3 Motivations That Made Me Switch From iOS to Android

As a mobile evangelist at Perfecto, i foresee the entire mobile and web space for the past 10+ years, following major trends both in the device/hardware front as well as the platform/OS (operating System) front.

I was an Apple user for the past 2 years, using an iPhone 6 Plus device both for my personal as well as my work daily activities. Last month i decided it’s time for a change and i replaced my iPhone with a Google Nexus 6P phablet.

Let me explain some of my reasons to that switch:

  1. Quality and Innovation
  2. Platform Restrictions
  3. Future Looking

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Quality and Innovation

In the front of quality and/vs. innovation i found out that as a 2 year trend, Apple’s iOS was constantly straggling with quality that mostly came on top of innovative features and end user -experience. For the past 2 years Apple released 10 versions of iOS 8 stopping at a stable GA of iOS 8.4.1, while for iOS 9 Apple released 10+ versions stopping at a recent 9.3.5 GA release that addresses security issues. To compare this trend to Android platform – Android 5.0 Lollipop released in November 2014 and was enhanced till latest version of 5.1.1 (~5 versions in 2 years). Android Marshmallow 6.0 was released in October 2015 and since than only had an additional version of 6.0.1 release. Last month (August 22nd) Google released its new Nougat 7.0 release that is available to users (like me) that hold a Nexus device. iOS 10 is just around the corner with the iPhone 7 devices, but based on the current trend and enormous public Beta versions, it seems like no major changes are expected in the quality/release cadence.

In the Android history we see some major enhancements around sensor based capabilities for payment, logging in as well as UX (user experience) features such as multi window support (see below image), android Doze (battery saving capability). In iOS we also see enhancements around sensors like force-touch, apple pay however these features IMO come in short compared to the platform stability over the past 24 months and the platform constrains which i’ll highlight in the next section.

20160823_142250 Screenshot_20160823-141941

Platform Restrictions

From an ens user perspective, some of the important platform features involves the ability to customize his UX and look and feel of his personal device. Also having the ability to easily manage his media files such as photos and music with a reasonable storage availability. Apple flagship device with massive market share across regions is the iPhone 6/6S with a default storage (un-expandable) of 16GB – I hardly know a person who has this device/storage size that is happy with that, and does not need to constantly delete files, cancel auto savings of WhatsApp media files and alike.  In addition, continuously working with iTunes software as a dependency to media/songs sync is a pain and often i found myself losing my favorite music files or getting them duplicated by simply having to switch from 1 PC to another (people do that, and there are procedures that might have prevented this outcome but still). Compared to the above, most Android devices that are not coming with an external storage option are by default coming with a 64 GB internal memory, and in addition working with music file system is a simple and straight forward task to do.

Switching from my iPhone and iTunes to a Nexus device while having my Gmail account was a very simple thing to do, my music, photos and apps easily “followed” me to the Android device that is already running Android 7 in a stable way.

iOS is not all bad, don’t get me wrong – from an adoption perspective, and device/OS fragmentation this is by far a much better managed platform compared to Android that rolls out its latest GA version in a 4-6 months delay to a non-Nexus device (example: Samsung). In addition the iOS tablets are still a leader in that front with 4-6 years old tablets like iPad Air, iPad 2 that are the most commonly used tablets in the market that can still run iOS 9 OS versions. It is not the case when it comes to Android tablets that tend to be replaced by their end-users in a shorter period of time that iPads.

 

Market_Cal

Future Looking

From a future looking perspective, my opinion is that Google is still going to have a global market share advantage over Apple and will continue to innovate with less frequent releases due to quality than Apple. 2017 is going to show us a continuous battle between Android 7 and iOS 10 in a market that becomes more and more digital and mobile dependent, and with this in mind – the challenge of quality, innovation and less restrictions will be even more critical to independent users as well as large enterprises who are already today fully digital.

As an end-user, i would look at both Google and Apple and examine how their overall digital strategy will transform and enable easier connectivity with smart devices like watches etc., as well as less limited storage and device/OS customization. From a Dev and Test perspective i would assume we will continue to see growing adoption of open-source tools such as Espresso, XCTest UI, Appium etc. as a method of keeping up with the OS platform vendors – Only such open-source frameworks can easily and dynamically grow and support new features and functionalities compared to legacy/commercial tools which are slower to introduce new API’s and new capabilities  into their solutions.

Best practices for iOS mobile application testing

Hi

iOS changed the mobility game, no doubt about it. It paved the way for the ‘mobile era’ by offering amazing functionality with a simple user experience.  However when it comes to testing and monitoring, working with the iPhone/iPad mobile application can be anything but simple…

As the iOS app market continues to produce record growth, challenges and complexities surrounding iOS application testing also continue to interfere with development. A key challenge of iOS testing is that, unlike the open-source Android OS, Apple iOS is a closed operating system. Added complexity during the development and testing stages arises with a closed system, since users can’t extract necessary data from low level objects, which are essential for test automation. So, what’s the best approach for getting the necessary level of access to the iOS device – rooting (jailbreaking) or compile-time source instrumentation? Should you base your testing on native objects or OCR-based screen analysis?

