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Mobile App Testing More Complex than Desktop – Shocker!

By Josh Galde | September 3, 2013

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

It should come as no surprise to find out how much more complicated testing an app on a mobile device is than on a desktop. Desktop apps can be complicated sometimes, but typically they are fairly straight forward. This is due to several factors. First, desktops typically have a consistent screen size – this has become a non-issue when developing a desktop application. You only have to worry about one screen that is typically the same size or close the same size. Second, the desktop PC market has been dominated by a very limited set of OSes – specifically Windows, Mac, and Linux. Other vendors have attempted to make inroads into this market, to no avail.

Whereas on mobile, it is 10 times more complicated. You have different OSes including iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and now Mozilla. Plus you have different screen sizes that must be considered from 3.4” all the way up to 19” or even 47” if you include TV with apps support such as the latest Samsung TV’s.


Jason Tee of recently discussed this topic in a blog post. He states that “It's not an exaggeration to say that testing is the number one area where mobile ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) is several orders of magnitude more complex than traditional ALM. The recent Mobile Application Development Primer whitepaper from IBM describes just a few of the factors that come into play. "The same model of device may function in a subtly different way when connected to a different carrier network. Also, the quality of the network connection can have a profound impact on the behavior of a mobile application. Even the movement of the mobile device itself may be an important factor in the behavior of the application."

This means the enterprise must be prepared to use every trick in the book including simulators, emulators, device-cloud testing with hardware, and/or automated testing made available as a resource on a consumption based billing model.”

Tools like these make it easier to perform any test of any mobile app, and to do it from anywhere in the world. It is why testing on mobile apps has become such a critical part of any app development process. And it is why we are starting to see many enterprise Fortune 2000 organizations develop their apps with a ‘mobile first’ strategy. We will cover this strategy in a future post.

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