Four Reasons Software Testing Will Move Even Further Into the Wild by 2017

apple0132Ever since our inception, uTest and our colleagues within Applause have always been a huge proponent of what we like to call ‘In-the-Wild’ Testing.

Our community is made up of 150,000+ testers in 200 countries around the world, the largest of its kind, and our testers have already stretched the definition of what testing ‘in the wild’ can be, by testing countless customers’ apps on their own devices where they live, work and play.

That ‘play’ part of In-the-Wild testing is primed to take up a much larger slice of testers’ time. While we have already seen a taste of it with emerging technologies gradually being introduced into the mobile app mix, there are four major players primed to go mainstream in just a couple of short years. That means you can expect testers to be spending less time pushing buttons testing on mobile apps in their homes and offices…and more time ‘testing’ by jogging and buying socks. Here’s why.

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One Week in With the iPhone 6: An Average Joe’s Review

I’m not a tester in my day job, and I don’t claim to be — I leave that to our great community of 150,000+ testers (my middle name is indeed Joseph, iphone 6though, so I can make the Average Joe claim without feeling ashamed of lying to you).

That being said, I enjoy technology as much as our testers do, many of which have already snapped up iPhone 6s for testing on customers’ apps hungry for validation of their iPhone 6 optimizations. I too was eager to get my hands on the iPhone 6, albeit for different motives.

I set my alarm for 2:45 AM ET a couple of weeks ago, got a cup of hot coffee brewing, and flexed my fingers over the keyboard in anticipation of a mad rush of folks pre-ordering. I pre-ordered the 64 GB Space Gray model of the standard iPhone 6, and it arrived on my doorstep last Friday. Here are my thoughts one week into the much-ballyhooed launch.

The Design

OK, so #Bendgate, in my opinion, has been blown way out of proportion. Apple even alluded to the fact that there have only been about 9 real support calls about it, which leads me to believe that the same social media posts about #Bendgate or #Bendghazi are recycled over and over again. Is there a problem with some of the iPhone 6 Plus models…sure. But not at the levels one may think.

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6 Things You Need to Know About the iPhone 6

This story was originally published on the Applause App Quality Blog by Dan Rowinski.

Bigger and bolder, Apple has finally embraced the large screen. Apple latest iPhones were announced on Tuesday and it comes in two variants: the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Each is bigger and more powerful than any iPhone Apple has ever made.

In its announcement, Apple referred to the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus at the greatest phones ever made. It is a bit of hyperbole that Apple has been prone towards in its iPhone announcements through history, a legacy of the late Steve Jobs. But nearly everything about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is bigger and badder, a worthy successor to Apple’s smartphone franchise and likely to be the most sought-after gift this coming holiday shopping season.

What do you need to know about the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? Let’s break it down.

Screen Size And Resolution

Apple has finally broken out of its mold and listened to what people want. Consumers want bigger screens on smartphones. Thus, mobile app developers want bigger screens on because that is what consumers want.

Well, Apple has delivered.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen with a 4.7-inch, 1334-by-750 screen that translates to pixels-per-inch (ppi). Good news for developers, this is the exact same pixel count as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and iPad Mini with Retina Display.

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The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen with a 1920-by-1080 resolution with 401-ppi. The new pixels-per-inch count will be what developers are going to focus on because it is this metric that will directly effect what their existing apps will look like on larger screens. To this end, Apple has created an desktop-class scaler in the Xcode integrated developer environment to deal with all the new screen sizes and (limited) pixel variation among iOS devices. Apple also employs the Adaptive Layout feature introduced in iOS 7 (and advanced in iOS 8) to help developers make apps that fit any of its device sizes.

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How Apple Aims To Improve App Store Discovery With iOS 8

This story was originally published on the Applause App Quality Blog by Dan Rowinski.

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Sometimes you can’t find the app you are looking for.

A single app in Apple’s App Store is just the perfect one that you are seeking. With 1.2 million apps, it has to be in there somewhere, right? It may be a new calendar app to that syncs your iCal, Google Calendar and Outlook meetings. Or it is a messaging app that focuses on standard and proper English, eschewing the craze of emoji and emoticons endemic today’s popular communication methods. You know somebody at some point must have built this app, but it is impossible to find.

App Store discovery has been a massive problem for developers, users and Apple for the last several years. App Store search is inadequate for most people’s needs and the top lists that Apple relies upon have created a top-heavy capitalistic market that breeds poor quality apps.

Apple is not ignorant to this problem. In 2012 it spent a reported $50 million to improve the App Store and acquired app search engine Chomp to enhance discoverability. The improvements proved minimal and Apple eventually shuttered Chomp and rolled its intellectual property into iOS 6. Judging by the current discourse among the iOS developer community, Apple still has a lot of work to do to help app makers sell their wares.

Apple has some more improvements for the App Store coming with iOS 8 that it hopes will arrest the issue.

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The 10 Hottest Devices for Mobile App Testing

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Image Courtesy: XING (https://devblog.xing.com/)

Testers within our community often want to know on which devices they should be testing. Concurrently, developers also want to know where their beautiful creations should be given the most love.

Thankfully we have a magical data team that can take any request we throw their way, and give us such statistics on the hottest devices requested by our customers.

We sent such a request over to our trusty data team, and magically (for me, anyways, as an English/Communications major), they came back with this list of the 10 most tested mobile devices at uTest. The criteria for this data were the devices (both phones and tablets) on which the most bugs were filed in the past 30 days. Here’s the top 10 in order of popularity:

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iOS 8 Crowding Out Fitness Apps?

