

mobile-globe-apps

Companies around the world are facing the same issues when it comes to deploying their assets to the mobile platform. And one of the most prevalent issues is that of testing. As there are many types of testing, from functional (including BAT and UAT) to performance. Unlike a pc-based app, mobile apps and websites require a unique approach to meeting the requirements and demands of management and make their app a success in the market with adoption and a consistent new revenue stream.

According to the recent 2012 -13 World Quality Report (WQR) in their previous surveys they have “focused attention on the difference between the major countries or regions surveyed. This year they noticed that while variances still exist, there is a greater harmonization, with fewer major differences evidenced across the globe, at least within the enterprise markets. One example is that the proportion of an organization’s software development lifecycle budget that is investing in testing (including mobile) averaged across the regions, is 18%, with remarkable few regional variations.

Our perspective is that testing is becoming less of a regionally facing discipline and that, led by globally active companies, the gap between emerging markets and more traditionally mature markets is narrowing. This is no doubt a reflection of the rapid investment in skilled resources and tools, let by India, that has taken place offshore and nearshore countries – China, South East Asia, South America, and more recently, Eastern Europe, Central America, and parts of Africa. All point to testing emerging as a more uniform global discipline.”





The Next Tablet Frontier: Enterprise Apps?

25 01 2013

evault_enterprisetabletsRich Miner, a partner at Google Inc.’s venture-capital arm and a co-founder of the company’s Android mobile-operating system, said he expects to see a new “wave” of enterprise applications for tablets.

Mr. Miner said corporate CIOs are mastering mobile-device management and learning to safely use consumer apps like Dropbox.

They are now ready for the “next level” of mobile applications that will reshape industries such as trucking and construction, he said.

“Now that [developers] realize there are tens of millions of workers with smartphones,” Mr. Miner said, “you’re going to see a wave of what was traditionally enterprise and SAS-based applications for tablets.”





Can We Put a Price on Quality of our Mobile Apps and Websites?

24 01 2013

Price-Tag

The quality of a mobile app or website is critical to the success of your business if it’s trying to monetize their existing assets on the mobile platform. It can be do or die for that app. Therefore the importance of the QA team and management is vital to any companies mobile efforts.

According to the recent 2012 -13 World Quality Report (WQR) “Technological innovations and initiatives are increasing the workload for ever-stretched QA teams, but the corresponding QA and testing budgets appear to be weathering the economic storms. In 2011, these budgets were not supporting the challenges faced in the marketplace, but this year’s survey (by WQR) finds testing budgets growing at a stronger rate than last year, with 42% reporting that budgets had risen over the past 12 months. While 18% forecast a fall when looking ahead to 2015, some 53% optimistically expect budgets to rise, indicating a new degree of confidence that the business is more committed to investing in QA.

Moreover, the focus appears to have shifted from “business as usual” tasks to investment in transformational work, to drive enhancements, and 59% of the budget is now spent on customer-facing applications. So priorities are changing to support the core areas of the business that will require an optimized platform for efficient delivery of testing, which we regard as a positive step.

For the first time, the World Quality Report has established a worldwide benchmark for testing hourly rates, internally and externally. Firms are paying a global average hourly rate of around $55 per hour for in-house testers, compared to $53 for external support – a differential of $2 per hour. Obviously, rates vary greatly from region to region and can be affected by the scarcity of available skills in local markets. Does this represent the price of quality? Only an individual business can make that decision, when evaluated against other prime resources.”





Confidence in QA Resources a Continued Concern

22 01 2013

quality_control_290x230_Hemera_Thinkstock

As I mentioned in a previous post, your QA team is a vital part of your development efforts. And can make/break your app’s quality. It was vital for web-based apps and is even more critical for mobile-based assets because of the vast complexity when it comes to deploying, testing, and monitoring their success.

According to the recent 2012 -13 World Quality Report (WQR) “While budgets might be in reasonable shape, confidence in testing resources is not resounding. A majority of organizations characterize their internal teams as “average” at best, in their knowledge of core testing processes and methodologies, and not necessarily up to speed with the latest testing tools and technologies. Their assessment of external testers is slightly better, with a third of organizations scoring their external testers’ knowledge and abilities as “above average”. But less than 5% of firms are fully confident that their testers (internal or external) are “best in class”. Despite initiatives and investment, especially over the last decade or so, there are clearly lessons to be learned in terms of either real or perceived quality of output for both providers and users of QA.

