A new software program lets mobile software developers create and run sophisticated tests to troubleshoot and refine enterprise smartphone applications.
Test Automation for Smartphones, from DeviceAnywhere has an agent that runs on the smartphone, and tools for creating scripts that can test the workings of increasingly complex smartphone applications. The tests can run manually, or automatically, or a combination of the two, and run repeatedly to exercise the application.
The new application is being demonstrated this week at the CTIA conference, at booth No.315.
The core of the software is a technology the company calls Direct-to-Device, which forms the original, hardware-based testing product, introduced six years ago. With the hardware-based product, a DeviceAnywhere customer provides actual smartphones to be tested: DeviceAnywhere attaches wires inside the smartphones to control the inputs to phone-based features, such as multi-tap, pinching, and swiping as well as the accelerometer, mute, backlights and so on, and capture the results. The vendor can host these test devices or send them back for the customer to run tests internally.
[For an overview of DeviceAnywhere products, check the company's Web site.]
Test Automation for Smartphones adapts this technology as a pure software application. DeviceAnywhere replaced the original simpler scripting model with a more advanced one that can capture changes in state on the device, and navigate through multiple state changes. Using this state machine, the developer can create scripts that mimic the range of user interactions with the application.
Developers load the TAS agent on, say, an iPhone or mobile inventory scanner, plug the device via USB cable into their PC, and run the PC-based test software application. The phone itself is recreated as a "pixel perfect" image on the PC screen, according to DeviceAnywhere CEO Faraz Syed. "It's not an emulation," he says. "We take the data and re-render it on the developer's computer, pixel for pixel."
The test scripts and processes are created with the PC application, DeviceAnywhere Studio. Test results are uploaded to a database, either at the customer site or as a DeviceAnywhere hosted service, accessed via a Web front-end for analyzing and reporting the data.
TAS can test apps for iOS, BlackBerry OS, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Palm. The new software integrates fully with higher level quality assurance tools: IBM's Rational Quality Manager, HP's Quality Center and QuickTest Professional. According to Syed, it can be incorporated via a Java API as an extra software layer for other test automation tools or an existing test harness.
TAS incorporates image and text recognition software from ABBYY, a Russian-based recognition and capture software vendor.
A rival test automation product is TestQuest, now part of BSQUARE.
Test Automation for Smartphones is targeted for general release in mid-November 2010. An early access program with selected customers is now under way. Pricing varies based on the scope and scale of the customer's test goals. According to Syed, testing 10 to 15 different handsets for iOS, Android and BlackBerry would have a starting price range of $40,000 to $75,000.John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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