While mobile developers and quality engineers are steadfast and diligent when it comes to testing their applications locally on device emulators, the sad reality of managing the testing phase of the mobile application lifecycle (mobile ALM) is that no device emulator on the market can replace the feedback provided by users who are interacting directly with an application through an actual, tangible device. But with such a fragmented Android device market, how can software architects and quality engineers be sure that their applications will work just as well in the hands of the end user as they will on the emulators used during testing? That's where "testing in the wild" comes in.
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"You can do a lot in the lab, but at the end of the day you are going to have issues," says Roy Solomon, vice president of product management and co-founder of uTest. "Our core model is a community of 70,000 professional testers that are ready to get your builds and test them on their real devices, in real locations and in real situations." And it is this crowd-sourcing approach to mobile device testing that is at the heart of the concept of testing in the wild.
"Basically, we created this new category of testing in the wild to help developers make better applications and make sure that, as they deploy, their applications really work across different devices, SDK versions, OS versions, different OEMs and all of the other variables that can affect an application," says Solomon.
Android developers and solutions architects know that fragmentation is the scourge of the smart phone market, but until consolidation happens, alternative approaches to mobile quality engineering need to be entertained. For organizations that want to ensure that their applications behave as planned on a wide variety of SDKs, OS versions and in various scenarios and situations, testing in the wild is a pragmatic approach to dealing with the challenges of the quality control phase of mobile ALM.
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