Simply put, as the competitive landscape forces organizations to update and optimize their testing resources and drive down costs and time-to-market, the overall quality of testing resources needs to keep pace or change, to satisfy or exceed the perceived and increasingly complex requirements of organizations in the future.”





Creating a custom device list view

21 01 2013

Test Center Developer supports hundreds of devices, at times making it challenging to choose and check out the models you need for your test cases. If there’s a set of devices that you typically like to test on, or if you have a specific target device list for a particular project, creating a custom device list view can be a real time-saver.

Test Center helps you create a custom view of chosen devices by using the Group Devices by Project feature. Here’s how:

1. Click on the Test Case Editor tab under the Test Case Manager on the sidebar of DeviceAnywhere Studio (if you have minimized the sidebar, look for the wrench icon).

Test Case Editor 012113

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Click the New Project link at the bottom of your screen.

New project button 012113

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Name your new project, and select Create Project. This may take a few seconds.

My Devices 012113

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Once the project has been created, you will be prompted to add devices. Select all of the devices that you would like visible in your custom device view.

Choosing devices 012113

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Now go back to the Test Center view. At the top of the device pane, select Group devices by: Projects. Your project will appear in the drop-down list and when selected, only the devices added to the project will be visible in the device pane.  Acquire a device from your list and begin testing.

Selecting my group 012113

Custom Group 012113

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can create as many custom device views as you like following these same steps.





Has QA Been Caught Off Guard by Mobility?

17 01 2013

using_smartphone_jpg_350x250_crop_q85

QA managers and teams continue to struggle with how to handle the proliferation of mobility around the world in both consumers lives as well as behind enterprise corporate firewalls. This permeation has caused an unexpected demand for quality talent and experienced and skilled labor able to handle the onslaught.

As the recent  2012 -13 World Quality Report (WQR)  states “as mobile adoption has become almost ubiquitous in developed markets, the business imperative for mobile business is clear.” According to their study, it indicates that “speed of adoption and proliferation of handheld devices, coupled with the use of social media, seem to have caught enterprise testing by surprise. Organizations may not be giving mobile the priority it warrants. Only 31% of respondents across the world currently test mobile applications – a figure that does not deviate much from region to region, and those surveyed readily admit to being ill equipped for mobile testing. This suggests that QA has fallen behind the mainstream mobile curve.

Reasons given are multiple: many report that they don’t have the ability to test or effectively certify mobile applications because of lack of appropriate tools, processes, or expertise, and limited access to the necessary devices. Moreover, the focus is firmly on efficiency of performance, cited by 64% of firms, rather than functionality, usability, or security. Overall, this argues for an underestimation of the infrastructure challenges posed by the mobile era, or an inability to address them.

As today’s mobile users – customers and employees – expect interaction at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere, making a business mobile and “always on” should be higher up on the corporate and IT agenda.”





Rapidly Evolving IT Landscape Necessitates Innovation in the QA Discipline, Especially for Mobile

15 01 2013

The-cloud-is-opening-up-new-avenues-for-IT-and-will-likely-not-disappear-in-the-next-refresh-cycle-_16001588_800929056_0_0_14066830_500

2013 is projected to see a continued exponential growth in mobile resulting in an immediate need to support efforts within enterprise organizations around the world to maintain and secure their infrastructure and protect vital resources.

As a result “quality assurance is undergoing a quiet but steady evolution from in-house testing generalists to a structured and efficient discipline, with a greater influence within the overall application development lifecycle” as reported in the 2012 -13 World Quality Report (WQR). They continue by saying they “observed from their survey the emergence of a multifaceted discipline with an increasing range of operating models at its disposal, that enables a streamlined and cost-effective output that is also aligned with business needs.

The level of QA and testing investment has proved to be resilient in adverse economic environments in most markets, and has stretched to accommodate an ever-increasing workload. But now, testing resources need to prove themselves more effectively and QA teams need to stay alert to the new disruptive technologies and ensure their skill levels are attuned to both market and internal expectations.”





