Testing Best Practices

Mobile users expect a lot from today's mobile applications. They expect the applications they install to be stable, responsive, and secure. Stable means that the application works and doesn't crash or mess up the user's phone. Responsive means the phone always responds to key presses, and long operations use progress bar indicators. Secure means that the application doesn't abuse the trust of the user, either intentionally or unintentionally. Users expect an application to have a reasonably straightforward user interface, and they expect the application to work 24/7 (especially when it comes to networked applications with a server side).

It might seem like users expect a lot for an application that might be priced at $0.99, but really, do any of these expectations seem unreasonable? We don't think so. However, they do impose significant responsibilities on a developer in terms of testing and quality control.

Whether you're a team of one or one hundred, every mobile development project can benefit from a good development process with a solid test plan. The following are some quality measures that can greatly improve the development process:

► Coding standards and guidelines

► Regular versioned builds

► A defect tracking system with a process for resolving defects

► Systematic application testing (using a test plan)

Did you Know?

You can outsource application testing to a third party. Keep in mind that the success of any outsourced project depends heavily on the quality of the documentation you provide (for example, functional specifications, use cases) to the outsourcing facility.

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