Let’s take a deeper look into some of these challenges and why a cloud-based hybrid approach is important to offer developers and testers the necessary coverage, capabilities and flexibility to deliver better iOS apps and deploy them with confidence.

Rooting (jailbreaking) vs. Source Instrumentation (compile-time)

There are two common methods used today in the mobile testing industry to address this challenge (i.e. access to the low level objects): rooting (jailbreaking) and source instrumentation (i.e. compile-time solution).

Jailbreaking refers to the process of removing the limitations placed by Apple on the iOS device in order to get low level (root) access to the operating system. This allows the tester to be able to recognize the objects within the application being tested.

Source Instrumentation is performed by compiling the application being tested with an additional piece of code that provides access (“back door”) to the low level OS for object recognition. This code enables the tester to execute the low level calls and get the Object ID’s from the operating systems (without the need to root/jailbreak the device).

The decision as what approach to adopt strongly depends on several considerations (below are just few):

1)    The used SDLC process

2)    Corporate policies

3)    Application under test

4)    Frequency of testing

Perfecto Mobile provides its end users with the freedom to choose what fits them best, while taking into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. When customers need to quickly test either a new iOS version or a new iOS device, the jailbreaking approach is less suitable. In such a case, the compile-time method is preferable – even though it complicates the SDLC by introducing additional code to the application being tested.

On the other hand, using a jailbroken device lets you test the application with the exact code by which it will be released (compile-time mandates that before store submission, you will remove the “back-door” or be exposed to serious security issues). This eliminates the need for compilation and intrusive operations which could potentially pose a risk to quality. Companies using a compile-time approach should also consider possible regulations (such as HIPAA) which enforce testing on the final binary (and not on debug version, test friendly version, etc.)

The combined (hybrid) approach lets you choose which type of tests to implement on which iOS device according to the nature of your application, project needs, and policy. When the test devices are deployed and securely managed in a “private cloud” (such as that offered by Perfecto Mobile), such a configuration guarantees that the jailbreak method does not introduce any risks or abuse of the platform for non-testing purposes. The jailbroken device is used only for testing purposes in a closed and secure testing environment. This is analogous to the use the way iOS devices used for development have a “developer signature,” as well as the way Android devices used for development have more levels of access than those required during the normal ALM cycle.

The Need for a Hybrid Approach to Object Recognition

Testing a mobile application requires strong object recognition capabilities. The use of visual analysis might not be sufficient, for example, the OCR technology can detect UI issues and glitches on the test devices, but cannot ensure 100% accuracy due to its heuristic nature. On the other hand, low level objects might “miss” the obvious qualification that a visual analysis can easily detect. That’s why a hybrid approach incorporating both visual and Native object analysis is imperative for covering all mobile business cases. Such an approach is supported by Perfecto Mobile.

Object level analysis vs. Visual analysis

This screenshot above shows the differences of using an object level analysis as opposed to visual analysis (object level analysis would not have detected the overlapping of the button on the text).

The Perfecto Mobile Approach: Go Cloud, Go Hybrid

Perfecto Mobile’s experience as a market leader has taught us that the best approach is to present each customer with all possible alternatives making them available inside the cloud.

Real devices + emulators (in the cloud),  OCR screen analysis + OS level native objects (in the cloud), rooted/jailbroken device + non-rooted/jailbroken devices (in the cloud)

With hundreds of thousands of automation hours running every month on our platform, we are well-positioned to suggest and guide, but not to “judge” what’s best for everyone…

Perfecto Mobile hybrid object support on a rooted android and a non-jailbroken iPhone

Regards.

Eran Kinsbruner

Latest news from the mobile world

Hi,

In the last couple of days and with the new iPhone5 announcement i wanted to gather the main highlights in one place 🙂

  • iPhone 5 (http://www.apple.com/iphone/) which was announced shall be available next week together with a possible launch of the new iOS6!
  • Details around the app store applications –> Total of 700,000 apps available in AppStore, while ~250,000 also ported to iPad
  • battle in the mobile world continues, and few great smartphones put themselves as leaders and competitors to the new iPhone 5:

** HTC One X – http://www.htc.com/www/smartphones/htc-one-x/ (4.7” Screen)

** Samsung Galaxy SIII – http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxys3/ (4.8” Screen)

** LG Optimus G – http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/lg-optimus-g-unlocked/4505-6452_7-35427825.html (4.7” Screen)

** Motorola Razr Maxx HD – http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/05/motorola-droid-razr-hd-maxx-hands-on-bigger-battery-beautiful/ (4.7” Screen)

** Sony Xperia S – http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_xperia_s-4369.php (4.3” Screen)

** Nokia Lumia 920 – http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia920/ (4.5” Screen)

Eran Kinsbruner

Cross browser comparison (Focus on iOS)

Hi

It is a fact that more and more hybrid/web application are being developed lately, HTML5 applications and more

The common assumption by the application developers is that since it is a web application is will run cross platform without too much effort/QA and UI activities.