2013 Mobile Prediction – Mobile Testing Continues to Grow

10 01 2013

mobile_testing_v1

As more companies begin to go mobile and leveraging mobile apps for workplace productivity, mobile app testing will be a vital resource for mobile app developers. Testing mobile apps for bugs and performance issues ensures that the app will function as it’s intended to and will not crash or glitch when people use it. This is important because the purpose of developing an app is so people can buy and use it. The more people that use it, the more revenue the developer gets. One bug or performance issue will result in bad reviews, ultimately driving users to other similar apps, leaving the glitchy app in the dust. We’ll see a growth in mobile app testing in 2013 as more people rely on smart devices and subsequently, the apps on them, to accomplish personal and business tasks.





2013 Mobile Prediction – BYOA (Bring Your Own App) Becomes a Major Headache for IT Departments

8 01 2013

smartphones-290x230-iStockphoto-Thinkstock

In 2012, we saw an exponential increase in employees at companies bringing their personal mobile devices – including smartphones and tablets – to the workplace and using them to conduct business, whether by checking work email or accessing company data. This made it difficult for companies to manage company data, most of which is private information, and keep it from getting into the hands of people who shouldn’t have access to it. This trend deemed BYOD or bring-your-own-device, has luckily been addressed and most companies have found ways to manage these personal devices used for business. Now, employees are beginning to download apps onto their devices to help increase their efficiency and productivity at work. This includes apps which lets them access work data remotely or apps that connects them with customers and co-workers. The problem with this is that, after companies have gotten over the BYOD challenge, now they have to worry about the BYOA or bring-your-own-apps hump. In 2013, I predict that companies will rush to find a way to continue managing personal devices used for business, as well as going one step further to manage the apps on employees’ devices.





DeviceAnywhere Free is now live!

7 01 2013

DA Free Start

We’re bringing in the New Year with a bang by introducing DeviceAnywhere Free and marking a significant change to the mobile web testing marketplace. As the name implies, DeviceAnywhere Free requires no commitment on the part of the user and is a great way to learn about remote, real-device testing.  Simply register and log in to our newly designed portal, and you’ll be able to see how your websites appear on real mobile devices.

With the rapid proliferation of smartphones and tablets, mobile is hot. Yet mobile testing is still a relatively new and growing market.  DeviceAnywhere Free will help the testing market catch up, giving users unlimited access to 10-minute website spot checking sessions.  During a session, check out real, live mobile devices from the library and interact remotely with them to see exactly how website content looks and acts across a range of different mobile devices.

Using the computer keyboard and mouse, a DeviceAnywhere Free lets you control the device, interacting with the touchscreen, device keyboard, and other device hardware.  DeviceAnywhere Free supports tap & swipe gestures and invoking the accelerometer will put a device in landscape mode.  There are also several utilities available to enhance productivity.

 

Better than the alternatives?

phone drawer

Today many developers, testers, and content owners depend on owned, real devices to access their website.  This either means purchasing and maintaining a library or borrowing devices from friends and coworkers, or alternatively, simply not testing across as many devices for adequate test coverage. In a much more convenient environment, DeviceAnywhere Free provides access to some of the most popular smartphones on the market including the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, the Nokia Lumia, and more. Quickly conduct spot checking on all of the major operating systems (iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows) and save screenshots to share with co-workers.

 

Three most important words 

They say that in the restaurant business the three most important words are 1) Location 2) Location 3) Location.  However when location is no longer important because the cloud lets you test from anywhere at any time, perhaps the words most important to you will be 1) Free 2) Free 3) Free.  Get started today and find out.





