Testing mobile applications, unlike software testing, is not something that can be skipped. You may have read about companies skipping or slacking off on software testing when they are on a tight deadline. That can’t generally be applied to mobile technologies. Especially when mobile devices are the prevalent means of communication for not just consumers but also businesses.

Businesses have already started running through mobile applications – those simple pieces of code that influence judgments by providing impressive, immersive experience to the consumers. The applications are meant to meet customer expectations while still sticking to the business objectives, and providing them with an experience that would leave them wanting to use the apps regularly.

And mobile application testing ensures that an application possesses all that, which means there’s no room for errors. The industry standard now is such that every mobile application must pass testing before they are deployed. For that, the testers will have to overcome a lot of challenges.
 

Mobile App Testing Challenges

 
Assessing the quality and performance of the application is a daunting task, and quite tricky as well.

  • Availability of testing tools – Many companies doing in-house testing might lack the necessary testing tools and testing methodologies, especially when it comes to apps that are multi-device compliant. Such companies generally rely on augmentation partners to provide them with the guidelines, tools, and methodologies required for testing.
  • Device fragmentation – Mobile apps are used across multiple devices and platforms like iOS, Android, Windows etc. These operating systems will have different versions as well. There would also be differences in screen resolution, connectivity options, and memory sizes. The testers need to make sure that the app is compatible with everything above. They will need to prepare for one huge headache as well.
  • External vs in-house testing – Testers often experience budget constraints and tight deadlines. This would mean the company will have to either outsource the work to a reliable service provider or have it handled by the in-house team itself. This puts more pressure on the in-house testing team.
  • Mobile application lifecycle – No piece of code can normally be free from bugs. There will be at least one that didn’t catch the eyes of testers. When the end-user identifies one such bug, he will want it fixed immediately. The application must also be compatible with more recent OS upgrades. This means that testers are required to be vigilant at all times, and always keep an eye on consumer feedback.

These are but a few challenges that testers can face. The point is that mobile app testing is very tricky to nail, demanding solid testing tactics to actually succeed in the testing. An improperly tested application can do a lot of harm for the business. A solid testing strategy should take a lot of critical factors into account.

Here are 6 tactics to concoct a winning strategy that ensures the right proportion of quality assurance and end-user satisfaction with respect to business goals.
 

Physical Devices or Device Emulators

 
If the testers are working in an Agile ecosystem, they can use device emulators in the early stages of development, or in early ‘sprints’. Emulators allow rapid testing, and are quite cost-effective as well. Many popular emulators provide pseudo-live environment and network bypass options.

However, to deeply understand how the application can come of use in real-life scenarios, they will have to use physical devices. So basically, mobile testing involves figuring out the perfect combination of physical devices and emulators that gives optimal result efficiently. Physical devices are also ideal for beta testing.
 

Selecting Mobile Devices

 
Choosing the right path of testing mobile applications is normally not an easy decision for the testing team as there will be several variables they’d have to consider including the target market and the reach of the application. Device selection is one of those variables.

To select a device, testers will have to take into account many factors such as connectivity options, memory sizes, screen resolution, OS versions, and even form factor.
 

Testing on Cloud

 
This particular tactic is gaining popularity owing to how it makes managing countless scenarios easier. The Cloud technology can be leveraged to generate a web-based mobile testing environment where the testers manage, test and deploy applications. In addition, the testing environment on cloud curbs project costs, reduces time-to-market, consequently increasing ROI.

Some of the major benefits of this tactic include synchronized architectures, complex applications support, real-time results, and no additional costs or need for advanced testing tools and licensing.
 

Performance Testing

 
Performance testing is mandatory for mobile applications. Smartphones and mobile devices come with large memory capacities at present. So we have to assume that the end-user will have a lot of data on their smartphones. If those data are relevant to the functioning or performance of the application being tested, performance testing is certainly necessary.

The testers should make sure that the performance of the app doesn’t degrade with the increase in data it’s supposed to be working with. Applications with server-side components need to be tested with many number of users.
 