It might be true in some cases (simple ones), however on top of the complications in testing web application, we must not forget that each app need to be compliant to iOS and Android UI guidelines (icons, fonts etc.), and also important point to keep in mind is – The cross browser compatibility.

Each user (Android or iOS and soon Windows Phone) may chose the prefered browser which he likes to surf through and use. THat user will not change his browser and will expect that “your” application will run top-notch on his preferred browser.

In this post i will not cover all existing iOS browsers (nor android), but the top leading ones – My recommendation is to prepare similar matrix of testing for the existing web browsers for mobile and perform at least some level of sanity on each to assure your application works properly and also meets the desired guidelines.

For iOS we are familiar with the following browsers (The below iTunes URLs for downloading each:

– Safari (THe most common and default browser)

– Chrome (Google) – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chrome/id535886823?mt=8

– Dolphin – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dolphin-browser/id452204407?mt=8

– Opera Mini – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/opera-mini-web-browser/id363729560?mt=8

– Mercury – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mercury-web-browser-most-advanced/id331012646?mt=8

Please see below some screenshots of the exact same web page (BBC News) which is a high quality web site being run on the above browsers (Not too much difference which is good news :), however there are some L&F differences – for other apps i am sure that the situation will be different)

Safari Browser:

Google Chrome:

Mercury Browser:

Dolphin Browser:

Opera Mini:

Not to forget that the above if appears quite different from one browser to the other will introduce additional challenges for the automation team.

To sum up, mobile known matrix of devices and os will also extend toward mobile

Browsers per platform, a vital thing to cover which will also complicate automation.

Good Luck

Regards,

Eran

Picking the right handsets for your project

Hi

We all know that the mobile world is dynamic, plenty of new handsets are being shipped at the same time in which we develop our product and testing on the (what we believe) is the “hottest” handsets in the market.

It is clear that being agile and fast in the way we develop, test and deploy our mobile products is a key to be attractive in the market, however it is also impossible to support all handsets and be ahead of the market.

So – The way to be up to date in the offering, is not simple but possible.

When you start developing your product keep in mind that by picking the “right” 10 handsets which are “hot” in the market you can reach the coverage of ~50% of the market (Note that there are lead devices which represent a whole family of handsets and can give you a lot of value by testing on it), as well if you go to ~30 devices you may reach up to ~80% coverage of the market.

How should you decide than?

The way to do the picking of handsets should combine the 2 following aspects:

– Market research

– Right family identification/lead devices

Market Research: The way to determine what is relevant in the market is to do some research and analysis – either through leading mobile blogs, or even simple – going through the leading mobile operators in the world, and seeing what they are currently selling (e.g. Vodafone global lists today in the top list of devices in Germany: Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy SII, SEMC Xperia Arc S etc. – http://shop.vodafone.de/Shop/smartphones/, if you go to Vodafone UK you will see mostly the same ones, as well as HTC One X and others http://www.vodafone.co.uk/brands/android/index.htm)

Doing a matrix and unification of handsets between the world leading carriers in Europe/U.S/Asia should give you the lead handsets which you would like to support and test in the 3-6 months ahead (Per OS – Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry).

Families: The aspect of family should be a subset of the above list If e.g you reached a common list of lets say 50 handsets, i am mostly certain that the list can be cut into half by doing proper comparison between the various handsets by their OS, Screen resolution and OEM (This can be done through sites like GSM Arena – http://www.gsmarena.com)  and minimizing the list by leads, members and families.

Please find attached to the post an up to date list of common handsets by OEM which is sold world wide these days to ease your pain 🙂  –> As you will see, there are a lot of similar handsets across all large operators which can show the main devices to focos on.

MobileWorldHandsetsDistribution

P.S: With regards to the leading Android/iOS tablets these days:

iOS – iPad 2 and iPad 3

Android – Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola Xoom, Asus Nexus 7, Dell Streak 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7, Sony Tablet S. Asus Transformer TF300, Asus Transformer TF700

Regards,

Eran

Cross Platform mobile development tool – Titanium

All

This is a Testing blog however i recently get a lot of questions around Mobile development/porting for cross platform projects (Android/iOS etc.).

For this cases there are several good and free tools out there which can be used such as PhoneGap (http://phonegap.com/download/), EggPlant (http://www.testplant.com/products/eggplant/for-cross-platform-testing/) and Titanium.