2013 Mobile Prediction – Continued Rise of the Freemium Model

4 01 2013

121210221015freemiumThere will be a shift in business strategy to target end-users versus corporate decision-makers for new services. Bypassing traditional decision-makers to influence a company’s buying habits is a relatively new model but it works due to the recent consumerization of IT trend where employees adopt their own technologies for business use. Ultimately, the “freemium” model for business services will rise to prominence in 2013. It’s impossible for companies to try out all the new technologies and services being made available on the market today. Service providers will begin to aggressively adopt the freemium business model – a strategy where they offer free, pared down varieties of their services in order to have end-users test out the service before they decide to pay for a more comprehensive, premium version. Vendors such as Pandora, Evernote and Dropbox has adopted this model and it has worked out very well for them. Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said the freemium practice is “older than software itself” and is a great way to “clinch contracts” by providing a free version of services before users commit to the premium version. So, is freemium coming to Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform? ……





Welcome to 2013! Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere Platform Recognized with a SUPERSTAR Award!

4 01 2013

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Once again, the #1 name in mobile testing has been recognized for it’s outstanding leadership and product innovation developed specifically for enterprises. Our HTML5 Web Testing feature as part of TCE Automation has garnered the Superstar Award this year in the Mobile Star Awards Enterprise Application Testing category. To learn more about the award and who we were competing against, click here! To learn more about HTML5 Web Testing, click here.





UK Retail Mobile Sites Turning Away Some Shoppers

15 12 2012

Being mobile-ready for the holidays is important for leading retailers.  Recently we looked at leading US retail sites and saw that by and large, they hadn’t done sufficient testing of the mobile websites.  Now we turn across the pond and examine 5 leading UK retailers:

  • Marks & Spencer
  • Next
  • Boots
  • John Lewis
  • Tesco

We conducted some very simple tests to see how their sites fared on popular mobile devices located in London:

  • iPhone 4 (Orange)
  • Samsung Galaxy S 3 (Android on Vodafone)
  • BlackBerry Bold (Vodafone)
  • iPad 3 (Wi-Fi)

Some retailers such as Boots are making strong efforts to follow mobile best practices and creating a pretty good experience for their customers.  Others seem content to deliver their desktop site to the small screen and haven’t accounted for the needs of the mobile shopper.  But even the best retailers in this study didn’t seem to be testing their website across enough devices to ensure that all shoppers enjoy the best possible mobile shopping experience.  The problems we find would certainly not be tolerated on a desktop site.  It’s unfortunate because mobile offers an opportunity for differentiation and if the leading sites aren’t fully ready.  This holiday season it seems that the UK Retail sector as a whole isn’t meeting the expectations of the customers they serve.

 

Here’s a quick glimpse of what we saw:

Marks & Spencer

1 - Marks & Spencer Home Sizing The home page seems to be optimized for the iPhone (right) as you’ll see the content modules cut off on the Android device (on left).  It’s good that they have a search button at the top of the page but a key feature on the mobile site for any Brick & Mortar retailer is a Store Locator tool.  This isn’t found on either screen.

2 - M&S BB Home

On the BlackBerry the M&S homepage site provides even less value.  The large site downloads very slowly and the banner doesn’t seem appropriate for the screen. As you scroll down looking for additional functionality you also see navigation arrows cut off on the sides.

3 - Store Locator Fail

Once we found the Store Locator we were able to find the closest store on most devices except the Android where the Find Nearest Store button did not work.

4 - iPad Basket

Finally, we wanted to make sure that a shopper could successfully add a product to their basket.  To celebrate the time of the year we selected Crackers and were able to add them to the basket on the iPad.

 

But Christmas crackers will not be on the wish list of smartphones shoppers….

5 - M&S Basket Fail

Next

The next website is certainly not optimized for the mobile user.  It’s effectively useless on the BlackBerry and you’ll notice misaligned spacing on the Android device.

6 - Next Home

The location button works on iOS (below left) but does not display properly BlackBerry (below right) or Android.

7 - Next Location Button

And while it did work on the Android, the button did not on the iPad:

8 - Next Location iPad

We then went shopping on the Next site and quickly ran into issues.  On the iPad the user gets the desktop version of the site.  However that is only useful when hover lets the user see prices under the cursor.  Hover functionality isn’t useful on a tablet so the page is not user friendly.

9 -Next Shopping

 Christmas items on the iPad

 9 - Hover in Chrome

 Hovering in Chrome

 

Next’s problems didn’t end there.  Seeing the Christmas section on the iPhone we noticed that the page did not render properly leaving a blank white space on the side of the screen.  Worse yet, the Christmas navigation button failed to produce any results on the Android.

