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When it comes to testing apps, teams typically start small and — depending on their needs — rapidly increase scale. From Fortune 100 companies to small start-ups, the app testing journey is typically the same; going from a local virtual device like an emulator or simulator to a do-it-yourself mobile device lab setup composed of all the devices they can access.
On the surface, it makes sense from a conceptual perspective. Going from theoretical (virtual devices) to practical (real devices) is a natural progression.
But what happens if your “practical” testing phase is faulty? It will inevitably translate to inconsistent results. That is why a DIY mobile device lab setup is a less-than-ideal option to choose along your testing journey.
This blog will explore what mobile device labs are, the negative potential of a DIY mobile device lab setup, and the main differences between Perfecto’s robust, seamless cloud device lab and a device lab that is cobbled together.
A virtual device lab is tool that allows for different web and mobile app testing permutations using emulators and simulators online. Virtual device labs can be beneficial for teams wanting to increase testing speeds and reduce the cost of device ownership.
This is especially important as the number of iterations of tests required expands. A virtual device lab is the first step in the testing journey yet moving from that to testing on real devices can reveal some inconsistencies. Your application may not run as smoothly as it did on the emulator or simulator. Different parameters, circumstances or other extenuating circumstances start to make a difference. That is when the quality of your mobile testing lab comes into play.
A mobile testing lab is a location — physical or cloud-based — that allows teams to test their software apps on a wide range of devices and operating systems. The model and OS version varies wildly from customer to customer, so it is important to be able to test against all possibilities and permutations.
Too often, users are limited to the number of devices they can test with, whether it be from resources or access or both. This results in gaps in data and quality. Different needs and use cases require different hardware setups. Sometimes you will find walls, shelves or baskets of devices in a physical location where teams can. And, like the library, using these devices is often on a first-come-first-serve basis. Different labs have different policies, and they rarely suit your app’s specific needs completely. This is usually when teams resort to a DIY mobile testing lab.
The DIY mobile testing lab is an outsourced device lab you must rely on a third-party to use and, by extension, a third-party's availability. What once was thought of as commonplace in the early days of mobile devices has quickly grown obsolete in the face of rapid penetration of phone applications in everyday life and the hunger for quality apps (and quality testing).
The good news? For every drawback of DIY a mobile device lab setup, Perfecto offers a simple solution to make everyone’s lives easier.
Here we will look at each aspect of a device lab, why users may choose to go the route of DIY, and why Perfecto’s cloud-based mobile device lab is the vastly superior option.
Many testers initial hesitation to use an outsourced device lab is the idea of paying money to a company for a service they could assemble on their own. Why spend my hard-earned money when I could just build a mobile testing lab in a storage room or basement?
Let’s find out.
The devices you need to test on are in someone else’s possession and, therefore, you need to enforce best practices in order to account for requesting and releasing procedures.
The cloud-based mobile testing lab is immediately available and visible for testing.
You must allocate resources to support the devices. Think of reboots, upgrades, setup, charging cycles and monitoring. This requires man hours that could otherwise be spent on coding or testing.
The 24/7 support team is available to you whenever you need by simply opening a support case with just a few clicks.
You will have to stand in line to get the latest device model and spend time adding it among your other devices in the lab. Software upgrades must be done manually.
Pre-release policy allows you to purchase, receive and add the device as soon as it is available. Software updates are done by the support team upon request.
Maintenance of old devices that take up storage space, yet do not want to decommission because they are still in use — no matter how low the user numbers dwindle.
Receive the newest devices regularly and request that old ones are replaced.
The onus is on you to take care of bloated batteries, shattered displays, faulty power cables, and ensuring protection against theft.
You can relax because Perfecto takes care of this for you.
You will need to have your SIM card registered under your or your company’s name.
Receive the SIM card by adding it as a service.
You will have to retrieve the device you want to test on from its storage location (and likely wait your turn to do so).
Grab whatever device you need, perform whichever test you need, and never have to leave the comfort of your machine.
Access your device and conduct your test.
Scriptless testing for your DIY mobile testing lab is just manual testing.
You have the chance to create scriptless testing and use automation to run them.
Test the website on each platform separately, gather evidence, logs or errors, and save them in a manner that you can share internally.
Use a mixture of real and virtual devices and desktop browsers while all the reporting and analytics are embedded alongside them.
Utilize screenshots and keep a repository of them. If you are a leader or manager of a team, you have no visibility to the team’s testing efforts.
All the executions are in one place so you can monitor the development of a project immediately.
Patch together analysis and insights from QAs, QA managers, Data Analysts, or the BI team. This requires hours of organization and manual labor, and systemic errors are hard to locate.
All the analytics are in one location — both machine learning and AI are working together to make it easier for you to evaluate results of testing and determine next steps.
You are profoundly limited in scaling. Little problems will add up as your device labs continue to grow, and it becomes increasingly difficult to address them as they do. This can result in whole sprints being ruined, the delay of a release cycle, or the release of a problematic product.
There are no limits to scaling and doing so is easy and fast.
Scalability is a vital component to consider for your testing strategy. If a DIY mobile device lab setup is hampering your process now, it will only get worse as the lab expands. Every business is unique, and the requirements for scaling are no different. Don’t trust the success of the app you worked so hard on to a DIY mobile device lab.
Perfecto is the ideal partner for organizations large and small in creating a testing strategy that works for you. As the organization’s needs grow, so do Perfecto’s capabilities.
Interested in seeing what ditching your DIY mobile device lab setup can do for you? Give us a try for free.
Sales Engineer, Perforce
As a sales engineer at Perforce, Nato operates in a challenging, fast-moving, high-intensity role. The experience that Nato has gained from his various roles contributes to his success daily and helps him better understand Perforce's needs, risk, and urgency for every project.
Nato has an M.Sc in both Industrial Management and Computer Systems and Technologies. He holds certifications in Microsoft and IT Service Management.