Network Connectivity

 
This is a critical factor that significantly influences mobile applications that depend on it. The best course of action here is to test the application in actual network environments it’s designed to work on. It can be done using configurable simulation tools. This will help the testers assess the app’s behavior, and ensure that it performs consistently well across various network environments.
 

Security Testing

 
Apps that require users to submit their credentials are looked at with doubt. Generally, users think about providing an app with confidential data and credentials. This is reason enough to consider security testing as very important and mandatory.

Security testing should be done if:

  • The app stores credit card details and other payment information
  • The app uses network protocols
  • The app uses Device ID
  • The app requires authentication to grant access to data
  • The app locks out the user after a preset number of login attempts
  • The app requires many permissions to provide all functionalities

Apps handling confidential data should have security mechanisms that encrypt those data.
 

Conclusion

 
Though in-house testing is full of challenges for testers, they can still make the experience better by practicing these tactics. A basic testing strategy might not ensure that the application is fit for use, and delivers the quality it promised. The plan should take several factors into account for devising the right testing strategy.

Written by: Suraj Jayaram

One of the biggest trends we saw last year was more companies putting their faith in Agile and DevOps. In 2015, most organizations were quite hesitant to adopt Agile. That’s the thing about technology. It keeps bringing new things into the picture – from machine learning to big data and VR/AR. 2016 shortened the distance to a digital future with technological advancements, and it will most certainly transform software development and testing sooner than later.

So what could it all mean for a software tester?

Promise, primarily.

Let me explain. One of the main goals of any software company now is delivering products and services in a short amount of time without compromising quality in any way. Technological advancements promise to make that come true.
 

Keeping an Eye Out for New Trends…

 
Now that most businesses have adopted agile development and continuous delivery with DevOps, testing practices have also changed. In order to benefit from the concept of DevOps and what it brings to the table, continuous integration, delivery, and testing are vital. And it needs a good amount of planning. That’s why it’s important for a tester to keep an eye out for changing trends in testing.

When new technologies start disrupting existing ones, it is the right time to change plans may it be software testing or development and deployment.

Here are 6 trends that might bring about that disruption this year.
 
Agile and DevOps will Reign Over the Rest
 
Agile and DevOps have been proving their mettle for about 2 years now, dominating the software development industry. According to Forrester, they might completely dominate the industry this year. As testing is evolving to be more iterative and progressive, they will be integrated with development for certain. This attests to why Agile and DevOps has been consistently dominating.
 
Mobile Testing
 
With businesses starting to embrace mobile devices and mobile technologies, the role of mobile testing as a test automation trend will influence the software testing industry more this year. As of now, functional and security testing are big challenges when it comes to multi-channel devices, as the right set of tools and expertise to perform them are limited. However, the demand keeps rising. Mobile testing has also started to move to the cloud. All these facts points to a potential change in mobile testing automation.
 
Big Data
 
The concept of Big Data was quite unique, and presented a lot of opportunities for businesses. It has been growing in popularity and practice since its introduction. And now there’s just a massive volume of Big Data which demands better strategies for Big Data testing in addition to effective analytical tools and frameworks. Because it’s sticking out like a sore thumb, 2017 will offer something that might alleviate the present testing challenges with Big Data.
 
Impact of Containers and Microservices
 
Both containers and microservices come with good news for testers. With containers, a clutter of configurations wouldn’t exist and the demand for compatibility testing will be reduced. Microservices, on the other hand, can break down testing into smaller units. But because there could be deployments of multiple versions of microservices that’s hard to deal with, configuration could become challenging. However, as test automation has shifted testing to the service level, there are a few benefits.

There could be some much needed advancements this year that can make things easier for testers working with containers and microservices.
 
Security Testing for IoT
 
IoT is growing faster than expected, which in turn increased the demand for IoT testing. The product’s functionality and security need to be tested before release, as many studies claim that most devices in IoT are vulnerable to threats and require better security.

