Rise of the Androids

Alex Handy
February 15, 2011 —  (Page 6 of 8)
The solution, said Price, is to build a thick back end with thin front-end clients for each device. “What we suggest is having a server-focused solution when targeting multiple platforms,” he said.

“This allows for the mobile clients to be as lightweight and as efficient as possible, while enabling clients to expand their app portfolio to future platforms more easily.”

Options for testing mobile apps
When it comes to testing mobile applications, Jason Huggins, founder of Sauce Labs, said there are four ways to do it. The problem of testing mobile applications is a tough one, though, because one option could have each application require testing at “a specific geographic location, on a specific device, on a specific network," he said. "Option two is running it on an emulator. You remove the geographic and network parts, but at least you're checking functionality.

"The third option is an actual device. We have one customer I talked to who's doing HTML5 video. They don't need it to be on a street corner, don't need to worry about the carrier. They don't trust the emulator. They're really worried about the device itself. The way they want to do it is with tethering, it's tied to your workstation through USB, and when you run the test it goes to the real device.

"The last option is manual testing, or crowdsourcing. Already some vendors are doing crowdsourcing. You collect a group of people, and when someone wants to do a mobile test, they'll e-mail everyone and say 'Go to Times Square, click this button make sure this works.' ”

Of course, testing is usually a lagging indicator, said Huggins; testing questions don't pop up on the Web until developers had already created working applications. He said this year might be when mobile testing starts to get more attention, but added that, at present, a clear best practice for testing has yet to be chosen. He said no one is certain what future mobile test labs will look like, but added that “what I want the answer to be is emulators in a cloud. It's the least disruptive to what we already have running.”

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