In this short post i will just point you out to the tool and give a very high level details about it for you guys to go and try it out for yourself

Titanium is a free tool by Appcelerator (http://www.appcelerator.com/platform/titanium-sdk) which allows quite quickly to develop a cross platform mobile application which can be than deployed on iOS and Android Phones/Emulators and also PC Web browsers.

The tool allows to develop in Java Script and customize your resources pending the operating system you which to deploy on:

You need to have on your machine the Android SDK and point its location in the Titanium SDK to allow execution and debugging on the Android Emulator.

You have through the SDK options to create new project from samples or templates (HTML5, Tabbed APP and more).

Feel free to give it a try and comment

Regards,

Eran Kinsbruner

Mobile project planning

Hi

Up until now i covered in the various posts the aspects of Mobile testing, trends, tools for automation, mobile platforms etc.

All of the above does not help much if the mobile project is not well planned in advanced with SMART milestones, efficient choices of devices (lead/gold devices), right tools and Agile ALM (Application life-cycle management).

In this short post i will advise the most important project milestones and how to define them.

First milestone:

Product definition and feature list –> In this milestone the product management ought to chose the supported platforms and devices for the project (based on thorough market research world wide and based on the projected release date which should be relevant for the selected devices), the project scope (the feature set should be well defined, the supported languages/localizations should be defined, the required certifications (Google CTS, Google Market, Apple App Store certification and more) should be clear, the target customers and of course the projected release date.

Not to forget the UI/UE aspect which is a critical aspect in any mobile project (Not only because the OS requirements but also for the end users).

Second Milestone:

– Core team build up and preliminary work plan implementation, staffing etc.

– Purchasing/ordering of equipment as needed, tools for development and automation should be brought up for approval

– High level Test Plan and Product specification should be developed during that milestone and approve by the core team

Third Milestone:

– Product development

– Unit test development

– Test development on the lead/gold devices per platform (Manual and Automated)

– Documentation creation (As needed and as defined by product)

– Sanity testing on supported devices, emulators, and cloud based handsets.

fourth Milestone:

– Feature complete

– Test development complete

– Full cycle execution on lead devices

– Porting kick off –> Building of subset devices (Either from the lead devices family or new families) versions for testing (Only sanity testing is required for devices within the lead devices family, while full cycles on new family members)

** Family can be defined by a group of devices from the same OEM with the same OS and Screen resolution (e.g. Samsung Galaxy S and Samsung galaxy S Plus are related to the same family –> http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_i9001_galaxy_s_plus-3908.php ; http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_i9000_galaxy_s-3115.php).

Fifth Milestone:

– In this stage the project should be well tested, debugged, ported to at least several devices and families, as well as documentation should be ready, certification status should be GREEN, and the bug trends for the project should also be minimal, quality criteria is mostly met.

– Project release to the various markets for approval is being done

– Based on approval and if needed pre-customer approval the project is released!!

The above is just in a nutshell list of items which i feel are a must in a common project plan for a mobile project, i might have missed few items, or the order can be different in few companies, but the above should bring you to a safe release if followed properly.

Thanks,

Eran Kinsbruner

Free iOS automation testing tool – Test Studio for iOS

Hi

I will not write too much in this post, just wanted to provide a link for a free mobile automation tool for iOS web/GUI applications which is available in the App Store

http://www.telerik.com/automated-testing-tools/ios-testing.aspx?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=sm&utm_content=FRDTNCKNWJ&utm_campaign=ad

The tool provides a simple record/replay mechanism on the iOS native platform and fits basic and not too complex web and native applications.

Soon it should allow sync of the test results and more in the cloud.

Test Studio for iOS does not use image based element detection. It relies on object based recording instead.

I recommend to give it a try

Regards,

Eran Kinsbruner

JAMO Solutions – Mobile test automation tool

Hi,

I am sure that most mobile testers heard about JAMO solutions, but if not than i will briefly introduce this solution.

In past blogs i mentioned few powerful automation tools such as PerfectoMobile, Keynote Device anywhere, SeeTest by ExperiTest and FoneMonkey (MonkeyTalk).

Except of the Monkey Talk – all others are commercial tools and not free.

Jamo is also a commercial and not free solutions which comes in various licensing models from a company based in Belgium  (http://www.jamosolutions.com/editions.html).

The solutions is based on a plug in to various of IDE’s such as QTP (HP), Eclipse, and Visual Studio, which than allows connectivity over USB or WiFi through a Device manager to the mobile platform (iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile) on which an agent is also installed to provide the full control and automation via record/replay, easy to input text utils etc.

For Android OS device automation using eclipse, you can see a short demo of the tool and its methodology:


In the same manner as the video above users can automate their scenario’s through QTP or Visual studio for the various OS platforms.

For more information or inquiries please contact Jamo through their web site:

http://www.jamosolutions.com/home.html

Regards,

Eran

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