11 - Christmas items on iPhone and Android

We were able to successfully add socks to our basket on the iPhone, but on the Android when we selected size we were only given an option for color.

12 - Next Socks

No socks for you!

 

Boots

Boots does a very good job at creating a web experience that’s appropriate for both tablet and smartphone users.  They have a good iPhone site with the Store Locator and Search prominent in a design lightened up for mobile.  The navigation on the iPhone is mobile-friendly. Also, instead of promoting app as many sites do they promote desktop shortcut to website.  Many customers prefer the mobile web over apps for retail and Boots respects this navigation preference.

 13 - Boots Home iOS

While the home page image isn’t ideal for the BlackBerry—having search and store location prominent gives the basic tools that a user needs.  Unfortunately the image failed to load for the Android device.

 

When it comes to finding the store location—Boots was successful on all devices.

15 - Boots Purchase

While an image failed to load again on the Android while searching for product, we were able to add items to the cart on this and all other devices tested.The Boots retail site was one of the best tested.  They were arguably a few Android tests away from truly hitting the mark.

John Lewis

Firstly, John Lewis chooses to send tablet users to the desktop version of their site.  This may make navigation a bit difficult without a mouse— but it isn’t necessarily a bad decision.  However it could lead to a slow download on slower mobile networks.   John Lewis’s bigger problem is that the mobile sites do not share a consistent look and feel with the desktop version of the site.

16 - JL Home iPad

On the BlackBerry the home page delivers the user very little value.

16 - JL Home BB

Their iPhone 4 site the basket and search are prominently featured (good) but store locator is not above the fold. Within the search bar the text is cut off.

17 - JL Home iOS and SS

On the Android the search bar text is present… but so is a misplaced line above the logo  cutting through the basket button. Once  found, the store locator tool worked well across all devices.

18 - JL Hamper

Hamper shopping on the iPad 3 produced was a user-friendly experience with plenty of product information and visuals.  The basket updated properly.

19 - JL Hamper SS

Searching for Hampers on the Android device produced some questionable results.  Here we see an inconsistent background with grey fields highlighted by these boxes.  The View More text is aligned to the top of the bar which is not consistent with display elsewhere on the site.  Finally, lacking a Buy Now or Add to Cart link makes selecting these product more difficult.

20 - JL Hamper Buy SS

At product level we’re still missing an obvious means to add the hamper to the basket until you scroll down.  Then you find a quantity drop down sitting lonely inside a box with a Buy Now Button featured a good distance away.  The next product below seems to have the preferred presentation.

 

TESCO

Finally we looked at the TESCO website which was effectively scaled back for the mobile user and presented a Store Location button with clean light design for the smartphone shopper.  A search option would be a good enhancement.

21 - TESCO home

But on the iPhone and BlackBerry the product categories are cut off making it apparent that they designed with the Android user in mind.

22 - TESCO home iOS BB

But when you navigate to a product section it no longer seems that the Android user is the intended audience.  The empty space at the bottom indicates that this page was not designed for the screen of this particular smartphone:

23 - TESCO product page

We navigated to the Christmas products page and saw this error on the navigation bar:

24 - TESCO Christmas

Finally, when purchasing a hamper, we noticed that iPhone and Android devices both had same issues with misplaced question marks and run-on product description, but we were able to successfully add item to the basket.

25 - TESCO basket

Summary

In the end it seemed that all UK Retailers studied would have benefited from additional mobile testing in preparation for the holiday season.  Some issues found were egregious, while other seemed relatively minor.  But one should note that none of these issues are considered acceptable for large, well-known websites and you’d be hard pressed to find similar mistakes made on desktop websites.   The mobile web has some way to go to catch up to the quality standards set for online shopping and demanded by today’s consumers.





