Recently, we released our Mobile Web Application Testing Refcard, authored by Dr. Shauvik Roy Choudhary. The Refcard covers many tools that will help to simplify the complexities of the mobile testing process.
Shauvik took some time to speak with us this week about the Refcard, testing for mobile, and tools every mobile app developer should have.
Tell us a little about your professional background and how it contributed to your writing of the Mobile Web Application Testing Refcard.
I did my PhD research on cross-platform testing, which gave me a lot of insight into the testing theory.
Also, I have worked in the industry at 7 different companies, where I worked in either the testing group or developed testing tools.
This experience gave me insight into the practical problems in testing and helped me to define the goals while writing this article.
When did you first recognize the value of mobile web app testing, and why did you decide to pick it up?
I was working on desktop web testing for my research, and realized that the challenges were more relevant in the mobile content.
On mobile, the resources (CPU, memory) and screen real-estate is lesser than desktop. This makes it more challenging to test mobile web apps and calls for specialized approaches to find and address issues.
What are some of the most common problems you see developers face when trying to test mobile apps/web apps?
The most common problem i have seen are related to responsiveness. Although there are a lot of libraries available, most commonly the data on the page is fetched from backend servers, that can break the layout on mobile.
Sometimes, it means that the user is not able to access that information or is unable to interact with widgets on the screen. Another problem is with unoptimized network requests, which can cause the page to not load on slower data connections like 2G.
Tell us about an interesting project you are working on now.
I'm working on a tool to make testing native mobile applications easy.
Google has an API called Espresso for writing tests that can be run on all versions of Android.
My tool is called Barista and it helps testers easily generate Espresso tests. You can find more about my tool at http://checkdroid.com/barista
Why is this Refcard a must-have for developers?
Developers have limited time for testing their mobile web apps. This refcard provides all the kinds of things they could test, both in a manual and automated fashion.
Thus, I think developers can easily use the content of this refcard to systematically test their applications to find and address all the issues before going live!
Are there other mobile Web app testing resources (that aren’t in the card) you would recommend to readers looking to learn more?
Yes, there are a few other tools, especially from Mozilla and Google that developers can use. Mozilla's Firefox developer edition has similar tools as Chrome.
Google's Mobile Friendly Tester is a tool, that developers can use to optimize their mobile web pages to make them easily indexable by Google search.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
One important thing developers need to consider is to design & develop for testability. Having basic identifiers associated with web elements, makes it easy to write selenium tests.
They can then program defensively, using a library like modernizr to handle cases where the features are unavailable to either have a separate logic or fail gracefully.
Make sure to check out the Mobile Web Application Testing Refcard here.