Monday, October 5, 2009

iPhone Development Basics - Memory Management Part 1

For those of us involved in iPhone applications testing, it's useful to understand how memory management works on the iPhone OS. Most of the problems we see that result in some sort of application crash or failure are related to memory problems. Understanding how these memory problems can occur can help with trapping memory related defects so you can report reproducible defects.

We've discussed memory management issues in previous articles. In this series of articles, which will be posted each Monday, we have video presentations from Mark Johnson that introduce the basics of iPhone memory management in Objective-C for programmers starting out with the iPhone. These videos are very instructive for both developers and testers.

Tips for Testers: if you've never done any programming, the terms discussed by Mark may be new for you. I suggest that you use this information to develop a curiosity about iPhone app memory management so that when you talk with the developers, you can ask probing questions. And, as developers answer your questions, it often helps them sort through the complexity they deal with, as well as giving you more insight as to what may be cause the bugs you're seeing.

Suggested developer question for Part 1:
(2:50min) What is a NSMutableString object and why would the app ever release this object after it has been deleted? Would this cause a crash?

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