For background: Apple has decided with iOS 10 to make certain iPads, iPods and iPhones obsolete by stopping the OS they can run at iOS 9.x.
The list of devices that will not be able to upgrade to iOS 10 and above are:
iPad 3rd gen
iPod touch 5th gen
Why is this a problem for developers and testers?
Let’s examine iOS 9 adoption. Based on the data below from Mixpanel, two weeks after iOS 9 was launched on September 16, 2015, 40% of users already upgraded to iOS 9. Today, iOS 9 adoption is close to 90%.
Now, here’s a quick look at market share numbers for iOS devices.
Based on this data from Localytics and the recent Perfecto Digital Test Coverage Index report it’s clear that at least iPad 2, iPhone 4S and iPad mini are among the most-used devices in various markets, including the U.S. (see below)
Implications for mobile testing plans
The information above means one thing. Dev and test teams will need to support the new iPhone 7/7 Plus along with other Apple devices that can run iOS 10. Additionally, they need to reserve a portion of testing for iOS 9 for the older devices mentioned above. Unfortunately, this will create latency in testing activities. It will also require test automation so tests can be easily executed on devices running iOS 9 and iOS 10.
Another side effect may be lower device adoption for iOS 10 because large groups of users will simply be stuck on iPad 2, iPad Mini and iPhone 4S. We also see a clear market trend of older iPads continuing to be the most popular, as iPad users take longer to upgrade to new tablets than Android tablet users.
The end result is we’re going to see growing iOS fragmentation in various markets and complex testing ahead.
Open source test framework implications
iOS 10 is not just disrupting the mobile device and OS landscape, it’s also impacting open-source test frameworks such as Appium.
As you can read in the threads below, iOS 10 is “breaking” Appium test framework functionality, impacting installations and the launching of IPA files. It is also causing issues working with XCUITest and the iOS WebKit.
It’s worth noting that vendors such as Perfecto are able to overcome this challenge as they continue to supportAppium test automation with iOS 10 on iOS devices for all beta versions and the GA version from the first day it was publicly available.
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:
Quality and Innovation
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+ versionsstopping at a recent 9.3.5 GA release that addresses security issues. To compare this trend to Android platform – Android5.0 Lollipop released in November 2014 and was enhanced till latest version of 5.1.1 (~5 versions in 2 years). Android Marshmallow6.0 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.
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.
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.
If you’re an Android developer, you’re probably familiar with Google’s Espresso test automation framework. As an open-source tool, it’s very easy for developers to use and extend within their working environment (Android Studio IDE).
But before discussing the benefits of Espresso, let’s understand the motivations and pains developers and test automation engineers face today while trying to validate their Android application (APK) throughout the build/dev/test workflow.
Each build needs to be validated after code changes are made.
Dependencies on remote servers and other workstations for testing slow down the process.
Unit and functional tests need to be easy to execute from both an IDE and continuous integration perspective.
Apps need to be tested using the latest Android OS APIs that support new platform features and OS versions.
Testing needs to occur on both emulators and real devices.
In light of these challenges, it’s clear why the adoption of the Espresso automation framework is high. Even though Espresso is an instrumentation-based test framework, it has many benefits to both developers and test automation engineers. It uses Junit underneath the hood, so Espresso is easy to use within leading IDEs and provides useful testing annotations and assertions. It’s also fully integrated within the leading Google Android IDE – Android Studio.
Here are four main benefits of using Espresso:
1. Espresso workflow is simple to use
The way Espresso works is by allowing developers to build a test suite as a stand-alone APK that can be installed on the target devices alongside the application under test and be executed very quickly.
2. Fast and reliable feedback to developers
As developers are trying to accelerate deployment, Espresso gives them fast feedback on their code changes so they can move on to the next feature or defect fix; having a robust and fast test framework plays a key role.
Espresso does not require any server (like Selenium Remote WebDriver) to communicate with; instead it runs side-by-side with the app and delivers very fast (minutes) test results to the developer.
3. Less mobile testing flakiness
Because Espresso offers a synchronized method of execution, the stability of the test cycle is very high. There’s a built-in mechanism in Espresso that, prior to moving to the next steps in the test, validates that the Element or Object is actually displayed on the screen. This eliminates test execution from breaking when confronted with “objects not detected” and other errors.
