Monday, October 8, 2018

Mobile Testing Beyond Physical Reach - a #PNSQC Live Blog

One of the additions to my reality as of late has been working with Browserstack, which is a company that provides a pool of physical devices as well as emulated devices to do mobile and desktop testing. It's an interesting service in that it allows for a lot of variation in device interactions. Still, while it has a good selection, it certainly doesn't pretend that it has every possible option out there. Plus, those services come at a cost. That's not to say that having a variety of devices doesn't have its own costs, but over time, it may make sense to keep that testing locally. Still, how can we leverage our devices in an efficient way and also leverage our time and attention?

In "Mobile Testing Beyond Physical Reach", Juan de Dios Delgado Bernal is describing a physical setup that he uses as m “Mobile Testing Farms”. By chaining a variety of devices together via an extended powered USB hub, his team is able to work with and automate a variety of devices remotely from a desktop or laptop. In short, the goal is to be able to test smartphones beyond physical reach.

We only sit and open our browser, then just access the Smartphone Test Farm. In this session, we will demonstrate how to use a Smartphone Test Farm (STF) using python automated scripts.

It's easier to interact with emulators but emulators certainly don't take the place of an actual device. Additionally, there are a number of states that a mobile device can be in and emulators are not able to replicate these (or at least, I'm not familiar with how they do this). By having a device farm, the various conditions and states for the device can be readily manipulated, as well as tested in that variety of conditions. Juan is using a variety of Python scripts so that the tests he is running can cycle through the devices in the farm.

Juan demonstrated these scripts in real time (hence why we see him at the computer :) ) and it's intriguing to see the potential and options that are available with a relatively simple and (arguably) reasonably priced apparatus. For my perspective, much of what I look at is focused on web and mobile applications. The examples that Juan is showing actually examine literal phone calls and the quality of the signal and the quality of the call which, frankly, I think is really cool. Its outside of my typical wheelhouse, but it gives me some ideas as to how I might leverage a farm like this. Not sure it's going to cause me to stop using Browserstack but it's definitely worth considering.

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