This week, Apple released the latest beta of iOS 8 to developers for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Among other additions, the fleshing out of the new Health App means bigHealthbook changes for developers.

Health, Apple’s centralized health and fitness hub app, in the initial iOS 8 preview was more of a shell, designed to take in data from third-party providers. In the Beta 3 release, however, it can now track both steps and calories on its own. Additionally, you can measure your caffeine intake as well as monitor a lengthy list of nutritional categories.

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iOS 8 Beta 2 Now Available to Developers: A Step Up?

Apple, hot off the heels of its announcement of iOS 8 and release of the first beta earlier this month, has made available its Beta 2 of the new OSApple_iOS to developers today.

According to ZDNet, Apple has corrected some stability issues that plagued the first iteration of iOS 8 beta including crashing on launch when restored from a backup. Additionally, there are still several known issues that Apple is working on, including reduced battery life and other issues with iCloud and Keyboards.

For those that have downloaded the beta, is it more polished and stable than the first? Which areas are you hoping Apple improves upon prior to the GA this Fall? Let us know in the comments below.

And iOS 8…is a Disappointment?

Apple has just confirmed the latest iteration of iOS 8 at its annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, and testers or users expecting sea changes that came with iOS 7 last September may be feeling a bit disappointed.

That being said, users can still expect some key updates to functionality. According to CNET and other sourcesiOS 8, major updates to iOS 8 include:

  • Interactive notifications, where you can respond to messages without leaving another app
  • “Do not disturb” feature will make it easier to stop notifications on nuisances like group chats
  • A built-in health management tool to check on important things like vital signs and activity levels
  • Universal search to find files on your device and content on the Internet
  • Third-party keyboards can now be installed
  • The biggest feature, though, may be that apps can now share data with each other in iOS

What do you think of the iOS 8 upgrade? Were you expecting more? Are you still excited for the iPhone 6? Let us know in the comments.

 

Apple WWDC: Continuous Integration, Testing and More

xcode5Last week, Apple announced a number of exciting new products at WWDC, including iOS7 and OS X Mavericks. But some of Apple’s most important announcements slipped below the radar – announcements that will impact both developers and testers. Let’s take a look at a few of the exciting thing Apple announced that are going to change how you build and test your software.

Continuous Integration

Let’s start with the first big piece of news: continuous integration. Apple’s new continuous integration tool give developers a new way to automate build processes and make sure that all the important steps of a build are executed. Apple has done this by creating a new kind of process called a “bot,” which can be instructed to automatically run static analysis, unit tests, and archiving activities.

Apple’s other big announcement was a new tool that can move the build process to a remote server running OS X Mavericks. That means that you can offload the long tedious build process (including all the activities of the bots) to a remote server, giving you the power to work on other tasks in the mean time. If a build or test fails, you’ll see all the details in your local copy of Xcode. The remote build machine can be configured to run builds on demand, scheduled builds (e.g. nightly builds), or both.

Test Navigator

Along with the bots and continuous integration tools, Apple has developed a completely new unit testing system called Test Navigator. Developers will be able to create unit tests right within Xcode and then have those tests executed by bots. If the tests fail, they’ll be able to review the tests together with the relevant portions of their code, side by side.

Auto Layout

Over the past few years, Apple began moving away from the standard aspect ratios they introduced with the original iPhone, and there’s every indication this trend will continue. The downside of this proliferation of screen sizes is that app developers will have to work harder and harder building custom interfaces for each unique screen size.

With Xcode 5, Apple is launching a new tool called Auto Layout that they believe will help improve this problem. Auto Layout helps developers build interfaces by automatically managing the layout of items on the screen – moving components as the screen changes size so that everything fits neatly. This means that a single interface can easily adapt itself to a variety of screen sizes and shapes, giving developers the confidence their apps will work on the ever increasing number of devices.

And more…

Other features Apple announced last week include debug gauges (tools to see an app’s system utilization in real time) and source control. A more complete list can be found here.

Of course, we’re still in the early days of these new tools as Apple has just released the very first beta of Xcode 5. New features and improvements could still be on their way, and some of the existing features mentioned above could still be cut from the final release.

But judging from what we’ve heard about so far, this is a great time to be an Apple developer. With so many new tools, apps, and APIs, developers have an exciting road in front of them as they adopt Apple’s newest technologies.

It’s a Wrap! The #GenMobile WWDC Party

To say the Appcelerator #GenMobile Party last Wednesday night was a success would be an understatement!  As one of Appcelerator’s newest partners, uTest was thrilled to sponsor their annual Apple WWDC  bash along with Box, InMobi and VentureBeat. Given Appcelerator’s reputation for throwing “the” party of the conference, tickets sold out far in advance.

Starting with a rush at 6:00pm, more than 500 mobile professionals starting pouring out of Moscone Convention Center and packing into Jillian’s in the Metreon for a night of celebration.  Folks from every facet of the mobile ecosystem mingled, hearing about each other’s latest projects and cool innovations in the works.

The diverse crowd included developers, project managers, and executives from companies including Groupon, SAP, Twitter, and Klout, as well as investors from firms like Google Ventures.  Plus, mixed among the familiar faces from VentureBeat were tech stalwarts like Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal, Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch, and Emily Price of Mashable.

If you couldn’t make it to the party, check out this video highlight reel and the photo gallery on Appcelerator’s Facebook page.  And of course we can’t forget about the photo booth!  Too many great photos to be able to pick favorites…

Thanks again, Appcelerator and to everyone that joined in the fun.  See you next year!