4. Developing Espresso test automation isn’t hard
Developing Espresso test automation is quite easy. It is based on Java and Junit, which is a core skillset for any Android app developer. Because Espresso works seamlessly within the Android Studio IDE, there’s no setup or ramping up and no “excuses” – to actually shift quality in the in-cycle stage of the app SDLC.
In addition to the above, there is of course the large community powered by Google that pushes the Espresso test automation framework and allow easy and fast ramp up for newcomers.
Learn more using the Espresso Cheat sheet below:
Perfecto is offering support for both Android Studio IDE as well as the ability to install and launch an Espresso test suite (APK) on real devices in the cloud across various locations and user conditions. For more information, please refer to the Perfecto Community and search for “Android Studio” or “Espresso.”
How does a company nowadays put together a comprehensive test strategy for delivering high-quality experiences for their applications on any device? I think this is the question I get asked most frequently and it is the biggest challenge in today’s market, how to tackle mobile testing and responsive web testing. The solution can be the difference between an app rated 1 star or an app rated 5 stars.
I had a lot of fun talking to Joe Colantonio from Test Talks about how to create a successful app starting with my Digital Test Coverage Optimizer. Listen to the full talk to hear my ideas on moving from manual testing to automation, tracking the mobile market, the difference between testing in simulators and emulators versus real devices and more.
As the #30daysoftesting challenges continues, i have decided today to put the famous iOS Native LinkedIn mobile app and perform some exploratory testing on it using my iPhone 6 Plus device running iOS 9.X
Today’s challenge was about finding up to 5 different defects and reporting them back to the app vendor.
Here are my findings:
Searching through the contact list (my list of contacts overpasses 2500 members) is simply unusable since the A-Z side bar is non proportional with the page size, so basically trying to filter by letter (e.g. “K”) is very hard
App crashed twice when entering long string of characters into the search bars either for searching contacts/groups or messages
Sharing a message from the app – DOES NOT WORK. You can only share from the app main screen an update but not a message.
I’ve reported back to LinkedIn about these defects, below is their confirmation email – pending their response.
For those who aren’t familiar with this month program led by Ministry of Testing, the full details are HERE.
I plan to stand up for this challenge (Tweeter handle to follow this program is: #30daysoftesting
For day 1, I’ve bought the following book (Testing in 30+ open source tools, 2nd Edition), and i plan on reading it (well – large portion of it, it’s more than 1200 pages) – the book highlight the main trend i am seeing over the past 12-18 months in the digital space (especially Mobile) where many new open-source test frameworks are being introduced to the market aiming to make both Dev and Testers lifes easier.
With the amount of new open-source tools in the market agile teams can achieve the following:
Faster test development
Fine tune the test environment to meet complex product requirements
Develop and execute tests from the Dev/Test native environment (IDE)
Execute and receive actionable feedback faster
With the above benefits, it is clear that today’s agile teams have a lot to gain by embracing open-source compared to traditional proprietary testing solutions.
Looking forward to update on 2nd-30th day of this program
Developing a mobile test automation scenario isn’t that complicated. Developers and testers use a variety of commercial test automation frameworks or open source tools such as Selenium and Appium to do automation. However, when trying to execute these tests on real devices or integrate them into an Agile or CI (continuous integration) workflow, things get a little complicated.
The major challenges around mobile test automation
The essence of developing test automation is to be able to use and re-use scripts many times, across platforms and environments. Test automation should be as maintainable as possible, especially as new platforms and product features are released. Many organizations that develop test automation for their mobile apps face the following challenges:
Executing the tests against a variety of real mobile devices
Executing these tests in parallel
Leveraging existing test code (re-usability) for new tests
Including real end-user environments/conditions (changing network conditions, low battery) in the tests
Overcoming unexpected interruptions (incoming call, apps running in background)
Running these tests unattended — over night, as part of a Jenkins CI job
These are just few of the challenges organizations confront when trying to progress from older SDLC processes and meet faster releases and enhanced Dev–>Build–>Deploy–>Test–>Deploy cycles.
7 practical test automation tips
Overcoming these challenges starts with few changes in the overall mobile app dev and test processes.
Consider these seven recommendations for building sustainable unattended automation.
The key to mobile test automation is to start with a small number of test cases, automate them, and assure that they are robust enough and can be executed in parallel and unattended. Only then should you invest more and grow the test suite.
An important question to ask at the start is: What should I be automating? Organization often do not choose the right tests to automate, resulting in lost development time, weak ROI, and an over-reliance on manual testing.