The mobile application market is developing so rapidly that it has long left desktop and laptop solutions far behind. Of course, this opens up endless possibilities for developers in the full sense of the word, but at the same time, it presents them with equally innumerable challenges. Just the scatter of screen resolutions of mobile devices and constantly changing user preferences in this regard pose a difficult task for developers.
Add to this the fundamentally different architecture of Android and iOS and the constantly multiplying threats to the security of personal data and financial transactions, which sometimes have to be fought on each of these two mobile systems with fundamentally different means! All of the above brings us close to the conversation about the role of compatibility testing in the pre-release preparation of any application for the plethora of various operating systems and devices. The apparent benefits of compatibility testing are the key to the successful promotion of any software solution to the mobile market.
Cross-platform or native?
Fans of simple approaches may exclaim: “So what’s the problem? Develop not native, but cross-platform applications and at least half of the compatibility issues will be solved by themselves.” However, the temptation of easy solutions is dangerous because it often leaves out the details, in which, as you know, the devil is hidden.
Can someone, for example, just announce the total number of mobile browsers (we no longer propose to list their names and specifications) used worldwide? But for a web application, the browser is the critically important element of the interface. That is why browser compatibility testing today is a separate and very resource-intensive stage in the long list of Mobile App testing stages.
And this – mind you! — is just one of the examples that lie on the surface.
A much more significant factor influencing the choice between cross-platform web applications and native development is the lower performance and limited integration with mobile device resources of the former compared to the latter. For instance, a complex banking application will most likely turn out to be native. Therefore, leading QA companies have special teams for early detection and timely elimination of bugs in banking applications and other financial applications where one small mistake can cost a company millions.
Of course, IT giants are now actively promoting cross-platform solutions like Microsoft Xamarin or Facebook ReactNative to the market, but, alas, it is still very far from complete unification and the emergence of uniform standards.
Standards are set by uses
All things considered, do not forget: users do not care what development environment is chosen to create this or that application and how difficult and expensive it is to test even the simplest-looking program. 62% of users worldwide simply uninstall an app if something is not working correctly or they need to take complicated steps to further configure settings other than the default ones to ensure compatibility with a specific device. The vast majority expects an application, no matter how complex and expensive it may be to develop, to comply with the principle: “download and run.”
Under these conditions, it is impossible to overestimate the importance of the compatibility testing service in the pre-release preparation of mobile solutions.
Due to the enormous number of compatibility-specific tasks facing mobile application testers, such as Testfort company, this area of QA has recently turned into a separate direction. Unique approaches, technologies, and equipment are used here. In particular, mobile device emulators. At the same time, the use of such emulators is combined with testing on real smartphones and tablets to take into account any nuances of configurations and particular scenarios.
Unlike functional testing, the attention of QA experts who check mobile applications for compatibility is focused not on the program’s properties, but on its ability to work stably on the maximum number of devices.
Here are just the main tests:
- Equipment compatibility.
- OS compatibility.
- Compatibility with other software.
- Browser compatibility testing.
- Compatibility with various hardware and computer peripherals – printers, devices for receiving and transmitting data, etc.
- Network compatibility.
- Compatibility with different software versions.
Compatibility Testing in Mobile App Development has long become imperative, forever leaving the category of optional solutions. The growing market of mobile devices and users’ ever-increasing demands do not leave mobile app development projects room for debate on the importance of compatibility testing. Only a comprehensively tested mobile application has a chance to take a prominent place in the market and bring profit to its creators.