Development, IT Operations and Quality Assurance teams in today's IT organizations are collaborating in a cohesive framework called DevOps. Term 'DevOps' is derived from Development + Operations that signifies end to end value delivery from applications development. DevOps helps deliver software in continuous manner. It focuses on continuous development and feedback (including customer feedback loops). DevOps is a timely, welcome change for development teams focused on software , particularly mobile application development & testing.
DevOps approach to apps development lifecycle can speed "apps to market" by blending & automating development, testing, deployment and operations. it can work well specifically with fast-paced ecosystem of Mobile Development. Though DevOps for Mobile incorporates same basic processes key difference is because of how different mobile apps are developed, they use different networks, and access data in different ways. This gives rise to new/tailored processes and/or new tools.
As per McKinsey & Company, app-related revenues will reach $70 billion by 2017, with 268 billion downloads. The demand for mobile services of every kind is at its peak. Being a new point for accessing web content, consumers want more than basic functionality from mobile apps — including user experience and user interfaces. Availability is another key expectations, they want Mobile App experience without interruption to service.
With such high demand and expectations, testing should be top priority for enterprises in mobile app business. The overall ecosystem of mobile testing is complex because of large number of development platforms, network providers, different Operating Systems and above all, many varieties of devices on which these apps run. Its key that test strategies should be developed on variation of such platforms and devices.
CapGemini Quality Report on Mobile Testing (Mobile Testing Pull Out), 18% of companies say that they do not have enough time to test mobile apps, and 65% do not have the right tools. Also 52% cite lack of devices as a reason not to do mobile testing. These all are real time challenges faced by the organisations to successfully perform mobile testing.
Mobile Apps Testing Challenges
Large Number of Mobile Devices
Flooding of smart phones and other hand held devices is overwhelming for Apps Development companies. Portability on all such devices is a tough task. Quality teams fails to guarantee functioning of an app on on any given device.
Most difficult part of mobile apps testing is large number of OS platforms in market today. Leaving iOS aside, Android has large number of variations on different devices. Such diverse variety makes it difficult to achieve the goal of consistent user experience across platforms.
Mobile Apps Types
Testing a native app is different than testing a web app which is entirely different for a hybrid app. Implementation of each type makes it unique to test and thee is hardly any overlap.
Large number of testing tools
When it comes to test automation, selecting a single tool becomes a complex task with large number of free/paid tools in the market. IT Organisations needs to do a due diligence before selecting a tool or toolset.
How DevOps can help?
DevOps plays a vital role in Mobile apps testing. The nature of mobile applications is very complex due to its various OS, vendors, application types, etc. To add to its woes there is huge customer base wanting to have a simple interface with the applications working efficiently in a secure environment on their mobiles. In order to provide that kind of security, efficiency, accuracy and reliability the mobile applications have to be tested thoroughly on robustness, performance and functionality under the supervision of the developers, the QA people and the operation guys. The application needs to be tested using the right tools, processes and infrastructure in order to provide a user friendly performance to the users.
Continuous Delivery in Mobile App helps release apps and its incremental features as soon as these are developed or as needed. To support this, DevOps Test Automation can develop testing-as-a-service that allows testing the app or selective features as needed. This helps continuously delivering apps.
The DevOps approach helps automating mobile apps testing by continuously integrating the development and testing thus minimizing human interventions in execution and verification of the test scripts. The mobile environment is very dynamic therefore the DevOps approach continuously looks for the different DevOps tools to be used for the testing the apps on various OS. DevOps, thus looks for the seamless integration of tools.
A key tenant of DevOps is continuous feedback loop. Feedback loops are helpful if they are done at short intervals. This supports the philosophy of Continuous Delivery & Integration. If an entire mobile app is testing at the end of development, feedback loop is extended loses the meaning.
DevOps strongly advocates extensive and transparent communication. DevOps helps in automating communication by way of feedback among Mobile app development team, testing team and business side of the enterprise.
DevOps can help in developing approach to conduct simulation based testing that works on learning principle. Depending on the tool used, we can develop testing suites that can work like exploratory Testing
DevOps also encourages the agile methodologies to make the testing more efficient. Agile approach to testing has following characteristics:
- Test continuously to ensure features implemented during an iteration/sprint satisfies definition of DONE.
- Under the guidance of Agile Manifesto, testing is not only the responsibility of Testers. Everyone contributes to testing
- Keeping code clean and free of unwanted modules/functions is key to software craftsmanship. Clean code helps fix bugs quickly
- Agile testing advocates reusable checklists, use only the documentation needed and not a huge list of documents, also develop multiple purpose use of documentation.
- Agile definition of DONE is development + testing. Unless its tested, its not DONE.
- Test driven development can really enhance mobile app experience for users.
- Agile is all about automating unit, integration and system test cases. Whereas former two are technical side of testing, system testing is business side of testing.
In conclusion, Mobile App testing varies based on complexity to scale. Testing is best served by having an open mind to strategizing the testing approaches. DevOps combined with Agile can really help develop a Testing ecosystem that can support the aggressive growth of Mobile Applications.