Testers will have to adopt some grey box measures to test the interactions between various layers in IoT product. If this year promotes virtualization of IoT APIs and services, testing the products will be less challenging.
 
Growth of Software Testing Budget
 
The growth of software testing budget turned many heads last year. It’s expected to increase even more this year as testing has become an absolute necessity to ensure product/service quality. Businesses have started to increase their IT budget considerably for QA and testing.
 

Conclusion

 
Last year, we witnessed many innovative technological advancements that accentuated digital revolution. This year isn’t going to be any different. In fact, this year might actually become the gateway to a different level of digital transformation than the one we’ve been seeing so far.

If the software development industry undergoes transformations this year, it would surely impact software testing as well. The trends mentioned above are most likely to bring about that transformation. Rest assured, testers will have their hands full this year.

Written by: Kiran

When you purchase a product and realize that it doesn’t deliver what it had promised, who would you blame? The manufacturers or the people who were responsible for making sure the product does what it’s supposed to do?

The point is, every product should be tested before release. That goes double for software. Software testing makes sure the software was developed to meet the expectations and to make sure that the product won’t fail to deliver. QA is never complete without testing. It also helps the developer identify, locate, and fix bugs related to coding, environment, and configurability. In rare cases, testing also opens doors to adding a few bonus features to the product without hassle.
 

The QA Ecosystem

 
If there’s one thing that’s as important as the development phase in a software development life cycle, it is quality assurance primarily because it aids stakeholders in understanding the product’s selling point, ROI etc. The results from the QA team will also help the marketing determine a sound strategy for the product.

The key here is the number of tests performed on the product. Performing more number of tests will help identify more bugs. The more bugs eliminated, higher the product quality. However, in many development companies, testing period is cut short to meet the delivery and deployment deadline or to get a competitive edge in the market. Though this might do more harm than good, there is a fact that it’s practically impossible to test a software end-to-end along with regression testing in a short time.

To conclude, manually performing all those tests will take a lot of time unless the company can afford a large number of testers. The budget subsequently increases with the number of testers, which is not an option for many development companies.

This is where testing automation comes in.
 

Testing Automation

 
You can automate every test on the product from sanity to regression and performance. Automated testing takes a short amount of time, effort, and resources. As human errors won’t be present, accuracy is pretty much guaranteed. These are the main reasons why companies started adopting testing automation policies to deliver high quality products at the right time.

This practice led to one baffling question…

Will manual QA/Testing get completely replaced by automated testing?

From what all the evidence and facts point to, the conclusion still doesn’t provide a solid answer. To a certain extent, automated testing will somewhat replace manual testing. But not completely though as manual testing is the best approach in certain situations like:

  • If the product is unstable or riddled with issues that might hinder automated testing in some way
  • When the automation framework and its scripts aren’t stable
  • If the product is at an early stage of development, and might likely get design changes
  • When the budget doesn’t cover automation, and experienced testers (or ones who are familiar with the type of product) are available

But mind you that automation isn’t quite easy to implement, and takes a good effort. But this is just an initial trouble. Once automation is implemented, you will be seeing rapid results, with many additional benefits, which brings us to the various advantages of automating QA.
 

Advantages of Automation in QA

 

  • Role in regression testing – There are instances where the testers need to run the same test or test the same thing over and over again. This takes too much that the testers could have used in testing other sections. Obviously, automation can make a significant difference here, saving a lot of time.
  • Stress/Load/Performance testing – Manually performing these tests would compromise accuracy. Automation is a hero here as well.
  • CLI and GUI Testing – Automation can overcome the impractical limitations associated with testing various aspects of CLI and GUI.
  • Reusability – It is possible to ‘reuse’ previously conducted tests on different versions of the software without having to write scripts every time.
  • Reliability – Automation scripts perform tests systematically based on pre-set standards. The same operation can be performed by these tests, while eliminating human errors.
  • Comprehensiveness – Every feature of the product can be tested after building feature-specific test suites.
  • Quick and scalable – Automation can run tests considerably faster. Large data volume is of no concern.
  • 24×7 testing – 24×7 testing can be quite tedious for humans. Sometimes the product needs to be tested continuously for more than 24 hours to verify its functionalities and figure out inconsistencies. Automation is ideal in such a situation, and enables testers to monitor the results on the go.

