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Blog > June 2016 > The rise of Dynamic Mobile Ecosystems

The rise of Dynamic Mobile Ecosystems

9th June 2016 - John Lyttle

When you think of Mobile Applications from a testing perspective one of the first big headaches that comes to mind, is just how dynamic Mobile ecosystems are. Owners of iOS devices are well accustomed to being prompted by frequent requests from Apple to upgrade the iOS Operating System throughout their ownership of an Apple device.

The story for the Android ecosystem is even more complex, the market has a multitude of the big technology players such as "Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony etc.." each providing their own customized OEM version of the Android Operating System and most also running a different version of the Android base operating system at any given time.

To put this into perspective the graph (taken from Wikipedia) below highlights both the pace of releases for Android Operating System releases and how this correlates with the percentage of Android versions accessing Google Play within a given timeframe. For example as of February 2016, Android 4.4 "KitKat" is the single most widely used Android version, operating on 35.5% of all Android devices accessing Google Play.

What are the challenges for application vendors?

From a high level perspective the major challenge for application vendors is the need to ensure that their applications function correctly within an evolving and fragmented market place. Application vendors now have an immediate need to ensure that their deployed applications are not only compatible on specific hardware devices but also that they function correctly on the most commonly used Operating System versions for each device. Some application vendors main focus is often on ensuring that their application is compatible with the latest Operating System running on the latest shiny new device, however as the graph above highlights, the majority of Google Play customers are not running on the latest Android versions at given time.

Failure to ensure that your application is compatible and provides the same user experience across as wide a spectrum of devices and operating system versions will not only hurt your businesses reputation but will affect the company bottom line. It does not make business sense to either lock out or deploy an app which is incompatible to a significant proportion of your potential customers or market space. According to returnonbehaviour.com 96% of unhappy customers do not complain whilst even more telling, 91% of those customers will never come back.

Therefore if we take a more granular insight and have a look at the key challenges stakeholders within an organization face; we can see that whilst the main challenge of a fragmented market place remains, it becomes intertwined with additional challenges which are unique to each department within an vendors organization. We can categorize some of these challenges as follows:

QA Department:

  • More devices & more market demands typically means slower and more complicated testing cycles
  • Frequent changes and reduced project cycle times make it harder to test thoroughly
  • Device combinations and changing environment makes it difficult to integrate into a formal continuous delivery environment

Development Department:

  • More devices & more market demands typically means slower and more complicated testing cycles
  • Frequent changes and reduced project cycle times make it harder to test thoroughly
  • Device evolutions along with changing business needs make it difficult to ensure user experience

Business Analyst/Product Manager

  • Device priorities are constantly changing so decision making abilities are hindered
  • Lack of visibility across delivery and testing assets slows business agility
  • The capability of business focused stakeholders to participate in quality activities

How using Silk Mobile can overcome these challenges

Silk Mobile is the new software bundle from Micro Focus, which is specifically tailored to address the key challenges faced by application vendors in today’s fast paced Mobile environment. It does this by utilizing the sophisticated testing functional capabilities of Silk Test Mobile, with the powerful performance capabilities of Silk Performer all managed and maintained from the test management tool Silk Central.

This unique three pronged approach to testing and test management helps application vendors deliver end to end quality Mobile Applications on time and on budget by reducing the risk of customers experiencing an unsatisfactory user experience. Silk Mobile achieves this goal by delivering return of investment in three key areas:

Speeding up your testing

  • Leverage the cloud for coverage and accuracy
  • Collect and compare performance across the globe
  • Easily identify root cause of performance problems

Safeguard that your apps work anywhere

  • Quickly build cross platform/device automation tests
  • Easily document manual/exploratory testing
  • Understand and document application issues

Confirm that your apps meet customers’ expectations

  • Leverage the cloud for coverage and accuracy
  • Collect and compare performance across the globe
  • Easily identify root cause of performance problems

Each component of the Silk Mobile bundle plays a unique part in helping deliver these benefits

Silk Test Mobile provides:

  • The ability to build automated tests that can run on different browsers & different mobile applications across different operating systems, platforms and devices
  • The ability to increase test coverage faster with reusable test building blocks
  • IDE integration that enables developers to contribute to test automation

Silk Performer provides:

  • Ability to simulate users performance experience across multiple device/network bandwidth combinations
  • Ability to easily collect and compare transaction’s performance across different geographical locations
  • Ability to identify the root cause of application performance problems through powerful, end-to-end diagnostics capabilities
  • Ability to Leverage the cloud to reduce the cost and increase the accuracy of your performance testing

Silk Central provides:

  • Support for the full test lifecycle, from requirements to test execution over to resulting and issue tracking
  • The capability to business focused stakeholders to easily create and reuse automation assets via Keyword Driven Tests
  • The ability to quickly understand and document application issues across devices and platforms
  • The ability to easily document manual testing execution through screen shots, videos and status report on every step in any device

Silk Mobile utilizes the technology of each of software component in conjunction to offer a bundled testing solution that is greater than the sum of all its parts. This unified testing approach for Mobile Applications will significantly help improve “time to market“ and ensure that your application can withstand the rigours of an increasingly fragmented and rapidly evolving market place.

John Lyttle
Product Support Engineer Principal

Based in the Belfast Office John is Principal ASQ Support Line Engineer. When not on the phone helping our grateful customers you will bump into him on the Borland Software community site.



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