Enterprises get serious about mobile app testing

Cloud-based solutions are being offered for ensuring apps run on specific devices

With mobility now a necessity, the software testing space is now making accommodations to ensure enterprises can extend their applications to run on devices, according to an analyst report being released on Tuesday.

Voke's Market Mover Array Report on software testing platforms says an explosion of mobile testing companies focusing on enterprise applications is a "clear indicator of the enterprise's need to deliver quality software to a plethora of mobile devices." Mobile testing vendors, the report states, will ultimately be acquired by traditional testing vendors. But for now, innovation "must be allowed to flourish." Keynote Systems' acquisition of DeviceAnywhere last fall represents this shift in the market; meanwhile, innovation in mobile testing also is occurring from companies including Experitest, Parasoft, Perfecto Mobile, and Soasta, according to the report.

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"What we're seeing [with mobile applications] is every organization now has to have some sort of mobile strategy, and that mobile strategy has to already fit in with what they're doing with their existing apps," said analyst Theresa Lanowitz, a co-author of the report and founder of Voke. "There's very little tolerance for a mobile application that does not work from a functional perspective as well as from a performance perspective." Software testers, she said, really need to look for commercially available tools to manage "that complex grid of what they're going to test."

Mobile application testing is becoming more commonplace and has been moving to the cloud, she said. Keynote DeviceAnywhere's Test Center Developer, for example, provides online access to any mobile device, network, and operating system worldwide. Perfecto Mobile has a similar SaaS platform with its MobileCloud platform.

Overall, software testing has to be done earlier in the application development lifecycle, to make sure defects do not leave the development phase, Lanowitz said. Companies like Electric Cloud and Microsoft are offering capabilities to apprise developers of what exactly is going on with their software builds.

Voke's report found the software testing market "currently in a renaissance," in terms of testing professionals and vendor innovation. Market leaders could face challenges from innovators tackling emerging technology like the cloud, mobile, device software, and infrastructure, as well from innovations delivering simple solutions to classic and age-old problems by leveraging virtualization. Vendors solving problems of entrenched testing tools also could pose a challenge.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.