Thursday, February 27, 2014

What Apple's acquisition of Burstly means for TestFlight

Apple has purchased Burstly, the owner of the popular testing platform TestFlight, TechCrunch reported Friday. Few details about the deal were announced, and, according to TechCrunch, Apple has only said, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

The big question we at RTL have is how this will affect developers, and the answer to that largely depends on how dependant on TestFlight you are and what OS you largely develop for. As an iOS developer there largely doesn’t seem to be any immediate change aside from the shutdown of FlightPath, the analytics side of TestFlight.

The real downside to this acquisition comes if you relied on TestFlight as an Android developer, as TestFlight has said in a forum post that they’re ceasing Android support starting on March 21. This isn’t really surprising when you consider that Apple doesn’t want to support Android app development, but it will still make life more difficult for some developers. While you can always have testers and users download and install an apk, this method of distributing new builds is a lot more cumbersome than something like TestFlight.

At RTL we’ve used TestFlight with several clients on the receiving end of builds and found it to be a very effective tool. It's a bit of question mark at this point what exactly the future for TestFlight is. According to TechCrunch’s post, the Burstly engineers have already moved over to Apple, so it’s likely that whatever plans Apple has have already started. One possibility is that Apple will more closely link TestFlight and the App Store, and getting better developer tools to more developers can only be a good thing for everyone involved.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Our Theory of Automation

Automating a test procedure is a powerful tool for testers, whether the goal is to complete a general sweep of a product or to test a specific feature. A programmer is capable of automating almost anything, from detecting text and buttons in an app, to assessing the correctness of the layout of a web page, to checking a product’s error handling. But the return on the investment of time and resources must be kept in mind for automation to be a worthwhile effort.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Agile Testing as a 3rd-party Vendor

Agile software development is a strategy that is quickly gaining traction in workplaces all over the world. It focuses on fast-paced, iterative development requiring a breakdown in the traditional processed approach to phase-based release cycles.

Agile software development is unique in that it treats testing as an integral part of continuous development cycles, rather than a phase of development that takes place after coding is finished. Testing in an agile workplace requires a great amount of flexibility, potentially drawing from any test area in a single pass. As such, this strategy thrives in environments where testing and development teams can closely collaborate to achieve effective results.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Svchost.exe 100% CPU bug still not fixed

Few bugs are as long standing as the svchost.exe Windows Update bug on Windows XP. Some sources have reported that the bug, in which the svchost.exe process suddenly takes up 100 percent of the CPU, has been known at least as far back as 2004.

Now, as the sun finally sets on the 12-year-old operating system, it looks like Microsoft will patch in a fix just in time for updates to end in April.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Report: 66% of Mobile Apps Inadequately Tested

There's a very interesting recent article at about how most companies are not testing their mobile apps thoroughly due to a lack of resources, tools and appropriate methods. Here at RTL we have also seen companies struggle to find effective techniques and test tools to manage software development in the mobile era.  As a result, software quality is suffering:
Organizations are struggling to manage the challenges of the mobile era, with only a few currently testing their mobile applications, according to Capgemini. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

The End of Flash for Mobile?

As of August 15, Adobe Flash Player has been removed from the Google Play store.  Those who already have Flash installed on their mobile devices will continue to receive security updates.  Those devices which have not completed Adobe's certification testing requirements (according to Adobe this includes most devices which do not come with Flash pre-installed from the manufacturer) will not be able to acquire it in the future. Support for Flash has been dropped by all versions of Android beyond 4.0.x (ICS).  Although this change does not immediately affect a large portion of users (some statistics show as few as 1.8% of users are currently on version 4.1), this presents a significant shift in the future of web development for the mobile platform.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Test Tool: BB TestAssistant

BB TestAssistant is a desktop recording, editing, and viewing tool for the Windows platform designed to aid tester and developer in defect submission and reproduction.  It was developed by UK-based Blueberry Software as a tester/developer oriented version of their Flashback consumer recording software.  The concept is simple: a tester runs the recorder, reproduces the defect, and submits the resulting file to the developer who then can review a step-by-step process from the tester's perspective.

While a recording may not be necessary for every scenario of defect reproduction, the technology has many practical applications.  Video capture helps recreate exactly what was going on in the event of a difficult to reproduce or rare bug.  Certain visual defects can be difficult to summarize in just a series of screen shots.  The software creates an easy to use visual demonstration of user input, logging keystrokes and mouse clicks and can even toggle sound and webcam recording to cover anything that words cannot describe.  User notes and editing tools like watermarks and highlights further enhance the post-processing to make sure that the developer will not miss out on any relevant data.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mozilla releases Firefox 14.0.1

Mozilla released the next update to it's Firefox browser to version 14.0.1 for both desktop and mobile today. The updates include several new features and bug fixes for each version.

The main new features for the desktop version include Google searches that now feature HTTPS, full screen support for Mac OS X Lion, changes to plugin configurations to allow for only loading on click, and auto-completion of typed URLs in the "Awesome Bar." Security updates include an improved site identity manager to "prevent spoofing of an SSL connection with favicons" and various bug fixes.

The new features for the mobile version include the better support for Flash, faster start-up and page load times, a redesigned interface, better text readability through font size inflation, and a new panning/zooming architecture meant to improve touch responsiveness. Note that while Flash is now supported for phones, tablets are still out of luck, and devices with less than Android 2.2 no longer meet the minimum specs at all.

Launching Firefox should return a prompt to update the browser, but if you haven't checked out Firefox yet you can click here to download the desktop version of Firefox. On Android devices you can find by searching for Firefox in the Google Play Store, or you can click here to check out the browser-based store page. If you're interested in the full release notes you can find them for both desktop and mobile at Firefox release notes page.