Wednesday, July 8, 2009

iPhone App Testing With The App Store Approval Process In Mind

Apple's App Store approval process can be a frustrating experience if you do not approach your iPhone/iPod touch app testing with the right end-goal in mind. There are countless stories of developers submitting their apps several times before Apple approves them for the App Store. Most of the publicized stories about failed App Store submissions usually are about content or illegal functionality. The stories you don't hear about are those that have to do with apps not meeting Apple's basic human interface guidelines. In talking with iPhone developers, we've found that Apple provides detailed feedback on why an app is not approved along with references to their guidelines. This is very helpful, but problems can be avoided and apps can be approved faster if developers utilize a suite of test cases and environments to ensure their app not only functions as intended but also meets applicable Human Interface guidelines. And now with iPhone OS 3.0, those guidelines have increased with the new functionality provided by 3.0.

What we've done to help our clients avoid known pitfalls in the App Store approval process, is develop a Core Tasks test suite that is used along with the functionality and compatibility tests we perform. This Core Tasks test suite has been developed using Apple's Human Interface guidelines. Here are a few examples from the test suite that we use to help developers determine if their app functions correctly and appropriately when:
  1. Using Cut, Copy & Paste
  2. Receiving a Push Notification (unrelated to their app)
  3. Unexpectedly terminating when receiving a call
  4. Internet connections are lost
  5. Launching while a user is listening to music from the iPod app
  6. Requiring location services
There's a lot to focus on when developing an iPhone app and the main concentration is usually on the unique functionality of the application. But leaving out some of these core task tests can lead to delays in the App Store submission process.

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