Are Enterprises Vulnerable to Security Breaches on Employees Devices? (Part 3 in a series title “Mobile App Security Should be a Top Priority”)

29 11 2012

Recently, in an article written by Rob Friedman of Apperian, he says “Enterprise IT developers have the same issue when building mobile apps for their fellow employees to use. Building and maintaining apps is expensive and it is only worthwhile if the apps are continually used. Some apps will be used infrequently but are still necessary, for example, when checking on company benefits. You don’t do it frequently, but you appreciate it when you do. Other apps are there to help improve your work life and if they are not compelling, then users will give up on them. For example, if you build a sales dashboard, it must be attractive, easy to use, and provide timely and useful information. If you get it right, your users will continue to return. If you make it difficult to use or fail to provide good information, users won’t come back to it.

For enterprise mobile apps, security is particularly challenging. On PCs, security is a solved problem. As every laptop user knows, the corporate VPN is ubiquitous and identity is centrally managed. To access company resources, you must first connect and identify yourself. In many cases, you also use your secure key fob to provide an extra measure of identification. But on mobile apps, while these things are available, they feel very different and are not readily accepted by users. Starting a VPN every time you want to use a mobile app feels cumbersome and annoying, even though you don’t think twice about doing it on your laptop. If enterprise IT views mobile devices merely as tiny computers, their apps are doomed to fail.

Fortunately, there are ways to have your apps be secured and yet feel usable. For example, you can use app wrapping to enable in-app VPN. Your users will have to authenticate to the app but they won’t have to figure out how to run a VPN on the device. You can also choose how long to remember a user for before they have to log in again. Security is always a tradeoff and relaxing policies just a little can make mobile apps feel much more usable.





Mobile Sites of Leading Retailers Not Prepared for Holidays

20 11 2012

The holidays are a critical time for mobile.  In a recent blog, Adobe predicts that sales from mobile devices will rise 110% to account for 21% of all online sales. Two-thirds of those mobile sales will come through tablets, and the other third through smartphones. Showrooming is the trend du jour in retail making mobile a big part of the brick and mortar experience.

Big retailers should have prepared themselves for the onslaught of holiday shopping by now, but have they learned from mobile mistakes of the past? We did some research on how top retailers fared before the start of the shopping season from testing functionality, to visual effects, to maximizing the consumer experience. What we noticed is that with proper mobile testing, retailers could have made changes to their mobile sites to ensure positive and efficient mobile shopping experiences this holiday season.

Here’s a quick glimpse of what we saw:

 Macy’s – Optimizing for Android?

 

It seems that Macy’s is optimizing their site for Android users.  Comparing iPhone 4S to Android using the HTC EVO 4G LTE showed that font sizes differ on the devices with the larger screen Android having smaller fonts. The EVO appears to show a full screen while on Android Devices, the menu was only partially visible.

In addition: The Macy’s site was not able to completely download on the BlackBerry Torch and was slower to load on the HTC Titan 2 (Windows OS).

Barnes & Noble – Location, location, location

 In addition to getting product information, it is critical that shoppers know where and when they can get their holiday gifts. We tested the Store Locator function and received a page that delivered expected location results.  However the Store Hours section was presented very poorly making it difficult to read– and this poor presentation is consistent across all selected devices.

Additional observations include:

Barnes & Noble was able to download and render the same content on both the iPhone and iPhone 4S.  We tested the home page on the BlackBerry Torch 4G and noticed issues with the Search For: box and “go” button straying from the background grey. The Torch store locator failed to produce any results.

The HTC EVO 4G (Android) displayed the home page well but once the search was complete you could continue to search, but it was a bit difficult to determine with how to use the search field.  Not bad… but not ideal.

The HTC Titan 2 (Windows) also produced the correct store locator results. Here however, the search fields are completely blank and useless for anyone needing to continue their search.

Target 

 Target seems to be optimizing their mobile site for the iPhone homepage experience.  The HTC EVO 4G (Android) and the HTC Titan 2 (Windows) frame the home page quite differently minimizing the impact of the title copy.

We also looked at Target on the iPad 3 and see that they probably haven’t been testing on a tablet and are content to deliver their desktop site to a tablet on good faith.

When comparing the desktop to the tablet there’s an entire column section feeding a skyscraper ad on the website that is a blank field on the tablet. Finally, they’ve used the target “bullseye” logo as a holiday ornament on the website and tablet, a concept completely lost on the mobile devices.

Finding a target near you? We tested the store locator feature and the “Use my current location” button did not work on any device.  For the HTC Titan 2 the webpage send a message that the browser does not support geolocation.