 

Disadvantages of automation in QA

 

  • It’s programmed – Automated tests only check what they are programmed to test. It may not detect certain flaws if it’s not programmed to, and still give a ‘pass’ for the tests. Without specifically prepared test cases, automation is not a good idea.
  • Can never replace human intelligence – Test automation is not exactly testing. Testing an exercise that requires deep domain knowledge, experience, and an ability to think out-of-the-box. If the box is a program, automated testing can only think inside the box. It only executes a set of pre-defined test cases to compare the results with expected results. Humans on the other hand can apply proper test cases if they find any anomalies in the product’s behavior.
  • High maintenance – To get the best out of automated testing, it needs to be constantly updated. Unless the test packs are up-to-date or relevant, the tests will start failing eventually. Hence, automation requires a lot of time and resources for maintenance.

 

Conclusion

 
By now, it should be clear that there are clear merits and demerits to automated testing. However, it can obviously enhance QA efficiency significantly. But for the best results, automated testing should be implemented along with a solid manual testing strategy.

Combining both automated and manual testing will yield better results and ensure a great experience for the end user.

Written by: Suraj Jayaram

DevOps gained a lot of traction last year, with many companies deciding to adopt the increasingly popular software development methodology.

So what is it exactly?

As mentioned before, it’s simply a software development methodology that combines, like its name suggests, Development and Operations. What it does is basically integrate every software development operation from development to deployment and delivery.

The principle behind it is a close and effective collaboration between all the stakeholders who are part of the software development process. It’s just that the emphasis is on combining development and IT operations, which brings us to our subject.

DevOps is all about continuous development, continuous integration, and continuous delivery. This generally gives the users a wrong notion that DevOps culture reduce the need for testers. But that’s not the case. DevOps assures that the product delivered meets the requirements of the customers, and is of the best quality. That means, software testing will be contributing a lot more.
 

DevOps without Integrated Testing

 
Organizations that adopted DevOps did it to achieve smooth and seamless operation of a continuous delivery model. A DevOps environment that doesn’t count on what QA can do will ultimately fail to achieve that ‘smooth and seamless’ operation. If the developers take their time doing just the unit test to check the functions alone, and then pass the responsibilities over to the QA to continue, it clearly creates a rift between development and operations which in turn will hinder the progress to meeting continuous delivery goals.
 

Role of Testers in a DevOps Culture

 
A successful DevOps environment will have testers involved in every phase of the development process. The QA and development operations should be closely knit, i.e. they should operate in parallel. Testers should work with developers during coding itself instead of waiting for the developers to provide a coded product. The developers, on the other hand, will have to share early testing responsibilities with the tester while the QA team determines and acquires the most effective tools and technologies to ensure that early testing is performed with the least disruption.

This approach actually benefits if the team faces challenges and failures. The developers and the testers can work together to overcome the challenges and rectify the issues, while ensuring that the requirements of the customer have been met.

The testers basically:

  • Use automation to make their job a bit easier
  • Integrate development and QA operations to increase stability in the continuous delivery phase
  • Use automated tools for development infrastructure acquisition and provisioning
  • Discover defects and evaluate customer requirements

 

Continuous Testing

 
One of the major benefits of early involvement of testers is that they will be able to implement test scripts and determine test cases while the coding’s being done. Experienced testers can provide immediate feedback to developers on the defects identified during the development phase. In addition, they will also get an idea on the effects of their implementation choices on later stages of the delivery pipeline.

So to conclude, testing should be ubiquitous, as in ‘present’ or ‘integrated’ in all the central processes in a DevOps environment.

Written by: Suraj Jayaram

Many organizations still overlook the importance of Software Testing, evident from the fact that they tend to invest much lesser in testing compared to other major IT departments. This increases the likelihood of failure, which would then account for a good portion of their IT budgets. Such expenses are avoidable with proper investment in testing. With the right investment and a team aware of the latest testing trends, the testing department can yield good results.

The World Quality Report published a couple of months back gives an insight on some noteworthy software testing and QA trends to be aware of this year. Here are 5 of those trends that deserve your attention, and can possibly benefit testers and QA vendors alike.
 

Test Automation

 
One of the most popular QA services around, test automation is still the best way to quickly identify defects and test fixes, without delaying deployment. However, many companies are still reluctant to choose test automation over the conventional manual testing.

It can be a bit challenging for vendors as it needs to be specifically tailored to the demands of each client, and fit the business context. This year, test automation will rank higher up overcoming functional testing. Script-less test automation will enable testers to polish their full-cycle automation skills rather than refining their functional testing abilities.
 

Big Data

 
Brought forth by the digital revolution, big data has been intriguing both large and small corporations. Enterprises are still researching strategies to test large and bulky big data systems, and manage them effectively. Testing big data is a tedious process, and usually end up needing more servers to manage the backup data.

As of now, big data testing requires testers to have great skill to ensure data quality and verify data completeness. This year, however, is expected to introduce new, innovative techniques to facilitate big data testing.
 

Security Testing

 
This is not an emerging trend, and has been around for a long time. But the security testing aspects need some amount of refinement this year as 2016 introduced many unique software types including innovative AI-driven, and VR ones. This should make it clear that testers and QA providers should be more well-equipped and prepared to handle systematic testing of software regardless of its type, and enhance security testing as well.

An increase in the significance of security testing of IoT products is also expected this year. IoT developments are still vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which calls for security specialists to brush up on their competencies, and expand them. The same can be said for cloud security specialists. 2016 witnessed more companies opting for cloud-based solutions, which means testing specialists will have to closely work with developers to come up with countermeasures for any kind of security vulnerabilities to software.
 

Growth of Agile and DevOps

 
The World Quality Report 2015-2016 revealed that more software companies adopted agile testing methodologies and DevOps so as to roll out services and products faster. However, adopting these technologies adds to the expense. According to the report, about 40% of the businesses surveyed adopted predictive analytics to balance the additional costs, and to automate test pipelines.

“To retain a competitive edge, QA and Test organizations must move towards test ecosystem automation, predictive analytics and intelligence-led quality assurance and testing, so that they are able to ensure business outcomes.”, says Hans van Waayenburg, Leader of the Testing Global Service Line, Capgemini Group.

The report recommends businesses to invest more in testing environment management and test execution in the form of as-a-service solutions, and go for higher overall levels of engineering in their testing teams. This would be an asset in 2017 as it contributes to boosting innovation and maintaining system integrity.
 

Internet of Things (IoT) Testing

 
After the introduction of connected devices and systems, the app environment evolved beyond desktops and hand-held devices to about every kind of connected device imaginable including home appliances and wearables. The World Quality Report shows that 85% of the respondents use IoT products for their business operations.

Generally, IoT devices are tested for usability, security, and performance. But to ensure great user experience, the devices need to be tested for interoperability and compatibility. As IoT is expected to gain more dominance in 2017, testers should be prepared to think out of the box so as to make sure the devices serve their purpose flawlessly.

If the growth of Artificial Intelligence is legitimate, then we can expect it to help testers overcome at least some of the IoT testing challenges in 2017, with real-time monitoring and analytics.
 

Conclusion

 
The growing significance of quality, security, and customer experience is what we can infer from 2016’s World Quality Report. These factors influence organizations’ growth rate and the scale needed to succeed. This also emphasizes the importance of testers in 2017 for ensuring that new technologies provide the best experience for the end-user. 2017 will certainly bring forth new concepts and techniques in QA and software testing.

Written by: Suraj Jayaram
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