Nextag – Failing to search …for a good deal

 Search is an essential holiday function. The Nextag mobile home page is quite simple yet it seems different with each device we selected.  On the iPhone (and iPhone 4S) you can either shop by category or search.  The instructions within the search field are cut off so you cannot read the entire line.  We searched for “iPhone” and were able to display results for 3 or 12 items found.

The Nextag home page on the BlackBerry Torch 4G seemed like an older WAP page with underlined links.  We tried to search but the feature did not respond.

On the HTC EVO 4G LTE (Android) the home page was much like the iPhone but the bottom 40% of the screen was not used. The search produced expected results but even then did not fill the entire page.

The HTC Titan 2 (Windows) has a home page that was similar to the BlackBerry with underlined hyperlinks. This device produced expected results similar to the iPhone in a single color text, unlike the iOS models.

Finally, the iPad 3 experience seemed just like FireFox and search produced expected results.  However, we see that the banner add was cut off at the bottom making for poor presentation and displeasing any potential advertiser.

 

Zappos

 Finally we looked at the popular shoe site, Zappos. For the iPhone (1 & 4S) and iPad 3 users Zappos presents a splash screen promoting their app. Users must navigate through the ad to get to the browser home page.

BlackBerry Torch 4G users were sent to a desktop version of the homepage– text and objects far too small and unreadable to provide any value or continue further.

 

HTC Titan 2 (Windows OS) users received a home page much like the iPhone users but without the splash page. There was a promo field at the top for the Android app.

Zappos fared worst with the HTC EVO 4G (Android).  The content delivered to the site was not sized correctly for the screen. Multiple banners in rotation at the top were viewable simultaneously while the activity buttons were limited to the center third of the screen. If tested, this is one error that Zappos would have caught.

Last but not least, Zappos had an issue with rendering the top registration bar for the iPad 3, which is abruptly cut off only partially displaying “My Favorites”.  The main navigation bar displays completely but lacks the few pixels of spacing needed on the right side of the page as found in a FireFox desktop browser.

 

Conclusion

Early testing of both mobile websites in preparation for the holiday season would have prepared these top retailers for the judgmental mobile shopper this season. With holiday shopping looming and ready to begin in just days, it seems that these top retailers are already running into hurdles that may affect their holiday sales goals.

 





mRetailers: Gear up for the upcoming holiday shopping season, now!

16 11 2012

This holiday shopping season, retailers offering mobile apps have made a smart move. While nearly 86 million US consumers are already using smartphones to shop, this holiday season is set to see even higher numbers from mCommerce. From special QR codes to price matching via smartphones, retailers will rely on the latest technologies to deliver discounts right into the hands of shoppers. And while smartphones has been the only device most consumers carried in the past, they’re now armed with tablets that can provide an even more engaging shopping experience. As retailers offer apps that mimic flipping through physical mail-order catalogs and one-click purchasing options through merchants like PayPal and Google, the tablet is set to be the ultimate experience in holiday shopping this season.

Eighty-two percent of tech-savvy mobile application users say there are major benefits to shopping on smartphones and tablets, according to new data issued by app technology provider Apigee. Bargain hunting reigns supreme: Half of respondents cite browsing for deals wherever they are among m-commerce’s biggest advantages, 48 percent name in-store pricing comparison opportunities, 38 percent point to opportunities to redeem digital coupons, and 27 percent cite the potential to earn in-app loyalty points.

Mobile coupons and discount codes will continue to play a role in consumerism, especially around this time, when the cost of gifting can add up. Many retailers are planning to increase the number of deals, especially those through mobile coupons. And while consumers are expected to take their time to find the best possible price for the holiday wish list items, most savvy holiday shoppers will consult their smartphones for price-comparisons and the latest deals, wherever they may be.

So, as a retailer who has extended its brand to the mobile channel, is your app or mobile website ready to handle the increase in traffic this holiday season? Keep in mind that one bug, glitch, crash or performance issue can immediately drive customers to shop at competing outlets. For mobile retailers, I suggest gearing up your mobile apps and websites for the upcoming holiday season NOW before it’s too late!








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